1999 was in some ways a simpler time, a bygone era in which a leading Internet guidebook’s first page could open with the question: “OK, what’s this Internet good for?”
The book then follows this question up with a host of others.
- “Is there a lot of really weird stuff on the Net?”
- “But isn’t it yet another male-dominated bastion?”
- “What’s electronic mail, again?”
- “So, is this the Information Superhighway?”
Well, yes, it is the “Information Superhighway,” a term which itself sounds straight out of a previous century, but it’s not the superhighway that we’re driving on today. When Ars Science Editor John Timmer unearthed a copy of 1999’s Rough Guide to the Internet, we decided to take a look back at just what has changed in the last decade—and what has remained depressingly the same.