A Nerd’s Last Word

by Michael Bosley

  It‚Äôs safe to say that the internet has become an integral part of our daily lives; connecting our phones, computers and even household appliances to a world of information at speeds we could only have dreamt of ten years ago. To celebrate how far we‚Äôd come and to get some idea of how dependent we‚Äôd become on the internet and in particular web2.0 services, I decided to use the awesome wayback machine to spend the day as a web surfer in 2005 ‚Äì ten years ago to the day; a year when Youtube was just coming into being and smoking in pubs was still OK. So with that, let us immerse ourselves in the golden age of the Crazy Frog and er, James Blunt. Sorry. Firstly, I always like to start my day knowing what the weather has in store, so it‚Äôs over to the BBC website which in 2005 sported an odd blue layout with everything quite compacted and basic: ¬† bbc   I‚Äôm reminded straight away from the title page that the London bombings had only happened days before and the shocking events of that day were still very much at the forefront of people‚Äôs minds: bbc_terror   The weather on this day saw rather respectable highs of 24¬∞C with some cloud cover. Videos of cats are always a good way to kick-start your day.¬†So¬†what did a fledgling YouTube look like in 2005? Well something like this:   youtube   Breakfasted and ready for the day, I thought I‚Äôd indulge myself in a little retail therapy ‚Äì 2005 style! First it was over to Amazon to check out the latest gear:   amazon   The Amazon homepage has changed, but only subtly in ten years. They proudly announce the apparently ‚Äúmassively anticipated‚Äù release of Coldplay‚Äôs X&Y:   coldplay   I‚Äôm instantly transported back to the heyday of Coldplay when it was pretty much the law to have Speed of Sound¬†playing on every radio station and TV show at least once every half an hour. *Shudders* I‚Äôll get back to music later, but first I‚Äôll need something to play my music on. MP3 players were becoming popular but were still quite pricey for many of us. Heedless¬†of its imminent demise, I opt instead for a Minidisk player:¬† amazon_minidisk   This model seems OK. It‚Äôs got some good reviews and it‚Äôs under ¬£100! I‚Äôm convinced that Minidisc players are the future, so I drop one of these bad boys into my basket. So I‚Äôve got my awesome new music player and I‚Äôve proudly clipped it to the studded belt¬†of my flared jeans. Now for some tunes! In 2005 there was only one place to get discounted music (provided you had a loyalty card). That place was MVC. Even ten years ago, the idea of buying my music online was still quite alien to me, but for today, I thought I‚Äôd check out the MVC website to see what bangin‚Äô new tunes would grace my soon-to-be ubiquitous Minidisc player:   MVC   The MVC website is about as eye-catching as an Excel spreadsheet and unfortunately some elements and images haven‚Äôt survived the time-travel treatment very well. But thank God my old friends Coldplay have made it intact:   coldplay2   And what ho! It‚Äôs the housewives favourite bucktoothed crooner James Blunt:   james blunt   He‚Äôs so dreamy and awfully, awfully nice! He was in the army you know? ¬†I never bought the album in 2005, so I add it to my basket, along with Coldplay‚Äôs X&Y, eager to see what all the fuss was about the first time around. Heady on my recent splurge on mainstream garbage, it had completely escaped me that I‚Äôd need a proper 2005 computer to help transfer all my quality music purchases to my sexy silver player (all technology in the mid noughties was a varying shade of silver). So it was back to Amazon to see what cutting edge PC‚Äôs would be man enough for the job. I stumble across the snappily named HP NC6120 P M 740, boasting a massive 512MB RAM and a humungous 60GB hard drive ‚Äì more than enough to hold my discerning collection of two soon-to-be classic albums that will definitely never end up in a bargain bin at a car boot sale in two years‚Äô time. At a very reasonable ¬£1,131.35 (three times the price of a modern laptop), I drop one into my basket and tend to my recent MSN Messenger chats.   amazon_laptop   Checking the specs carefully I can see that this powerhouse is equipped with a 56Kbps modem, which is just as well because now it‚Äôs time for me to get myself hooked up to the web ‚Äì 2005 style! Anyone who was anyone in 2005 got their internet from either one of the giants of their day; Compuserve or AOL. As well as offering competitively priced internet packages, both were keen on dishing out intrusive bloatware that imbedded itself so deeply into your operating system, that it was usually quicker and easier to just throw your PC away, change your name, move to a new country and start again rather than go through the painful process of unsubscribing and uninstalling. The AOL website is still surprisingly fresh and functioning, though on modern day screens looks incredibly small due to it probably being optimised for tiny 1024 x 768 resolution screens:


aol   My options range from the bog-standard 56Kbps dial-up connection; you know, the one that made you choose between the internet or being able to use your landline to call your nan, all the way up to a whopping 2Mbps! That‚Äôs almost-being-able-to-watch-a-movie speed! But I‚Äôm not made of money, after all I‚Äôve just spend over ¬£1000 on a laptop, so I opt for the 56K pauper‚Äôs package. Kitted out with the latest that 2005 has to offer, I decide to move away from gadgets and instead focus on how I‚Äôd be able to get myself to the nearest internet caf√© when my crappy 56K internet inevitably goes down. Getting myself a car was the next essential status symbol that would cement my reputation as the ultimate man of ‚Äô05. There was one car company above all others for which 2005 was a significant year. For the MG Rover Group, 2005 was the fateful year that saw their assets liquidated with the loss of around 30,000 jobs. So it seemed only right and fitting that I bolstered our nation‚Äôs waning motor industry by buying British. Unfortunately, the only people that were still buying Rovers before they went down the pan were the kind of drivers that kept a tissue box on the parcel shelf and thought a walnut dash was ‚Äúquite handsome‚Äù. So I accepted that my street cred was going to take a hit. Surprisingly, the Rover website looks quite normal and in no way reflects the dire crisis they were up to their necks in, though a quick skim of the ‚ÄúAbout Us‚Äù section reveals a little more tantalising detail:   rover   Knowing this would be my last opportunity to buy a piece of British history I go the whole hog and opt for the Sunday driver‚Äôs choice ‚Äì the Rover 45 in platinum gold with burr walnut trim:   car   I can now feel the spirit of 2005 beginning to flow through me and what better way to show off my new ride then to post a few pics of it on the only social media website that we‚Äôll ever use, ever; MySpace:   myspace   MySpace has aged badly. And what‚Äôs worse is that my login doesn‚Äôt seem to work anymore. All those customizations lost! And how will I ever remember who my top eight friends were!? Never mind. I suppose I‚Äôll just have to depend on a trusty mobile phone to keep me connected with my mates and the latest goss‚Äô. Being able to text (or txt) is essential as it‚Äôs all the rage in 2005, so I‚Äôm straight onto the Carphone warehouse website to get myself the best pre-touchscreen phone I can find for my budget. A quick browse quickly shows up a clear winner; the Motorola V3 RAZR:   carphone_warehouse   Flip phones were the only phone to have in the mid-noughties. You were nothing and I mean nothing without one. Simply ending a call and putting a phone in your pocket made you a chump, whilst having to awkwardly flip the lip open with one hand to make a call was the height of cool.   ani-motorola-razr-v9-375x25   I went for this beauty on (what else) a pay-as-you-go contract with T-Mobile, because T-Mobile are great and will be around forever. Polyphonic ringtones biatch! And remember this guy?   mowbli   Mowbli was the mascot for the Carphone Warehouse and appeared in telly ads voiced by Ed Byrne until he was unceremoniously killed off in 2008. And did I install the Mini Mowbli? Of course I did! This is 2005 afterall!   ezgif.com-video-to-gif     All this time travelling has left me little exhausted, so I think it‚Äôs time for me to put my feet up, grab the remote and check out what 2005 had to offer on TV. Big Brother 6 was in full swing this time ten years ago and viewers were treated to the delights of ‚ÄúKinga the Minger‚Äù magically making a wine bottle disappear simply by sitting on it.   tvguide   T4, Channel 4‚Äôs early morning slot aimed at ‚Äòda yoof‚Äô was still knocking about whilst Lizzie McGuire, Barney and Malcolm in the Middle were keeping the kids entertained. And with that I think it‚Äôs time to go back to the future to enjoy the many advances that the last ten years has bought us; Twitter arguments, selfie sticks, the Kardashians, Minions and accelerated rates of global warming. Actually, can I go back?       If you want to visit any of the stops along my decade-old journey down the information super highway, you can do so using the linky links below: https://web.archive.org/web/20050709082336/http://www.bbc.co.uk/ https://web.archive.org/web/20050708232704/http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/tg/browse/-/468294 https://web.archive.org/web/20050401094712/http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0001ZN754 https://web.archive.org/web/20050708023948/http://www.mvc.co.uk/ https://web.archive.org/web/20050409084641/http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0007SQI7E https://web.archive.org/web/20050325024852/http://www.aol.co.uk https://web.archive.org/web/20050708024601/http://www3.mg-rover.com/rover_GB_en/static/index.html https://web.archive.org/web/20050707075239/http://www.myspace.com/ https://web.archive.org/web/20051126084959/http://www.carphonewarehouse.com/commerce/servlet/gben-pd-ProductDisplay?S=40&PN=PAYGO&filter_partModel=MOTV3 https://web.archive.org/web/20050709083157/http://www.tvguide.co.uk/ https://web.archive.org/web/20051212032939/http://www.carphonewarehouse.com/commerce/servlet/gben-server-PageServer?ARTICLE=MAIN.UK.INTERNET.STATIC.MINIMOWBLI.MAINPAGE