How to Send an Email in 1984

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Personal computing has changed a lot in the last 30 years, as this episode segment from 80s tech show Database will no doubt prove. For example, what the heck is the Micronet?

Micronet was an early Information Provider available through the Prestel service in the United Kingdom during the 70s and 80s. URLs hadn’t been dreamed up yet, so every page on the service was numbered. Numbered! That must have been a nightmare.


Some parts of it were way ahead of their time, like online games and a celebrity chat feature whose closest modern analog is probably the Reddit AMA. Think of Micronet as a precursor to AOL. And just like how exciting AOL was in the early 90s, these tech reporters seem really hype about Micronet and the impending possibility of a rival service from Commodore. They also love saying “modem” in the most British way possible. Moudehm. Moouuuwdehhmm. I feel sophisticated just writing it.

For a real taste of what people used to put up with just to send messages to each other, check out the audio “software transmission” that plays over the end credits. It’s somehow so much worse than the dial-up internet noise.


[Obscure Media]

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