For most of us the internet is something that has simply always been there, but of course that isn’t true. The first internet connection wasn’t until 1969, and commercial internet wasn’t available until 1989, so it hasn’t been around even half as long as many of the younger generation think it has. Yet it has made remarkable progress in that time, moving from dial-up internet supported computers bigger than most desks could handle to the modern fibre optic options running on almost completely flat, pocket sized devices. However, despite growing up with the loving glow of a monitor in the corner of your room and a near constant connection to your friends and loved ones via email or social network there are likely to be a lot of things that you did not know about internet.
While it might be currently used for the most part of social networking, cute cat videos and the occasional work, it was not actually created for these purposes. In fact in the beginning the whole purpose of the internet was to ensure that the US could continue to communicate even under the event of a nuclear attack, and of course the internet makes this fairly easy and allows you to encrypt your communications to protect what you and your friends are saying. Which does explain why the most secure internet connection available was in fact among the first; dial up internet. As the purpose of the internet changed so did the security, and now you can be much more easily traced simply by using an internet connection than a dial up connection; though there are many facilities within the government organisations that still use dialup for its security.
Anyone familiar with Avenue Q, or anyone who has looked a bit too closely at their boyfriends’ or brother’s internet history might be familiar with the idea ‘the internet is for porn’. In fact only 4% of the internet consists of pornography websites or pornographic content, however it is estimated that around 25% of all internet searches are porn related. In 2009 it was estimated that £62 was being spent every second on porn by around 28,000 people, but most of that money does actually go to reputable public companies. These statistics have attracted quite a bit of attention since the UK government announced plans to monitor internet searches for porn and investigate certain people for conducting certain searches with the intention of catching paedophiles and protecting children.
Do you hate it when you call technical support for your internet service provider and you end up talking to a call centre in India? Well it’s about to get worse – companies such as McDonalds are starting to outsource their drive-thru services to people just like those you talk to in the call centres. So the next time you drive up to order a burger on your way home from work you may actually find yourself talking to a lady a thousand miles away, rather than the lady you used to speak to who was stood in the building next to you. This is supposed to free up their in store staff to concentrate on one thing at a time, with the intention of reducing the number of errors made, however it is also true that it costs them considerably less. McDonalds aren’t the only ones to have caught on to this; a curry shop in London is already getting customers to place orders through Indian customer service agents.
The number of crazy and strange websites out there are plentiful to say the least, regardless of what you want to do there is probably a website where you can do it; whether it’s hire a husband for a day because yours simply hasn’t been getting jobs done when he was told to, or charter a private jet – and everything in between. This isn’t surprising of course, Google estimated that the internet contained about 5 million terabytes of data, it doesn’t sound like a use amount really, but the human brain can only hold an estimated 10 terabytes of data, and that’s not even all human brains – some can only store 1 terabyte!
Sarah is a keen writer who is extremely interested in dial up internet. Her particular interests cover how many people still use dial up internet in the UK.