Slate's Farhad Manjoo wonders what the fuss was all about of the Internet of 1996:
I started thinking about the Web of yesteryear after I got an e-mail from an idly curious Slatecolleague: What did people do online back whenSlate launched, he wondered? After plunging into the Internet Archive and talking to several people who were watching the Web closely back then, I've got an answer: not very much.
Some of Yahoo's 1996-era front pages have been saved in the Internet Archive. What's interesting about them is what they lack. First, no e-mail: The first webmail site, Hotmail,launched in July of 1996. There was no instant-messaging software; the first big IM client, ICQ, hit the Web early in 1997.
This would be sad if it were true, but it's not true.
NetCruiser for the Mac will include support for GIF and JPEG image formats and drag-and-drop support. NetCruiser also includes access to the Web, email, Usenet newsgroups, Internet Relay Chat (IRC), Gopher, ftp, and Telnet.
If Slate can't remember what the net was like back when it was doubling every six months, that's a reflection of the poor physical record that the virtual world has left behind.