I, like most of you out there, still possess vivid memories of how glorious the Internet used to be, a state of existence I have dubbed the "Classic Internet." This Classic Internet grew to popularity in the narrow time frame nestled between the years 1995 and 1998, directly after the days of BBSes and right before the devastating dot-com bubble burst. For those of you too young or drunk to remember the BBS days of lore, let me provide you with a brief overview:

1) All communication took place on remote BBSes (Bulletin Board Systems) located throughout the warehouses and bedrooms of America and, to a lesser extent, locations which weren't America due to the fact that they were very foreign. Each BBS offered different services to its users ranging from door games such as Trade Wars to modified door games such as pSyK0's k00L Trade Wars which boasted customized spaceships such as the "USS Kitt" and the ever famous "My Mom is a Fat Stupid Whore Who Won't Let Me Sleep Over at Jerry's House Because She is a Bitch Transport Ship."

2) Connecting with these remote systems required at least a 300-baud modem which would produce a lovely series of shrill shrieking noises that resembled a Casio keyboard being given a battery acid enema by that retarded homosexual floating robot from "The Black Hole." Your 12-inch CGA monitor would display helpful modem codes during this process, sequences of letters like "AT&F AT&T&FN1B1 Y0M0MMA=H0&K1LL4 S4T4N" which made you seem smart to all your non-computer nerd friends. "What the heck does all that gibberish mean?" they would routinely ask, attempting to shout over the horrendous digital screeching of the modem in the background. "Well you see here, the AT&F initializes the modem, and the AT&T&FN1B1 means... uh... to start up the data transfer protocol assembly line prompt translocator packet relay carrier that has a +6 resistance against ice attacks and the, well the rest of the stuff, means that... um... hey check out this 12-color porn image I spent 50 minutes downloading last night! It's of a naked woman kissing a garden hose! I think!"

3) ASCII art reigned supreme. Nothing could beat the refreshing feeling of connecting at 1200-baud to "Deamon302's Cyber-Den" and being greeted by a gigantic scrolling image of a tiger's face announcing the time and date and if you had any new messages from "-=()BL1V10||=-." If the sysop couldn't find the code to make a tiger's face, then they would use a large dragon leisurely reclining outside a cave.

To truly navigate through a BBS menu, one had to possess extensive knowledge of the system they were using as well as an astute memory which granted them the ability to photographically match images shown on the screen with their corresponding representations on the keyboard. For example, if the menu read "PRESS 1 FOR CHATROOM" and the user then pressed the number "4," they would more than likely not go to the chatroom, which is probably for the best since the people who used BBS chatrooms were inherently weird recluses who smelled like burning crayons or graduate students with roleplaying bumper stickers plastered across the back of their Volkswagon. Various tight-knit communities of good friends formed from BBSes around the globe, and although most of these people have since died after forging murder / suicide pacts with each other, I'm sure there are many BBS communities full of vibrant folks who haven't murdered themselves because they are too crippled or weak to both pick up a knife and locate their arteries.

The fabled dot-com bubble bust occurred sometime around 1998 or 1999, a date which I really can't pin down to just one year because I was too busy having large foreign objects inserted up my rectum by various Internet companies at the time. My parents would routinely call me in those days, asking how I was and what company I was working for that particular day. On some occasions I would be forced to give them two different answers to the second question depending on what time of the day it was. The dot-com bust was triggered when a rich old businessman woke up one day and asked himself, "wait - why exactly is my company investing $50 million in a company that promises to deliver tube socks to Sephardic Jews in Des Moines over the Internet? How exactly will this make me any money?" The rich old businessman then phoned the CEO of www.DesMoinesJewSocks.com and asked him how they planned on generating revenue. "Well, it's on THE INTERNET!" the President shouted triumphantly. "Yes, I understand it's on the Internet," the rich old businessman replied. "But how does that ensure I will get my investment money back?" After a prolonged pause, the CEO confidently exclaimed, "THE INTERNET!!!" and hung up while his employees used the $15,000 gold plated espresso machine behind him.

Investors soon pulled out of dot-com investments quicker than a dick up Paris Hilton's ass (this joke is funny because it's a relevant, topical reference to a pop culture icon. Please don't read this joke after two years, as it will lose its freshness), and the digital cyber information eSuperhighway world began falling apart at an alarming rate. Previously bulletproof companies like www.find-a-banana.com and www.getpaidtoeat.com dissolved, their employees seeking various other positions in the lucrative unemployment industry. Internet advertising networks, a personal favorite of mine, began reneging on their deals to offer $10.00 for every 1,000 people who viewed their stupendously successful banner ads triumphantly tantalizing viewers to "click on this image of Beetle Bailey and receive a free ham." 

Many doom and gloom self-proclaimed "industry analysts" declared the end of the digital era and predicted angry lynch mobs would soon begin burning down the Internet with torches and pitchforks. I'm not exactly sure how you could burn anything down with a pitchfork, but perhaps that's why I'm not an "industry analyst." Hell, I can't even remember the last time I attempted to analyze an industry. I think it might've been back in March of 2001 when I was taking a shower and got some of that really minty soap in my eyes.

Between these two distinctive time periods lays the Classic Internet, a brief series of years marked with helpful services, exciting discoveries, and an overall pleasant experience which helped form the Internet in new and positive ways. The Internet was not widely available in those days which meant there was a distinct lack of hyperactive 10-year old AOL users and 40-year old obese WebTV customers littering the online domain with poisoned "ASLs" and brain-murdering photos of themselves naked in front of stained Star Trek cardboard cutouts. As much as I hate to admit it, the Internet held an overall much brighter and vibrant community when it was more difficult to navigate. 

You see, the Classic Internet generally required a fuckload of patience, intelligence, and dedication to use, as hardly anything was intuitive or aimed at the average "OC"-watching human drool machine. These steep requirements filtered out the weak, the stupid, and the lazy members of society, most of which can currently be found residing on the Fark.com forums. The days of the Classic Internet were marked with countless Duke Nukem deathmatch games, endless sessions of Windows 3.11 troubleshooting, and daily Netscape Gold Navigator Extreme Eddie Bauer Edition Pro patch releases. Sure the technology in those days was generally undeveloped and chaotic with millions of plugins fighting for industry dominance, but the Wild Wild West atmosphere encompassing the Classic Internet somehow made things feel much more civilized than they are presently. Towards the end of the Classic Internet days came one site which would win the hearts and minds of countless Internet users, rising from their underdog status to become one of the most useful sites ever: Google.

Google was born out of necessity; search engines back during the Classic Internet were absolutely horrendous in every sense of the word. Some sites, such as Alta Vista, could be rigged by flooding your page header tags with a seemingly infinite series of non-topical keywords and phrases such as "aliens," "hot cocks," "wet vaginas," and "lusty naked teenage shemale pretzel vendors." Other search engines like Lycos relied on the advanced proprietary technology of "Uno Ed," which simply meant that whenever somebody went to their site and searched for a particular word, an employee at Lycos would read the word aloud and ask a nearby coworker named Ed, "you know anything about this, Ed?" 

Although he was reportedly a really great guy, Ed was usually stumped and ended up suggesting hundreds of off-topic porn sites instead of appropriate results. Google stepped in and took the guesswork out of Internet searches, using some fancy new Martian technology to do the unthinkable; they actually returned relevant search results! This amazing and incredible concept boggled the minds of Internet users across the, well, Internet, and what was once a small, unknown site soon grew into a un-small, un-unknown site. Google became the darling of the Internet, an actual website that offered a functional service in a quick and efficient manner. For years and years it seemed as if Google could do no wrong, and then it happened: Google began accepting money to display weighted search results.

I'm not anti-capitalistic by any nature, so please don't take my ranting the wrong way. I love money and I can't wait until scientists find some way for me to engage in oral sex with 20-dollar bills so I can sufficiently show my undying appreciation to them. However, Google's decision to return falsely relevant results during searches goes against the entire nature of a search engine. When somebody looks for a particular item or keyword, they should find results ranked in the order of their popularity, not the order of how many blowjobs and bags of cash their CEOs handed over to the folks at Google headquarters. I grudgingly accepted this business practice because Google was such an excellent service and offered something so useful that I could easily overlook their desire to not go broke running their site. Unfortunately, the cash cow was just beginning to get milked at that point. Google began abandoning their dedication to relevant, functional searches, instead favoring the pursuit of quick advertising revenue cash. Their service and technology began to suffer and continues to suffer to this very day, a trend which doesn't look like it will go away:

Privately held Google, which is expected to go public later this year, faces rising competition in its core search business from e-mail providers including Yahoo Inc. and MSN, Microsoft Corp.'s Internet unit. The Mountain View, California, company, which has recently made several e-mail related acquisitions, is working on a way to serve advertising to an e-mail at the moment it is opened, people close to the company said.

The Internet has turned into a smoking, smoldering crater of failure since the dot-com bust, a wasteland full of intrusive Flash ads, embedded sounds, browser exploits, persistent nagging reminders to register for every possible service on the planet, and email inboxes crammed to the brim with "v1gra" and "X-ANA-X" offers from third world addresses. Google used to represent a small beautiful island floating in the sea of Internet failure and depravity, but it seems as if the online Monkey Island Curse of neglected software and intrusive advertising has infected their once glorious business as well. You don't believe me? Well check out the results which came up when I did a simple search for "bbs board" earlier in this article:

Bbs Board Hairy Women Bbs Board Hairy Women Enter Here. ... Click here for a VIP membership! Bbs Board Hairy Women. Gotta love those damn curls. New girls every week. ...

Lolitabeastiality lolita+++ bbs lolita bbs board forum. ... Nude Free Teen lolitabeastiality lolita+++ bbs lolita bbs board forumlolita bbs postin lolita bikini photo lolita+ bbs board lolita bbs av lolita bbs undergroun ...

There is not a single site on the first page which actually deals with BBSes or bulletin boards, but hey, I now know where to go when I need hairy underage girls, and you can't buy that kind of information no matter how many ads you toss up into your rancid search engine. I guess my complaint here revolves around the fact that Google always resembled the last bastion of hope for the Internet for me. No matter what a convoluted, revolting, and polluted shape the Internet ballooned into, Google stood there among the ruined and diseased failures, rock solid in its commitment to dedicated service. It's truly a sign of the times when Google's sturdy branches begin to buckle under the tremendous weight of Internet waste, and I really can't see anything good coming from their new business model. I wish Google the best of luck and pray that they find a way to strike it rich without continuing to sacrifice the quality of their service and deluge us with neverending ads in the form of fake search results. Oh how I pine for the days of Classic Internet.

– Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka (@lowtax)

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