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300 Incredible Things To Do On The Internet... In 1997
// article by Jeff

I recently moved, and while unpacking my strange selection of books, I came across a rather unusual one. It's called "300 Incredible Things To Do On The Internet", written by Ken Leebow and published in 1997. Thinking back to those days, I was still suckling a 14.4K modem, and Disney.com was actually a place I would visit. The Internet has greatly expanded since 1997: Facebook has overtaken our lives, "LOLCats" roam free, and anyone can post a video of themseles lighting flatulence and gain global attention regardless of merit. This should not be...

But instead of complaining about how parts of the Internet are now a cesspool of questionable activity, I'm going to join Mr. Leebow and check out a sampling of the incredible and exciting things I could do on the 'net back in 1997.

#3: RealAudio
(realaudio.com)

Remember when you needed RealPlayer to listen to audio? Nowadays, when we're prompted to install RealPlayer first, we just shrug and say, "Guess I'm not listening to that, then." I don't think I've even seen a .ram file in at least five years. And good riddance for that, too: they were always at about the lowest bitrate possible... like, TWO kbps. Who needs muffled Lifehouse clips? I certainly don't.

#7: Lycos
(lycos.com)

Lycos is, according to the author, one of the better search engines on the Internet. Well, it might have been, but Google and Yahoo! have pretty much homed in on that territory. When was the last time you heard anyone talk about Lycos? Has anyone EVER talked about Lycos? Stranger yet, Lycos is still a thing, complete with its own news and e-mail services. I haven't seen a Lycos e-mail address in my lifetime. I doubt I'll be seeing one anytime soon.

#16: National Debt
(toptips.com/debtclock.html) - Website No Longer Exists!

Nothing is as incredible and interesting as seeing how much in debt the United States is. Actually, sitting on a rusty nail might be a tad more pleasurable. I'm sure the youth of the 90s were absolutely enamored by federal fiscal responsibility! We already know the debt is amazingly high, and quite frankly, it's old news, just like this website that no longer actually works.

#46: The Next Millennium
(year2000.com)

According to Leebow, "trouble is waiting for us in the year 2000." And indeed it was. America Online purchased a majority stake in Time Warner. France defeated Italy in the European soccer championships. The movie "What Women Want" was released into theatres. Of course there was reason for mass hysteria and terror! As a sidenote, this website no longer warns of the dangers of Y2K and is now a forum for reselling sports, theatre, and concert tickets online. Trouble is waiting for us in the seedy underbelly of e-scalping!

#72: Looking For A Job?
(monster.com)

Apparently, looking for a job is fun and awesome. Believe me: it's not.

#112: Please Be Brief, Mr. and Mrs. President
(joeboxer.com:80/new/talktalk/advice) - Website No Longer Exists!

This website no longer exists, and even using the infamous Internet Wayback Machine, I still get nothing but 404 alerts. Leebow ensures us, however, that this was the way to see Bill and Hillary Clinton in their underwear. Now that IS something incredible, although I imagine a few people have seen Bill's underoos before.

#180: Altavista
(altavista.com)

See Lycos, except this one now redirects you to Yahoo!.

#205: Just the Fax
(faxaway.com)

Now here's a novel idea: you can learn how to send an e-mail to someone's fax machine! Fax machines were all the rage in the 1990s, being a slightly more convenient version of the letter and a much less convenient and environmentally conscious version of the e-mail. The only e-mail I would ever send to someone's fax machine is, "Dear Sir or Madam, Please buy a computer. Sincerely, A Concerned Citizen."

Even more shocking? This service still runs.

#251: You First
(youfirst.com)

Another site that fell prey to the purge of unnecessary existing things. Apparently, You First was a website similar to WebMD where you "take control of your health" and learn more about what might be wrong with you. But why was it called "You First"? As a general rule, I don't submit to any requests that are followed immediately by someone uttering "You first." Using this website? You first.

#290: Website T-Shirt
(pe.net/~spcltees)

That's right: you could actually wear a picture of your own website (or one you really adore) on your chest! Wait... the URL says "~spcltees"... Ohhh, I get it! Special Tees. Specialties. It's a play on words. Ha, that's hilarious. Or not, your choice. It did give you an excuse to show off to all your friends that you love Lycos, though.


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