What Did You Do Before The Internet

I have only been living in Taiwan for 9 months but I first started coming to Asia (Japan) about 25 years ago. At that time the fax was not even invented or widely used! I would go to church in Tokyo (Roponggi) and bring four or five copies of one week old Sunday New York Times. At that time (and still today a Sunday Times is/was about $42!) so I met many people who loved me. They would ask please bring paper back novels, cranberry sauce and Thanksgiving, chocolate at Easter and copies of Sports Illustrated and well as Playboy not scratched out by the Japanane I always hoped to one day of becoming an expat.

Now I am one. But it is so much easier to connect to the rest of the world. So to you “lao timers” what was it like here in Taiwan, not so much politically but just connecting to the outside world before the Internet.

If someone has the time they really should do an oral history of the long time people here.

I am a bit confused by your post and title but I think you mean to ask how did we connect to the outside world before the intenet? Did I get it right?
Well, I was too young for that, maybe some oldtimers will be able to share. :smiley:

I’m 31 and at most I’ve had the internet for about 7 years. Maybe more, sporadically.

I probably went out more and hung out with real people before I had the net. I remember playing in a lot of bands and having more parties and meeting people and chicks. Things like that

But I’m also older now and stuff has happened. I appreciate forumosa for what it is, but It’s not life for me.

Before I knew the magic of the net I spent long days on 2 wheels, exploring, asking questions, learning. Other stuff. I still do that, but I don’t think I do it as much.

But I’m getting older.

If the OP is asking about the net in Taiwan, well, I don’t know. I think it must be a very capable tool that I have not really scratched the surface with yet. It has a lot of potential.

I think my life was better without cable tv, but not neccessarily(sp?) without the net.

Double post because the internet is useless.

I can’t imagine life without a fax machine or computers. I was only 1 year old 25 years ago.

I was a teenager just before the internet came along but I thought it was crap. I didn’t like computers anyway and this new fangled internet thing took ages to load. I remember using it for the first time at school. I was 14 or something and the first site I went to was a site dedicated to the appreciation of spatulas.
I couln’t hook my Atari STe to the internet, so I just played Carrier Command and Space Harrier on it and went out to ride my bike after school.

Nowall kids do is play Counter Strike and chat with their friends on MSN. What a boring life, eh?

I wouldn

Yes, all of what smell the glove posted… especially the letter and journal writing… and I used to go to a Catholic Priory one Sunday each month to use their telephone to receive a call from my folks… got news of the world from ICRT… would go into the Hilton to purchase news magazines and take them home and read them cover to cover… twice… Other than that, my mother would send me news clippings from the local newspaper back home… Only one beer… A very limited circle of friends and acquaintances… There wasn’t that much going on in terms of happenings and restaurants, but, you’d be lucky to know of anything anyway if you heard of it by word of mouth… Used to go out to Tienmu once a month or so and hit Wellman’s (not the big chain) for American groceries. Walked five miles to class every morning… uphill both ways.

Ditto the letter writing, but no any journals. Used the company phone and fax for more updated information, and subscribed on a weekly “Expat” newspaper with summary of news (no ads) - it normally came on Fridays, so that was the weekly highlight.
Found a book called “The 100 Best Pubs in Taipei” and made it a mission to test them all out. Some was OK, and still around - Malibou West and Dan Ryan’s.

This started 13 years ago, so maybe not a real old-timer.

Thanks guys, in Japan when I first started going there 26 years ago. The one week old Sunday NY Times guaranteed me home cooked Sunday meals. Also Oreo cookies were a big hit.

Making a call to the States meant filling out a form giving it to the hotel switchboard and waiting anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hrs for the call to be placed. What was great was if my 4 year old daughter answered then dropped the phone and all I could hear was it clanging against the wall as she scampered around the house looking for mommy who usually was in the shower. So $20 later I would finally hear my wife’s voice.

I am also talking pre-fax days as well. I work for a Japanese company and we used to in the States give our requests and questions to a woman in our office who operated the telex machine. Since each key stroke cost money all extraneous stuff was taken out. “san”, no thank you’s, everything reduced to a minimum number of letters. To this day old timers in our company know me as MHS and not mike san.

Funny that some one mentioned traveling around the island more back then. I did the same in Japan as well. Afterall on an island you can’t really get lost. Plus I discovered trains always come back to where you got on. Either they do a loop or come to the end of the line and turn around and head back so I never worried about just starting an adventure on a Friday evening and just making sure I got back to Tokyo by Sunday evening.

No MacDonalds and beleive it or not for the young 20 year olds not even Starbucks! Now it seems on Forumosa the “Where can you find forum” everything can be found. What can’t be found. Yea I know maybe a real South Philly Cheese Steak but maybe that is a blessing.

In my first year in Taiwan once a week I’d skip afternoon Chinese classes and pop around to an Aussie mate’s place in Taichung. His wife was in Oz and would quite regularly send Oz weekend newspapers. Having lived in Taiwan for eons, Kym, a true treasure of a man, could cook up amazing stuff like wok roasts, toasted ham and cheese sandwiches and real exotic shit like mashed potatoes and gravy. He always had good coffee and bread.

We’d sit around his pad pouring over the papers, discussing matters Australian and lingering over our foreign fare and mugs of fresh brewed coffee while listening to whatever he’d managed to record off Radio Australia on short-wave. It was a great lifeline.

On yer Kymbo!


What did I do before the internet?

I got a lot more work done. :blush:

Travelling was harder. There was a sense of achievement.

I remember standing despondently in the AmEx office somewhere once wondering what to do as I hadn’t received that letter from friends who were on the road somewhere too. Once you missed a connection the chances of getting back in touch were slim and you wouldn’t meet up.

Miss a rendezvous because the ferries were on strike, or designated meeting places (the railway station in Dubrovnik, for instance) didn’t exist, or you stayed somewhere an extra day because of some girl, and you were on your own. Try waiting an hour to make a call to your parents, to ask them to call your friend’s parents and pass a message, and then pray that your friend calls his parents in time to get the message, and then call your parents again a day later in case your friend called his parents first and it’s you that needs to pick up a message.

I used to disappear for months at a time. I once came home to find that my parents had moved house. Now backpackers carry mobile phones and call each other from the full moon party to find out where the best action is. People spend more time uploading their photos to their blog during their trips than they do actually exploring a new country.

before the internet i would have to tape my tv shows using things such as a VCR and VIDEO TAPE.

Now, thanks to the internet and the download button, my life is more complete.

thank you internet.

My first stay in Taiwan was before the internet - IE in 1995.

What did I do?

Bought “the economist” every Friday, REad it through. Got a Danish weekly once a week - always Friday too, so that was the best day of the week.

I would also catch BBC using a shortwave radio, and sometimes Danish radio too. (Broadcasting 2-3 times per day toward Asia).

how many did I know? Only a few people. Robert Storey decided where I would go and what I would do. Anything not in the lonely Planet did not exist.

I would find restaurants by walking past them, not over the inernet.

My then GF told me that the mountains were dangerous, so I never went up in them.

Your whole world was smaller. Your circle of friends was smaller. the internet has really chaned my life.

You guys are bringing back memories of sitting in my hotel rooms in Asia listening to the BBC on a shortwave radio I bought in 1982. Thank God for the BBC. No CNN (maybe a blessing there) but back then it was really the best audio connection to the outside. Now of course, anything, anytime with the internet.

And yes, I remember sending letters with those flimsy airmail paper/envelopes. I never did figure out where to start and what was the second page and how to make sure the really good parts were on the inside so not every postman saw them before my wife did.

I never did manage to get my hands on a shortwave. I looked in a few electronics shops, but never saw one, and no one I asked knew where to get one (and locals would always ask, “Do you mean ICRT?”). I hated ICRT as much then as I do now, but I did occassionally turn it on for the news. Funny thing about that - when I missed the news for a few days, I often didn’t know a typhoon was coming.

Yeah, writing was definitely more challenging then. I was never that happy with the letters I sent. Until I bargained for some time on the 386s at work (only the accountant and the “key in girl” used them), everything, including all editing, was done by hand. I met a few guys who used to cut and paste funny articles from the back page of the China Post onto a sheet of paper, photocopy that, and use the back as stationery - pretty funny. I was lazy as hell when it came to writing, though. To think sometimes six months or more would pass when I would write or hear from my folks, and now we’re on the webcam about once a week. The other thing I would do when traveling (every three months or so for the visa - no one I knew had a resident visa) was buy a stack of postcards, fill them out, and send them. One friend of mine back home actually kept them all and showed them to me last time I was home. Pretty entertaining / unbelievable to look back and see what I was writing and who I was then. Same goes for the journals I filled up my first two years.

When I was in the 7th grade, the student anchors reporting from the Channel One hacienda, which included a young Lisa Ling, began doing a week-long segment about “The Information Superhighway” and all the promises it held in making access available to people 24/7 no matter where they were. It’s hard to believe that was only 13 years ago.

I wasn’t all that young when I first got internet access at home. I was 15 years old and using the computer The Dream Factory had given me per my “special request”. I asked my mom for her credit card so I could join AOL while she was distracted entertaining guests and trying to keep me out of her hair, and never looked back.

When I was in 1st grade, I would call up my best friend, since I had to come straight home from school, and we would watch cartoons together over the phone. It drove my mom nuts how we would spend the afternoon just laughing and not saying much to each other while we watched the same thing on TV.

I wrote more often…the only way I could talk to children from around the globe was through penpals and I had quite a few. Now I can go onto game boards and play with people from all sorts of countries.

The only films I could watch were the ones on TV and on video…and if you’re from a small(-minded) town like mine, there’s not much selection as far as independent or international films go. Thank you atomfilms.com!

My only non-fiction information tended to be a few years old at least unless it came from a magazine. I had to hunt for specific information in many different places before I might find something closely related to the topic I wanted to learn about. Now, I just google the keywords. That especially goes for song lyrics for which there was no viable resource.

What else did I do before the internet? I typed much more slowly than I do now, even though I had taken typing classes in elementary school. Part of that was that I totally looked down at the keyboard despite being fairly accurate at typing, but recently, I’ve broken that habit…kinda how I learned how to ride a bike (after unknowingly becoming good at balancing), by finally taking my feet off the ground and putting them on the pedals.

I simultaneously blog and keep a journal (of which I have recently written page 146). And I still like writing letters and emphasize the importance of nice handwriting, although any work I hand out is typed (typed? not keyboarded?). I still can’t imagine my life without the internet. Where else can I read the diaries of my school friends, travel around to and zoom into any place on Earth including my own apartment, and put up pictures of my niece and nephew for a few hundred people to see?

I :heart: the Internet!