'Today' flashback: Katie Couric, what's an Internet?
January 31st, 2011
01:45 PM ET

'Today' flashback: Katie Couric, what's an Internet?

A hilarious — and slightly embarrassing — 17-year-old clip of former "Today" show hosts Katie Couric, Bryant Gumbel and Elizabeth Vargas trying to figure out the Internet has turned up on, yup, the Internet.

In the 1994 clip, Couric, Gumbel, and Vargas struggle to make sense of the "Today" show's new email address, which, at the time, consisted of an "at" symbol that looked like an "a" enclosed in a circle.

"I wasn't prepared to translate that, as I was doing that little tease — that little mark with the 'a' and then ring around it," says Gumbel.

"At?" asks Vargas.

"See, that's what I said," says Gumbel. "Katie said she thought it was 'about.'"

"Or 'around' or 'about,'" Couric says.

Gumbel adds that he had only seen the mark but never heard it said aloud, and then asks, "What is the Internet, anyway?"

"Internet is that massive computer network," says Couric. "The one that's becoming really big now. A lot of people use it to communicate."

Not completely confident in her attempt at an explanation, Couric asks a producer to help her out, and the trio look frustrated as they try to grasp the concept.

Current "Today" show host Matt Lauer aired the clip this morning and had a good chuckle with colleagues Al Roker and Ann Curry.

"It's easy to laugh now," he said, "but we all felt that way. It was a mystery to all of us."

Lauer then joked, "I talked to Bryant last night about that clip and he has become quite tech savvy — he just bought a Sony Walkman."

soundoff (146 Responses)
  1. Rick

    That's funny because I was using the internet back in 1984 when my college had Usenet access. Fun times, only smart people were on the networks, the doofus masses didn't find out about the internet until 1991.

    February 2, 2011 at 5:15 am | Report abuse |
  2. Lisa

    Planet Nerd exploded and everyone landed on this page!!!!

    February 1, 2011 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  3. Timme62

    Couldn't stand Katie 17 years ago and haven't changed my opinion since.

    February 1, 2011 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
  4. John

    FORTRAN was required when I studied engineering, and it was outdated in 1991 but still required because older engineers refused to learn anything newer. Very few people had computers, and it was all dial-up from the dorms. I remember the days of the Apple 2, before the 2C or 2E. The first time I heard of a computer with 1 GB memory I had no clue what anyone would ever do with it. When I first used the internet it was usenet boards.

    February 1, 2011 at 4:59 am | Report abuse |
  5. SaraBird

    I'm cheating on you. We're breaking up loser.

    February 1, 2011 at 1:20 am | Report abuse |
  6. BdUBB

    All of you fortune tellers are hilarious. For many years Today was a more "laid back" type of platform, that wouldn't bother consulting an expert on a topic not thought to be of much significance at the time. I find it laughable all of you keyboard hero's can "predict" the internet after its invention, and knock people for not having knowledge beforehand. Let me guess, you also "predict" two towers falling after planes hit them?...

    February 1, 2011 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
  7. Mike in Montana

    One of the funniest video clips, that I have seen in a long, long time. Katie.., you are priceless. I married the wrong girl. Mike in Montana

    January 31, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. atomic guy

    Interesting trip down memory lane. I remember my brother showing me this "internet" thing in about 1995. I started grad school that same year and got my first e-mail account, though I only had about 2 or 3 friends with e-mail accounts at the time.

    January 31, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. kakes

    I wonder if this was a bad day for Katie or if the chemistry between her and Bryant was really that bad. Something tells me it was really that bad. Notice how squirmy she gets towards the end when he's rambling about people being afraid to go to sleep, etc. I think it was partly because at first it was unclear what he was talking about. She looks like she'd soo rather be someplace else...funny.

    January 31, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. John Cornwell

    I first was online in 1987, with Q-Link, which was an online service the Commodore 64 had. It was such an exciting feeling, knowing your computer was connected to another one miles away!

    January 31, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. dan

    I think a spider started the whole thing.

    January 31, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. mad hater

    I sold off the black market when I was 6

    January 31, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. BGko

    I had a Commodore64 when I was 7

    January 31, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jose

    I bought a AST 386DX back in 1993 and remember login into Compuserv using bulleting boards then in 94 Aol came on the scene. I still have that AST 386 in the attic.

    January 31, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. mad hater

    I knew about the internet before allyall foos

    January 31, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  16. LOLGuy

    You can sure tell the youngsters in this thread – they don't have anything to contribute from the past, so they slander from afar, the mostly irrelevant subtopics and players in the story they never read.

    January 31, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheLurkingBat

      "...So... what was the use in teaching them history; or anything? They weren't learning by it. They're still creating the same old problems..." ~ Cary Grant 1964

      January 31, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
  17. JJ

    I could have sworn that Dateline was giving out email address at least by 2003 so one would think other NBC employees had familiarity with it.

    Either way, there's no harm in not knowing. Part of their job is entertainment and that means talking to the audience at their level. Plus, these hosts are morning TV show hosts not engineers. For those who act as if they should know everything, I'd suggest everybody will be confused about some topics – be it medecine or law or technology. In 1994 this was new to 90% of the population so one could not expect a TV host to be too familiar with it.

    As for them saying it was an Internet address instead of an email address, well, the web was almost non-existant then. While the Internet and email was commonplace in business the web was still pretty much a university tool. A website address meant little so calling an email address an "Internet address" was hardly a huge mistake.

    January 31, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  18. TheLurkingBat

    this was fun to watch.

    now if they could only figure out a way to put the interweb and pong on those little mobular telephone thingies.


    January 31, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  19. FROST

    Bryant Gumble is as cool now as he was then...arrogant?? Most of the newscasters are...you all just don't like an arrogant Black man whom the White women love. Dig?

    January 31, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • LOLGuy

      That old scrubbled up thing he calls his wife?

      LOL ok Unky Tom – he can have her.

      Shuffle off naw boy.

      January 31, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Pete

    Makes me want bust out the old 9.6 kbps modem

    January 31, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • LOLGuy

      I had a 2400bps on my Ancient Acer BLACK & White "portable" PC (aka laptop)

      That thing would singe off the leg hair of the person sitting next to you. Good thing the battery only lasted about 14 mins.

      January 31, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  21. karan

    so is the dude black or white, i really can't tell. looks like a black dude with a slim nose...? lol

    January 31, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  22. relmfoxdale

    Well, I must have known what it was in 1994 because I wrote an article about it for my high school paper, and I graduated in 1994. Of course, we didn't have it at home at the time. I was very anxious for my father to sign up, though. And oh, the wonders of CompuServe!

    January 31, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • gene

      Those of us who remember CompuServe knew why the AOL/TimeWarner merger would be a huge failure. By the time AOL got around to squeezing CompuServe from the market, the secondary methods for getting internet service were useless because everyone had cable by then and AOL was tauting "virus protection" as the only logic to joining. BTW I also recall dropping my stack of punch cards from a shoe box – if it was a COBOL program the cards had to be kept in precise order and the IBM keypunch did not number the cards, you could number them manually but few did.

      January 31, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • JJ

      Gene, I think AOL's downfall had less to do with cable modems / DSL than it had to do with the World Wide Web. In the early days, AOL not only provided service to the Internet but they provided a lot of content as well. When the web came along AOL's content wasn't necessary. You could find whatever you wanted on a website. Even before cable modems, there were plenty of cheap dial up ISP's as alternatives to AOL.

      January 31, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Alex

    To be honest, I'm not sure most people today even know what the Internet truly is and how it functions haha.

    January 31, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  24. I Invented the Internet

    Why didn't they just invite Al Gore on the show to explain?

    January 31, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheLurkingBat

      he was too busy inventing global warming so that he could flush out man-bear-pig.
      didn't you see the south park episode?!?!?

      January 31, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Megan Tengerstrom

    Wow this video is kind of funny, but it's amazing to see how far technology has come.

    January 31, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  26. rick52

    And, of course, here's a nod of thanks to Al Gore for writing the 1992 legislation that opened the Internet up to the general public. The legislation also led to the development of easy-to-use browsers, such as Netscape.

    January 31, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  27. britt

    all you rich white folk with your facny computer. i bet you just think you are somthin. if you had to work for a livin like me yor arms and legz wood fall off.

    January 31, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  28. droptop

    Hmm, snipped out part of my post for some reason. Must be too old to figure out these interwebs.

    January 31, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  29. WhyareAmericanssorude

    Americans have gotten much ruder since 1994. It's one bash after another bash, one rude comment after another one It's really sickening to read. What the hell happened?

    January 31, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • truetrue

      It's a side effect of the dumbing down of society I suppose. It's also easier to be rude in cyberspace, where you don't have to stand up for yourself.

      January 31, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheLurkingBat

      we got internet.

      January 31, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  30. droptop

    It sad that the kids of today are so used to the internet they cannot fathom a world without it. I personally love the fact that I can remember a time before the internet. Mainly because I know how to interact with others on a face to face basis which seems to be becoming a lost art to today's youth.

    It is not surprising they did not understand the entire concept as it was obviously still new. I can't wait until those who are posting "LOL.U R " get a bit older and are being harassed by the new youth by the next new wave of tech.

    It'll happen whether you like it or not.

    January 31, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  31. j mehta

    I bet most people laughing at Gumble didn't know what was the internet in 1994. It is not surprising that a non-techi person didn't know much about the internet in 1994. It does not mean he is dumb.

    January 31, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  32. MikeM

    Nothing has really changed. We have some new technology but people are the same as they ever were.

    January 31, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Jenna

    2011 and Sarah Palin is asking what is the internet?
    Can I use it to catch salmon?

    January 31, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Alex Webb

    1994 and the media had not known about the internet yet? Gosh! I heard of the internet back in the summer of 86, I was in High School.

    January 31, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Peter Griffin

    I'll comment on the internet when they bring back Gumbel & Gumbel

    January 31, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Don

    They should have had Al Gore on the show to explain it since he invented the darn thing. LOL

    January 31, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Billy

      Please Don, a link to a audio or video clip where Gore ever said anything close to that. Another Repub lie repeated over and over...

      January 31, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert757

      Gore created the Internet the same way Eisenhower built the Interstate highway system. They understood the concepts, realized the potential the systems would have for economics and communication, and organized the politics necessary to get it done. Neither one of them ever claimed to have invented the technology or physically built the systems themselves.

      January 31, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Lola

    "We" were not all ignorant of the Internet in 1994, contrary to what Lauer claims. I love how this clip exposes the fact that all too often the highly paid "diva" employees in front of the camera are the dumbest kids in the room, and the real brains are behind the scenes. I could never stand Bryant Dumbell. Everything that came out of his mouth was cringeworthy, arrogant, idiotic. Same with Katie Couric at the start of her carreer. She, at, least, grew into her job.

    January 31, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • JTHC75

      Wow, goody for you, but the vast majority of the planet had no idea what the internet was.

      I'm not going to boast that these TV personalities are intelligent, but to bust on them as the dumbest kids in the room because they didn't know what the internet was in 1994 is silliness.

      January 31, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Joot

    Hadn't Al Gore given them a private lesson yet? Or was he still trying to get his patent approved?

    Seriously, for a national leading news program, that had to be an embarrassment... especially for Gumbel, whose ego hardly fit in the studio.

    January 31, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  39. esmith512

    I remember this very broadcast because it struck me as so incredible, I was laughing and shaking my head at the same time as they were puzzling over "what's an internet". My first experience with the internet was back in 1988, and it was basically Unix command-line, FTP, Archie and Veronica, Gopher, Telnet, green-screen, and almost exclusively universities. A 56kbps link was something between state universities that made the front page of the metropolitan newspaper! Most of us were at 1200 to 2400bps, and mostly on Fido-linked BBS's, Compuserve, GEnie, and Prodigy were there too and talking to people in other cities. That was 20 years ago. (25 years ago I was an a manual 300 baud modem with a 40 x 24 text screen for ten minutes a session.) I'm eager to see what kind of network and equipment we'll have 20 to 25 years from now! 🙂

    January 31, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pedro

      probably whatever they'll have in South Korea in 5 years. Their networks are unbelievably fast already.

      January 31, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  40. AnnaBanana

    This is hilarious!!! It shouldn't be embarassing to them though, because that's the way everyone felt back then– is it weird to be saying "back then" about 17 years ago?? Ha. Thanks for the laugh. Reminded me of the first time I figured out how to use dial-up at my parents house, and signed my dad up for AOL without him knowing.... Oops. Ah well, he still uses it. =)

    January 31, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  41. My how times have changed so quick

    I remember the no internet days not to long ago, I did alot of model building back then. @ is for emails also, not the internet.

    January 31, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  42. htibrw.com

    bought my first stock thru the Internet in 1997 and havent used a stockbroker since.

    January 31, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Chris

    The old "point the video camera at the TV" trick.
    Its called a dvi cable, moron.

    January 31, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Dulcimer

    1994 – was just registered with the Garbage Dump (BB) in New Mexico, some telnet, gopher & usenet then. But Compuserve, Prodigy (loved it), um AOL & MSN were on the horizon.

    Never be embarassed to say something that later appears dumb, about something new & exciting.

    January 31, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  45. OKStop

    I remember those "Message Boards" we used to log onto with all the modem speak AT OK etc. There were a bunch of DOS commands that you would use to "chat"

    January 31, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • @OKStop

      I had Compuserve back in the early nineties and we had a "game" called Phantom (I think) – i was all numeric and was all about sequencing and timing. My "callsign" was ViperSlug 🙂

      And there were teams. I remember thinking how cool is it Im battling some dude from Indy while sitting here in Austin.

      wow – I hadnt thought of that in years

      January 31, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Peter

    Notable that Katie seemed to be the only one who had any idea what it was.

    January 31, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  47. JustSam

    Modulate/Demodulate. Phone cradle modems (I don't remember the name)
    Green Sheets & punch cards
    Teletype and punched tape access to the mainframe

    January 31, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  48. mkygod

    oh c'mon, most of us didn't use the internet at that time. That was PRE-Windows95. How many of you remember using the internet at home before Windows 95? And no, BBS services do not count.

    People that had access to the internet back then were much lower than people that had cellphones. Most people were still using pagers back then.

    January 31, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jimmy Crack Corn

      Windows 3.1 was around before Windows95 and yes people were able to use the internet with it. In fact, I remember using programs like "AOL" and "IRC" both windows applications in the early 90s. My friends knew about it as well. I was just in high school and I knew more about this technology than any Morning Show host could dream of.

      January 31, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • I-Do

      Prodigy Internet was released PRE windows.
      I ran it on an 80088(?) with dual 5-1/4 floppies (and an internal 10mb hard disk). I remember installing the "color card" so that I could see multiple colors of orange. Interwebs were awesome 🙂

      February 1, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Chris

    Just shows you how clueless most anchors really are...they are just fed their intelligence.

    January 31, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  50. ijreilly

    I remember standing around the computer with the family opening our very first e-mail on AOL. Hearing that "You've Got Mail" sound for the first time was worth getting it alone. So we opened it up. It was from a 24 yr old cheerleader, named Misty....She attached some photos....(Welcome to the internet).

    January 31, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  51. bes

    I had a hairdoo similar to Katie's here ....who cares if they didn't know what the internet was.....we'd soon find out. And for that matter cell phones. Things sure have changed.

    January 31, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Jo

    Hey Joe.........
    Sarah Palin was the governor of Alaska and now makes millions.
    You must have been too busy being "way smarter than Sarah Palin" to notice.!

    January 31, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      WAS the Governor. Before she quit.

      January 31, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • JRH

      Let John McCain pick me out of obscurity and let me be a walking train wreck and I'll be just as famous.

      January 31, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Idiocracy is looming

      It doesn't take a smart person to be governor if the people voting for him/her are idiots as well. Making millions doesn't require much smarts either, just take a look at the Kardashians. All it takes is a smart person in the background who is good at publicity and branding.

      January 31, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Mark Anthony

    So many pompus people.
    Sheesh. Everything has to begin SOMETIME!
    All you smarta$$'s out there, please enlighten the rest of us on the NEXT revolutionary concept.
    What's the next big thing? huh?

    January 31, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • PotMeetKettle

      How is what you said any different than what you heap on others?

      January 31, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  54. bosfaninva

    I think I got AOL in 1994. As I recall, it sucked, but those chat rooms were great!

    January 31, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • AOL 3.0

      In 1994, AOL was maybe on their 3rd ver. the only thing it was good for was the chat rooms

      January 31, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  55. geogaddi

    interwebs! tubernets! nettertubes! webbernets!

    all so gosh darn complicatered...

    January 31, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  56. honus

    CNN hasn't even figured it out by now. That isn't a "web address" it is an e-mail address.

    January 31, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  57. hugh

    "What's a colonoscopy?"

    January 31, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Rom

    The video shows it as an internet address, and the article claims it's one (in 2011!), but it seems to be an email address, not an internet address. The difference being, email was very common for years before 1994, especially at universities, while web browsers like Mosaic were just getting started, so something like http://nbc.ge.com might have been confusing, but violence@nbc.ge.com should not have been. They should have known that @ was "at".

    January 31, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rom

      In response to myself, I guess I should say that "internet address" could refer to "email address" but nowadays usually means "web address."

      January 31, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Clive

      Hmmm... I wonder if that email address is still valid?

      January 31, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  59. Josh

    I am surprised that their cue cards didn't have everything phonetically spelled out for them. "Today@NBC.com" should have been been "Today at en bee sea dot com"

    January 31, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • @Josh

      I got tired of reading about everyone trying to prove how old they are...then this actually made me laugh. !!

      January 31, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  60. iblackedout


    January 31, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  61. Kim

    What do you mean "and slightly embarassing?". It's not embarassing. In 1994 the Internet (the way we know it now) was so new and hard to comprehend. So to ask the question "what is the internet" is not a stupid question for 1994. That would be like someone in the year 1840 saying "what's a car?" and then you posting that same question, and saying it's embarassing that they asked that, in 1920! Get real.

    January 31, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • kate

      well, it's not so much stupid as it is silly. by 1994 i'd already had internet at my house for a couple years, and some of my friends had it even before i did. so even though it wasn't mainstream yet, the internet was already in use in lots of people's homes way before 1994 (especially in big cities like Atlanta, LA and NYC)...and since it's a news show, these guys probably should have known somehting about that before they talked about it. that doesn't make them stupid, it just makes them slightly unprofessional or they were having a bad day and didn't have time to research before they went on-air.

      in any case, a mainstream video about the internet from pre-mainstream-internet days is funny and quaint now so i'm guessing that's why its going viral.

      January 31, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Mark

    I think this interweb thing will take off soon.

    January 31, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  63. Brian

    I know its sounds stupid, but there has to be a time when the Internet was new. And this is it. I remember during my HS reunion in 1993, there was a sign in book at the door of the reunion, and there was a space for you to write in your email.
    I said "Who's got email!?"

    January 31, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  64. Steve

    MODEM – it stands for MOdulate DEModulate. 9600 Baud was smoking fast!

    January 31, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • outawork

      I remember dialing into work on a 300 baud modem. All I had was a CRT and the modem . I typed atdt1234567 and hit enter and it dialed and connected to the computer at work.

      January 31, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  65. Andy

    The internet was still a new concept to a lot of people back in 1994 and many of them probably couldn't visualize the internet as much more than sending e-mails. It seemed there were very few really functional websites until the late '90s. I think 1999 was the first time I was able to pay my credit card bill online. Remember all those 3.5 inch floppy disks that AOL would send in the mail?

    January 31, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  66. Joe

    Bryant is one of my idols in TV. He's now the face of HBO Sports. He's a real intelligent black man with balls. His white colleagues could not handle his confidence, intelligence and finesse in interviewing people.

    January 31, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  67. Slim

    Bryant Gmbel is a moron!!

    January 31, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Locode

      And you can't even spell his last name properly, so what does that make you?

      January 31, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  68. Mr. Moderate

    @NoSmarter – I think most of us had the same reaction about the internet when we first heard about it. We didn't get it at my employer (a Fortune 500 company) until 1996, so I am not too sure many people grasped the concept un 1994.

    January 31, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • greg

      perhaps, but they were a source of news – they should have had an expert explain it instead of acting so stupid.

      January 31, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Denizen Kate

      I agree with Greg, the little bunch of talking heads on Today should not have brought it up without an expert on hand to explain it to the masses, if that's even possible. All they did was confuse people. Unfortunately, that's not hard.

      January 31, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • UH60L

      I think they, and alot of other people, thought the whole thing was jsut a fad, something that would die out and never really amount to anything.

      Otherwise, they probably would have given it more research, and approached it differently.

      January 31, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  69. Tim

    punch cards
    what modem really means

    if you know these then you're really BI 🙂

    January 31, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • P.Ellen K

      In 1968 there was one computer on campus in Champaign Urbana. If you were is the CS class, you wrote your code and used punch cards, held together with rubber bands and kept in a shoe box. the worst thing that could happen is if you dropped your shoe box and your cards got messed up.

      The key board had not been adapted to the computer yet. (BTW, it was the model on which HAL was based)

      So there!

      January 31, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • LOLGuy

      I still have boxes of these from the Air Force – I also have about 6 dozen unused 8" floppies!

      January 31, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Techman

      How About;


      January 31, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  70. Mr. Moderate

    @ Charlie – When's the last time you saw Bryant Gumbel on anything. He's been invisible since he left the Today show, so its not too hard to not watch him. (FYI – I do agree he's an arrogant buffoon)

    January 31, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Owen4

      He's on that Real Sports show on HBO. Obviously nowhere near the audience he had at Today. And he still hasn't managed to get through charm school. I'd call him arrogant but not sure he's a buffoon.

      January 31, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  71. NoSmarter

    Nice to see that Katie Couric hasn't gotten any smarter since 1994.

    January 31, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  72. Marie

    As a computer professional for over 26 years, I remember BI – before the Internet. I remember dial-up and bulletin boards (if you don't know what they were, Google it) I remember the early Internet when it was a black Unix type screen. If you wanted to find a location, you had to know what it was. There were no "browsers" and no GUI interface. At the time it seemed like something that would be of little use. I remember when 1200bps was really fast. I also remember when Google (spelled slightly different) was just the biggest number and Yahoo! meant you were really happy... we've come a long way, baby.

    January 31, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • BD70

      lol so do I. Everything was on the command line of a unix box. ftp? from the command line..remote in? from the command line. rlogin I believe....dial up yep! If a call came in while dialed up boom you were blown away unless you had the savy to put a switch on the phone line. Which we did.

      January 31, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob Roberts

      Actually it was the concept and implementation of the WWW i.e. web pages that made the "internets" happen for the great unwashed. A browser is sorta useless without a web page to brower. Yowser to the Browser.

      January 31, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      @ Bob Roberts: Yep – Tim Berners-Lee is the most famous person that nobody ever heard of. Wait... What I mean is ... Oh, never mind.

      January 31, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • margot707

      Her's comes the "march of the dinosaurs." I remember pre-DOS CP/M operated computers when Bill Gates thought 640K was more than enough memory

      January 31, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Denizen Kate

      Gary, you are too funny!

      For anyone interested, wikipedia has a decent write-up on Sir Timothy Berners-Lee.

      January 31, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Martin (Germany)

      Margot, CP/M was heaven! I started out with a Sinclair/Timex ZX-81 (1024 Byte RAM, no Kilo, no Mega) my brother soldered together for me. And an accoustic coupler you had to tape to your headset. And a pulse dial phone with really long numbers (and imense fees). I feel like a WW2 vet right now...

      January 31, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      Is 'google' by itself a number? I thought it was googleplex, 10 to the 100th power or soemthing like that. Heard that in grade school like 30yrs ago so I apologize if its not right!

      January 31, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • LOLGuy

      I loved my IBM 8088 with its 14 lb keyboard

      My 1GB Packard-Bell – not so much.

      January 31, 2011 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • LOLGuy

      Lynx in 8-bit

      yay – we connected!

      January 31, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheLurkingBat

      back in my day if you wanted to send an e-mail ya had to drive your horse n buggy 15 miles uphill in the snow to the telegraph office next to the train station and after you sent it, it came out on the other end looking like this...

      .– .... .- – / .. ... / .- -. / .. -. – . .-. -. . –

      January 31, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • SarahLV

      It's actually a googol which is the number 10 to the 100th power. A googolplex is 10 to the googol power (10 to the 10th to the 100th power).

      January 31, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Colin in Florida

      Talk about old, I have a piece of CDC Cyber 6600 core memory on my mantle piece-a great conversation piece. Don't know what core is-then you are not old!

      February 1, 2011 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Dennis

      Ok...before personal computers (even the Sinclair), there were TTY devices. In the early days, a 110 or 300 baud modem was used (note: baud ^= bit). Networking has come a long, long way since then.

      And yes, it was humorous to see the "without a clue" clip...but both then and now, there's still plenty to go around 🙂

      February 1, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Samuel

      GUI Interface?

      You use the ATM machines often I bet.

      February 2, 2011 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Rob


      Only if she can remember her PIN number.

      June 30, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  73. Charlie

    I won't be watching Bryant Gumbel again. He is as stupid as he is arrogant.

    January 31, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • tcp

      SERIOUSLY? This was 17 years ago...don't watch him 'cuz he's an idiot NOT because of this clip...

      January 31, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  74. Billy Gates

    hey vargas, you still need a phone line but not more the 64k

    January 31, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maggie

      You don't necessarily need a phone line. Ever heard of a cable modem?

      January 31, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      Hey Maggie, no one had cable modems in 1994. The only way to talk to people over a network without a phone line would have been through a LAN, but thats not the same as the internet.

      January 31, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • MJ

      You need a phone line?? Really??

      January 31, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  75. Billy

    Any chance to see Bryant Gumble exposed as the buffoon that he really is is an enjoyable way to kill a couple of minutes.

    January 31, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • DeAguaDulce

      In the early 90s most people were still unfamiliar with the Internet and few people actually had a computer in their homes (and most of those who did admitted that it dd nothing but collect dust). The Internet changed that and gave people a reason to actually use their PCs. Hard to believe it was only 17 years ago, but it was still really very new hen. This is not proof of stupidity, but rather of a lack of familiarity.

      January 31, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • bebe

      And just what were in 1994? The same jack...you are today?

      January 31, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • LOLGuy

      Do you realize how much money he makes? I really doubt he gives a rats what you think.

      Besides, you were most likely making fudgies in yer Huggies during that time.

      January 31, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
  76. britt

    she is funny

    January 31, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • skysgirl

      I agree !! :o)

      January 31, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      They gave wrong info. They said you do not need a phone line. Back then[1994], basically AOL was the only game in town and you most DEFINITELY needed a phone line.

      January 31, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • JJ

      Well, at the time most Internet users were doing so either at work or at universities. Both required some sort of landline communication but not plain old telephone services (POTS). So she was partially correct.

      January 31, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • @David

      Compuserve and Prodigy both predated AOL I believe.

      January 31, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • SarahLV

      Yep, @David is right. Compuserve and Prodigy were the first national ISPs, and were widely used pre-AOL, which took over the market when its more user-friendly interface caught on. Within a few years, AOL had bought out Compuserve, and Prodigy's reach became less and less.

      January 31, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |

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