How did we survive before the internet?

Imagine not being able to ‘google it’ when you need the answer to a question. Or not having a library of movies and music at your fingertips. Unthinkable as it is for the younger generation to imagine a life without the world wide web, this was the reality almost two decades ago.

The internet has made everything so convenient that it is difficult to remember a time when the same knowledge and entertainment was around in different forms. Take a trip down offline memory lane with our reminder of how we survived before the internet.

Encyclopedias

A stack of encyclopedias

What is the capital of Zimbabwe? Do all the swans in England belong to the queen and is a group of hyenas living together really called a cackle? Before the answers to all of these crucial life questions were a google search away the knowledge was stored in giant tomes known as encyclopedias.

The books were sorted in alphabetical order and like a dictionary you searched for the word or subject you needed. It meant that after you finished reading about Zimbabwe you could also read about zirconias, ziggurats and zitherns.

Video rental

To a family popping into Blockbusters back in the 80s to rent a film for the night, Netflix would have seemed like far flung futuristic technology. The journey to the store, the decision about what to watch and rewinding the VHS to the right place if necessary. A video rental was an exciting occasion for most.

As VHS was phased out and DVDs became more prominent the rental system would later evolve into LoveFilm. A company that made things more convenient letting customers receive their films in the post and return them in a pre-addressed envelope.

VHS tapes

Map reading

Map and compass

Be it in our hometown or somewhere more unfamiliar we’ve all gotten lost trying to find an elusive location. The art of map reading is a lot less necessary with GPS installed in sat navs, watches, phones and even ipads. Before that, many of us would remember opening up a giant paper map and find your location on it before plotting your path.

Poor map reading skills and arguments in the car about taking the wrong turn are less commonplace with GPS technology.

Cassette tapes

To anyone who has ever made a mixtape for themselves or a loved one, the effort involved was a lot more satisfying than compiling a list of songs on Spotify. Cassettes were often temperamental and fiddly to use, but could create perfectly personalised playlists.

The technology was later replaced by the more convenient, but less fun CDs, minidiscs and then mp3s.

Cassette tapes with colourful labels

Text messaging

Old Nokia

There was a time when text messaging was the only convenient alternative to calling somebody. Trying to convey everything within the character limit was a daily struggle for some and the emojis were simplistic in comparison to the catalogue we have available now.

With the onset of Whatsapp, Facebook messenger and more, text messages are now usually only sent when we don’t have an internet connection.


Connected world

With better technology it is now even easier to stay connected to the internet. 4G, public wifi hotspots and faster broadband speeds than ever ensure we are never lost, unable to communicate or without entertainment.

First Utility broadband

Nostalgia is fun, but nothing beats the convenience of a strong broadband connection to access everything you need on the internet. We offer a range of broadband packages to suit all your needs and unlike other suppliers we don’t raise our prices when your contract expires.


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