Tuesday, May 12, 2020

My Internet Throwback

Back to the early days of the internet in Malaysia, way back in the late 90's, internet is mostly used to get information from the web. Saya masih ingat ketika itu saya baru berjinak dengan internet. Di rumah sewa bujang kami, saya masukkan line telefon dan kemudian subscribe perkhidmatan TM Net. Kena dial guna modem baru dapat connect ke internet. Nak dial kena buka PC dan guna software khas untuk dial. Nombor yang di dial ketika itu ialah 1515 untuk TM Net. Masukkan username dan password. Tapi nak dapat sambungan pun satu hal juga. Kalau siang mudah. Bila malam menjelma, lagi-lagi lepas pukul 8.30 malam hinggalah sekitar jam 10 malam, amatlah sukar nak dapatkan connection. Kadangkala berlarutan kesukarannya hingga tengah malam. 

Dah dapat connection bukan bererti ia kekal selamanya, kadangkala terputus di tengah jalan dan nak dapatkan kembali agak sukar. Itu semua coretan nak dapatkan talian internet. Data pada waktu itu unlimited. Cuma memang tiada pun sebarang data yang besar-besar seperti sekarang. No streaming services, no Youtube. Video pun sangat jarang di distribute di dalam internet. Yang banyak adalah gambar jpeg, bitmap dan gif. Kemudian datang pula animated gif, iaitu gambar yang boleh gerak-gerak. Zaman ni di Malaysia kebanyakan orang masih guna VCD, DVD tak ramai lagi guna.

I remember when I first connect to the internet, saya guna Yahoo sebagai browser. Memang kagum masa tu, dapat tengok browser Yahoo sahaja pun dah rasa cukup hebat. Lepas-lepas tu baru cuba alternatif browser online lain seperti Netscape (which I ended up using the most) dan Opera. 

Our only social media masa zaman tu ialah chat services. First it was the Internet Relay Chat. mIRC merupakan client software yang saya gunakan. Nama Khaled Mardam Bey masa tu sangat gah dikalangan internet user di Malaysia sebab itulah nama yang akan keluar masa mula-mula nak load mIRC. He started developing the software in 1994 while studying cognitive science at University of Westminster, London.

Then came the Yahoo Messenger and the ICQ. I remember we need to have a unique identifier in the form of numbers as our contact name in ICQ. We can then rename it to our friend's name. Yahoo Messenger meanwhile uses our Yahoo user id. Both Yahoo Messengher and ICQ are real time chats where messages will popup on our pc eventhough we are using something else at that time. While in mIRC, we need to open the window to see the chats. 

Masa ni penggunaan internet bukan sahaja setakat browsing but also communicating. It was what I called the mIRC days. And we also do simple websites using free web hosting such as geocities dan tripod. Ada few lagi tapi yang dua ni selalu digunakan di Malaysia. Saya pun masa tu ada 2 website di Geocities. Memang banyak pure html digunakan. It is not as easy as Blogspot but we can customize it.

Emails were also frequently used but not as frequent as now where we can get instant emails in real time through our phone (depends on our own setting). I remember of having waumail, one of the earliest Malaysian-based email provider. And then we have free emails such as hotmails, yahoomails, lycos, AOL mails and of course our ISP emails such which ended in something like yourname@tm.net.my or yourname@jaring.my . 

TM is not the only ISP in Malaysia at that time. We also have Jaring. Saya beralih pada akaun Jaring for the sake of an easier dialup connection sebab TM masa tu crowded, ramai sangat pakai. Today, TM still hold the majority of the landline based internet. We also have mobile players now which something that we do not have back then.

Then came the era of social media which combine both text, pictures and some videos. I was on Friendster and a brief Myspace before Facebook. I joined Facebook in 2007 eventhough the site has been around since 2004. It's been 13 years. I remember as well satu site dinamakan fotopages. Kira macam flickrs dimana kita display gambar-gambar yang kita shoot with captions. Dua-dua saya pernah ada. 

Then we have websites such as Blogger and Wordpress for writing posts together with video and pictures.

Social medias now are the norm. I have various social media's account. Name it, twitter, instagram, telegram, whatsapp. Then we have Bigo Live, Tiktok, Snapchat which I still do not use. Maybe I'm getting too old for this.

Now the internet is all about dominance. One company will own many services .This will in turn create their own eco system. Something which has pro and cons. Pro dia is when every single service is created or owned by one single company, kesemua service terbabit boleh di sync maklumatnya. Ambil contoh Google dimana ada pelbagai services di internet yang berasal dari Google. Ada juga yang dibeli oleh Google such as Facebook and Youtube. We have emails from Google, browsers. cloud storage, video conferencing, maps and many more. In fact, my workplace had subscribe Gsuite and we are all happy in using it for work. 

Don't forget Microsoft. With its range of office applications, which Google also offers, Microsoft also had a wide range of services. My workplace also subscribed to Microsoft based products. They also had cloud storage services. But Google had taken one step more in acquiring social media platforms under their name. 

This dominance is also scary as it can create to one having to rely only a single ecosystem while having difficulties in communicating with the other who uses their competitor's ecosystem. But nowadays we have seen things being cross platform. Take for example Apple where it can nowadays be used with a variety of other platforms such as Google and Microsoft. Imagine Macbook users could not open their Gmail service in their computers. 

And now we have the financial services such as internet banking and e-wallet. Especially in this Covid 19 pandemic, this services are at their peak as people are quite afraid in using physical money and also because online commerce platforms reuquires online transactions. 

My Unifi speedtest, using Macbook Air 2020 with wireless connectivity.
As all of us rely on the internet not only for work but also for communication, one most remember that none of the above can be put to good effect if there is no internet line. Having a good infra and of course good security measures is vital. Seeing good speed test results are also welcoming but banyak lagi yang perlu kita ambil kira to ensure a smooth experience in using online services, such as kestabilan server yang kita akses. 

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