To celebrate their 20th anniversary, I am teaming up with Ebuyer to talk about some of my favourite technology over the last 20 years. This takes me all the way back to when I was 12 years old – it was probably a pretty good age to be as that’s when the internet and phones started to take off. I have always been a bit geeky and wanted to the latest gadgets. Here are some of my favourite bits of technology!
I remember first using the Internet at school. There wasn’t really much to do other than find free games and apply for free samples by signing up to newsletters. Oh, there was also chain mail.
We had Internet at home around this time but you had to pay depending on how much you used. Apart from between 7:30 and 8 pm. Then it was free. I used to jump on for half an hour and spend most of my time on the Nickelodeon website, Cartoon Network and the Disney Channel website. They had the best free games, of course, they were really clunky to use and often froze.
My friend had a Minidisc player, so I wanted one too. I asked for one for Christmas. I had a portable CD player which I used to take to school with me and listen to Steps and the Spice Girls on there walk there and back, the problem was it would jump and skip if it wasn’t laid still and flat. That was one of the selling points – it didn’t skip as well as it being really small and you could record a few hours of music on one disc. It was brilliant until Apple came along with their iPod and iPod mini and stole the market! I did have a pink iPod mini, too. I loved that thing!
I always wanted a mobile phone, even when they were those big clunky things that were not very practical to carry around. I didn’t know anyone with a mobile phone, I just saw them on cool American movies.
Then two popular girls had mobile phones. One was on the Vodafone network and the other on Orange (Orange – remember them!). I think they were the only networks around then. We used to crowd around them like they were the best things ever, listening to the 9 different ring tones you could have.
I eventually convinced my Mum to let me have one when I was 14. I bought it with my Christmas money. It was blue, big, had 9 ring tones, could save 10 text messages before I had to start deleting them and I had to pay something like £7.50 a month line rental even though it was pay-as-you-go. I didn’t really have anyone to text. But I did enjoy pranking my older brothers with text messages before they realised it was me!
Phones seemed to be everywhere from then on. It was normal to have one, then Nokia came out with their 5110 with the snake game on! The fad after that was the 3210 and 3310 that had no Ariel and you could change the front and back cover! Next came my Panasonic which was in very bad colour and could connect to the ‘internet’. WAP pages where you could download ringtones and pictures for your home screen.
Oh, God. I don’t know if I should admit this but I had a Geocities fan website for Sophie Ellis-Bextor. My first website. It just had a load of photos of her on. They were pretty bad and the colours were horrific! Often with dark backgrounds with neon writing, these were the standard websites back in the early 2000s!
Webcams are standard in most laptops, but they never used to be. My Dad had one first and the quality was so bad! I can’t even remember what software you used to use it, but it was before Skype. Eventually, I started using webcams all the time with friends. We would just be on webcam on MSN while doing other stuff online. I guess MSN was the old version of Whatsapp!
This was a game changer! I wanted a laptop so stupidly bought one on credit without even talking to my parents. I must have just turned 18. I also bought a wireless router to get the house sorted with wireless Internet. I could use my laptop on my bed. LUXURY.
I got my first smartphone in around 2007. It was a Blackberry. You could view actual webpages on it which was amazing to me. The only problem was that most webpages weren’t responsive back then, so things took ages to load and weren’t the right dimensions.
My first phone bill was £140 and I had a big argument with Vodafone as they told me that adding the Blackberry package meant I could use data for free. They ended up agreeing to pay half of it. I sold it shortly after and got a Motorola Kzr.
A few years later, I got a Blackberry Storm – the first Blackberry touch screen and it had apps like the iPhone. I was very team Blackberry for a while until a few years later I got an iPhone 4 and have been on iPhone ever since!
I feel like the last few years in technology has been a bit of a blur, although things have changed so much it seems they have hardly changed at all as the updates are so frequent. It used to feel like there would be a big new thing out years ago, now all the small updates make it feel less so.
Though I am so excited to see what happens with technology, phones and video games in the future!