The Years of Floppy Disks

Since when did I get old?
I hardly notice until I start talking to my not-so-little little sister and find out that she doesn’t know what a Sony Walkman is. Now I’m becoming the adult I couldn’t understand when I was her age. So here’s a list of how things went about just a decade ago.

asl? You enter a chatroom with an alias, and those are the first few letters that pop up a window. Answering this is a must if you want a conversation to happen. After trading such essential information, you then decide if you want to talk to this person.

When you think this person might be worth your attention, the real conversation begins. “What’s your favorite movie?” “Hu do u knw from my school?” “Do you have bf/gf?” Asking these used to be far more interesting during those days, maybe because there’s an air of mystery, and you are compelled to judge a person solely by text.

Well of course, we gotta take it to the next level. How? By sending a JPEG file of your neat face. This sounds like a risky move, but there really weren’t a lot of other options, unless your chatmate is the type who likes to put up a get-to-know-me Angelfire website, complete with a guestbook.

I remember his name was Karl, 7th grade from the school across mine. I received the file and opened it to see a scanned studio photo of himself. When it was my turn to send mine, I told him I didn’t have a scanner, although secretly I wouldn’t do it anyway. So you continue to socialize, maybe for the next few days or months, and when you deem him worthy of your time and trust, he becomes entitled to receive an invite to be added to your just-growing Yahoo! Messenger list.

Slow internet
Remember dial-up? You turn on your speakers to hear the progress of establishing a connection, listening to the noises until you can heave a sigh of relief when the status on the screen says “connected.” And for crying out loud, it used to take an hour to download a song. But see, that was also part of the thrill—the thrill of waiting a whole damn minute for the next page to load, anticipating and observing as the text and images ever so slowly appear before you.

Renting a video
If you had a VHS player at that time, you’d be cool. I remember frequently being tagged along by my dad to this store called ACA Video, and I’d walk between numerous movie titles, then pick out the ones I like. The rental fee was around 30 pesos for a few days, and there’s the extra fee for missed return due dates.

There was also the thing called rewinding, kids. You had to do that to watch a scene you missed or if you want to see the whole thing again. This applies to cassette tapes as well. I even recorded some songs from the radio, worrying that a hit song might be forgotten when it’s no longer popular, and how am I supposed to find it when I want it played on my birthday party? Only one thing to do: record the song over my old Chinese speech tapes. Then came the VCD. Then DVD. Then Limewire. How silly of me to think the world would still run on cassette tapes after a decade.

Address books
Yes, these were actually written: name, address, telephone number—and looking for a name means looking for the tab with the first letter of whoever you need to call. I even felt bad at times for writing on them if I really like their cover designs.

Burning CD mixes
Like songs but don’t wanna buy the whole album? Then burn it. Obviously, not everyone had a CD burner back then, so some of my classmates did burning services for a fee, and extra charge for a hard CD case. It was also one of the sweeter presents you can receive, knowing enough thought was put to create the playlist. Burning a song compilation ain’t easy, unless you have all the albums to rip the songs from.

Three-way phone calls
Can it get any cooler/lamer than this? We all know this kind of service is obsolete, but this used to be fun, especially if two of you have this phone feature to make it into a five-way call.

Old toys
Koosh Ball, Chinese garter, Monopoly, Polly Pocket (who by the way is now a giant), and jackstones were just a few of the popular games in my childhood. And who can forget the once-so-famous Tamagochi? Imagine Pet Society without the social aspect, without the color, in a very small screen, and made up of a few pixels, which can cost a few hundreds. A few hundred bucks for pixels. Yeah.

Slam Books
Define love…Birthday…Ambition…First crush…Dedication…
Those are typical questions you’ll encounter when filling out a slam book. It usually consists of three parts: the basic “nice-to-know” info such as your favorite color and birthplace; the cheesier life questions on the next; and the dedication page. Before you fill out the page assigned to you, there will always be an urge to check out what others have written about themselves, or maybe you just want to find out what their motto in life is. It can be disappointing though when all that’s written is “secret.” Sneaking on someone’s page can also mean that you’re only making sure you don’t miss out on any of the oh so caring acronyms for the dedication page:
ABC-Always be careful
TCCIC-Take Care ‘Cause I Care
JAPAN-Just Always Pray At Night
ITALY- I Trust And Love You
BBBBBBB-Books Before Boys Because Boys Bring Babies

Those are just a few of the many things that have changed over the years. If I missed out on any of the acronyms, please let me know.

  1. i found a load of floppy disks the other day and went to see what was on them. i didnt realise my life had evolved so much that we dont even have a floppy drive. major fail!!

    • Fail indeed! Haha looks like you won’t be able to find out what they contain now. I used to even collect different colors of those!

  2. Ahh, trip down memory lane! Great post. :)

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