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Watch: This is How People Used to Check Their Emails in 1984

Video grab of a British host checking emails back in 1984.
(credit: Twitter)

Video grab of a British host checking emails back in 1984. (credit: Twitter)

A video shared by a journalist on Twitter shows how complicated and tiresome the process was in 1984 to check electronic mails.

The evolution of the internet has made the exchange of information a matter of few seconds. Since its commercial use started in the 1990s, this technological advancement has certainly made communication like sending or receiving emails much easier. But back in the 1980s, this was not the case, and an old viral video will make you realise how long we have come since then.

A video shared by journalist Jon Erlichman on Twitter shows how complicated and tiresome the process was in 1984 to check electronic mails.

In the video, a TV presenter is explaining the entire process of checking his email box. Travelling on a train, the British host is seen with a portable computer on which he checks his messages. Since commercial internet had not arrived then, he reveals a modem that attaches to a telephone receiver and the computer to establish a connection. However, the telephone on the train requires coins to operate, and thus, the connection remains incomplete due to a lack of change with him.

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The two minutes 20 seconds clip then moves the British TV presenter inside a Japanese hotel room where he tries his luck again. The man in the video then dials a London number on the telephone and follows it by putting in the computer’s number. After a beep, he attaches the telephone receiver with the modem which is already connected to the computer.

As tiresome as the process sounds, the man can’t access his email messages yet, and after the connection is established with the mailbox in London, he needs to enter his account number and personal ID in the portable computer. Followed by a few seconds of simulating the data, the TV presenter is finally able to see his incoming messages.

Erlichman, who shared this video on Twitter, is known for putting out such amazing comparisons of innovations, highlighting the massive growth technology has achieved in the last few decades.

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first published:May 19, 2021, 18:43 IST