Long before the onset of youtube and it’s many counterparts, the notion of video streaming was incongruent. The first video I ever streamed was Sunrise, by Norah Jones. I can’t for the life of me remember why I picked Norah. Perhaps it was because this girl I was into, was into her too. But that’s all irrelevant now.
One evening in 2003, or 2004. I thought to myself, MTv’s great and all, and while I DO love my MTv, where’s music on demand when you need it? So I did what any millennial would do. I googled it. Long before google became a word mind you. So there I sat. Windows media player open, buffering away. 10 seconds would be in, and me not being used to delayed gratification, I’d click play. And there it was, the magic of video streaming.
Haunting appears to be used more often as an adjective than as a verb. For good reason. Norah’s voice embodies spectral enchantment, grasping you by the mortality and lifting you into nether realms. I experienced all that in 10 seconds*. I remember being so excited that I stopped my dad in whatever unimportant task he was engaged in, and insisted he take notice of this technological advancement. I had, somehow, brought MTv into our computer.
Arthur C. Clarke’s third law states that “any sufficiently advantaged technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Which is a rather reasonable hypothesis. There was an element of sorcery when the Internet first came out. Chatting with strangers on ICQ, playing pool in real time with 16/f/uk’s on yahoo, or simply discovering Encarta online.
That period in time, the early 2000s, is being dubbed the golden age of the internet. John Dvorak called it in 2006 in a post on PCMag. Be it the curbing of opinion, the restriction on Bandwidth based on content, and the lack of neutrality. I am less pessimistic. The internet has never been more beautiful. Be it the archival footage of watching self-immolating monks in Vietnam, manipulating gravitational simulation, or taking a tour of the closest 100,000 stars. What a time to be alive.