what does encarta mean to you?

Last night I watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix and my mind was blown and I was all whacked out on learning shit. But I wanted to throw it back a few years as far as technology and ask, what does Encarta mean to you?

But first I’ll tell you what Encarta means to me. Because this is about ME.

I probably think about this too much but I often ponder upon the fact that I lived before there was an Internet. Like, before there was an Internet AT ALL, and then after that there was a little bit of the Internet just at home, on a computer in a desk in my parents’ bedroom, and THEN it became the Internet as we know it today. The Internet that is everywhere and also inside of our brains.

We almost always had computers in school, thank goodness. But I do remember the first time we got to use them for Oregon Trail in kindergarten. As in, I remember that particular day because they weren’t there before and then they were and I was PUMPED AF.

Again, these computers did not have the internet. So what’s the point of having computers that don’t have the internet? I don’t know and I’m sorry, but that’s all we had available to us at the time you guys.

By the time the in between time arrived, when we had internet at home (but only if someone wasn’t on the phone), and not at school, we were introduced to a fun little program called Encarta.

Encarta was an encyclopedia but it was software and on a CD-effing-ROM and you put it into the computer and it would play a recognizable tone that I somehow no longer remember and then it would be ready to act as your instant encyclopedia and that was mind blowing at the time.

We would have “computer class” where we wouldn’t actually be instructed in any learning. We would just be given Encarta to mess around with for the entire 50 min class. Like, “Here’s Encarta, kids! Go nuts!”

And I loved it. I loved it so much. I’d like to tell you about some of my favs. I’m going to write what I remember off the top of my head, then I’ll look them up to fact check at the end. Just for fun. Like why not?! It’s Friday!

eugene O’Neill.

To this day I have no idea who Eugene O’Neill is. I’m assuming some kind of writer? But when you looked him up on Encarta it would come up with this audio that said, and I quote, “The dead. Why can’t the dead just die?”


We would seriously laugh until we cried. It was the funniest thing I had ever heard. It still makes me giggle now, writing this.

And I know Eugene probably meant it in a serious way, like the dead haunt us in our minds even when they’re dead. But we were 12 so we weren’t thinking of that, okay?!

death of a salesman.

I didn’t know anything about Death of a Salesman in middle school. At some point, because of Encarta, I did read Death of a Salesman.

Or maybe I just saw it in a show?

Either way I don’t remember it now. But I DO remember that if you looked it up on Encarta the guy would say, “But Willie was a SALESMAN.” He would really emphasize SALESMAN in a way we found hilarious.

I feel like maybe we were kind of assholes.

Hindenburg crash.

The Hindenburg crash was obviously shitty. It happened in New Jersey. For some reason I always thought it happened in Lyndhurst but when I looked it up that was not the case.

I now forget where it happened so you’ll have to wait until fact check time at the end to find out.

We loved the video of the Hindenburg crash because the guy screams, “OH THE HUMANITY!” and it’s so ridiculously dramatic and intense that it’s somehow laughable. I just laughed until I had tears in my eyes thinking about it on the light rail.

It’s terrible we laughed at that! I know it! I feel bad about it. But it just seemed like a funny choice of words. Instead of like “oh my god!” or “holy shit!” or even some other era-appropriate expression of surprise, he said “OH THE HUMANITY!”

I mean I guess he was pretty stressed. Sorry Hindenburg crash camera guy.


I can’t remember this as distinctly as the others but I KNOW we must have looked up a ton of animals. I’ve always been into animals and books about animals and Encarta about animals and now stuff on the internet about animals. I mean I think this goes without saying.

Encarta was the first place that I could procure animal info ON DEMAND and that was straight up BAD ASS. I definitely looked up every animal.

Well I guess that’s all I remember. When I started writing I thought I would think of more. But I didn’t. Sry.

encarta now.

Now I’m going to look up Encarta and see what sparks my memory.

Omg they had this music! I loved this!

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