I've witnessed 4 recessions, including this one. The only one that wasn't linked to housing or finance or both was the one you were talking about, and that was certainly not as bad as what is going on now.
This one has it's own distinct flavour, but ultimately it's just a variant on the normal housing and financial meltdown recession. IT recessions are a fairly new invention, and they take a pretty stupid class of person to instigate.
How stupid? What about investing all of your pension funds assets into a company with a really neat website and a promise to make something cool one day. Obviously that makes them the same as Microsoft. Well apparently it does to people with absolutely no clue about IT. Like people who work in the financial sector for example. You'd think with all the technology they use they'd understand it a bit more. But apparently not, because to them a really neat website is the same thing as a business that produces 90% of the software installed on computers world wide and a fair amount of hardware too. You can argue over the quality of that software, but it doesn't change the fact it actually exists and it's actually being bought. Unlike most of the so-called dot com businesses they thought would turn into Microsoft.
The truly stunning thing is when these people did finally figure out what they'd done (invest all their money into a kid with a pirated copy of dreamweaver, who then did the predictable thing and used it to buy a Ferrari) they then decided to use their expert knowledge of IT and go one step further. Yes, they decided to lump in real businesses with the kids and companies like Cisco, Oracle, Intel and so on had their stock price slashed to unrealistically low levels.
Therefore although the words 'dot com' do conjure a fair description of the most stupid people in the history of the stock market (because what could be more apt than actually spelling a full stop/period with the words d-o-t), it really wasn't as bad as the one we're having now.
Giving $500,000 to homeless people has surely taken stupidity to a whole new level. I can't wait to see what they do next time.