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18 years online

With the CES show in Las Vegas, Bill Gates has welcomed the second digital decade. 

With a look back to “Windows 95”, and when the internet was getting going – and how far we’ve come.

Technically incorrect, as the internet (per se) has been “going” since the 1960’s.

Wikipedia : History of the Internet

Many people talk about “the internet” as a generic term – in this instance, it’s a reference to the “World Wide Web” – around 1994 was when I first saw HTML.

Wikipedia : History of the World Wide Web

I was reminiscing the other day about first blog posts (July 2003) – but how about first internet use ?

Due to the growth of the “internet” (pre-WWW) through military and educational facilities, it follows that my first “touch” with the cloud was at Swinburne University.

Much different to today – with connectivity in everyone’s home, and on phones, laptops, etc, it was a very different scenario – this was 1990 after all. 

Instead, the old “green screen” was in use – green type/text on a black screen – unix logins, vi scripts, and so on.

This is showing my age, eh ?? 

Using ONLY typed commands (didn’t even have a mouse connected), I would connect to news, and bulletin boards, and the like.

telnet, ftp, gopher, usenet, nntp – these were my “tools” – not a browser !

I bought CD’s online in 1991, using a “site” called something like CDSHOP.  It had a search function, which the results would scroll, much like a DIR listing in a DOS window.   Amazon and so forth was still yet-to-come.

I remember chatting online in a BBS (Bulletin Board Service) – and chatting (typing) with a guy in England about music and bands. 

He posted me a live bootleg CD of a Metallica concert that he bought in a shop near his house – and I posted him (I think) the Chocolate Starfish CD (!!)

There was a lot of trust, and innocence back then.   Was just us “computer nerds” online – no phishing, or scams, trojans or email viruses.

Even porn was difficult !   Here are the approximate steps to get a photo of Claudia Schiffer (popular with Uni lads in 1990) :

  • Connect to “news” and navigate to something like alt.binaries.supermodels
  • Save up to 4-5 files of text – binaries files split into consumable chunks
  • Run a UNIX command – UUENCODE – and create a JPG
  • Transfer the file to the DOS file system (PC)
  • Use a command line picture viewer – to display the photo !

How times have changed, eh ?    *sigh*

Anyway – just think the next time you see a P-plater on the road – I’ve been “online” since they were “in nappies”.

When I entered Uni straight out of high school, I was only 17, and I didn’t turn 18 until half-way through first year.

1990-2008 – 18 years and counting – how about you ??

I’ve been on-line for (nearly) 1/2 my life on earth !  

(and probably why I spend 1/2 my life online these days…!)

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4 Responses

  1. I can’t believe you remember UUENCODE.. heh.

    I’m surprised you didn’t get bomb threats after sending Chocolate Starfish… urgh.

  2. Chris,

    I was that guy in england you chatted to!! And no I still don’t think Bros’s first album was the best album ever made 😉

    Wasn’t it uudecode? It was already encoded wasn’t it?

  3. Yep – you’re right – it was actually uu-DE-code – wondered if anyone would notice.

    And – for the record – the guy in England actually ASKED for the Chocolate Starfish album !

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chocolate_Starfish

    I remember suggesting “The Screaming Jets” instead – All For One – great rock album.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_screaming_jets

    But no, he had heard the “you’re so vain” cover…

    *shrug*

  4. I remember my very first computer. Bought it in 97 ( late bloomer) right after I got married. It was a P166, 128 MB ram, 1.6 GB hard drive (lot of space then, right?), with Windows 95. My college roomie had an earlier windows computer (3.1?) with which we could surf the web ( such as it was)and play games ( original Wolfenstein, Warcraft, Myst, etc…). I love the way technology has advanced, but a nostalgic look at our past is fun as well. Enjoyed your blog.

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