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01 March 2009


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I'm younger than FM and I remember the internet quite clearly in 1996. I was a freshman in high school. For that matter, I remember it at least 3 years earlier. I was nerding it up in the Red Dragon Inn chat room on AOL in middle school.

I still have that AOL disc, along with my first pirated video game (Leisure Suit Larry, c. 1988). I remember dialing up a BBS, text based games, thinking that Windows 3.1 was amazing. I even have the box for a graphical operating system that is not Microsoft based.

I remember when Prodigy was king and spent ages and ages on the maze game within.

I remember BUYING ***books*** that listed websites and gopher sites and telnet sites to go to (gosh, http isn't the only standard?!). And I remember going on to one of NASA's sites and getting what were at the time massive and clear images of space. I doubt they were even 200k a piece.

I remember when online gaming meant phoning your friend's house with your modem and having your game crash every time their sister picked up the phone.

I remember when an animated gif was the coolest design feature ever and 90% of websites had the digging man "under construction" sign on them... usually indefinitely.

And I remember when Altavista was THE search engine.


I still have my alt.arts.ballet and gopher t-shirts!


Gosh! Has it been that long ago? I remember when my cousin got prodigy and I could start doing online genealogy research. I also remember the maze and waiting forever because of the download times caused by the ads at the bottom of the page. I also remember getting a whopping 5 hrs a month for $10.00.


Ahhh, yes, the memories! Farhad, I built my first web site for a commercial enterprise in 1995--using Laura LeMay's Learn HTML 2.0 in a Week and hand-coding everything. In early 1996 I redesigned same, by doing a "view source" to grab code from a site I liked, and then modifying it to my needs. (Here it is in the Web Archive: http://web.archive.org/web/19970611022453/www.cadonline.com/ ).

But of course, by then, I'd been involved in online communities since 1988, using MTS (Michigan Terminal System) where yes, everything was like a DOS prompt. I even met someone online and I was part of an active gay/lesbian/bi online community with "FTF" events in Ann Arbor. I am still friends with some of those people today. I also surveyed an online women's community in 1989 for a paper on sexual harassment entitled "Little Rapes" -- based on dozens of experiences relayed to me by men and women in this online community.

And in 1990, when I moved from Ann Arbor to Eugene, Oregon, I used FTP to work remote as a contractor for the University of Michigan. My assignments were posted, I grabbed them, and then re-posted them when finished.

It's been an amazing ride on the Interwebz, and for me, 1996 was, oh, somewhere in the middle. For those of us who truly "remember when" -- things have surely matured, but not necessarily improved. Community has become a buzzword, but not many online communities today have the depth and life of the communities from the late 80s and early 90s. Those of us who were part of that era experienced something truly revolutionary.


When I was in grad school in the late 80's and early 90's I was just excited to have my OWN desktop for writing/typing research papers (thought it took me hours and a call to a friend who works for IBM to figure out how to get past the opening credits for Word Perfect). I was also excited that I could do my research on CARL from home (in my jammies) because I actually HAD a dial up modem. These were the days before Windows, when DOS was king and my screen was AMBER! I didn't venture into the email and chatroom thing until my next computer...a VERY EXPENSIVE pentium 90 laptop (1996)loaded with Windows 95 (skipped the previous versions of windows and went from DOS to 95 at home anyway).


Ha, I remember the olden days when we used typewriters and whiteout hadn't even been invented!

Gina Spadafori

I remember my first online chat with my Trash 80 -- eight full lines of text displa, circa 86-7. I hooked up with a guy on a BBS and we talked about Star Trek.

Barbara Ruth Saunders

Usenet...those were the days. I still remember my amazement the day I clicked on the new icon that appeared on my desktop (a fantastic 20" monitor, even if it was CRT, combined with a Sun workstation) and saw NETSCAPE!


I wonder if anyone still owns an AMBER-VISION monitor which was touted in the 80's to be better on the eyes than the green screens...


Gopher and Pine c. 1990/91 – ah, those were the days! Geez, 1996 wasn't *that* long ago.

Yes, I totally remember - and it's entertaining to consider just how far things have evolved since then (especially with hardware -- a gigabyte of anything, anywhere seemed like a unthinkable and impossible feat back then). I took my first summer school computer class in 1982 learning MS-DOS, and my first home computer was an Apple IIe in '83. No one in my family was technically inclined or college educated even, so maybe all this early computer education/experience had to do with growing up in the SF Bay Area?


I'm 32. I remember being agog with wonder when one of the families I babysat for had Prodigy!

I didn't have email until I hit college, when I thought "hotmail" sounded very dirty.


I still have an alt.arts.ballet T-shirt too! And I remember when people had to explain that the "world wide web" was something that "sat on top of the internet"... and most people with internet access did not have world wide web access.

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