Thread: The Internet
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Old October 9th, 2011, 10:45 PM
AR AR is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 2,597

Like many people, I bought my first home computer quite a while before the internet came along. It's completely incorrect to think that home computing didn't happen until the internet showed up. Quite the contrary.

I believe my first one was in 1984. We had already been computerized at work for a couple years, had rudimentary file sharing with dumb terminals. When we switched over to the early PC's, I got one for home right away because it was easy to carry work around on floppies (initially those 5" jobs that really were floppy) and work at home without having to duplicate effort. I remember that the hard drive was 20 megs. You can't find an operating system that small today. I became quite adept at the early DOS operating system, and learned enough Boolean logic to be comfortable using the early dbase from a dot-prompt. Our word processor was an early verison of WordPerfect, and we had some sort of spreadsheet. Can't remember if it was an early Excel or something else.

By 1991 we were very well networked internally at work, but I honestly can't remember whether we had full internet access by then or not. I doubt it. But I do remember that it was in that year that #1 son was a freshman at university, and he called one night to say that AT&T had just wired up all the dorms and put computers in all the rooms, and that he had access to something called e-mail to send messages at will to others who were hooked up.

I was intrigued and asked one of my pals in the IT department what this e-mail stuff was. She grinned, cocked her head, and said, "Where'd you hear about that?" I told her.

She said that was great because they'd just begun to beta-test some version or other of this newfangled thing, and that since I had a kid who was already on it she'd make me one of the testers. So through the in-house network she got me access to the e-mail beast and I started corresponding with Matt regularly. I immediately realized what a boone it was, because the nature of communication was instantly altered forever. I'd get a message saying, "Went to a concert tonight. Really cool." It hit me instantly that you'd never phone to say that, and you'd certainly never write a letter about it. This was going to be a big damn deal.

Well, I never looked back. Kept upgrading the computer at home, got into the early dial-up World Wide Wait stuff with Prodigy and its successors. I have no idea how many machines I've been through since. And, of course, we eventually became a two computer family when Terry got one in her home office too.

Today we take lightning-speed fiber optic internet connections for granted, have an internal network in the house, etc. Pretty much the same as most people, I guess.

But I was definitely one of the early adopters.
The most dangerous man in society is the man who has nothing left to lose. -- Saul Bellow

Last edited by AR; October 9th, 2011 at 10:54 PM.
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