Today's topic brings us back to our first going online. For me, that was more than three decades ago, it would have been 1986 or 87, when I connected a dataphon device to my C64 home computer, placed the telephone receiver on it and fearfully dialled as described by the computer magazine at hand. Once online, I was noticed by someone who used the same BBS (?), we had a monosyllabic chat. Quite an exhilarating and scary experience, me being very young at 11 years or so. The procedure lasted no longer than maybe 10 minutes! In the 1990s then did I get my first university email address, and using the Internet became routine. Have been exploring things ever since. What was your first online experience like? How did you get in touch with, erm, the online world, or with people who did? How much have things changed since those days!
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My first experience with going online was back in the way back. I had access to an ARPANET node and spent evenings playing "hunt the wumpus" on a remote system. That was back when the net had 7 nodes. I didn't get access at home until later, when I used Trumpet Winsock on Windows 3.1 to run Mosaic. Things have changed a lot since then.
Well I was online before there was a commercial internet... back in the BBS days and even before that I had a TRS-80 I used for my computer terminal to my college back in 1980/81.
I was on the BBS scene (and ran one almost ) for many many years, and at one point had a BBS that linked into the pre-commercial internet for some of that time (Started it in 1989 onward for about 1996 or so, had the commercial internet for about 3 years of that via a connection at Polaroid). I was online early, and on the early web onward as well...
My recollection may be hazy, but I remember having to post on Facebook with a punched card deck. I pretty much had the same status from day to day and any variety disappeared in favor of a wreath for the December holiday.
(continuing from yesterday) @Olav ᚢᛚᚹ @UnclePirate (Stan McCann) that passionfruit margarita has non-alcoholic and alcoholic versions - both yummy. The non-alcoholic version is a fresh fruit slushie with interesting other ingredients like lime cordial, etc.
QOTD - I'm afraid I'm a later internet adopter. I watched over others' shoulders as they got excited and were patient with screeching machines that took forever to connect. (I did acquire my first unconnected PC, which I adored, about the time @Carsten Raddatz (劉愷恩) went online for the first time.) My first online experience must have been with work email. I remember my first experience with social media better. At the time my employer was a government which restricted all employees from any work or personal social media use. While I was very curious about the advent of Twitter, I could just watch. When the rules relaxed three years after, I was one of the first employees on Twitter, even though each tweet I did for work had to be approved by my chain of command AND the PR branch beforehand! But I began exploring. FB next (didn't like it from the start). Then found myself shamelessly begging for a limited invitation for g+ beta. G+ was a mind blowing experience, even/especially in those early days. Needless, to say, online transformed from another communication channel to a place/new dimension. With g+ in the past now, I'm so glad my hunch is correct that online 'places' are where people gather to mingle, than it is about specific platforms.
QOTD: Perhaps only tangentially related: in about 1985, A co-worker and I created an instant messenger function on an IBM S/3 Model 15D with character only dumb terminals, all in RPG/II. We also created an internal email system on that same computer. At its height, we had 13 locations, with some 50+ terminals.
Later that year we finally connected the beast to the World Wide Web (remember when we called it that?) and used a text based browser to surf.
@Jodi Kaplan, that definitely was "online", you were among the pioneers! Even better to have you here.
I feel very young now with that amount of experience! Thank you all for sharing. ^-^
Everyone who's not commenting today, rest assured I too feel goggle-eyed like kitty for #caturday:
Home computers for me by the mid-80s were becoming a thing, and to get more of it I met other nerds who thought the same who were hanging around in the computer section of the local department store. That was fun, and went beyond schoolyard swaps! Exciting times.
If connecting to anything network was nothing new to you, technicalities aside, what has changed whatever you couldn't usefully do offline after this step?
My family first experienced the Internet around '96 through something that then was called Web TV, before Microsoft bought it. Until about '99 it was our only networked equipment, since our PC didn't come with a modem and MS-DOS 3.0 was probably older than I was, so my family didn't associate the Internet and computers back then.
The early WebTV interfaces had both e-mail clients and some kind of chat rooms, but most of us only used the former. By the time Microsoft bought it up: you could actually chat over MSN Messenger, and along with land line telephones was part of how I kept in touch with friends beyond the "I'll see you at XYZ_Place" distance.
Actually it was typing e-mails into WebTV that made me realize a computer could be better than a typewriter. Backspaces were clean and easy and far more reliable than using correction tapes or whiteout with the fancier electric typewriters (that I hated, passionately, compared to my grandmother's mechanical one). By then of course, most people had long since stopped thinking of computers as a useless refrigerator or an expensive piece of secretarial equipment.
Years later when our PC moved into the post Pentium area there was a place called [GameSpy Arcade] that handled the match making lobbies for various games I played. Ditto MSN Gaming Zone for playing MechWarrior. These also became my hangouts before forums took over more of my social life and I came to know more people by messaging networks. By the time Windows Vista was a thing, I think I was usually signed into 5~6 instant messaging networks.
I got online in 1998 with my first "real" computer the Apple iMac in Bondi Blue....I still have it too!. My very first computer was a commodore 64 it took me several hours to program it to make //////// in different colors....at that time I had no free time to go into it more. I remember dial up internet. For Years! I love Wifi, and now I am on my second Apple lap top....very disappointed in the lack of quality from My iMac to now....prices are still high but they went the way of Microsoft, I had to use it at work and hated Microsoft because is was bulky as compared to my iMac, in user friendliness ....not a fan of Microsoft still.... too hard to use. but Apple has declined so much if I need another lap top( I love the streamline-ness of the lap tops , take anywhere in the house so I am not tied to one room and feels all science fiction-y....
I was heavily into local BBS's and games like Zork back in '82-'83 using a Commodore SX-64 briefcase system like this one:
I found a fellow nearby me who had a garage full of these; brand new in boxes. We didn't ask questions. He did claim all was legit and even offered us a 90-day money back warranty.
In about '87 or so, my interest in computers waned quite a bit. I did not get active on the modern (WWW) Internet until 2000. The system I was using then was a hand-me-down from my brother. It was a little Gateway Pentium I/90 with Win 98 on it.
..online for me was mostly using the 'Uncle Andrew' system at CMU for the BBS interactions...I was a student at Duquesne, but visited CMU's campus often..that was during grad school in the late 80's...I was already proficient in Win 3.1, and had my own computer, tho I didn't go online - I was considered very 'modern' by my fellow grad students, having my papers printed out and ready for class..thank goodness for the TRS 90-100, and my own dot-matrix printer! It was how I kicked out my BA Thesis paper...still have that TRS 80-100! Guess you never do forget your First...
I got actively online with the Babylon 5 site thru Warner Bros....there was part of a group of dedicated fans who referred to ourselves as the First Ones...that was in '93? Doubt any of those folks are here, but if there are...I was Lady Dethriel then..(or Lady Deth)...I played with Live Journal, but G+ was really the best online home for me....being in the SCA, and part of an email List known as SCA-East, I have learned just how vicious folks can be online..(one of the many reasons I am no longer SCA today...damn, folks can be excessively nasty online!)
Was also rather active for a while with an MMORPG game called Everquest, and later World of Warcraft..which is...while a Game situation, definitely Online....it was fun being in the game & playing with folks from NZ, Australia, Germany and San Francisco..all at the same time! And hearing each other, as the game needed headphones and mics to speak to each other...coulda used that more in the early days of Everquest!
Currently, am all Gamed out....so now I socialize with an Intelligent Bunch of folks here...a looooong way from the Babylon5.net days and LJ..!
I was a big ICQ person in 1999. I'm grateful to my brother John, who taught me how to "chat" online in a way to get engagement. I was so consumed by my problems that I did not realize if you post depressing things and are deemed "too serious" that others stay away. I learned to use emoticons, internet acronyms, and post funny stuff in a ratio of 2/3 to 1 IRL post. It worked! I use that theory to this day. Now my family is always amazed I tend to collect so many following/contacts. And I learned to have a LOT of people I follow to make sure my streams (anywhere) are filled with high-quality posts. Especially on Twitter, these tenets are true to this day. LOL ROFLMAO BRB
MEMORIES... HYPERION Model 3032 1st World MS-DOS Portable Computer - was it truly the first portable computer? The first time I saw one was when one of my classmates was showing his off to a bunch of us wide eyed poor students and warning us we weren't going to get our degrees without the help of a portable computer. It was a good thing most of us didn't have the funds for how much it cost at the time (seems like it was equivalent to our university fees for the year) - I cannot imagine how each of us could have carted this around, in addition to our book-filled backpacks on our bicycles!
First online experience? Working construction back then, there were good and bad times financially. I had taken a couple of computer courses at a community college that sparked my interest in computers. So when good times came around, I had pockets full of money and went to a computer store. Walked out with a brand new Amiga 500 with a whole megabyte of memory. And although I remember it as a 300 baud modem, it was more likely a 2400 in 1985. Soon I was playing Tradewars on a local BBS and trading messages with people all around the world via UseNet.
But it was about 92 that the world really opened up. I went back to college in 89. In a year, I was hired by that college (NMSUA). A couple years later, we got hooked up to main campus and I had to learn quickly how to manage a connected network. Still no .coms or www yet but soon to be.
The 90s were wonderful times using the Internet to learn how to manage my little part of it. Up to about 500 nodes when I had to retire.
..that's why I loved my TRS 80-100...it was totally portable...since it came with a chunkahunk memory box..what I did with an aftermarket Chipmonk drive was boost memory inside it, gave me also a page-view so I could see how large the doc was and looked, and this enabled me to write up my thesis in '87....did not know then that I could have gotten online with it...that would have been something I totally did...but by '92 I met my Grimm One, who had the knowledge and ability to build his own computer, and did so...even building two computers..so since 1993 I've had my own PC. Not a laptop, an actual computer...(tho it's astounding what my current 'smart phone' can do in comparison...!)
@Violante de Rojas No kidding about the phones. When I first started work at the college, we had an IBM 3270?, no hard drive, just an 8" floppy and a whopping 256 k RAM. I don't know what it was even used for as beginning the semester I started, it never even got turned on. It sure gave us space when we finally junked it.
I've used lots of computers, personal and mainframe, for work. I didn't get a personal account until 1996. I ended up with a Geocities site. I've mostly went on dog or personal tech sites - Sony PDAs, Creative media players and Samsung Galaxy S boards. XDA to get tips on how to do some stuff with my phone.
I love those old PCs and I recommended everyone to visit the world's largest computer museum, HNF in Paderborn, Germany. They showcase the complete history of the computer from old mechanical typewriters to modern smartphoned and with original models from the areas.
My first computer was with Windows 95 and internet over ISDN came later. But I also used a lot of ICQ and spent a lot time chatting with others and also playing computer games.
@Su Ann Lim That is a heavyweight to log around! D:
When starting university I did already have a computer at home, nothing portable though. There were computer pools everywhere, Windows NT machines, NeXTs, and some (I thought) very oddly cool Solaris machines that had huuuuge screens, and were sort of hidden in a top floor semiar building where nobody came along by accident. The assigned storage space for your user had, I think, 20MB of space, which on application be extended to 50MB.
What I quickly found to be the stuff I told other students though was "use TeX", or when nobody understood, watered down heavily to "let your table of contents be generated". The latter was.. for many... beyond their horizons. They would write a seminar paper, print it, then see the page numbers and then manually type up an extra page, writing chapter titles and lots of dots and the page number from the printout, then print the extra page with the toc. Errrmmmm... no, that is not how it works.
At uni I had a PCI modem card that gave me 33.6k max speed, which I thought was just superb. ISDN with a blast of 64k came later. The uni provided dial-up numbers, and once in you could access all the "internal" ressources like library loans, OPACs, and the databases your institutes had subscribed to. Fantastic possibilities! Many of the staff though had not kept up with the times, and referreing to that email you had written them in preparation for the meeting, they said "Email? What email?"
I happily attended classes at three major universities, since they'd all count towards the degree (if you had the form filled out). So by 1999 or so I got my 2nd uni email address, and felt like @doug t described it.
@Christoph S computer museum.. I loved the Munich museum department of computer history:
First computer was an "unauthorized" Apple II+/IIe that was "imported" from Hong Kong ca 1982/3. First x86, '85/86 was a "kit", meaning dad and I soldered all the parts onto the motherboard. Stil scratch-build everything but the laptops because I'm generally not building to consumer specs.
Anyway, QOTD: first 'online' was a local BBS group, late '80s. Had an internet account for a few months when it went public, but I didn't know anyone online and wasn't terribly interested in CLI at that point so it got shelved until html came out, so '94 or '95 I suppose. Farted around with AO-Hell for a bit in the middle for content in-between and mostly hated it.
First broadband was ~1997/8, the Bay Area there was a company that did affordable DSL with a ad-based browser. First 'real' broadband was around 2000 w/ Comcast. I've had my current ISP for 16 years (2003) partially because they don't have data caps and let me host websites.
Happy Caturday, folks! I started with a VIC 20, then a Commodore 64, and progressed from there to a series of Ataris. I had an STE Mega (one meg of RAM), and increased it to a whopping four megs before it even left the store. That was the one that I started to get on the internet with. I joined Genie BBS, I think it cost about six bucks a month, unplugged the phone and plugged in the computer, and printed reams of coded stuff onto my dot matrix printer. I didn't understand what to do with all that at the time, so it wasn't until the late nineties and Karen and I, with two MS computers lined up side by side shared a connection to a dial up modem, and talked to people around the world using MIRC. I can still hear the sound of that handshake!
Note to Non-Nerds: Breathe deeply. It's ok not to understand what's being discussed. #Checkin is a daily forum where all are welcome to come chat about things that we find riveting. On a typical day there are several/many topics that weave throughout the thread. Don't hesitate to provide a non-nerd perspective of how the internet has made a difference to you. Or, introduce another topic. We're all ljust hanging around the #Checkin water cooler. 😎
I couldn't say, probably whatever day internet came to Australia. I grew up with computers in the 80's. Mum had a 286 with win 3.1 (or earlier?), I had an atari xe and later a bbc micro. My uncles had c64s and other computers as far back as I can remember, one ran a bbs in the bungalow, another was a radio tech, so always talking from one machine to another with radio, or headlights (because laser wasn't available) or any medium that could pass a signal. We even did it via sonar in a bathtub, because we could, not because there was anything practical to achieve from playing c64 chess across a bathtub.
Although despite having my own computers, and fixing everyone elses computers, modems, VCRs, Walkmas etc etc, I never got my own internet setup untill 2008ish. Just after my daughter was born. Because I thought the internet needed time to become populated with more info before it could become useful. I've been onlune almost every day since.
My first internet experiences were likely in the early to mid-90s at my friend's house. He was kinda super tech savvy like his dad who was an IT guy for USGS. We would Doom landline style or Quake online eventually too. Online gaming was our main purpose with it, as I recall. My buddy built his first PC when he was like 12? So 1995.
My family's first internet experience was with Juno, I believe. We didn't go online until the mid to late 90s in our family. We were using Juno's email services at first. Then, I branched out to ICQ, because my friend got me on there so we could chat. And I got my siblings and I on mIRC for chatrooms. My oldest bro ran a chatroom for a while.
@[email protected] Most likely. I was a poor construction worker that picked up an old Atari at a pawn shop mid 80s. I think I paid $75 or some such. I had learned some Apple basic at community college. It was interesting to go backwards to the Atari. Writing/saving/running programs from tape was interesting, to say the least. Much like your old TI.
But the games were a blast. some friends and I wore out many a joystick on that old Atari, later Amiga, later ...
@[email protected] that's how the TRS-80 worked too. We had a game console (can't remember the brand) which had tic tac toe, hockey, and ping pong. You used the TV as a monitor, and then there was a console.
@Carsten Raddatz (劉愷恩) Just noticed in one of the museum pictures, there's a Myst game. Still got mine, a box set with Riven. I loved that game. No shoot 'em up, just puzzles. I've got all the Riven discs installed and working on my Linux box now, but I rarely play it. The graphics aren't what I used to think they were, if you know what I mean.
@UnclePirate (Stan McCann) Absolutely. The Atari games were great. I used to like the flight simulators too, although they were pretty pathetic compared to the new ones. In my single life, I remember staying up til the wee hours flying in real time from Seattle to San Francisco. I'd get the plane on an even course, then go out to the kitchen to grab another beer, and when I got back I'd sometimes find myself in a nose dive! Woops!
@Don Little at my brother's 13th birthday, my dad set up a terminal with a simple train graphic that went choo choo across the screen. Everyone oohed and aahed. Of course now it would be laughingly rudimentary.
@Don Little when you've uploaded to postimage, click to get the large version, then right click to 'copy image addrerss'. Insert that using the image button next to the link button on the post editor. [The URL should end with .jpg]
First computer: TI-99/4A First computer that made it online: 386, 8MB RAM, 80MB HDD, $3k(!!!) First venture online: Dialed in to library, early 90s... 2 hr limit on each connection... had no idea how any of this stuff worked, so every time I had to follow a link out from the library to a law firm (MLB dot com, I kid you not---Morgan, Lewis & Bockius---wonder how much $$$$$$ they got for that domain!), then followed links out from their site. I could eat up the better part of the 2 hrs sometimes trying to find my way back to something interesting. Second place goes to Coldwell Banker, where one could dial in and get current real estate listings in ASCII format.It's cool to see so many ppl discussing Trash-80s. MIL had one---it was the only thing at the time that could keep up with her typing speed.
Mr. Stranger had an Apple IIe, which he used to court me with colorful flyers he designed. ❤️
I think both of those are in our storage bin.
He also had a Commodore PET that he needed pencils to type on (fat fingers). Unfortunately it had to go back, didn't work right.ROFL @ @Olav ᚢᛚᚹ "song of my people" 😂😂
@Carsten Raddatz (劉愷恩) is that any relation to LaTeX? That stuff gives me flashbacks. I worked for a while as an editor at an academic journal that accepted physics submissions, which largely arrived in that format. They were an absolute nightmare to translate to our typesetting system.
I wish more people back in the day weren't afraid of scratch-building machines because those prices were just predatory. I'm pretty sure my first 5 or 6 computers cost less than that combined.
It's hard to equate in modern dollars because a basic desktop is more or less a commodity item these days - $400 will set you up nicely. If you don't mind older kit and maybe Linux, I can get a kid a laptop for $100 or less. (there was a time when I had a little more capital and used to do this, probably 20 laptops to good homes that needed them).
Oops forgot first email: Juno (hubs still uses his once in a while... had some hassle getting them to stop charging him once we got broadband tho)
@Olav ᚢᛚᚹ next rig was a Pentium with 1GB for a paltry $1k. 🙄
When Win9x died on the Pentium, I built a rig. Had no fkn idea what I was doing. Turns out all computer cases were not the same! So I couldn't recycle one I had to fit the mini AMD-based mobo I bought. Not that Mr. Stranger didn't try with some tin snips and cut himself up pretty good! 😳
Couldn't afford to replace Win at the time (hard to believe it used to be that expensive) so linux was the objective. Didn't have a way to order online with no computer (and no connection to the local nerd community) so I was stuck with whatever was on the shelf at CompUSA: Red Hat or SuSE. RH seemed kinda corporate so I went with SuSE. What a nightmare. Due to some kind of equipment conflict, I ended up having to pay somebody to install it, and I never really did get the hang of using it.
The kid who rang up my software purchase and a couple of components at CompUSA was a nerd straight from central casting---white shirt, pocket protector, unruly curly hair, and thick-rimmed glasses. He also had a rather unfortunate Elmer Fudd accent. After chatting me up about my selections, he declared my assemblage ambitions "impwessive". I still don't know whether it was my advanced age (30-something) or gender that led him to believe this was beyond my capabilities.
@Lisa Stranger Yes, LaTeX is closely related to TeX, mainly added macros to cope better with images, embedded formulas, equations and such. In text-only typesetting, for small requirements, not strictly necessary. Nobody would do all that work by hand now (I was crazy maybe doing that stuff by hand even before attending uni). Now there's pandoc for almost everything document format-related.
@Beej Cobalt ICQ was great - though when I got introduced to it (mid-90s) we had metered internet connection, and any minute online would both cost money, and actually block the telephone. So didn't use it much then, sort of missing the whole point. The 5-digit user # I had does not exist any longer now, 20+ years later, neither the 2nd ID made around 2000.
I was late to the Myst series, 1998 maybe, started with Riven on a loong university summer break, on someone's borrowed Mac, instead of working on those term papers. @Olav ᚢᛚᚹ @Violante de Rojas Then noticed the same CD would work on a Windows box! W00t! How cool was that! Forward 20 years @Don Little, I too found that non-zoomable 640x480 pixels on FullHD or morge pixels won't create the same atmosphere. But but but, Steam has a 25th anniversary bundle has a collector's Masterpiece edition, remastered to accomodate modern-day resolutions. This may work out as it did then! I got a Steamlink device and a PS3 controller, and could play it on the TV in the living room. Exile would be great to play again, given time.
Ancient gaming console, the flat fake wood box on the 3rd computer museum picture is what we had, top shelf, rightmost item. Very early 80s. Four hardware switches on the device, 2 controllers with potentiometer sliders, and I think 3 built-in games: Pong, something, and a shooting game: using the supplied, wired light sensor rifle, shoot at the bobbing pixel on the TV that would creep all across the screen. A flip of a hardware switch would double the size of the target.
@Lisa Stranger I'm so sorry. IMO SuSe is still an abomination of the Linux world. It's still touted as a 'Windows replacement' except that's a lie.
It's also sad that women today still have that stigma. I know women that know far more about computing than I do, particularly in some areas. Meanwhile if I go to certain areas of Fry's (not the supermarket) or Best Buy, I get differential treatment. Sometimes I think if I wore a flowing robe they'd sacrifice a goat in my honor :/
Been running Linux boxes for some 16 years, the main server Fedora and more recently Ubuntu because it's easier in some ways. Desktop tho, I only switched over in the past year or so ago when open-source-ish virtual machines became stable enough to run my CAD software in a VM. Couldn't work at home if I couldn't run my Windows-centric software.
Every time Elmer Fudd:
@Carsten Raddatz I should poke at Steam. I have more than a little time for games these days, I just have to do it :P
In the late 1990's get got a SuSe package (ior was that S.u.S.E. still), a 6.something version from uni, and I hated it. Cumbersome to install, Yast was ugly and didn't do what I wanted, and screwed up the machine badly when I edited its config files by hand for tweaking. So it took a few years until I discovered #gentoo linux and had another go.
By the way, a most fascinating woman in 2000 introduced me to Redhat running on a laptop. So much for gender stereotypes!
Lol at Elmer Fudd! The world needs more of those! :D
This is the end
of today's #checkin post-thread, timeszones and all. Fence climbing ~ftw~ possibly tolerated, but let's continue over at the new thread of Sep 1. We have drinks!
@Olav ᚢᛚᚹ, going for steam, I found there's no need to subscribe. Unless you want those expensive, AAA ttitles all the time (I don't). I typically spend less than 2€ per game, and play innovative, curious and strange indie games, for the gameplay, in full anti-blockbuster mode. :)