You are not logged in. Login or Signup
Home » Question of the Week » My First Experience of the Internet » Post 1572450 | Search
This is a question My First Experience of the Internet

We remember when this was all fields, and lived a furtive life of dial-up modems and dodgy newsgroups. Tell us about how you came to love the internets.

(, Thu 22 Mar 2012, 11:56)
Pages: Popular, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

« Go Back

From precious luxury to ubiquitous commodity.
My earliest experiences with the networking power of computers began with my father's purchase of a first generation Compaq portable in early 1983. After using the word processor software to prepare and print out an extensive senior seminar final paper, I demanded my own computer system to take with me to college, and put much of my summer's earnings towards a portable of my own, with M&D graciously making up the difference, plus throwing in a loud and proud Riteman 9-pin dot matrix printer.

My initial years at the college were filled with BBS exploration and an ever growing list of telephone numbers for same. I was also blessed with the gift of a pricey Compu$erve account, which at $12/hr for 1200/2400 baud access was a carefully guarded resource, especially when an extended file downloading session could generate a $60 charge and a followup phone call from dear old dad making certain I was using it to best effect. It's old history now, but watching GIF make its debut, then seeing NAPLPS morph into the Prodigy service and the rise of the independent national networks was exciting, as horizons broadened and ideas exchanged across the patchwork of systems. The college did have internet access, but it was set aside exclusively for professors to communicate with other professors. We did have a limited global news capacity in the form of the X-Press system, which was a low rate satellite link to world news stories. It was that system which informed the students in the computer center about a breaking radiation disaster in Goiania which, coupled with the prior year's news of the Chernobyl meltdown, generated a greater level of angst than most of us were accustomed to.

My final presentation at the college centered around data transfer rates, the ubiquity of low speed modem based networking and the continuing viability of "sneaker net" technologies, up to and including mailing a stack of diskettes or CDs being quicker than attempting to use telephone connections. 2 months after I graduated, my entire presentation was rendered moot when the new V.32 communications standard turned existing modems into garbage and the BBS networks experienced a resurgence in popularity and viability until the flat rate ISP appeared.

It took a few more years and the rise of the independent ISP before I abandoned my trusty Compu$erve account and braved the wild waters of direct internet access, but by '94 I was enjoying newly expanded horizons, automating how to make 7-bit ASCII text coexist with 8-bit binaries in emails and starting flame wars on message boards by trying to help users of older Packard Bell computers figure out how to upgrade their VRAM sockets (argh: ZIP chips!). And I certainly can't forget Usenet.

An especially memorable moment involving the service occurred when Jhod had the wild idea to create a new discussion group in alt.sex; we were clueless to what he was doing until we saw alt.sex.aluminum.baseball.bat brought into being, at which point he said, "let's leave it for a few weeks and see what happens." I had no idea of the power of suggestion until that moment. As we checked back in to see what was being discussed, the initial, tentative posts of "is this real?" had already given way to discussions of size and types of bats used and the merits of standard anodized models versus painted variants. It was at that moment, reading the posts, responses and suggestions, that I realized the internet truly is a magical place.

In the years since, the world has caught on to the wonders of easy world wide communication: the battle now rages between corporate interests attempting to destroy individual liberties, governments pushing for wholesale censorship, groups who fight to protect individual rights and unrestricted use, and you, who me? yes you, keeping this place fun and entertaining - but I'll never forget that magical moment when I discovered you could ask the question, "are your fetishes as sick and twisted as mine?" and receive an honest, emphatic reply from the rest of the world.

Thank you for your time.
(, Tue 27 Mar 2012, 10:16, closed)
Cool story bro

(, Tue 27 Mar 2012, 10:19, closed)
Erm
Could I have those minutes of my life back please?
(, Tue 27 Mar 2012, 10:23, closed)

Please think twice before adding line breaks -- your post will be skipped over if it looks too spread out or is a wall of text.
(, Tue 27 Mar 2012, 10:40, closed)
This begs the question:
what are your fetishes and are they as sick and twisted as mine?
(, Tue 27 Mar 2012, 11:34, closed)
Well, I have been thrown off several fetish panels at various conventions.
The most harmless one was during a description of the loli/moe/"girls in bloom" phenomenon; I gave the briefest explanation I could by growling out, "because we like to look at the little girls!" The room fell silent for a few moments, followed by a "moving right along" comment from the host and a whispered "you realize you can't come back to this panel" from an adjacent friend.

Another one involved the display of a catgirl illustration, but with the seifuku-clad subject snacking on a freshly-caught mouse. "Wha'dya expect: she's part cat!" was my response to the cries of horror and disgust.

There was Dr. Slump and fecal fetishism, which I made especially repellent by snacking on some strawberry ice cream brought to the panel for that specific segment. I'm guessing it was the very real fear the organizers were losing control of their panel which results in suspensions and bans, although once it was explained as, "we didn't think the audience really understood how far things could be taken."

I also made a group of tentacle porn fiends run screaming from a room with a brief console game demo, but that wasn't really part of my fetish panel experience. I can imagine it contributed to my pariah status for certain conventions.
(, Tue 27 Mar 2012, 21:38, closed)
I like this
at least it answers the question.
(, Tue 27 Mar 2012, 11:52, closed)
That's too long
I'd hate to read all the way to the end, and find out it was about some droids.
(, Tue 27 Mar 2012, 16:55, closed)

« Go Back

Pages: Popular, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1