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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, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

In the days before it was called The Internet
Back to 1986... and as our school VIth form was close to Rutherford Labs they had installed various spare kit in the local schools to connect us up to a network between the schools. It did have some strange way to get through to JANET which was later to become part of the Internet... so this almost counts.

We had dumb terminals linked up to a PR1ME mainframe. We were supposed to be learning FORTRAN and using the line graphics programs. But instead we found the email and chat clients. Which meant for perfect cases of winding up other local schools.

Only the computer course had access to the computers, and for some reason Clare became really popular with some of the Boys schools with access to the computers elsewhere in the county.

So when in 1987 the next year's course started, six foot tall blond Stacy became just as popular. Only thing is, Stacy wasn't being exactly honest online when chatting up Andy at the local Boys School. Andy had not realised that Stacy was the male spelling. Our Stacy was a rugby playing male. But Andy was in love with this dream of woman of his dreams.

Of course, we let a couple of his "mates" know the truth. So they reinforced the lie by claiming to have met "Stacy". This leads to Andy taking two buses one lunch time to cover the 15 miles between the schools. Stacy met Andy from the bus. For some reason Andy ran away.

Before the Internet was even off the ground, we had worked out not only how to waste lots of time, but to lie about ASL for quality wind-ups. Of course you can trust the person you are talking to online. Nothing changes.
(, Fri 23 Mar 2012, 0:14, Reply)
I first encountered the internet
on a damp and rainy night in late september 1994. I had arrived at university with long hair, a leather jacket and my now long-gone estuary accent, my stuff in two boxes and a suitcase and a cd cassette player.

I had foolishly listed 'computing' among my interests on my halls application when really I meant 'Xenon 2' and 'Championship Manager'. I had left my old Atari ST at my parents' house, and my tv. I'd said that if I needed those in my first year, I was doing something wrong. What I'd done wrong was my halls application, as I discovered when I met my housemates, who liked computers very very much.

We, four of us, went to the union that first night. After two drinks one of them suggested that we, all being computer science students, should go to the computer centre and check out the computer equipment. That was a reasonable expectation, apparently. I tagged along, I wanted to like these people, they were ok, and I knew no-one else. I spent most of my first night at uni almost sober and staring at a sun workstation. We didn't have user accounts, and you didn't need a user account to log onto those.

Sunday we found the supermarket and spent the evening with those 'enrolling-in-the-morning' jitters. Monday we got our passwords. One of my housemates scored a floppy disk with netscape and an IRC client from a second year. That evening after a brief umm and ahh we walked straight past the bar and into the computer block. We met a dutch girl online. She probably wasn't dutch or a girl and likely hideous. One of my housemates remarked that the IRC was 'a bit like being in a pub', which was a good thing. I grimaced. I was doing it wrong.

Tuesday the same, then came wednesday.

Wednesday night two guys across the room call out and asked what channel we were on. One wore a yak coat, the other a PWEI tshirt. They were 'hippy' and 'vulcan'. They said where they were. I followed. They were trolling.

Two hours later me, hippy and vulcan left the building to buy beers and head back to someone's kitchen. There had been a surreal virtual barfight, we had offended most of the world's online mormons and fresh arrivals in the computer centre scratched their heads and wondered why the whole university was now banned from the inexplicably popular channel #england. Hippy reckons he saw a reference to the barfight in some kind on history of the internet once, but he can't remember the title of the book.

I began spending my evenings getting smashed with a new group of people. After that narrow escape I didn't use the internet in the evening for months. I regretted that I had missed the regurgitator in the SU that evening. I eventually became a classicist, and went to vulcan's wedding.
(, Fri 23 Mar 2012, 0:06, 3 replies)
internets 1995
Got contract with huge Canadian telecoms company in North London in 1994 or 1995, I'd never used the Internet before, they had it on tap. I remember typing in Netscape the names of all the British high street companies I could think of - www.boots.com, www.smiths.com, etc etc. A lot of them weren't taken at the time. I remember thinking to myself 'Somebody's going to make a lot of money registering these domain names'. I wish it had been me. Bollocks. They did have Usenet too. First time I ever saw pr0n at work.
(, Thu 22 Mar 2012, 23:09, Reply)
nuff said
(, Thu 22 Mar 2012, 22:43, 1 reply)
My first modem - 9600 baud of motherfucking badness
Cost me my first weeks wages and what was left of my eyesight once I found alt.binaries.
(, Thu 22 Mar 2012, 22:28, Reply)
Compuserve, very early 1990s. "CB Emulator", me aged 9ish, got groomed by a pedophile. He persuaded me to go to the local phone box so I could send him the number, and he could call me back "for a chat". Halfway to the phone box I thought "fuck this" and went to the shops instead to get a 10p mixup.
(, Thu 22 Mar 2012, 21:53, Reply)
This one fits quite nicely...
The Old Man and the Internet

My Dad never had a computer. He retired before they became commonplace in offices and the whole 'internet' thing simply passed him by, until very recently.

A couple of years ago my sister and I decided to get the folks online. We purchased a half-decent PC and sorted a broadband connection.

When everything was setup and working, I sat my 75yr old Dad down for the first time in front of a gleaming, empty Google page and explained how it all worked.

'So I just type what I'm interested in into this section and the computer will give me all the information?' He asked incredulously.

Yup. I replied. It's that simple.

We started with his name. Fortunately it is an unusual name, so the search results were few and surprisingly detailed. We found a family tree published by a US relative, we spent ages on the census site, we tried looking up his old pals on friendsreunited and watched endless youtube clips of 1950's motor racing (he loves that stuff).

I didn't bother with email or anything like that, just gave him the power of Google and left him with his imagination.

A couple of weeks later, I popped in to say hi - but Dad was on the golf course. So I peeked into his study, the PC was on and the BBC weather page was flickering on the screen. Great, I thought, he's really getting into this, checking the beeb for weather forecasts before he heads out to play a round, he's certainly got the hang of this internet lark, I wonder what else he's been up to...

So I checked out his history.

Oh. My. Fucking. God.

I have no father.
(, Thu 22 Mar 2012, 21:51, 9 replies)

Clunky Windows 95 laptop. Summer's day on 1999. We had a phone line installed at school specifically for this laptop, known as "the web computer". We could only use the Blue Peter website.
(, Thu 22 Mar 2012, 21:47, Reply)
Jesus Christ, that turns out to be a long time ago
Back in 1990 I discovered the delights of the X.25 coloured book protocols. You could connect to other computers around the world, using (in my case) only a VT220 attached to a VAX. A friend introduced me to the Mono BBS, and as she was one of the few women who could be bothered to get involved in this sort of thing she was feted by many, many geeks. I even went to one of their London meets.

It never gets better. I'm still hanging around on the periphery of groups of geeks who meet up in London pubs and conform to stereotype.
(, Thu 22 Mar 2012, 21:33, 2 replies)
Not my story, but an interesting bit of history.
I have a friend who was a part of the really early days of the internet, back when it was ARPANET.

In the late 1970s major government departments and major universities were tied into ARPANET and were able to send messages through it. If you happened to be working for one of the Ivy League or something you might have access to do this, but if you were in a smaller university you were out of luck as it cost $25,000 per year to access it.

An MIT graduate who was an engineer and his wife had an idea. Suppose they bought a license themselves, set up a nice big server and sold access to that for a far more reasonable amount, and sold it to a lot of people? And lo, in 1979 one of the first commercially available email services was born.

Bob and Susan became millionaires, of course. Sadly in 2006 Bob died of cancer, and the company has dwindled to nothing. However, Susan and I are good friends, and there may yet be a resurgence of their company- we have plans for drift buoys for climate monitoring that may yet come to pass.

The amusing part of this is that they were essentially reselling government services at a profit, and not only was it legal to do so but it was encouraged.

RIP, Bob. You had chromium steel balls the size of cantaloupes.
(, Thu 22 Mar 2012, 21:13, 4 replies)
1995-1996 my parents got us the internet, with AOL. Our home page was, by default AOL, being 9 years old, I wasn't aware of URLs or websites, I assumed that was the whole internet.

What did I do? Downloaded a video of "Zelda 64". This took 2 hours too download and lasted about 90 seconds.
(, Thu 22 Mar 2012, 20:43, Reply)
Back in '93 or something
my little brother was trumpeting the delights of the internet

"It's great, look at this! LIVE footage from someone's fish tank!"

me "I can't see much changing"

him "It updates every 20 seconds...watch"

time passes....

me "where's the fish, I can't see any?"

him "there aren't any yet, he's hoping people will send him money to buy some"
(, Thu 22 Mar 2012, 20:25, Reply)
That is all.
(, Thu 22 Mar 2012, 19:54, 5 replies)
Oh dude, you had to be there.
I was all rerouting encryptions and hacking the Gibson every night. You fucking dull cunts.
(, Thu 22 Mar 2012, 19:34, 16 replies)
While I was at university. It was a mainframe with dumb terminals and entirely text-based.

I used it to finger remote sites and talk to girls in America (I cringe at the thought). I emailed friends at other universities. I played MUDS for far too long.

Even then it was a place to meet weird types.
(, Thu 22 Mar 2012, 19:22, 5 replies)
I was about 12-13
We had recently got the internet at home so when I was alone I obviously went looking for porn. I found a few images and decided to save them on the computer. "I'll keep them well hidden" I said to myself "in some obscure hidden folder where no-one will find them".

Where did I end up putting them? Only the fucking startup folder so they all popped up the next time someone turned the computer on.
(, Thu 22 Mar 2012, 18:10, 4 replies)
My first experience of the internet?
I used it to buy a bread-maker.
(, Thu 22 Mar 2012, 18:01, Reply)
Office internet
Probably about 1996. Working at my Dad's office in the summer hols. Whilst waiting for him at the end of one Friday, me and my brother logged into the only porn site we knew (persiankitty.com or something). Dad suddenly appeared and said we were leaving for home. We got up and left. Forgot to log-out and racked up an impressive bill. Not impressive enough to impress my Dad though.
(, Thu 22 Mar 2012, 17:31, 1 reply)

My first experience on the internet was in a chat room. I started chatting to a 15 year old girl. She was a bit flirty and in need of a friend so we arranged to meet up. Turned out she was an undercover detective. That's an impressive achievement at her age.
(, Thu 22 Mar 2012, 16:39, 4 replies)
We've gone way beyond
scraping the bottom of the barrel with this weeks qotw.

Only things I can remember when using the net for the first time 15 years ago was using the Wireplay dial-up at 2.5p/min at weekends and playing Duke3d deathmatch.
(, Thu 22 Mar 2012, 16:36, 1 reply)
1. My parents got a dialup internet connection.
2. They went out.
3. PORN!
4. Huge phone bill which thankfully they didn't ask too much about

(, Thu 22 Mar 2012, 16:24, Reply)
Oh man, I looked at this thing called called a 'website'
Good times.

/Every answer this week
(, Thu 22 Mar 2012, 16:21, 2 replies)
Ms comic chat
I thought it was just a fun thing you made comics in then two people start have cyber sex.

edit: It was an alien and a man with a bag on his head.
(, Thu 22 Mar 2012, 15:29, Reply)
After discovering the wonders of "real time jamming" via the Resrocket network in 1995
I was hooked. I bought a synth and some midi leads and my phone bill was GIGANTIC.
Then Screaming.net came along, the first real unlimited dial-up.

So for about a year I hardly went to bed and my family thought my phone was broken because it couldn't be engaged 24/7 could it?

The result? I'm now a musical superstar a stack of mediocre midi files with some idiot noodling jazz style over the top of everything we did, whatever style we were composing in.

But, it changed my life and I met some lifelong friends through the magic of online music making.
(, Thu 22 Mar 2012, 15:28, 2 replies)
Did I miss anything?
(, Thu 22 Mar 2012, 15:20, Reply)
"Welcome to AOL"
"you have email"

was a glorious sound when your mum and dad had just left to go to a wedding or something.

Each week the free internet would run out. so we would cancel, get another disc from AOL. install - free trial - and off we go.

I think Ive still got a load of those discs somewhere in one of my junk drawers somewhere.

The AOL girl was fit.
(, Thu 22 Mar 2012, 15:15, 4 replies)
Ultima Online
Basically. Running around Brittania with strangers (oo err) killing skeletons and ogres and getting killed a lot more. Fun times.
(, Thu 22 Mar 2012, 15:00, 2 replies)
sandra bullock

when a SHADOWY CABAL operating from a STRANGE NEW MYSTICAL WORLD could manipulate your life...

and other films where 'hackers' all wore tie dye and could stay on skateboards.

almost as poor a representaion of current/ future tech as the year when minidiscs were everywhere in hollywood
(, Thu 22 Mar 2012, 14:50, 6 replies)
Did this only happen to me?
Perusing the use.net alt/binary/pictures/disgusting_porn when Win3.xx crashes and the blue screen comes up 'Illegal Operation'.
"Oh shit" I says, "How could they know?"
(, Thu 22 Mar 2012, 14:48, 2 replies)

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