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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.

Second hand experience
Not mine, but my sister's boyfriend (now husband).

They were off in another city, both at university. Not particularly flush for cash, I cobbled together an old PC for them so that they could study, write, get email and surf UseNet. Soon I was down to visit for a few days so I set it up and gave handy hints on how to use the modem, post to UseNet and all that.

Back home the next night I got a call at 3 or 4 in the morning. It was my sister's BF. The tone in his voice said it all, someone was in hospital or dead. "What's up?" I asked, not wanting to know the answer.

"It's the Internet! I've broken it!!" he answered in the same panicked voice.

I was damn tired and pissed off now the adrenalin burst had worn off and told him to just try rebooting the PC, and if that didn't work, call me again at a decent hour and I'd see what I can do. But he was still panicked,

"You don't understand! I've *broken* the *Internet*!!!!"

It was about then I was awake enough to detect the herbally induced paranoia. Ahhh... There followed a brief lesson on why a network designed to withstand a nuclear war wasn't going to be taken down by a stoned uni student and that a swat team wasn't about to burst through his window.

About a week later he ventured onto UseNet and did a sterling job trolling the inhabitants of one group into a lynching frenzy before finally giving p on the Internet for maybe 10 years.
(, Thu 29 Mar 2012, 13:09, Reply)
So I was in my first computing class, sometime in the 90's...

Due to the bristling air conditioning in the classroom I was clad in my finest collection of clothes fashioned entirely out of the pelts of certain animals. I was also glad to have my long ‘Death metal' style hair as it could keep the back of my neck warm.

As I sat tapping away at the computer however, I began to get the feeling that I was being watched. Suddenly my phone began to beep.

I checked the message. It read: 'This is your coat, they are watching you...'

How could my clothes be communicating with me? But whoever it was, they were right. Teeming around the base of the computer was a veritable army of little insects…all stood in line…staring at me…staring…staring. It freaked me the fuck out tbh.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any weirder, they started to arrange themselves into certain shapes…they were spelling out words! Fucking hell!

I watched, transfixed as the staring, leering fuckers began to painstakingly spell out the following.

Cover…your…barnet…up…you…unhygienic…fuckwit…they wrote out.

It was at this point I’d decided I’d had enough and I screamed for the instructor to assist me. As I explained the situation however, he seemed quite calm, and I asked if him he had heard of such strange phenomenon before.

‘Sure’, he declared, it’s just your Furs-text. Peery ants often hint hairnet'.

(, Thu 29 Mar 2012, 10:39, 5 replies)
End of story.

First forum, first 'real' experience of online people. Now defunct. So say we all.
(, Thu 29 Mar 2012, 10:25, 2 replies)
gopher, archie,
and where are those people I chatted to on the Cleveland Freenet now? Not necessarily Cleveland, if my own location was any guide.

(, Thu 29 Mar 2012, 10:17, 1 reply)
In my first job in 1994 I got the sweet job of "researching what the Internet is" with one other person.
We got a dedicated 386, external modem and phone line and ISP paid for. Everyone else was stuck using the green screen mainframe. My colleague kept ordering boxes of 720K floppies to put his rapidly growing collection of porn onto. I often wonder what happened to that collection of discs, and whether they are still readable after all these years, or whether they just got abandoned on a railway embankment.
(, Thu 29 Mar 2012, 8:57, 1 reply)
When we went online in the 90s, pay per minute, I told the kids they could use it as much as they liked at offpeak times.
BIG mistake. A phone bill for nearly £600 rolled up (this was about 1998!) which we soon found out had been run up by my 15 year-old son, spending every night all summer on it.

His father hit the roof but I just swallowed hard and said, well, I told them it was OK, so it's OK.

Soon after the next bill (for nearly £500) arrived, he'd turned 16 and come out to us. He seems to have been chatting online and getting advice on how to come out and handle parents!

Eleven hundred quid for your son's peace of mind? Steep, but worth every penny.
(, Thu 29 Mar 2012, 8:13, Reply)
I have dial-up internet.
Watch out, if I kill your grandparents you won't be born.
(, Thu 29 Mar 2012, 5:51, Reply)
CIX - 'run internet'
It took you into some sort of shell, with telnet, and other tools, such as a basic newsreader.
Does anyone happen to know when the usenet service started?
And what date it went read-write?

I assume CIX discussions were not archived?
(, Thu 29 Mar 2012, 0:25, Reply)
Is it Thursday yet?

(, Wed 28 Mar 2012, 19:53, 4 replies)
When I first got the internet
I was only about 14 and living with my folks. My brother ran up a huge phone bill due to exessive use of phonesex with online cam girls.

He blamed it on me saying it was my downloads on napster that caused it. My folks beleived him and took my paper round money off me for a month
(, Wed 28 Mar 2012, 19:44, Reply)
A friend of mine still uses AOL
I would say he is still on his first experience on the Internet.
(, Wed 28 Mar 2012, 17:48, 2 replies)
I am internet

(, Wed 28 Mar 2012, 14:49, 10 replies)
It was 1994...
using Lynx, a terminal-based browser (think analogue teletext).

I remember a friend of mine asking me to get some information from an Australian site - I am damned if I can remember what it was.

I mentioned this in passing to my Mum (I was 14), who went apeshit. She would not accept that I had not just made a very long phonecall to Australia, despite a lengthy explanation that I was connected to a UK ISP. Fortunately my old man, a senior telecoms engineer at BT, put her right. Just as well, really.
(, Wed 28 Mar 2012, 14:40, Reply)
Anyone remember Fidonet
when the internet was still only used by universities fidonet was the answer for the rest of use. a loose knit network of BBS's that would forward email on a daily or sometimes weekly basis between nodes I remember requesting a gopher page from a fidonet gateway by email, my 1st experience of the internet, it took 2 weeks to get the reply and about 20 mins to download it over 2400bps modem. It was 1992, only 20 years ago.
(, Wed 28 Mar 2012, 10:02, 7 replies)
I was in Italy a couple of weeks ago for work
Took a couple of hours out to pop to city near Milan where I'd spent a year at university and worked in student travel office in 1993/94. Popped into the office to see if my old boss was still there. Guy said very sadly, "She's no longer with us..." - which turned out to mean she'd retired. Phew. Had me going for a moment.

Anyway, I had a chat with him about the way things used to be there... we'd leaf through a 2,000 page airline timetable to find flights, fill out cards with the travel itinerary on (in pencil, so we could rub it out if there were schedule changes etc), phone to book and reconfirm flights with airlines, etc. Computers? Unheard of. He couldn't believe we'd managed to cope. It worked, though.

The following morning back in Milan I was live tweeting pics within moments of taking them to the work account, emailed some copy across to the office from the train for a time-sensitive article that needed to go up pronto, and had a report filed and published online on the event I was covering within minutes of it finishing. Even five years ago, you'd never have been able to do all that.

My own experience of starting off on teh internets? Same as many others here. Baby steps early on, then starting to get involved in chatrooms/mailing lists, meeting virtual friends who are now among my closest real life friends, and with whom I've shared life's landmarks - birthdays, weddings, wetting babies' heads, funerals, etc. Strange thing is we don't interact that much online any more - much rather pick up the phone...

It was also through some stuff I posted to a mailing list and the feedback I got from people who read it that I started to become more confident about writing. An invitation to write for a fanzine followed, I kept that going for a few years, and when I lost my job four years ago, that gave me the balls to strike out on my own. I now write for a living about something I love and my office this morning was a table in the sunshine outside the local cafe. It's been life-changing for me in lots of ways.

When I think about the changes that have taken place, the pace of it all has been astonishing. I have nieces and nephews who never knew a pre-online world, and who in years to come will be doing stuff with technology we can't even start to imagine.

But you know what? I feel privileged to have been part of the generation for which it went mainstream, the one that knew the 'before' and 'after.'
(, Tue 27 Mar 2012, 23:25, 8 replies)
The Work Experience Girl
She arrived in the hallowed world that is credit control. I spied this unfamiliar face from afar. She was wearing a tight v-neck sweater - ample cleavage, nipples gasping for air. "Hansdown, this is Eva" said the boss. Despite me having a good number of years on her, I flinched. I said hello and desperately tried to maintain eye contact - it was like not being allowed to lick your lips whilst eating a doughnut. Miserable fail.

"should I call you Mr Hansdown" she asked in a soft shy way. "no miss Thomas" I said reading it of her name badge. Her smile causing a minor skirmish in the trouser department.

I showed her the ropes. She was bright and chatty and thankfully wasn't at all burdensome.

Day four of her incarceration was how every working day should be. It was an unpromising start. My calculator, the ones that make the izzy-whizzy noises and prints out on mini toilet paper bust.
It had been a faithful servant but its adding days were numbered. I marched off to the stationary cupboard to fetch a state of the art replacement. What happened next was reconstructed so brilliantly in an episode of peep show some years later.

There she was, blouse that day. Pleasing. The door slammed closed. I jumped a little but she looked at me in that alone at last way. I spewed out some cringeworthy small talk. She responded by clasping my hand and bringing me towards her. This was well within my lunge territory so I lunged. Her heaving wappage pressed against my chest and it was cock stirringly brilliant. She looked at me, and I could see that this shy girl was in fact a (stationery) closet minx. She whipped my lad out with haste and chowed down on it like a goodun. Only moments later the spaff fairy waved her magic wand. And mine had been emptied.
Without hesitation she swallowed the evidence. I grinned like a loon, grabbed a calculator and returned to my desk. Shortly after I saw her stutt by like she was destined to be the CEO by next week.
For some inexplicable reason she then logged onto friends reunited. I shall always remember that day as my first experience of the internET.
(, Tue 27 Mar 2012, 19:14, 8 replies)
I used to use dialup.
It made funny noises.
(, Tue 27 Mar 2012, 16:05, 13 replies)
Unlike all the other charlatans on here
claiming to have invented the internet (Chuck Norris did when he had a brain fart back in '72), I can honestly claim to have been to the Moon.

Ha, win.
(, Tue 27 Mar 2012, 14:36, 9 replies)
Back in the days....
Way before people had media centers in their front rooms with computers connected to the interweb, tv's that can stream and search..I was there in the for front of all this modern technology in the early 1980s.(ok I was only a little nipper at the time but)
We had the Prestel service en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prestel

My dad was a repair man for radio rentals we had all the gear on test before it hit the shops. I dont think it ever made it into radio rentals as the cost for the service was so ridiculously HUGE.

We had a Baird Tv (with fancy wooden laminate around the edges) with a modem built into the back of it. No keyboard All i can remember was that it was like Ceefax on demand... I think they rolled out an email system at some stage? I dunno...

Then in 1996 I went to college and started using the interwebs there
(, Tue 27 Mar 2012, 14:34, Reply)
hated it
As a child, tried to load the Beano website on a Macintosh Performa from '95. It froze the system (admittedly that happened on average every half hour on that machine but this was instant failure rather than random). After three or so more restarts and attempts to load it I decided the internet was rubbish and went into school the next day telling everyone it would never ever be worth using in case one of them tried, succeeded and got to look cooler than me

We had that piece of anthrax up until 2001, judging by what i've heard about the model it had been cobbled together from spares and had been technically obsolete before it was brought. It wasn't until i first discovered Runescape *cringe* many years later that the internet was forgiven
(, Tue 27 Mar 2012, 14:23, Reply)
My online nickname was unique to me on the internet once
but now when I do an internet search I find too many wannabe's have nicked it.

Unoriginal twazzleplucks the lot of 'em.
(, Tue 27 Mar 2012, 14:08, Reply)
I invented the internet
on my rubber-keyed Spectrum 48k in 1982 by plugging it into the waste disposal unit and saying the magic word "Fandabidoze" which enabled me to dial up to a man with a BBC computer in Aberdeen and the CIA. Then I changed all the nuclear codes, knocked Chuck Norris out by flicking his ear with a pencil and made up the acronyms lol, rofl and sygigh before driving off in my Nissan Micra and doing substantial narcotics off the bosoms of my twelve ultramodel girlfriends. And I was only seven.
(, Tue 27 Mar 2012, 13:29, 5 replies)
Some time in the 80s , it was an old bulletin board, that most probably doesn't exist any more.
The next time was early 90s, in a net cafe. I even remember the website, which belonged to the late Nicholas Saunders, publisher of Alternative London, and E For Ecstasy.
(, Tue 27 Mar 2012, 13:26, 1 reply)
I had an old computer once.
It was really slow, and the graphics were very basic.
(, Tue 27 Mar 2012, 12:56, 8 replies)
I was at university in 1994 and was excited to have a look at the new fangled world wide web
so used the browser Mosaic on Windows 3.1 to look at some webpages. Webpages were almost without exception in those days grey with black Times New Roman text of differing sizes and the occasional hyperlink else where in bright blue. Having no idea where to start, I bought issue 2 of .NET magazine, and flicked through the page upon page of recommended sites which were all grey with black text of differing sizes. One website recommendation stood out however - Private Eye magazine had made the decision to digitise some of the cartoons from each issue. So one of the first websites I ever looked at in October/ November 1994 was www.private-eye.co.uk. Because it had pictures.
(, Tue 27 Mar 2012, 12:53, Reply)
'Would you like to dial up now'....clicks 'Yes'


(, Tue 27 Mar 2012, 12:45, Reply)
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, 7 replies)
Undernet overnet wombling free.

(, Tue 27 Mar 2012, 10:10, 3 replies)
First the n00bie bitch was rude to me cause
I did my trick with a knife
After that they all treated me like the fucking chauffeur. Again
Then some corporate monkey tried to give her a dose - which really pissed her off.
Then I had to crawl hundreds of metres thru a cramped service access duct so I could uplink with the base of operations to remote pilot a drop-ship to come and rescue us all.
After we got back to the the main base ship some matriarch from the indigenous(?) population decided to rip me in half because of a beef she had with the n00bie.
To add the final indignity the n00b bitch resurrected me just to pump me for some info later on & then only gave me a dignified death because I asked for it.
"I guess she didn't like the corn bread either.." as the Actress said to the Bishop.
(, Tue 27 Mar 2012, 9:59, 3 replies)
My best mate
is definitely my dog.
(, Tue 27 Mar 2012, 9:29, 5 replies)

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