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Friday, August 7, 2009

Lets Kick It Old School!

The other day I was thinking about how the internet has changed in it's short life span. I thought to myself, "Wow! Back when I was a kid using the internet.." *record scratch noise*
Wait, what was that?
Oh yeah, that's right. I was an ADULT when the internet was ushered in as a tool for the general public.

I feel old right about now(funk soul brotha!).

So um, yes where was I? Ah, yes, the internet early years, 1994 to 2000-ish.

I remember the first time I used the internet. I was in college, fall of 1995 and I remember accompanying some friend or other to our schools computer lab*. My friend sat at a computer and I hovered near by, looking awkward, afraid to sit down lest I be yelled at for wasting prime realestate (I may not have yet known about the internet but I did now a LOT of computer geeks). Even at my most unawkward I tend to stand out, especially when standing in a room full of sitting people (I am tall and back in those days I dressed rather like a homeless bohemian punk vampire). This caused me to catch they eye of one of the lab monitors, who was the spitting image of George Costanza from Seinfeld. In fact, I don't think anyone knew his real name. Everyone called him George.
George told me it was ok to sit, so I did, and proceeded to ask me if I ever used the internet. I had not, as I did not have a computer at the time. He then flipped the switch to turn on the "computer" (it was a monitor, but I didn't know this at the time), and there was the internet, in all it's orange and black monochromatic, text-based glory! I learned how to access my student email and within minutes, another friend, also in the computer lab at the time, emailed me my very first email ever....ready for it?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>remember these?????


Yes, I am not kidding. That was the first email I ever got. And if only it was the last of it's kind....sigh...

As I learned about the wonders of Yahoo and Gopher search engines, looking up articles on all matter of literary academia, I realized this internet thing was PERFECT for an over achieving literature major who was determined to get a PHD in record time.
Then one day our school got a new shipment of shiny new Windows 95 running computers with super sweet VGA monitors and BOOM! The internet had PICTURES!!! and GIFS!!!! I saw the hamster dance**, emoticons that actually turned into smiley faces, and god only knows what else. My IQ was on a slow and steady decline.
Then one day someone showed me IRC, anyone remember that? Internet Relay Chat. Yep, the old chat room, or channel as they used to call it.

Of course I thought it was amazing at first. I could talk to anyone in the world who had a computer. Think of all the amazing things I could learn about different cultures, different places. Heck, I could even ask people about their universities and see if I really wanted to go there.

Sigh, youth.

It went more like this:

Internet stalker: a/s/l?
Me: What?
Internet stalker: age sex and location
ME: 21 female, NY
Internet stalker: r u hot?
Me: no, the computer lab is actually kept quite chilly.
Internet stalker: ur funny lol, want 2 cyber w/me?
Me: wtf?
Internet stalker: i am kissing you seductively
*Me has left #cyberstalker

Yep, chat rooms. I spent a lot of time discussing religious philosophy, getting spammed off channels by bots, and trying to avoid basement dwellers who wanted to test out their smooth keystrokes on me.

Then there was Napster, and the Napster Bad cartoons.
And Troops.

Ugh, remember frames?

Here is a link to some vintage web design.

The next link may actually CAUSE epilepsy! Click at your own risk!!!!!

THIS is the worst website ever.

So tell me, people of the webamatubes, what were you doing in the early days of the 'net?
Any AOL users? Did anyone have WEB-TV?
How many people remember Juno email only service, or NetZero when it was actually free?
Did anyone else use a 14.4 modem? How about a 28.8?
I want to know!

*True story, out school's mascot was the Hornet. The intranet site for class registration was called the HOR-NET. Say it out loud.

**warning, not actually the original hamsterdance, but the closest available incarnation on the web.


  1. Oh man, the old internet. I didn't do much on it cause I was a teenager but I remember the cyberstalkers, the beginning of web-based communities. And yes, that is the worst seizure inducing website in the world LOL.

  2. My apologies for your unborn child's fear of rainbows and dogs!