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Author Topic: its 1990 and im surfing the web thingy  (Read 2574 times)
genjix
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March 09, 2011, 04:14:55 AM
á#1

today i visit about 2 sites (bitcoin & slashdot). mostly i search stuff i want. (there's enough out there for me to be choosy)

however when i use freenet, there's not many sites about so i have to click around... it gives me some idea of what it must've been like to 'surf the web' when there weren't many sites around on the net. (before my time)

when I'm without net, I get a disconnected feeling. Like I'm missing out on the chaos. Yet I grew up around all of this.

What must it have been like? The first time on the net, exposed to this new stimulus of being linked to others... Slowly rolling yourself across amateur sites... Surfing the crest of the web.

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March 09, 2011, 04:24:28 AM
á#2

I know what it was like, and I imagine many people here do also.

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genjix
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March 09, 2011, 10:45:56 AM
á#3

I know what it was like, and I imagine many people here do also.

Explain? I'm curious.
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March 09, 2011, 11:44:22 AM
á#4

i remember all the magazines and printed directories of the web.  like big phone books but full of URLs, tiny descriptions and sometime screenshots.  surfing on 9.6k and 14.4k was fun  Cheesy

but all good things come to an end, http://www.wwwdotcom.com/

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theGECK
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March 09, 2011, 03:32:16 PM
á#5

My first internet time was at a Library because our town was too small to have a local ISP in it. I remember it well, searching "corporal punishment" at Ask Jeeves for a school project. My world was never the same after those search results came back, the innocence of the Internet was lost.

Other than that, I have fond memories of going to the Game Informer homepage and reading all the information about Earthbound 64 that I could, surfing through the Geocities fan pages that I could find, and then read up on the 64DD and the amazing developments that would be coming to change gaming forever. The MUDs were alot of fun, but it's pretty sad being a middle schooler addicted to library internet to play text-based MMOs.

Use my referral codes for Bitcoin faucets and I'll send you 25% of my referral bonus - Win/Win! PM for details on all sites available or use one of the links here.

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FatherMcGruder
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March 09, 2011, 03:39:35 PM
á#6

What must it have been like?

http://www2.warnerbros.com/spacejam/movie/jam.htm

/thread

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March 09, 2011, 03:40:55 PM
á#7

I remember the first time I saw email.  That blew me away.  I thought the post office would be going out of business.
Then I was introduced to the www via a meeting at the local community college as there was no public access in our city yet.  My earliest recollection is of the Ford motor company website, which actually looked pretty sophisticated.

I just wish I knew then what we know now about where the web was headed.  Of course, we're still in the earliest stages of this phenomenon.  YouTube is only 6 years old,  Facebook not much older.  Twitter younger, and bitcoin, even less!

Auroracoin forum: http://auroraspjall.is/   Auroracoin-enabled Q&A: https://spurt.is/
AuroracoinLocal: https://www.skiptum.is/   Auroracoin twitter tipping: http://auroratip.auroracoin.io/#/
myrkul
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March 09, 2011, 04:31:17 PM
á#8

I believe this is what you were looking for... ACK
I loved playing MUDs, telnetting in and spending all day there. When I wasn't doing that, I was fiddling around with telnetting in to libraries and using server time, mostly to just piddle around in whatever stuff they had installed. In some alternate timeline, my name is inscribed next to kevin mitnick's in the roles of notorious hackers. I totally got the early-web vibe from freenet... I can't wait to see where it goes.

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theGECK
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March 09, 2011, 05:11:06 PM
á#9


That brought back so many "good" memories.

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error
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March 09, 2011, 06:13:50 PM
á#10

Wow, all of you came in late. Tongue

The first time I got onto the "Internet" was in the early 1990s,. using a 2400 baud (!) modem. Over the limited connections I had, all I could get was email and Usenet. And it was ALL text. These were the days of Windows 3.0, and the very concept of a GUI was pretty new to most people. I got Internet email through one BBS and Usenet through another BBS.

Around 1993 my university finally got a live Internet connection, with all of 1.5Mbps (T1) bandwidth for the entire university..Before that all they had was UUCP. Fortunately files were still small, and with few exceptions only the CS department was using it. So in the CS lab you could get access to this ancient Honeywell mainframe that dated back to the 1960s, or to a VAX whose set of manuals were bigger than the machine. And they had just added some cute new DEC ULTRIX workstations for the grad students' use. They had X! Windows and mice, oh my! No color, though; the monitors were grayscale, as were many in this era. I wanted, but I wasn't allowed to use them.

So around this time I found IRC and from there heard about a guy called Scott Yanoff. His big claim to fame is he put together and kept updated a large list of Internet services. (Here is an example, from 1992.) There was no such thing as a web search engine. Not even Yahoo! existed at this point. For that matter, there wasn't much on the Web; most of the files you might be looking for were to be found on FTP and gopher sites. Again, it was ALL text. What little there was on the Web, you had to navigate through the so-called Virtual Library, a directory somebody put together which was the forerunner of Yahoo!'s directory and others like it.

Not to say search engines didn't exist; they did. Archie let you search for files on FTP sites, while Veronica let you search for files on gopher sites. These were, as you would expect, text tools that you would run from your Unix shell account from whoever would give you one (usually your university). Which is also how you got your email, IRC, Usenet and everything else. IP had not yet quite come to the home computer, so you would dial in to the server, and download stuff to your computer with (usually) Zmodem. If you were willing to wait.

Now around this time I heard about Linux, this new Unix-like operating system that was supposed to run on 386 PCs. I wasn't about to download THAT over a 2400 baud modem, so I grabbed a box of floppies, hit the computer lab on campus, (I lived just off campus) and downloaded SLS onto a bunch of floppies and walked them home. After waiting hours to install all those floppies, I had a workstation almost just like the ones the grad students were using! I was hooked.

Usenet was actually a useful tool in the early days, even if you did have to wait days for a response. That all changed one Endless September in 1993, when America Online set up a Usenet gateway for its members, most of whom had no idea what it was they were looking at, and many of whom proceeded to immediately trash the network. Usenet never quite recovered from this and later assaults, like that from Cantor and Siegel, the first commercial spammers, in 1994. I was around for this. It was a dark time, though I don't think anyone at the time realized just how bad it would get.

In 1995, the Internet was finally opened to the public with the dissolution of NSFNET, and things went crazy from there. (It was never quite closed to the public, but commercial activity on the NSFNET, which comprised much of the Internet's backbone at the time, was restricted.) Beginning May 1, it was possible for a commercial ISP as we know them today to begin operating, and they did, in droves. It also became possible to engage in commerce on the Internet, though this was much slower to take off. Around this time I was playing with Chaum's DigiCash, which could have been a solution to the e-commerce problem, but never quite took off. (And now we have Bitcoin.)

In 1995 I was using Linux at home; I had tried Windows 95 but I decided to get rid of it since Linux seemed much better.

The graphical web browser of the day was NCSA Mosaic, but you had to have a powerful computer to run it. My poor 486 with 4MB of RAM was only barely up to the challenge, so I didn't use it much. Most people got on the Web by running lynx on your UNIX shell, or more commonly telneting to a server at the University of Kansas which would throw you directly into lynx and let you browse the web. And it was ALL text. Netscape would eventually come along and solve the big problem with Mosaic, being that Mosaic made you wait until the whole page was downloaded before you could see it, and that could take a few minutes. Netscape would begin rendering immediately, which made it much more attractive for people on slow dialup connections (which was practically everybody).

Around 1996 I was fortunate enough to get into a beta test of what would be among the world's first cable modem service. I could download at 200 Kbytes/sec! Having tasted that very early, it was quite hard whenever I had to go back to dialup, as I would occasionally have to do several times over the next several years. It was also this year that Pepsi would launch a huge interactive website and a TV commercial with its URL clearly visible: www.pepsi.com. It was the first of its kind, and you can see its legacy on thousands of entertainment and commercial websites today.

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genjix
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March 09, 2011, 09:48:38 PM
á#11

That's an awesome story. Thanks for sharing.
satamusic
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yes.


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March 09, 2011, 11:47:46 PM
á#12

very nice read, error.  Smiley

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March 09, 2011, 11:49:34 PM
á#13

Thanks! If I get a few donations I might write another wall of text. Smiley

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March 10, 2011, 06:48:34 AM
á#14

Woohoo, thanks to whoever sent 2 BTC! Tomorrow I'll go even farther into the past and post a few lines about my computing experiences in the 80's.

Oh, and if you didn't already, be sure to check out the links. I provide them for your education and entertainment. Smiley

Speaking of entertainment, did you know my computer has a cigarette lighter and a cup holder? For real!


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myrkul
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March 10, 2011, 07:11:26 AM
á#15

I've seen those, before, but I never thought I'd see one actually installed in a computer. I suppose they are kinda handy.

Wonder if you could install a car stereo?

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da2ce7
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March 10, 2011, 08:06:43 AM
á#16

I have the same case as you, a wicked case, one of the best ever made.  Smiley the updated version sucks tho.  Angry

One off NP-Hard.
error
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March 11, 2011, 09:28:45 PM
á#17

OK, so as promised I have a few more things to say. Feel free to send a donation if you like what I'm writing and want to see more.

Back in the early 1980s, personal computers existed, but they cost a relative fortune compared to today's machines. You weren't about to buy an IBM PC and stick it in your home unless you were rich, or at least well-off. For the rest of us, there were a wide variety of different inexpensive home computers to choose from. Things like the Apple II and the Commodore 64 were some of the best known of them. You could have a complete system for a few hundred dollars instead of a few thousand for the PC.

At the end of 1982, I wanted a Commodore, but alas, that was not to be (and I never would get one). That Christmas, I did get a Timex Sinclair 1000 with a 16K (that's kilobyte) RAM expansion. This tiny little thing hooked up to my black-and-white TV and a cassette recorder, from which it loaded and saved programs. Anyone remember cassettes? I wasn't able to do much with it, but I couldn't complain that I didn't have a computer, either. I did learn the basics of BASIC and Z80 machine code programming though. But I probably spent nearly as much time looking at pilfered Playboys.

By 1985 it was time for an upgrade, and I still didn't get a Commodore 64. Instead I wound up with a Radio Shack Color Computer 2, with all of 64KB of RAM. By this time I even had a 13" color TV to use it with, too. Even so, it still wasn't much more than a curiosity for quite a while.

And to my eternal disappointment, the next August 1986, Radio Shack would release the 128KB Color Computer 3, and I'd regret not having waited for it. I wouldn't get one until the end of 1987. (Flashback: see this video.)

This is what it looked like when you turned it on:


Everything changed in the summer of 1988 when one of my friends, who also had a CoCo, and was a ham as well, introduced me to the modem. Running at 300 baud, slightly slower than most people's reading speed, it dialed up a phone number and connected to a computer at the other end, which could do literally anything. I learned for the first time that a lot of people had converted their computers to answer the phone when someone dialed and then talk, using various BBS (bulletin board system) software. You could leave messages, upload and download files, and suddenly I realized that this was the missing link. People could talk to each other through their computers and not have to be in the same place at the same time. Indeed they could be all over the city or all over the world! Needless to say, I got a modem ASAP and began calling BBSes.

(WTF is a BBS? Check out BBS: The Documentary, or watch it at the Internet Archive.)

Of course, somewhere in the back of my head I still had this idea that I should have a Commodore, and indeed, the majority of BBSes I called were Commodore systems, and most of them were trading warez. One was run by a guy who lived right down the street, and I wound up spending quite a bit of time at his place helping him run his board. One day I had a guy trade me the 512K RAM chips I needed to upgrade my CoCo for a copy of a relatively hard to find C64 program. I think I came out ahead there; it would have been cheaper to buy the program than the RAM!

Back to the CoCo 3 for a minute. By this time I'd also gotten my hands on a couple of floppy disk drives and a copy of OS-9. I bet you never heard of that either. OS-9 was (still is) a realtime, multitasking, multiuser operating system. These days it's not very common, though some embedded devices still use it. But back in 1987-1988 the CoCo version not only ran in 128KB of RAM, it did multitasking, AND had a GUI! As GUIs go, it was pretty primitive compared to what we have today, or even compared to a Macintosh of the time. But unlike the Macintosh, it was fully capable of multitasking, and it also did what we think of today as virtual desktops; once you ran out of room on the desktop it would open another one, or you could open one yourself.


I never managed to get the C compiler for OS-9 at the time, though it was on my short list of things to buy at Radio Shack, since I'd heard it was much more powerful than the BASIC09 that came with it, and I wanted to learn it. (Eventually I would, but not on the CoCo.)

In 1990, coming back to the title for a moment, the Internet as we know it today didn't exist. To connect with other people, you would likely dial in to a local BBS (or several). If you were a complete idiot noob, you would have a subscription to Compu$uck, QuantumLink Sucks (which became AOL Sucks), Prodigy, GEnie, or some such similar service that charged you by the hour and gave you little that you couldn't get for free on a local BBS. To be fair, some of these companies did open up Internet gateways very early, though the web as we know it didn't even exist yet. It was ALL text. And the short-lived gopher was the closest you would get at that time. Speaking of text, check out textfiles.com, an archive of many of the text files that were traded via BBSes during the 80s and early 90s. Reading some of these files will give you a really good sense of what it was like in those days. (And some of them are just utter crap. I leave it to you to determine which is which, as that's what we had to do as well.)

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error
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March 15, 2011, 06:11:48 AM
á#18

Well that went nowhere. Too many pictures, perhaps?

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genjix
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March 15, 2011, 08:47:48 AM
á#19

Being a child of the 90s, I learnt to program in QBASIC and assembler. Loving SNES games, I often used to wish I grew up in the 80s- the golden age of computing and all cool retro things. Everything had poor security in the 80s and I would be able to exploit all the systems with impunity- tbh I did that in the 90s while security was still bad and was expelled because of that.

Now though, there's so much cool shit happening. Now is the best time in history.

I see a lot of writing about the tech, but I'm trying to get a handle on how you felt. What ideas you had at the time. Did you imagine a future like this with internet? What did you think would happen? How about Linux? Did you realise things would get big? Did you feel like a wizard in a new online world like the movie Hackers?

I love the 80s because it was the time of the hacker.

Our time seems to be moving into something new & different. Can't wait to see what I label it as ad-hoc in the future. Lots of colour. Everyone building & participating to create this new online world. Amazing.

Fuck, I wish I lived in the far future when we're terraforming Mars! That honestly makes me a little sad Sad

Certainly you look at the motivations & attitudes over the decades and there's been a massive shift. From the industrial era focus on work, corporations, family ... to creativity, individualism, knowledge. It's hard for people to notice this when you're an ant on the ground, and people constantly deride how things are getting worse- they most definitely are not!
genjix
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March 15, 2011, 08:54:11 AM
á#20

http://www.textfiles.com/hacking/
http://www.textfiles.com/phreak/

So sad. I will never know what it's like the live in the 80s. Dialing up to UNIX modems and making ASCII art Sad

I most likely would be hacking phones & terminals, not devving free software had I been born in that time.

Code:
-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_                                      
                                            ▄▄▄
                                       ▄▄▀▀▀▀████▄
                                 ▄   ▄▀  ept▀▀██▀██▄
                               ▄███▄ ▀ nc▄███Ů█   ██▄
                              █▀███Ţ■ o ██▀ Ů ▀Ů▄████
                             ▀  Ů██ ˙c▄Ţ██▄  ▄█ ▀  Ů█Ţ
                          ▀     ████████▄Ů████Ţ   ▄██
                      ■       ▄█▀▀▀▀ ▄     ▀▀▀▄▄███▀
                ˙           ▀▀        ▀▀██████▀▀

                'Like Ma Bell, we've got the Ill Communications'

_-f-_-u-_-c-_-_-_k_-_-t-_h_-_-_-e-_-_-_g_-e-s-_-_-_-t-_a_-_-_-_-_p_-_-o-_-_!_-

                 _-~So just what is this LCA thing anyway?~-_
                  -----------------by fLoOd-----------------

        Well...Hmmm...how should I start?  The LCA is just a coupla guys in a
little shit of a town who got bored of conventional wisdom, got us a few
handy little modem-thingies, and breathed a little too much freshly-popped
microwave popcorn air.
        So...we got together, listened to a couple funky tunes, traded some
worldly wisdom, and compared scars...when the house was struck by a huge bolt
of strangely green-looking lightning.  Next thing you know, we all began
prophesying in tongues and popping things in the microwave at random to see
what would happen.  To our extreme disappointment, the computer CPU would not
fit, and therefore we took it as a sign from God that the computer, unlike the
string of polish sausages, box of little cocktail weinies, and baby ostrich
that had imploded under the might of the sacred 'Reheat' button, was to be
used for a much loftier and more sanitary purpose.
        We immediately set to work eating pineapple Now&Laters, researching
Bell Security's ESS and Crossbar systems, yelling at African Finger Monkeys,
and typing up these phat t-files for your viewing pleasure.  It is no small
task, either.  It took years of toil, endless hours of reading life insurance
policy fine print, gallons of coffee, and many failed attempts in our search
for the perfect piece of Key Lime Pie.  But eventually, we came up with two
text files containing information _so_ priceless that we had to just sit back
and bask in the warm photon flow being emitted from our screens for a few.
        So...I took these files, cleaned them up, edited them, slapped the
funky header & footer designs on'em, set a lunch date with the president's
wife, and altered my ßßS slightly to be our Distribution Site.  And boom...
here we are, right on your screen.  There's the information superhighway for
you.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------  
  _   ___   __ ============----------- This file brought to you by fLoOd of
 / | / _ \  \ \ ============----------- the LcA, resident system god at the
 \ || / \/  /  \ ============----------- Starving Artist, 910.722.0514.
  [|| \____/ /\ \ ============-----------
 / |_\_____  [_\ \ ============----------- Keep searching for cool little    
 |________________\ ============----------- Happy Meal prizes!
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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