Ten Years Online

Aug 26th, 2007

I had intended to post this nearer to the date, but it skipped me by, so here it is now.

On August 1st 2007 I reached the tenth anniversary of my first forays onto the internet. Way back in 1997 my family first got on line with an ISP called Zetnet which still seems to be in business. The company was then based in Shetland, and frequently experienced problems in tough weather. It also used its own proprietary mail system, which was actually one of the best mail and newsgroup programs I’ve ever used. However a configuration problem meant that I never received any E-mail, something that it took me a stupidly long time to realised. I must be the only person in the history of the world to cheer the receiving of my first spam message.

I connected via dial-up using a 28.8kbps modem on a Pentium 100Mhz rig running Windows 95. It had 8meg ram (Later upgraded to 24 Mb) and a 1.2Gb hard drive. Even then I was using Opera, but soon shifted away from if when I realised how to update IE to version 4. It was only later when I got more familiar with the net that I found myself back with Opera, now several versions on.

One of the first things I discovered on the net was USENET, the system of newsgroups which covered every topic imaginable. Stupidly I subscribed to hundreds of the bloody things and then had to wait hours to download thousands upon thousands of posts. It too me a while to realise that I could go off and do other things while this was happening, hence my first month online was largely spent waiting to download newsgroup posts that I would never read. Eventually I realised my mistakes and was down to one newsgroup subscription, alt.games.creatures, my first experience of an online community. It was only later, in January 2004 when I joined the snopes ulmb, that I found another online community that really rivalled this one.

This website first appeared in its own way on a geocities hosted page. (TimesSquare/Maze/5385 if I recall correctly, and indeed a trip to deja, I mean Google Groups, shows I do.) Unfortunately the Wayback machine doesn’t have a copy of that page, although I recall it was light blue on plain blcak, and then subsequently white on a textured blue background. (I had no taste) I also subsequently had pages on tesconet, netscape online and worldonline as I hopped around various ISPs. Some of the web-design crimes I committed were terrible, including background midi music, scrolling marquees, unnecessary frames, imagemaps used as the sole means of navigation and warnings to use a particular browser.

Here’s hoping to another productive ten years!

[tags]Internet, Anniversary, 1997, web, nostalgia, memories[/tags]

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