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Remember the internet BEFORE the web became popular?

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28 replies to this topic

#1 of 29 OFFLINE   LDfan


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Posted October 19 2001 - 09:54 AM

I remember back in the early 90's one of my biology professors telling us to get an account with the university to use this thing called the Internet. He said we could access different universities around the world and email. So later that day I got an account and I was amazed that I could use "Gopher" to hunt and pick around to various places, mostly government and universities and then I found the newsgroups which provided me with a lot of info about various subjects, including Laserdiscs. All of this was done via a Unix account. No web browsers or anything like that. It seems today that many people don't realize that the web is just one part (but the biggest) of the internet. Hell, anyone remember before IE or Netscape there was a browser called Mosaic? My how times have changed. Jeff

#2 of 29 OFFLINE   Kevin P

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Posted October 19 2001 - 10:00 AM

I never really did much with the Internet before the WWW, since I wasn't connected to it, but as a Linux weenie and programmer geek I do use text-based Telnet and FTP on a regular basis. I had been on on-line services (Compuserve, Delphi for example) that had some degree of Internet access (typically Usenet or email) and had used it to some degree there. But back then there wasn't as much on the Internet as there is now. KJP

#3 of 29 OFFLINE   Greg Morse

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Posted October 19 2001 - 10:03 AM

ah, the days of ftp, fsp, elm, pine and all the rest. I was in college 92-96. It was amazing how everything changed from my freshman year to my senior year.

#4 of 29 OFFLINE   Michael St. Clair

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Posted October 19 2001 - 10:04 AM

I've been online since 1987. Most people called it ARPANET, and it was 99.9% military and education controlled. Email, telnet, FTP, and Usenet was the gist of it. Come a long way! But porn and warez were almost non-existant, and we had hardly any flamebaiting teenagers. And no spam! Frankly, I liked it better then in many ways. [Edited last by Michael St. Clair on October 19, 2001 at 01:06 PM]

#5 of 29 OFFLINE   Steven K

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Posted October 19 2001 - 10:31 AM

Ahh yes, I remember these days well. My first internet account came in 1994 from the local Community College. They had dial-in access, compeltely free. Everything was done from a Unix shell. Pine, Archie, Gopher, all the classics. How many people nowdays know what a UUEncoded file is?

#6 of 29 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted October 19 2001 - 10:46 AM

I was involved with mainly newsgroups and IRC in the early 1990's. And yes, I know what UUencoded files are. Posted Image

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#7 of 29 OFFLINE   Ryan Wright

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Posted October 19 2001 - 11:11 AM


but as a Linux weenie and programmer geek I do use text-based Telnet and FTP on a regular basis


Hail, fellow geek! I still do everything in a Unix shell, save for surfing the web. I still use Pine to read my email, use command line telnet (ssh), ftp, etc...

And I still have uuencode.exe and uudecode.exe in the path of all my Windows machines. Haven't used 'em for awhile, but they're there, just waiting to be unleashed upon the world once again... Posted Image

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#8 of 29 OFFLINE   LDfan


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Posted October 19 2001 - 11:26 AM

I still have books explaining all about the internet back in the early 90s. Archie, Gopher, Veronica, Newsgroups, FTP, Pine, Elm, etc.... I can still access the net via my old school account via their Unix system. Nothing like learning how to use the "Vi" editor to post on the newsgroups. Jeff

#9 of 29 OFFLINE   Greg_Y



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Posted October 19 2001 - 11:29 AM

I'm not as long in the tooth as some of you, but I do remember when the Internet Movie Database was nothing more than an FTP server and a e-mail responder. You would send it coded e-mails asking for information about specific movies, etc. and it would send it back to you. Weird.

#10 of 29 OFFLINE   Jay Taylor

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Posted October 19 2001 - 11:36 AM

I remember in the early 1980’s when we would connect to a local BBS (Bulletin Board System) to download files using a 300 baud modem on an Atari 800. The first IBM PC hadn’t been invented yet. The BBS’s were springing up in most cities because it cost too much to download data from CompuServe at the time. The fees for CompuServe were in the neighborhood of $2.95 per hour plus monthly fees. The BBS’s would download files from CompuServe and we would get the files from the BBS for less than $10.00 per month. Then CompuServe added the Internet to their on-line service I believe in the early 1990’s, and on-line fees became cheap. Jay Taylor ------------------ "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke

#11 of 29 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted October 19 2001 - 11:53 AM

Heh, I also learned "vi" so I could post on newsgroups.

I actually taught myself how to type when I started doing "irc". It was getting pretty frustrating not being able to keep up on irc conversations, but in time, I just learned where all the keys were on the keyboard, and the rest of history. I amaze my mother (who was a medical stenographer) when she hears me typing away at the keyboard when I go home and visit during the holidays because she knows that I never took a typing course in high school or college.

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#12 of 29 OFFLINE   CharlesD



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Posted October 19 2001 - 11:54 AM

AH yes the good old days! Posted Image

I had a dial up unix account & windows 3.1 box. Windows 3.1 was so lame that the it would loose the dial up connection if the screen saver came on and rarely went long than an hour without crashing. I downloaded linux (slackware) by ftping 1.4 megs chunks to my dial up account and then downloading via X-modem (at a whopping 9600 baud) It took a while, but was worth it, even without X-windows it beat the pants off Windows as it did real multi-tasking. You could switch between text consols, have lynx in one (text based web browser) irc in another, ftp in another etc.

Eventually I figured out all the video card settings and had the X-windows thing going which was fun.

Wasn't Mosaic written by Marc Andreson who stated Netscape?
I used to run that on Linux 0.9.18 in X-Windows, it had a big purple M in the top right hand corner that pulsed when it was recieving data, even today all the GUI browsers do something similar.

#13 of 29 OFFLINE   Andrew Pratt

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Posted October 19 2001 - 12:01 PM

ah yes the good ol Gopher days Posted Image What was everyones first modem? I think mine was a 9600 model that I got for xmas so that I could log into the university libary..oh the joy LOL


#14 of 29 OFFLINE   MikeM



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Posted October 19 2001 - 12:28 PM

Yup yup. I remember it well. My first modem was a 1200 baud pocket modem. I remember the very first time I hooked it up and connected to some weather related BBS in Ohio. I could not believe that the text scrolling across my terminal program (ZTerm) was coming all the way from Ohio! It was amazing.

Then, early in college I remember this guy in the art lab showing me this computer hey had hooked up to "a network" with the Mosaic broswer. 'See, the text in blue is a link to other info...all you have to do is click it."

After seeing that, I was hooked.

Posted Image

#15 of 29 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted October 19 2001 - 03:03 PM

I was in college in the early 1980's, and was fortunate enough to land a student assistant job working for the IT department of the university. The major public universities in Michigan were interconnected (they still are), and I had access to many discussion forums (everything was text based). We had 300bps and 1200bps modems, and thought things were lightning fast when we obtained a 2400bps acoustic coupler modem.


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#16 of 29 OFFLINE   Mike Voigt

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Posted October 19 2001 - 05:18 PM

I remember eating hot dogs for 6 weeks straight to save enough money to buy a 300 baud internal modem for my Apple //e.

Still don't eat many of the things... Posted Image

But that 300 baud was nice - I could write papers on my Apple (hey - it displayed 80 characters across!!!), then send it over to my account at ICSA (Rice U.) to print it on their Diablo typewriter-cum-printer, which gave me real type as opposed to 5x7 dot matrix... and it was cheaper than buying a printer. Of course, it took an hour - and sometimes got disconnected, so I had to start over - but it worked!

That was back in 1984. Also in 1984, I wrote 3 FORRAN programs that were entered into the mainframe using punch cards... intended as a lesson in history. Then, we got to use video-display terminals. Then, I got access to the Celerity mainframe in MEMS - and thereby access to the internet. Woohoo!!!!

Now, I sit in front of this beast I have here, and connect at speeds exceeding T-1 lines...

How things have changed...


P.S.: Cool thread! Posted Image

#17 of 29 OFFLINE   Jeff R.

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Posted October 19 2001 - 05:21 PM

I started out on Compuserve not long before the WWW. Even after Mosiac came out, I only used it periodically. I mainly surfed the Compuserve forums. It wasn't until years later that I even realized what the WWW was and what it could do. I've been hooked ever since.

#18 of 29 OFFLINE   Jim Badger

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Posted October 19 2001 - 09:10 PM

My experiences don't go back as far as some posted earlier and it sure seems like my memories are fading away, but I do remember getting on BBS's at my friend's house in the early 90's. I can also remember downloading Microsoft Internet Explorer 2.0 off the Microsoft BBS.

#19 of 29 OFFLINE   MikeGeary



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Posted October 19 2001 - 11:16 PM


What was everyone's first modem?


110 bps modem in a Teletype Model 33ASR in 1968. ASR meant Automatic Send/Receive: It had a paper tape punch and reader, so you could punch your programs onto tape and avoid paying the $30/hour connect charge while you were typing your code.

A couple of years later I got my first taste of real speed, a blazing fast 300 bps acoustic coupler in a Texas Instruments terminal.

I think I wrote the first email client for PCs--a program back in 1982 called Transend PC COMplete. It had a graphical interface using the line drawing characters that the PC's text-mode monochrome display offered. It connected to the various commercial online services that were popular then, and it also did point-to-point mail, dialing up other Transend users directly.

I was fairly active on those commercial services--CompuServe, GEnie, BIX, PAN, The WELL--but oddly enough, I didn't get on the Internet until 1994, when I was beta testing Chicago (Windows 95).


#20 of 29 OFFLINE   John Thomas

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Posted October 20 2001 - 03:02 AM

I had a Commodore 64 with a 300 baud modem that you manually had to throw a switch to send/receive a carrier. I then got a 1200 baud modem for my birthday (1670, I think) - that was SPEED, my man. Posted Image

Oh, as far as my internet experience dates back to: one word - Holonet Posted Image

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