Thursday, January 05, 2006

Do you remember?

Yesterday, I thought about a few things as I sat at my desk and performed the following tasks at my computer....
  1. Checked on a flight cost for Gary
  2. Submitted an online application for student financial aid
  3. Looked up the dictionary meaning for the word by-law
  4. Figured out my BMR and calorie requirements
  5. Checked what time the Biggest Loser started on Direct TV
  6. Looked up a recipe for Gingersnaps
  7. Balanced my checkbook
  8. Paid a few bills
  9. Read blogs
  10. Order a book and a CD from Amazon.

Now, as I sat there doing all these tasks, it made me think.... holy Mother of God, how did I get by before Al Gore invented the internet? When some people ask "Do you remember where you were when Kennedy was shot?" or "Where were you when the shuttle exploded?"... they want to know if you remember where you were on a momentous occasion.

It amazes me to think that right now, we are the youngest generation who can be asked..... "Where were you when you first experienced the internet?" My daughter won't be able to answer that question as she has grown up with it. It's always been there.

When I worked for the cable industry, we participated in a Home & Food Show every year in our town. One year back in the late 80's, we had as our display "The Future of Cable" and a bright future it was. This was before High Speed was even a word and the internet was just a fledgling of normalcy in our lives. Not many people I knew even had a computer at home and some might have used one at work. We had computers at work but everything was done in MS-DOS. It's freaky for me to even try to remember what working with that was like. When we started using Windows based programs, we always ran everything at the same time on DOS or as we called it.... The Dark Side. "Look at this Priscilla," I'd say to my co-worker, "does this look right to you?" She'd reply back "I'm not sure, but you can switch to the Dark Side and check to see if it's right." We just didn't trust that new-fangled Windows based stuff yet.

The internet set-up we had that year was the hit of the show. It didn't matter that it was only a 28Kbs dial-up connection..... DSL and Broadband weren't even around yet. The local dial-up company had set up a booth next to ours and I think they did a huge business that day. I know Gary & I signed up and we didn't even have a computer. We were so excited we were going out that weekend to buy the best computer we could afford. It was top of the line.... it had a 486 processor and a hard drive capacity of 2gig. Oh my fuckin' word, we thought we were the cat's ass! The monitor was huge and bulky and the printer was frightfully slow but we were online! Wow! We didn't even know what to do online or even what or why we needed to be online .... but we did know we wanted to be part of this exciting new technology!!

The first thing I ever typed in to search for on the internet was...... Bass Fishing. I think 223 sites came up that day. When I Google it now... 8,820,000 different references are brought up in .25 seconds.

Can you imagine a 486 processor now? or 28K dial-up?

Question to you, dear readers:

Where were you when you tried the internet for the first time and what did you do?


Jack said...

Talk about a flashback!
I remember 286 and 386 computers where hard drives were in MBs instead of Gigs and modems were 14.4 speed. Those were the days.
I remember when floppy disks were 5 inches across and monitors were green text on black.
It makes me laugh just to think about it.
I don't remember my first Internet search but I'd guess that it was probably something to do with porn. ;-)

Gina in N'Awlins said...

My father subscribed to PRODIGY and so I went to my parents home and sat up ALL frigging night long hooking up with folks on message boards. Ya know, my "handle" is the same today as was "assigned" on the old Prodigy Network -- gina9978 - LOL!

I guess technically those were pre-internet days, since the internet at that time was for big corporations and governement interests -- but it sure was COOL!

Good question - I'm gonna USE it too ;~)


melodyann said...

My first computer was 386 with a 40 mb hard drive... and I paid a FORTUNE for it!

My first internet experience was at my brother's house. He'd been bragging about having the internet and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I was looking for stuff about Disney to help Lorena with a school project. She was in the fourth grade! That was 9 years ago!

wow, what a memory....

Melody said...

I was at work...we had internet here long before I had it at home...Until I started working here I'd never even touched a computer and it amazes me how far things have come since then. I can't imagine doing my job 'manually'...guess I'm really spoiled now.

Carmel said...

I remember subcribing to Prodigy. I remember my Dad had a Texas Instruments computer and we thought the games were so high tech when they had sound! LOL Huge monitors and even larger CPUs. I took computers in college and it was all MS-DOS. No one that I knew in college had their own computer - I typed my papers on typewriters. Do they still make those?

Ah....the memories.

Larry said...

My first computer was a Commodore 64 back in the 80's. I remember the first time I saw a computer with a tower and not all crammed iside the keyboard. I thought how powerful the new computer had to be.

What's odd is that I didn't have a computer at home after that until I bought my current Dell three or four years ago. My first experience with the internet was here at work. But once I had the internet at home I went crazy!

Sue said...

Why did you submit an online application for student aid?

Sarah said...

This was hilarious! It really is amazing how fast technology has accelerated in the past 30 years, even. It is expanding soon as you buy something nowadays, it is out of date within mere months!
I don't remember my first Internet experience...we got AOL at home, but I suppose it wasn't until being in the working world that it took off.
I really think I might drop dead without it now. LOL>

lime said...

i was a confirmed technophobe. hated computers wanted nuthin to do with em. my mom is the tech guru. she has always loved computers. i remember her gettin ga commodore64 and being ver the moon with delight. remmeber them? she had internet first. i thought it was kinda cool but unecessary. then we got an email only account at home. i liked email since i have pals all over theworld. it was nice to be able to comunicate. it was only in 2002 that we got full internet access. obviously i am kinda sorta hooked......crazy huh?

Cindy said...

I first found the internet at college in fall of 1994. And I found chat rooms on telnet. I talked to ALL KINDS of people on those things. I actually got addicted and had pretty sucky grades my spring semester.

Whenever I don't know anything, I say - let's check google. Do people even use encyclopedias anymore?

Kim said...

I was a late bloomer. The first time I went on the internet was only seven years ago. The first place I went to was a porn site, lol. Persian Kitty I believe... I don't know why. Well, yeah I do, but it just sounds better to act bewildered.

Heather said...

I was in college - I don't remember exactly what I did when I first got oline, but I do know it was in my university computer lab. My university had two or three big huge rooms with computers that students could go use. That was before laptops, before everyone had computers in their homes. Wow - looonnggg time ago - like 1992/1993!

Jered said...

Just like carmel, I remember my parents subscribing to Prodigy. I don't remember the extent of what was available, but I know I used it to get information for school reports (science-related stuff). The first time I used the "real internet" once it was starting to really get going was my freshman year of college - and at that point I admit that I looked up lots of porn. :o(

Jered said...

OMG! I just read Cindy's post... my freshman year of college was fall of 1995 and I too found Telnet chatting... I made lots of friends (worldwide) and spent so much time on there.

I used the school's computer labs and when I would check out porn (they only had photos back then) I would have to save them onto the 3-1/2 inch floppy disks to keep them. What a pain in the ass!

Mike Todd said...

A few days after my first college roommate and I moved in together, he held up black-and-white printouts of Jenny McCarthy. I said, "Dude, there are pictures like that on the internet?" Turns out there aren't. He printed out the only ones.

Great post, Sheri!