My first encounter with the Internet

Do you remember it? First time you saw, in real life, what you had heard people talking about? The Internet.

Unfortunately, I can’t remember if it was in late 1995 or early 1996, but I distinctly recall an optional meeting where the IT guy would present this new thing called Internet. It sounded cool, so I went, and man am I glad I did! When he entered some words into a text field and clicked search, suddenly results and information about what he typed in instantly showed up on the screen! For me, growing up with encyclopedias ordered per alphabetical letters (A-C, D-F etc), to have access to so much information was mind-boggling. And it still is!

I was working in the Customer Service department in a company with several hundred employees, and we had one computer connected to Internet in the company, placed in the Sales department office. I remember sneaking into their office after my working hours, and before I went home, just to surf around and take in all the information and impressions that were there. I was as spellbound as a small child, and to this day, I still am. πŸ™‚

When was your first encounter with the Internet?

20 Comments

  • Jrf says:

    Ahum.. I most definitely remember, but it, well, let's just say it wasn't as exciting for me at that time…

    I guess it must have been early 1993 and we were given inet access at the university – including a personal email address !

    I hadn't heard that much about it before and I remember logging on at a Unix terminal – black screen, green text (nothing graphic yet) and then thinking: "now what ?"

    The problem, of course, was that at the time it was so rare to have an email address that – apart from your fellow students sitting next to you – there was noone you could mail yet….

    And as for the web, apart from lots of scientific documents and the likes, there wasn't that much there either…

    By the time I was graduating in 1995/6, there were a few people I could mail with, but more importantly, "the internet" was gradually starting to include graphics and the first Windows 3.0 machine's had become available with Netscape 2.0 (?) on them so you could actually see the graphics too.

    By that time, I *did* start to get a lot more excited about the possibilities !

  • My first Internet use was around 1992, when I worked on a short-term programming contract at an academic research institute full of usability specialists. I never bothered using that new thing, the World Wide Web; email and FTP were my meat and drink.

    I remember I was told to choose myself a middle initial, as the university's email system couldn't cope with people without a middle name. (Not a technical limitation, just a between-the-ears limitation of the person who devised the email-address-creation policy.)

    Emailing your friends a copy of The Bible, so as to consume their mailbox quota, was a popular sport at the time πŸ™‚

  • John says:

    The internet or the web?

    In late '93 or early '94, a buddy showed me how to download levels for DOOM using an FTP client. That hooked me on the internet. The web took a bit longer. Around the same time, while pursuing my graphic design degree, a co-worker showed me how he could access the weather forecast on Mosaic (I couldn't even run Mosaic on the puny 286 I had at the office). I was singularly unimpressed. I didn't "get it" until a year or two later. In '95 I started teaching myself HTML and in '96 started moving my nascent graphic design career in that direction.

  • Jeff L says:

    I'm not exactly sure when – I think it was probably '93, and it was AOL for Mac. There definitely was no "web" that you could get onto from AOL at that point, that came a year or two later from what I remember.

  • I think I only became familiar with the web and the internet as we know it in 1997 with a friend who also showed me Linux, the System he was using after he decided to move from OS/2.

    I was amazed at the time, any new subject I searched seem for a couple of weeks like if all the internet was about it. Lots and lots of information about whatever you wanted.

    But before that, say 1993, 1994 I already used at home the internet account my father had being a professor in a major University. I used to exchange email to one or two friends that had email already.

    As a mega-geek who started to program by the age of 12, when I had my first PC in 97 (I had an MSX before) I quickly bought a modem and I'm still on the business.

  • In 1983 I got an email account at my university (as a computer science major). We got newsgroups installed by 1987. I remember seeing NCSA Mosaic for the first time in late 1993 and finally realizing the import it would have. Created my own first website circa 1994.

  • Tommy Olsson says:

    In 1993, I think. NCSA Mosaic 1.0 on VAX/VMS via a monochrome X Terminal. We also had Lynx on a Unix box.

    There wasn't too much to look at on the Net back then. I remember reading the documentation on HTML (on cern.ch, probably) and writing my first local pages. I thought it was tremendously useful, especially the hyperlinks that allowed me to interconnect all those little pages.

  • Mine was around 1997 and at school we were required to search stuff at alta vista or something and I just remember having to write out the url's which were like 200 characters long and then having to re-type them next day and finding out you having a mistake some place. Really frustrating….

  • It was 1990 and noone was talking about the internet, it was way before Mosaic and happened at the university with VAX terminals. I was amazed about meeting people from far away in the night on IRC, sending emails and doing FTP. There were no domain names yet and one had to carry arround notes wit IP adresses of FTP and IRC servers. How things have changed.

    I was just amazed. Sometimes I still am.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Thanks for sharing, guys!

    Apparently I'm just a young grasshopper compared to most of you. πŸ™‚

  • Maren says:

    it was in early 1997, i was a university student and students could get their own internet account and use the computers at the library. it seemd like everyon already was online – except me! so i went and got my own account and first asked a friend to show me how to log in and how to write emails and everything.

    I was like: "so… now i am online, right? well, what can i do in the internet?" πŸ˜€

  • Rick says:

    My first online experience was in september 1997, when I started high school. Being online wasn't my first new experience, the PC I was using at school was running Windows 95 with IE 3, and the computer we had at home was an old XT running MS-DOS 3.14. So at the time, I thought the Internet was just a function of Windows, which I'd never worked with before.

    I spent a lot of time after hours hanging around public chatboxes, until I started wondering how those websites were made. I taught myself HTML using Notepad and a what-does-this-do attitude, and never looked back since.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Maren, Rick,

    Thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚

  • Probably the first online experience was at The Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester around 1995 they had the PC's in glass cases.

  • Mordechai Peller says:

    My first encounter with the Internet was probably 1986/7, although technically it was Bitnet. In college I had a part time job with the computer center, which entitled me to a special account.

    I used to login from home using my Apple IIc and 300 baud modem. When I wasn't working on some assignment, I would chat with someone in Israel (back then, I lived in New York).

  • Nikke says:

    Uh. 'twas around the time when car manufacturers were giving up steam engines, or as we know it, 1992.

    Although, I didn't really realize it myself – that I was using the Internet (back then it wasn't yet a good enough friend to be internet) – since I was mostly using IRC, Usenet and Gopher. More than this though, I used BBS:s.

    My first encounter with the World Wide Web came a while after this, perhaps a year or so. Now that was exciting. And to add to the excitement, was my 1200 bps modem that made it a really time taking effort to browse πŸ™‚

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Robert Wellock, Mordechai, Nikke,

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Olly says:

    There I was, in the shiny new IT lab at school. Only one PC had the internet – and it had a blazingly fast new US Robotics 9600 modem.

    We were building a simple wall-climbing robot, using suction cups to make it hold onto the wall. We needed to find some new cups that used a softer rubber than the ones we had. So what was the first query I ever typed into Yahoo? (there was no Google back then)

    Rubber products.

    You can imagine the results that came back and the hilarity that ensued πŸ˜‰

  • Marita says:

    I never had a commercial computer. I built my own from a z80 board with rom basic, a small tv and a passive keyboard. I loved making sprites and space ship wars. Soon I learned about teletype and hooked up my short wave, found a program to decode the pulses and had a very good time with this versatile toy

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Olly,

    Marita,

    Cool, thanks for sharing!

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