The internet seems like a different place now than it did almost 10 years ago. The culture, the terms, the people, the goals; everything’s different. I think about that every now and again, and I wish people today could have seen it then. So here’s some as I remember it.

I remember when BitNet was bigger than the Internet.

I remember when Internet Magazine posted in their monthly magazine every single new node that had been added to the Internet in the last month.

I remember when the vast majority of the people online accessed the net via a shell account.

I remember when elm users were suspicious of that new “PINE” program, and wondered where the net was going.

I remember when rich people could afford something called SLIP to get “graphical internet” at home.

I remember when some kid hacked up SLIrP to allow SLIP-like features with a regular shell account.

I remember the first time I heard a 28.8 modem squeal onto the internet, and I yanked the cord because it did NOT sound right.

I remember the first time I saw Mosaic, in a dorm room at Cedarville.

I remember when Netscape 1.0 came out.

I remember the furor Netscape caused because it made multiple requests to the server at once, so it could get the file and images at the same time. People thought it would destroy the net to have that much traffic going on at once, and called for a boycott.

I remember when Netscape invented html tables.

I remember when Java came out, and you could play hangman and hang their little teardrop dude, or win and he’d play bluegrass.

I remember when you could only use Java online when using the HotJava browser from Sun, and people actually considered leave Netscape for it.

I remember when Gopher was the number one data access tool on the net.

I remember when universities left telnet open on public boxes so people could log in and use Lynx from anywhere in the world.

I remember when a guy ran the Internet Easter Egg Hunt, where he’d leave a bit of data someplace, and then most of the Gopher servers in the world would have clues on them to find it.

I remember when all the best search engines were named Archie, Veronica, and Jughead.

I remember hearing people scoff that large corporate places would ever have anything to do with the internet. Why would Amoco want a gopher site? Or even a web site?

I remember when people thought that the web would never overtake Gopher.

I remember when websites needed to look good in text based browsers first and if you could make it look good in a graphical browser at the same time, more power to you.

I remember when Javascript was invented. I couldn’t think of a good reason for it at the time.

I remember when Real Networks came out with their first audio server and client. I listened to Glass’ keynote on it the day it was released.

I remember when image animation was first done online. Some genius at Netscape figured out how to do it with server push and client pull, leaving the connection open all the time. Nick Hengelveld used it to make a CD spin on a new site called

I remember when a small Australian company named Trumpet had a booming business selling Winsock software to windows users so they could get on the Internet.

I remember when windows95 rendered them obsolete in about 3 months.

I remember when TUCOWS stood for The Ultimate Compilation Of Windows Software.

I remember when Bill Gates said the Internet would go nowehere.

I remember when Internet BBS’s were huge, and ISCA had 10,000 people logged on at once.

I remember when Scott Yanoff made The Yanoff List, which listed pretty much everything interesting on the Internet. He wrote me a note thanking me for the How To Use The Internet tutorial I had on my site.

I remember when Yanoff’s list started to be eclipsed by a web site run by a couple guys from Stanford. They ran the site on a desktop machine named akebono.

I remember when those guys ditched the dead end road called School and started a company called Yahoo, and just had a big collection of links sort of organized.

I remember when I made my first web page. It’s only slightly different now than it used to be.

I remember lots of things, but I could go on forever. 🙂

4 thoughts on “I Remember When…

  1. I remember when you first figured out how to hack into a tiny mail server run by a tiny college…

    You have been using Linux for a couple (three?) more years than I have…and you used Gopher? Dude…you must be getting close to 30 or so.

    Heh. Oh, yeah.


  2. I remember very little about those things, but I was just reflecting last week that I’ve been “online” ten years now. My first time signing was in winter 1994 using Prodigy on my brand new Packard Bell 500 MB hard drive with a Pentium 66 MHZ processor and 8 MB of RAM on a 14.4K modem.

  3. I remember using the internet in the early 1990’s. I remember being amazed to realize that I could use a shell to list all the books in the University of Michigan’s library while sitting in Hope College’s.

    Also I remember surfing the web via lynx and not being particularly impressed.

    It’s rather funny how things change. Things start wild and disorganized and become standardized and understood–until the next big change. And then everything is up for grabs all over again.

  4. jtr: yeah, that was a Xenix system 🙂

    Jim: My first time in Lynx was similar. I couldn’t think of a good use for the web. 🙂 I remember seeing internet addresses that began with http:// in The Whole Earth Internet Catalog and I couldn’t figure out what they were for.

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