Saturday, September 08, 2007

Computer history (or was it one-upmanship?)

Talking with a computer fellow at work yesterday, the conversation evolved (?devolved) into something resembling the song from Annie Get Your Gun, called "Anything you can do...". The fellow was enquiring into my computer credentials (possibly thinking a bit scathingly that I was some sort of johnny-come-lately ignoramus). Nope, I said. My first email address was at Rocketmail, I said (it's long since been swallowed by Yahoo). A little respect crept into his face.

I handbuilt a web site for my employer at the time, I said - when Sausage Software wasn't around, and hand-coding was pretty much the only option. Hmmm. He tried to catch me out by enquiring after my ICQ number, but I knew what he was talking about, and had had one (not that I'd used it much, but I had one!).

Netscape, he said. Yup. Used Netscape. Before Netscape and the www, he asked, hopefully... Yup. Messed around in a Mac world and other stuff. Early to mid-1990s, was when the internet started making an impact/becoming possible/available, although I'd had a computer for ten years by the mid 90s.

Ah, so much has changed. If you want to go play in the past, take a look at the Internet Archive, and check some pages you remember from years ago in the Wayback Machine there.

Anything you can do... I mighta played with sometime way back when then too. (He decided I did have some cred after all, and granted me grudging respect. Ha!).

When did you first start playing with the internet (or its forerunners)? How far back is your first email address?


Pennie & David said...

Ha! gave me a bit of a chuckle this did. I guess we got online here at home when Briony was at Sydney Uni in about 1995 or 6 our email addy was bgriffit@syd.uni??? no forgotten it, would have to go upstairs and check a SCQ Sig Quilt with it on! cheers Pennie

Kazza the Blank One said...

I got my first email address in 1992 in first year uni. But that was for a maths class that required a unix login for assignments. After that they didn't give undergraduates email addresses. I didn't get another one until 1995, when I discovered usenet, IRC, and finally the web.

candyschultz said...

My husband is a programmer and we have had computers for 25 years. My son built his first computer when he was ten. We started using the internet through him but were hesitant to put any information on there so our first email addresses were and remain on AOL. I remember back in the nineties when I first could see my race times (I run) on the internet. Back then it took a couple of days for it to show up. Things have come a long way and I love it.

The Shopping Sherpa said...

Ah, the memories...!

At home had a Sportstronic machine, then a Vic 20 and then a Commodore 64 (is that in the right order?), none of which were used for much more than playing games.

A friend had a ZX81 and we spent an exciting afternoon in the very early 80s playing Pete Shelley's XL 1 record and trying to cue it up to go with the ZX81 programme we were running from the end of it...

I first programmed on a Dick Smith TRS 80 in around 1983, using basic and saving the resulting programme to a tape player.

When I started work in 1984 we used Vax machines, all black and blinking green with sound hoods for the printers.

First Mac experience was around 1986 when I was working as a Library Assistant at the DSIR (NZ equivalent of CSIRO). I still remember how it used to smile at me when it booted up and the logical mind in me loved the way that if you did something in one programme from a certain menu, all the other programmes had it in the same place.

Around the same time one of the Scientists showed me this amazing thing you could do where you somehow dialled into an online bulletin board where you could leave a message (me: "I love U2's latest album!") and some complete stranger from the other side of the world would leave a reply (some chap from Harvard: "Me too, especially track 2")

I was blown away. I showed the secretary. She spent all day in there. Unfortunately she hadn't realised it cost something like $8 a minute to be connected. Whoops!

After that experience I didn't come across the internet again til the mid 90s when I was amazed that there were pictures. And colour.

Oh, and I had a rocketmail email addy too. And still have (but don't use) what is apparently an inpressively small ICQ number.

Thanks for sparking the memories!

Fran said...

My first email address is still this one! Even though Microtech have been absorbed by Hotkey, we Tasmanians proudly cling onto the past.I got mine 1996 when Nic went to Uni Qld, it was a saviour, we could email often, a great way for mum and sons to stay in touch.