Friday, August 10, 2007

so, when was your first time?

I've seen the commercials just like you have. However, I'm still not sure if "to internet" really is a verb.

But when did I first internet?

I took a typing class when I started going to college...well, to the community college down the street. I probably should've went to a better school, but I worked 35+ hours a week during high school, partied the rest of the time, and consequently didn't get that great of grades. Besides, the community college was much cheaper, and at that point in time, the only real reason to go to college I had was that I didn't know what else to do. I did, however, holdthe sneaking suspicion that Little Caesars Pizza really shouldn't be my career.

So I went to college, and someone told me that I would have to do papers for higher education. I further realized that even if the profs would've accepted handwritten work, chances are they wouldn't be able to decipher my Sanskrit-esque scrawl. So I took a typing class, and it has paid dividends. I know people who've written their dissertation using "hunt and peck," but frankly, I don't know how they do is, my hands don't keep up with my thoughts.

The fringe benefit of typing class, however, was that I got to use a computer for the first time in my life for something other than playing horrifically bad video games such as Leisure Suit Larry. The class had a bit of de facto word processor training build in, so I got to play with that state of the art program, WordPerfect 5.0.

(For those of you who've never had the pleasure, if you wanted to do anything at all other than just type, you had to use an arcane combination of weird keystrokes, such as doing a control-F7 combination (or something like that) to make text didn't just click on a button, because there were no buttons, nothing to click on them with anyway...and woe betide those who lost the template explaining the myriad of keystrokes needed to do anything whatsoever. This program also had the added advantage of the screen looking nothing at all like your printout...ah, the glory days).

After the typing class, I figured there might be something to this whole computer thing...yes, I was a visionary even back when I was an obnoxious I took another class which was 1/3 WordPerfect, 1/3 dBase, and 1/3 Lotus 1-2-3. I didn't use the other programs at all, however. I didn't own my own computer at the time, so I spent a lot of hours at the computer lab writing. Then I got my A.A., worked pizza and selling water, and forgot computers altogether.

Then I went back to school and became reacquainted with computer labs in general and WordPerfect specifically. Soon, however, I noticed the "new" computers at the lab...they had some weird attachment that I later found out was called a "mouse," which you used to click on "icons" in "windows." Wild. Then the library installed some computers and, while killing time between classes, I jumped on one and saw an icon labeled "Netscape."

That was my introduction to the must've been 1995 or so, so web sites went beyond text only, but the content out there was pretty strange. I remember looking at a lot of Netscape's Site of the Day candidates and seeing stuff such as "The Men's Guide to Urinal Etiquette," "Bert is Evil," and "Virtual Bubblewrap." I did also find some useful sites, but strangely enough, the stupid ones are the ones I remember with a certain fondness.

Soon, I saw a flyer which said that my university would give me a free e-mail account. I had no idea why I would need one, but it was free, so I signed up. The e-mail client? PINE, which was no graphic, two color, and ugly as hell...but at the time, it still reeked of "the future" to me.

Exposure to the web and to e-mail eventually made me realize the possibilities. I did research. I looked into graduate schools. Eventually, I started my own internet literary journal, which ran for three years and six issues and published some really nice work. It was eventually taken over by someone else when doctoral school robbed me of any extra time, and now, the web site address is being held by some weird site which has links to "Online Poker," "Debt Consolidator," "Airline Tickets," and "Bisexual Dating."

I've been online a long time, and I've experienced the medium as it has grown into something remarkable. I remember when my old 33.6 modem was state of the art. I remember when Internet Explorer didn't exist. I remember when there were no "Social Networking" sites.

I can't imagine being without internet access. Nowadays, I get tons of mail to multiple e-mail addresses. I do most of my research from my home and have access to material I could've never touched just ten years ago. I get news feeds, photography from the Hubble telescope, letters from family and friends, all delivered daily to my desktop.

Even though I rely on the internet to a staggering degree, I have to admit that, for the last few years, we've been doing it on the cheap here at casa DuBose/Lamb. I have been running dial-up, and whenever I mention this fact to anyone, they react in abject horror.

No more, however. Next week, we make the leap to high tech. I have cable internet being installed, so we'll finally be able to grab music, use youtube, download pdfs, work from home.

We will be getting rid of our land line entirely. We will still be available, but you're gonna have to call me or my lovely spousal unit on our cells (e-mail for the number if you don't have it).

Once we get cable internet added to our satellite television and cellular telephones, we will be 100% digital.

Don't hate us for our technology.

(post 300, by the way)


Craig said...

Leisure Suit Larry horrifically bad? Blasphemy!

Jennifer said...

first introduction to the internet was around 1996. I specifically remember being enchanted with the internet & chat functioning. I would use my boyfriend-at-the time's internet connection because it was faster (glacier slow if you compare it to now). I used my parent's computer for lots of chatrooming. It was my last year of high school.

I started university in 1996 and of course became addicted to email. I can't believe the antiquated email programs we used (pine anyone?) but I loved it. It certainly allowed me to keep in touch with high school friends. In fact, I'd say email is the singular reason we stayed friends because each person went to a different Ontario university (there are about 8 of us in total that see each other as a group). I have many memories of using the computer lab at my college (subset of the university for those U.S. folks) to check email. And we learned how to chat to each other even if we were sitting right next to each other. I always found this a little dumb, but it's so common to do similar things now.

Wow, what a trip down memory lane!

MikeP said...

When I was in college, back in the 70s, they took us on a tour of the college library as usual. In one room, off to the side, they pointed to a big machine, no screen, just a teletype printer and keyboard, and said that's the college computer. No one was doing anything else with it.

So my first time was years later. The screens were black with either orange or yellow lettering. Just like in that Whoopi Goldberg movie, "Jumpin' Jack Flash."

You can't know what an epiphany it was for me when computers finally became intranetted, not to mention internetted!