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Old 10-31-2016, 01:04 AM
Location: New Mexico
6,626 posts, read 3,693,281 times
Reputation: 12453


Oddly, there was a curious attitude about access to the internet in the beginning. Part of my job was being the internet coordinator for my government agency. I was a gate keeper when it was getting started and people had to get my approval to have access. Not everybody got access. This was long before any graphics or graphical user interface... everything was text. There was no advertising. No pictures. We had email and listserv forums but not much else. There was a lot of serious academic dialogue and exchange of ideas. I still miss some of that. It is hard to find real serious exchanges of ideas. Plagiarism, copyrights, hacking, professional jealousy, etc. were seldom brought up. The lawyers hadn't arrived yet. I guess City-Data reminds me of the text-based early days in a few respects.
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Old 10-31-2016, 03:16 AM
Location: Albuquerque, N.M.
223 posts, read 120,832 times
Reputation: 578
Got a home Pong game in '73 after playing it in bars. Was great fun for a couple of weeks, but then my roommate and I got so good at it that no one else could play us. And we got tired of playing each other. Then we got weary of people coming over and wanting to play it -- so we unplugged it and took up Backgammon.

I started working on the Internet in '94 think it was. Still at it. The TV series "Halt and Catch Fire" did a great job of representing what it was like working on the Net in those musket-carrying pioneer days.
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Old 10-31-2016, 06:45 AM
5,400 posts, read 6,550,585 times
Reputation: 10477
My experience was different , work related.

I was in the Army in Germany. If I needed to talk to someone back in DC, I must either write a letter, send telex/message etc. or I would stay late and they would come in early and we would talk on the phone in our different time zones.

We got our first email and it was wonderful to just send an email on Tuesday and have a response waiting when I came into work Wednesday morning
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Old 10-31-2016, 07:24 AM
Location: Charleston, SC
1,369 posts, read 771,752 times
Reputation: 2428
I got hired by Bell Labs right out of college in 1969. What an environment !!! Rubbing elbows with PhD's and Nobel Laureates, and hoping something would rub off on me.

The Comp Center of the 70's was in the basement -- row after row of IBM 370 Mainframes. All sitting on raised floors with cooling ducts and wiring trays. The cost was spread out over all the using departments with a Time-Sharing operation. The charges were lower after 4pm, so the "programmers" took over the video terminals upstairs. One of these geniuses had developed a rudimentary program similar to the old Space Invaders game complete with 1960's Hollywood sound effects for the spaceships and blasters. Now, my family could not be considered early adaptors, we only recently got our first color TV, but here I was rocketing across the universe blowing the bad guys out of the sky !!

In true Bell Labs fashion, we didn't monetize the Space Invaders game (see also Cell Phones, Lasers, Microphones, and Speaker technology). When Personal Computers came into vogue a few years later.....they returned all the old IBM 370's (good thing they were leased, and not purchased) and everybody got a new PC on their desk -- the old Intel 8086 processor and a couple of kilobytes of memory on board. The extent of the Internet in those days was the DARPA network and some of the alt.rec.music boards.
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Old 10-31-2016, 09:02 AM
Location: Loudon, TN
5,810 posts, read 4,859,778 times
Reputation: 19527
Nope. I was not the slightest bit impressed with Pong, and I was probably just out of HS when it came out. So simple and, in my opinion, boring. I knew all about the internet back when it was just a bunch of databases and library information from universities and government. I started using mainframe computer terminals at work before PC's were invented. I taught myself how to use Lotus with complex macros, and linked spreadsheets, etc, as soon as PC's were widely available. So no, never been blown away. I do like the functionality of voice recognition for searches and actions. I think it's pretty cool to be driving and use VR on my phone to ask for the nearest Chinese restaurant, and to navigate me there, or to dial my phone or text someone verbally while I'm driving.
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Old 10-31-2016, 10:06 AM
12,772 posts, read 14,114,722 times
Reputation: 34970
Originally Posted by crusinsusan View Post
....So. What's your first internet experience? Does it relate to your experience of pong?
Pong came out in late 1972. At that point I was smoking joints and going to a pseudo "members only" late night dance club called The Sanctuary, that was a former Baptist church, in NYC...the club closed because new places were opening and hard drugs, like heroin, began to show up too often. The phony "club" BS was because clubs at that time were largely free of legal regulations and surveillance (pay-offs, anyone) that applied to a licensed premises.

So, Pong? No. I suppose my equivalent in the same era would have been snorting coke for the first time, perhaps.

The internet? I went to work a low-level functionary in a newly funded projected multi-million buck computer center in late 1973. Our director was a main player in the establishment of Bitnet in 1981, one of several nets (e.g. ARPANET, JANET) that eventually led to the internet. But prior to that Usenet was established in 1980, and it had a form that would remind you very much of C-D, with various forums and threads and participants from across the U.S. and the U.K. Of course being able to get on it meant that you had to work in an environment with equipment you could personally access, or which allowed you to have the equipment at home and dial-up your home institution. (We were using what were called "terminals" then, which looked like and were almost the size of a 1960's portable TV with a metal housing.) Thus, the knowledge of something like Usenet, much less the ability to access it was not available to the general public. I was fortunate to be in a large computing facility and was participating on Usenet from the mid-80's on. (It was a virtually spam-free environment, by the way, and was totally non-commercial.)

By the time of the transition to the present-day version in the early 90's, computing devices were available to the public and many colleges had computing facilities available to students as well...and at this point spamming became an unbelievable curse to discussion groups and the level of discourse plunged never to be regained again. And, discussion groups and postings like those that were a normal part of Usenet, have never had a place on the internet. By the mid-90's the internet as we know it was pretty much here.

For me, having been on Usenet, and working in a big computer center as well, all the subsequent changes were simply a matter of one step after another. The Big Step had been the national and international newsgroups (and email) that I encountered in the mid-80's.

I guess I could say that my first computer experience was as eye-opening as my first coke experience, though less expensive and longer lasting.

Last edited by kevxu; 10-31-2016 at 10:15 AM..
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Old 10-31-2016, 10:57 AM
45 posts, read 31,168 times
Reputation: 79
Dad had pong around 1980 to entertain the grandkids. I wasn't impressed. I started with computers about 1974 when they were room sized with tubes, we programmed on punch cards. In 1983 I was using a Unix system with a 40 meg hard drive and wasn't impressed by the kids Commodore 64 it was too slow and mom's TRS80 they didn't even have a hard drive.
I remember the first time I used the internet I was about 47 so just about 21 years ago now. I worked in a software company doing support and was told to log on to check our email to see if we got resumes. We were charged by the minute so not supposed to use it. I searched for the average age of menopause as my first search it was 50.4 so I was almost there. AOL still charged by the minute so I didn't get it for home until they went monthly. People were saying people over 50 couldn't use computers and I was 49 doing tech support still wondered when I would forget everything, so far still ok with computers.
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Old 10-31-2016, 12:57 PM
Location: Las Vegas
13,899 posts, read 25,359,984 times
Reputation: 26425
Everyone has a visionary moment at least once in their life. The future of the net was my moment. It should have made me at least a bejillionaire but it didn't because I listened to all those people who were supposed to be smarter than me. Way before 1990 I was a netizen. I knew all about the BBS, arpanet, comnet, archie and veronica. And of course, I played pong.

One fine fall day, I gave a presentation to the Board of Directors for a Fortune 100 company on the future of the Internet and communications. In the finest 30 minutes of my life I told these people about the future. I predicted online commerce, paypal, e-bay, online banking and bill pay, WIFI, telecommuting, globalization, and eventually the end of copper wire telephone service. Everyone would do everything on their phones and computers. I told them things that would have put them years ahead of the curve. But they didn't listen. They thought I was nuts. There would never be computers and mobile phones in almost every home.

They should have listened. And more important, I should have walked out the door after that meeting, handed in my resignation, and made those things happen myself. To this day, I kick myself for not doing just that. I just didn't have enough faith in myself after hearing the people who were supposed to be visionaries scoff at my ideas. After all there had to be a reason why they got the big bucks!

I can't explain why I was able to see what they couldn't. But this one time it was as clear to me as the tree outside my window. I absolutely knew what was going to happen!
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Old 10-31-2016, 01:50 PM
2,498 posts, read 869,510 times
Reputation: 1738
My first experience with computers was in high school in the mid 70s. We used a timeshare - no, not a condo, but a dial-up connection to a computer at the local University. The data was stored by punch holes in a paper tickertape, that could then be fed into a terminal. Extremely slow, so no, it didn't exactly blow me away.
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Old 10-31-2016, 03:54 PM
12,825 posts, read 20,170,095 times
Reputation: 10910
Pong as a teen during the late 70s, started messing around with computers around the same time. First internet - define internet.
We were messing with DARPA-net when I was in college during the early-mid 80s. First job out of school we had IBM PROFS and some limited intra-net/email. Job after that we had a bit more capability. Next place after that (late 80s) we were connected to the net and I could send email to anyone in the world who had it. First real "web" experience was at the next place after that, using primitive browsers including the famous MOSAIC - this was 1992.
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