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Old 12-07-2018, 08:52 AM
 
20,268 posts, read 11,238,907 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
I've always thought this was an interesting topic.

Let's take someone who is 73 years old today. Even if they weren't in a technical role, they probably had computer exposure by the end of their careers. Windows 95 really brought it mainstream. They'd have been 50 then, and in their mid 50s by the time Windows XP came out.

I think you'd really need to find people who retired before 2000, or whose job never involved computers, to not have been exposed to computers/internet at work. This would be mostly people in their 80s today.

Personally, I was exposed to computers and the internet much earlier than most of my peers. My aunt had an internet-capable IBM 386 and Prodigy internet service - this was probably 1993/1994. We got our first computer at home in 1995, and had dial-up internet immediately after. My aunt worked at the cable company, and was able to get our family into a PILOT program for cable modems in 1999. I think the service was either 256k or 512k down - at the time, this was a massive increase over the 33.6K phone modems we had (yes, my local ISP didn't have full 56k service, and I don't know why I remember this). In terms of "digital proficiency," I'm probably more like someone ten years younger than me than someone my own age. A lot of kids I grew up with didn't have internet access, even in the mid 2000s.

My peers were mostly computer nerds/science types as well. Virtually all of us work in some STEM position.
Yeah, on the timing I agree.

I had a dumb terminal sitting on my desk in 1974, and had been punching IBM cards a year earlier. I had an Atari personal computer by 1982 and was on usenet and bulletin boards with an IBM PC by 1988.
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Old 12-07-2018, 09:19 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph_Kirk View Post
Yeah, on the timing I agree.

I had a dumb terminal sitting on my desk in 1974, and had been punching IBM cards a year earlier. I had an Atari personal computer by 1982 and was on usenet and bulletin boards with an IBM PC by 1988.
To be honest, I'm really quite surprised at the number of people who were using computers and the internet frequently here before the 1990s.

Granted, I wasn't around prior to 1986, but even in the mid 1990s, computer usage was just not common in my local area. Internet usage obviously less so.

We were very, very fortunate to get broadband so early. I was on the original Napster, Kazaa, Limewire, all that. The broadband connection allowed me to download music quickly and even stream video in 1999. I spent a lot of on IRC and other chat rooms as a kid. At the time, I think our school had a T-1 connection and computers were in most classrooms, but instruction hadn't really adapted to implement them yet and internet access was pretty much wide open with little to no content filtering at all.

I was able to consume news and information from around the world in middle and high school. This really broadened my perspective over the local news and CNN most people were getting.

One thing that amazed me being in high school from 2000-2004 was how little interest my peers seemed to have in technology and the internet. Aside from my immediate peer group of other nerds, there wasn't a lot of interest in computing, the internet, etc. I don't know if parents didn't encourage it, if we were a little too old to have grown up with it in elementary schools, people didn't think it was important, etc., but a lot of those folks, even today, are still pretty averse to technology and live in their little walled gardens here in northeast TN.

Smart phones are a great tool, but the ubiquity of smart phones and social media has dumbed down the internet experience to the point it's hardly recognizable compared to what it was in the 1990s or early 2000s. Most people use their phones for inane texting and Facebook posting, and barely scratch the surface of the great utility these devices offer. I also think there's some value in the dark web for those seeking a "less curated" internet experience similar to the early days, but there's so much bad stuff there too that it's hard to separate it out.
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Old 12-07-2018, 09:50 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
To be honest, I'm really quite surprised at the number of people who were using computers and the internet frequently here before the 1990s.
Yeah, us "old folks" kind of invented that internet thing and helped it grow.

Quote:
Granted, I wasn't around prior to 1986, but even in the mid 1990s, computer usage was just not common in my local area. Internet usage obviously less so.
My daughter was in high school in the early-mid 1990's and she complained because I made her take a typing class (made my son take it too). Once they got to university, they understood what is now called keyboarding was a great skill to have, and touch typing made papers so much easier to produce.


Quote:
Smart phones are a great tool, but the ubiquity of smart phones and social media has dumbed down the internet experience to the point it's hardly recognizable compared to what it was in the 1990s or early 2000s. Most people use their phones for inane texting and Facebook posting, and barely scratch the surface of the great utility these devices offer. I also think there's some value in the dark web for those seeking a "less curated" internet experience similar to the early days, but there's so much bad stuff there too that it's hard to separate it out.
Frankly, in the '70's,'80's and '90's other than machine language programming, I pretty well was as up to speed as anyone on use of computer devices, making them talk to each other and making tweaking programs. That's gone now. The advances have been so great, that the best I can do now is some PHP tweaking. My son, on the other hand, can do subnet masks in his head, and does so daily on his job.
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Old 12-07-2018, 10:47 AM
 
Location: equator
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Loud View Post
Maybe not not internet like we think of today but there were "internet services" then. In the mid-eighties I had a subscription to CompuServe with my 300 baud modem connected to a Commador Vic-20!
Since I really can't remember, what kinds of "internet services" were those, back then? What kind of sites could you go to? If he were living today (my ex) he would have been an addict, so now I'm curious.

I mean, we only had a one-line typesetter (and that was state o' the art then) for our printing co. and boy, that was a challenge keeping all the fonts, bolding, size, etc. in one's head while looking at one line. Good thing I was in my 20s.

So, who really invented the internet? I was told not Al Gore, LOL.
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Old 12-07-2018, 11:11 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sand&Salt View Post
Since I really can't remember, what kinds of "internet services" were those, back then? What kind of sites could you go to? If he were living today (my ex) he would have been an addict, so now I'm curious.

I mean, we only had a one-line typesetter (and that was state o' the art then) for our printing co. and boy, that was a challenge keeping all the fonts, bolding, size, etc. in one's head while looking at one line. Good thing I was in my 20s.

So, who really invented the internet? I was told not Al Gore, LOL.
Prior to the Internet, people with modem-equipped personal computers could directly dial into private or commercial servers that hosted "bulletin board" applications that permitted many functions of forum websites today.

The Internet began as a military project under DARPA, designed as a communication system that could survive a nuclear war. Gore did sponsor and promote appropriation bills for what seemed at the time a pie-in-the-sky idea.

The Usenet--which is still available--was the first widespread consumer use of the Internet, much like a bulletin board system on steroids.

It was the invention of the website concept, the World Wide Web, and the web browser that brought Internet use out of the hands of us nerds and to the attention of ordinary folk.

In late 1992, our commander had hand-carried a beta of the Mosaic browser on a floppy from the University of Illinois, telling us, "This is the next big thing." We thought he was overstating it.
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Old 12-07-2018, 11:12 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jim9251 View Post
Free porn!
Bada Bing!
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Old 12-07-2018, 01:48 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
23,739 posts, read 17,687,620 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph_Kirk View Post
Prior to the Internet, people with modem-equipped personal computers could directly dial into private or commercial servers that hosted "bulletin board" applications that permitted many functions of forum websites today.

The Internet began as a military project under DARPA, designed as a communication system that could survive a nuclear war. Gore did sponsor and promote appropriation bills for what seemed at the time a pie-in-the-sky idea.

The Usenet--which is still available--was the first widespread consumer use of the Internet, much like a bulletin board system on steroids.

It was the invention of the website concept, the World Wide Web, and the web browser that brought Internet use out of the hands of us nerds and to the attention of ordinary folk.

In late 1992, our commander had hand-carried a beta of the Mosaic browser on a floppy from the University of Illinois, telling us, "This is the next big thing." We thought he was overstating it.
Also, "ISPs" like AOL and Prodigy initially did not supply web browsers. You basically puttered around in their "walled garden." I think the "walled garden" term actually came from the AOL ecosystem.

I remember trying AOL, but we ultimately went with a local dial-up provider to have access to the WWW before AOL implemented a browser.
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Old 12-07-2018, 04:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sand&Salt View Post
Was it mostly in your work, or was your first experience at home? What year? What was your initial reaction?

For me, it was around '95. We had an early-version laptop and my ex was so excited waiting for his pages to load, he wouldn't take the time to get off the couch to pee. There he squatted, bouncing in anticipation, totally naked. He couldn't tear himself away to get dressed either.

Back in the early 80s, my other ex had built a Heathkit personal computer, if anyone remembers those. But I can't remember what he did with it, since there was no internet for civilians such as us, then.
I have to speak for my grandpa since he doesn't get on this forum - WebTV, with dial-up! A Christmas gift to him, was the gateway to his first PC purchase. Worked for IBM for 30 years... bought a Dell! LOL
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Old 12-07-2018, 05:19 PM
 
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I took a programing class in 1974, punch cards. In 83 got unix at work in cpa firm, i was system admin. In 89 got dos in cpa firm, learned on 286. In 90 i worked in unix and dos in software company, tax analyst in unix. In 94 learned vms, became expert doing support. We used modem 2400 baud mostly to log on to clients with pc anywhere. Some time around then i was tasked with checking for emailed resumes and printing them. I found internet but not suppost to use it, i did one search. I got aol around 97 first home pc was 1990, got 386. Mom had a trash 80 and nephew a Commodore 64, they were too slow for me to want one. I am 70 using computers 44 years.
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Old 12-08-2018, 05:08 AM
 
Location: Central Maine
4,687 posts, read 5,547,133 times
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I have been reading all these wonderful replies this morning, kicking myself for not keeping a diary of my experiences with computers. It's not something I can do retrospectively ... the memories may be there, but no longer completely accessible.

But I remember FORTRAN and then BASIC ... taking a class at the University of Maryland in the '70s in FORTRAN, submitting a job on punched cards, and discovering the joys of getting into an infinite do-loop.

Great thread.
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