May 3, 2010
I’m sure most folks nowadays take computers and the Internet for granted. We have a tendency to do that. But it sure wasn’t always like it is now.
I can remember 1200 baud modems. Baud? What the hell is that? Without getting into it too deep, it was a measurement of modem speed used before they replaced it will plain old bps. I took all 3 steps of 1200, 2400 and 9600 baud until I got to 14,400 bps.
And BBS’s. My first exposure to shareware was through these bulletin board services, private little cyber existances run by pimple faced geeks from their bedrooms. They were displayed in ANSII text, in color if you had a color monitor to support it. And if you DID have a color monitor, it was probably a CGA, capable of a whopping 16 colors. I could download a 400k file in a little over half an hour! Smokin’! What technology.
And swappin’ floppies in DOS 2.0. You think computin’ is a pain in the butt now? Try having to swap your program floppy for the DOS floppy every now and again. When the DOS memory filled up, it would need it’s disk to grab some more data. Flip the little lever, pull out one and insert the other. Once it got what it wanted, you had to replace the program floppy, or it would beg for it.
And gandering at Windows 3.1 for Workgroups, which I thought was for wimps until I realized what a mouse was.
A virus was a cold you got from your partner, and Telnet was your browser. Early versions of Internet Explorer were too squirrely to use and who wanted to wait for that web page to load anyway.
People like us were "pioneers". Willing to pay the price for access to the "information highway". And it wasn’t cheap. I had to give up drinking beer to pay for it. And I don’t give up beer easily. In fact, once the prices became reasonable, I took it up again.
I took on ecommerce in 1995. Also expensive. Couldn’t find anyone who would take on non-swipe Internet credit card sales. They were scared to death of it. It’ll never work, they said. They finally figgered it out. Banks may be greedy, but they’re a little slow.
And yes, I kind of gave my age away. But age comes with being a veteran. That’s why kids are told to respect their elders. We hauled our Internet in covered wagons across the country so the younguns could have broadband, and fast computers. I live in Baker City, Oregon, right on the Oregon Trail. While exploring, I always see discarded 5 1/2 inch floppies (the true floppy) laying alongside the trail, unreadable from flopping them too much.
Well, not really. But they were days to remember. Like my grandpa used to say:
"It’s not being old that kills you. It’s gettin’ there."
Reported in earnest by Bob. Bob is a unfamous freelance reporter who combs the world looking for things you and I wouldn’t look for. And then reports them. Get more Bob at bobfartall.com