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Boston has a innernets

the internet

Found among some papers tonight. No, this isn’t irony or anything. This is THE IN-TER-NET, coming to Massachusetts. Doot-de-doodly-doo!

Actually, I’d been on THE IN-TER-NET for almost a decade when I signed onto this service, but this really was a breakthrough for price and ubiquity of coverage. I think this was the mid-Nineties. The Usenet days. The Web existed, but it was still excruciatingly lame and boring and non-interactive.

The deal with Usenet, you could post under any name you liked, but your IP address was always in the header for everybody to see. That’s what made AOL such a popular trollhaven when it hit the ‘net: no matter who you were or where you posted from in the world, the IP address just resolved to plain old AOL.com. All AOL users looked alike. They could trash talk anonymously.

These people, this USAinternet thing, had dialup numbers in cities all over the country. When I posted from work (yeah…I had a dedicated outside phone line for data transfer…sweet), I dialled a local number and my IP resolved to something like powernet.boston.ma.com. And from home it was powernet.providence.ri.com.

Well, lots of ISPs used these same phone lines, I noticed. So, for the modest price of a long-distance phone call, I could make strange troll-y messages look, to anyone who paid attention, like they came from…whoever on Usenet happened to be irritating me at the moment.

Yeah. Hm. They don’t call me “weasel” for my silky fur and jaunty whiskers.


Comment from mesablue
Time: December 5, 2007, 7:50 pm

When they first opened up the Internet to us morons, I actually knew the guy that ran my ISP — he was my neighbor Carl. He had a domain, a PC and a couple of modem racks. In the summer when he left his windows open I could hear the modems on both ends handshake — 14.4 at the time,I think. If I kept a modem tied up for a long time he’d come over and knock on my door to yell at me.

Those were the days.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: December 5, 2007, 7:51 pm

You know, that looks strangely like a ransom note…

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: December 5, 2007, 7:57 pm

When I first signed up for the Net, I was so excited that I drove across town to their office to pick up the s/w rather than have them mail it.

I remember the total mess in the office/equipment bay that was their one-room “business”. I also distinctly remember that someone in there really needed a bath. Little did I know…

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: December 5, 2007, 8:14 pm

Well, I think that’s an ecks-rocks, Uncle B.

Comment from Dawn
Time: December 5, 2007, 9:10 pm

Speaking of strange troll-y messages. I used to work in customer service. When a customer would call and hassle me I would be as pleasant as I possibly could. Then I would hang up and go to various websites and sign them up for all kinds of “interesting” catalogs to be delivered to their workplace in their name.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: December 5, 2007, 10:38 pm

I knew a tech who had a cylindrical “toy” sent to a bitch in accounting. Had it delivered to work. She blushed for weeks.

Comment from Mrs. Peel
Time: December 5, 2007, 11:42 pm

Ah yes, the old days of Pine and Lynx and telnet. And, of course, the classic games.

It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

Comment from Lokki
Time: December 6, 2007, 2:14 pm

I didn’t get into the internet until the summer of 1995. I was in Panama, at the time, and the mail service was impossible. Even the International Miami Herald was often a day late.

So I heard about this internet from a friend. I bought Netscape 1.0 and got my internet service from Sinfonet.
I had a 14.4 modem, and a lousy phone line. I also had to have a UPS on my computer since the power frequently went to 85 volts (burned up two UPS systems there).

But we were on-line, and set free. We could get the news from anywhere in the world. I started to call it “The best magazine subscription in the world”. Email wasn’t much use yet, because so many of our friends didn’t have email yet. But we could call them so we tried early VOIP. It didn’t work very well, but it was so much cheaper than Panamanian international phone calls that you could repeat things a few times and still come out ahead.

Sinfonet apparently was bought out by someone in 1999, not that it matters, I guess.


Comment from Gibby Haynes
Time: December 6, 2007, 2:56 pm

I didn’t really get around to using the internet properly until around 1998 or so. Previous to that, the only time I’d used it was at 6th form college, and I came to the conclusion that sending emails to people telling them, ‘You are gay’ got stale pretty fast.
Since then (1998 or so), I wake up in the night in a panic, worrying about all of the pornography I could’ve been uh, looking at on the intertubes rather than watching VHS like a caveman.

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