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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.

December 5, 2007 — 7:38 pm
Comments: 9