My first time online was from a laptop. Via a cell phone modem. Using the Mosaic browser. In 1994.
I was visiting the "Telenor Expo" - an exhibition of new technologies by semi-monopolist state telecom company Telenor. Having heard about this glorious new communications medium from some mentions in the computer mags I was reading at the time, I cautiously typed http://www.unit.no into the Mosaic window. Slowly, information "magically" appeared, delivered from a server located 600 kilometres away, via the Internet and the GSM network. Clicking the blue, underlined words felt intuitive and yielded more information about the topics they described... This was the WWW. The World Wide Web.
There was a young man beside me named Steffen, about to apply to NTH, like me. We browsed several Trondheim-related pages that were online at the time, including Strindens, the local student orchestra, and we generally agreed that Trondheim appeared to be a nice city to be a student in.
After starting my studies, I hung out a lot at the Signy computer lab (containing 20 SGI workstations with 17" monitors -- very very leading edge at the time :-) together with Steffen and other newfound friends, browsing the web, fiddling with our personal web pages and chatting on IRC. (one of my generations of homepages from those days has been archived by the Internet Archive)
Up to the rainy autumn evening in 1994, my main use of computers had been for writing school essays and of course for playing (starting with a Commodore VIC 20, and later CP/M machines and various PCs).
One boy (though often with friends), playing.
After this day, I realized that the network was the way of the future. Dramatic, yes, but admittedly after my dad's office got online in the spring of 1995, and later, after starting my studies at NTH in August the same year, I almost never played computer games again, replacing former games-time with web-time.
I'm still a believer: the Internet makes computers a hundred times more useful than when they were standalone. Whether the future is in blogging, instant messaging, networked gaming or new killer apps we haven't seen yet, it's clear: the future is bright, and the future is connected.
This story is my contribution to "Newly Digital: A distributed anthology of early computing experience."
Anders Jacobsen |