I am fortunate to have been on the ground floor of the Internet when it started getting popular in the 1990s. I was one of the first people in my company to get an email address (when I asked for one, the IT department initially didn't know what I was talking about). Back then, you usually had to subscribe to an online service like Prodigy or CompuServe and apps like Gopher and Telnet were still widely used. I was a member of Prodigy, which had the clunkiest interface you could ever imagine. Their idea of Internet was showing you sports scores and weather reports on gaudy yellow screens that were six hours old. Still, you had the sense that you were on the cutting edge.
Then Mosaic came along and as long as you had that, you could escape the confines of those blue and yellow Prodigy screens and browse web servers all around the world. At the time, the Internet was so small that if you emailed a celebrity, they likely emailed you back. I remember having email conversations with local disc jockeys about music, talk show hosts like Gene Burns and Tom Leykis (who called me a right-wing dope). Nowadays, nobody answers your email because everybody has thousands of emails clogging their inboxes.
There was one time around 1993 or 1994 when I had the entire World Wide Web on my local hard drive. Reason was that they charged $3.60 an hour to browse the internet in those days so one Saturday afternoon, I just downloaded the whole damn thing on my 9600kps modem so I could browse it offline for free. Sound ridiculous but remember it was nothing but text in those days and I think it was only about 20 megabytes. If I was smart enough, I'd have built a search engine around it and I'd be a mega-billionaire today.
Interesting bit’o cool history! Thanks for that.
Tom Leykis duraflame bopped his wife after Christmas party and was given heave ho
Wow man, those are some great memories. I am quite astonished that you downloaded the whole www on your hard drive. You were way ahead of the time, and yes, had you known about search algorithms, or even employed someone to write one, you would be super rich today.
And when the graphics revolution came along (a/k/a VGA-mania) along with those blazing 9600-baud modems, there arose a demand for dial-up portals, and Prodigy was among the first. And yes, it was a very ugly interface: