Time to update the about prompt on the profile page? January 19, 2011 8:29 AM   Subscribe

Should we update the 'About' prompt on the profile page? It still asks when the first time you used the internet was. At this point it's kind of like asking when the first time you watched TV was.
posted by empath to MetaFilter-Related at 8:29 AM (163 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

At this point it's kind of like asking when the first time you watched TV was.

Broadcast TV or a TV that could play from VHS? Cause I didn't see broadcast TV, like with commercials and stuff, til I was 9.
posted by The Whelk at 8:31 AM on January 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


I never liked that prompt.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:34 AM on January 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


I now feel like hugging The Whelk.
posted by adipocere at 8:39 AM on January 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Dude, that will totally devalue my collection of 300 baud modems.
posted by mintcake! at 8:40 AM on January 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


I sort of like it, it's a little piece of Internet/MetaFilter history. It's not like people really seem to feel pressured to actually answer those questions in that space.
posted by hermitosis at 8:41 AM on January 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


Most people don't bother answering it, and those that do usually have interesting stories. Win-win?
posted by auto-correct at 8:43 AM on January 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


Dude, empath, stop acting like you already know this stuff. You're not fooling anyone. You're an empath, not a telepath.

Oooh, can you sense my hostility now? Really, you can? Wow, amazing.
posted by Eideteker at 8:47 AM on January 19, 2011 [7 favorites]


(NOT TROI-IST)
posted by Eideteker at 8:47 AM on January 19, 2011 [18 favorites]


I agree, there could be a better prompt for the profile description.
posted by John Cohen at 8:53 AM on January 19, 2011


How do I get rid of that prompt entirely?
posted by orville sash at 8:57 AM on January 19, 2011


protip: If you fill out that box then your VCR will stop flashing 12:00
posted by special-k at 8:57 AM on January 19, 2011 [11 favorites]


How about "What was your on-ramp to the information superhighway?"
posted by staggernation at 8:58 AM on January 19, 2011 [29 favorites]


A lot of the stories on people's userpages are framed with those words in mind, as they are answering the questions asked by that prompt. It might seem a bit disconnected if those words are removed from the userpage. Keep!
posted by Gator at 8:58 AM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


(NOT TROI-IST)

I AM.
posted by The Whelk at 9:00 AM on January 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't know - that prompt got me to spew out all of my "I remember September of 1994 and the online world was better in black and green" stuff in one place, lessening the temptation to be all "and the Commodore 64 rocked" in every third MetaFilter thread.

And what universally applicable, utterly inoffensive prompt would replace it?
posted by SMPA at 9:00 AM on January 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Tell me, using only good terms, about your mother.
posted by The Whelk at 9:02 AM on January 19, 2011 [9 favorites]


At this point it's kind of like asking when the first time you watched TV was.

Color TV? I can recall when we got one of those.

The first TV we had was a small black and white, though. It had one of those dials that was always coming off and so you used pliers to change the channel. The VHF one anyways. The UHF dial seemed to be more sturdy except it was a pain to position it just right in order to tune in those channels down there...
posted by vacapinta at 9:02 AM on January 19, 2011 [8 favorites]


And what universally applicable, utterly inoffensive prompt would replace it?

Tell us about the first time you discovered goatse.
posted by empath at 9:03 AM on January 19, 2011 [14 favorites]


This question has come up at least twice before with the answer that if that prompt were removed some people's profiles would make no sense (what Gator said).

I'm fine with that though. It's not hard to update your profile. And for people that don't, people know what it used to say.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:03 AM on January 19, 2011


I like it. People feel free to write whatever they want in that space anyway, and it takes it out of the realm of the generic "about" page you find everywhere else.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:09 AM on January 19, 2011


It's a totally interesting question, mainly because we are getting further away from it chronologically. At this point we are contributing to a developing documentary of the advent of the internet (if we so choose to answer the question). At least that's how I feel about it when I read about someone's first BBS or IRC experiences.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:13 AM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


This question has come up at least twice before with the answer that if that prompt were removed some people's profiles would make no sense (what Gator said).

Couldn't they just change the first sentence of their profile to "I can remember the first time I found the internet"?
posted by 23skidoo at 9:15 AM on January 19, 2011


> And what universally applicable, utterly inoffensive prompt would replace it?

"This is free-form, go nuts (but please no pictures of your nuts)."
posted by Burhanistan at 9:16 AM on January 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


A vanishingly small number of us cannot change our profiles without losing our custom CSS.
posted by Gator at 9:16 AM on January 19, 2011 [7 favorites]


that's the price you pay for being different.
posted by The Whelk at 9:18 AM on January 19, 2011


Didn't that CSS hole get patched anyway?
posted by Burhanistan at 9:18 AM on January 19, 2011


A vanishingly small number of us cannot change our profiles without losing our custom CSS.

Unless they change the prompt to "When did you know you were sexually attracted to alligators," I think your answer is going to retain its original understandability (were the prompt to change).
posted by 23skidoo at 9:21 AM on January 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


If we are updating the About page, I'd like one of two things:

1) Move it farther away from "My Profile" (on the main page)

OR

2) Make it not have an embedded video

The combination is death for handheld computer. Hard to hit the right thing and nuked-from-orbit if you fail.
posted by DU at 9:23 AM on January 19, 2011


Me and Philo T. Farnsworth were hanging out one night having a few brewskis and he was like 'dude check this thing out that I invented.' I was all like woah and then he totally blew my mind by telling me he was gonna call it television or some shit.
posted by fixedgear at 9:24 AM on January 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is this something I would need to own a TV to understand?
posted by Obscure Reference at 9:35 AM on January 19, 2011


hermitosis: I sort of like it, it's a little piece of Internet/MetaFilter history.

Ditto, and it makes me feel old without really being old (yet).

"Why, I remember being impressed at the significant speed modification from playing Ultima something something on a 386! Why, a boat trip that took twenty minutes before would fly by in mere moments! And with that, I knew how people felt when they first attached rockets to row boats. Like some sort of mad aquatic science-god.

And I remember when downloading music took patience! Why, I had to barter to get MP3s, hoping I wouldn't lose connection to a site after uploading my share of the trade. And even then, the files could have been mis-labeled! Do you know how many dumb electronic tracks are credited to Aphex Twin or Moby? TOO MANY!"
posted by filthy light thief at 9:37 AM on January 19, 2011 [8 favorites]


I just got the internet at my house today!
posted by fuq at 9:37 AM on January 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


the online world was better in black and green

Seriously. I'd be happy to see that kind of regression. Why can't the Tea Party focus on a return to gopher and telnet, working to repeal Web 2.0 and the DMCA? We could still have metafilter via telnet.
posted by Maximian at 9:37 AM on January 19, 2011


It had one of those dials that was always coming off and so you used pliers to change the channel. The VHF one anyways. The UHF dial seemed to be more sturdy except it was a pain to position it just right in order to tune in those channels down there...

The VHF dial only had, like, 12 settings, 2-13 and "UHF" - The rheostat behind it on cheap sets tended to be a primitive, clanking thing, with massive spring-loaded detents, because it didn't need to do much. The UHF dial had to get you from 14-99, and make space for the tuning ring, besides. It generally had smaller, and therefore smoother, springs and detents that required lots less force to move. That's why it's almost always the VHF dial that's busted on old TVs.

Top-of-the-line models had custom VHF rheostats with smooth, silky action, like the totally sweet Curtis Mathes my dad bought in early '80s. (He bought it to play Magnavox Odyssey games on. My mom wasn't impressed.)
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:43 AM on January 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


Oh man, having flashbacks now of my father screaming at me for turning the UHF dial too fast.
posted by Gator at 9:50 AM on January 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is my AOL 1.0 diskette valuable yet?
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:50 AM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]



Broadcast TV or a TV that could play from VHS?


You had VHS as a child? Until my teens, we could only watch the Charlie Brown Christmas special ONCE a year. That was IT. And we LIKED it.
posted by Melismata at 9:52 AM on January 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


(NOT TROI-IST)

This is where I get to mention that .gif again, right? It's only appropriate.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:54 AM on January 19, 2011


It touches me like no other prompt ever has. It stays, dammit.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:59 AM on January 19, 2011


You had VHS as a child? Until my teens, we could only watch the Charlie Brown Christmas special ONCE a year. That was IT. And we LIKED it.

I think it was a gift from one of our Friends And Relations. My Mom had been in So.Cal long enough to soak up some "Television is bad for kids" so she thought she'd just get a terrible TV nd use it to watch movies. The real problem I remember was getting new tapes, buying them regularly was expensive, and the local rental place had a limited supply. (If you want to know how often we were there, apparently the first time I read something out loud without being prompted was reciting the movie titles to myself in the store) So we ended up watching the same movies and recorded shows over and over again, which is fine when you're a kid.

It's also why I can sing the entire score to Little Shop Horrors blindfolded.
posted by The Whelk at 10:02 AM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh man, having flashbacks now of my father screaming at me for turning the UHF dial too fast.

Word. I don't think I ever once changed the channel without my mom or dad yelling at me. "Go easy on it!"

I should yell at my son for pushing the buttons on the remote too hard. That'll learn 'em.
posted by bondcliff at 10:07 AM on January 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Why do you need a hug?"
posted by gnomeloaf at 10:08 AM on January 19, 2011


I don't answer the question, I like it anyway, I hope that it stays.
posted by rollbiz at 10:10 AM on January 19, 2011


It has that charming and slightly melancholy quality of slapdash fill meant to be temporary but which winds up lasting forever and eventually becoming a cherished institution. So keep it.
posted by theodolite at 10:11 AM on January 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


i was just thinking that, really.
posted by clavdivs at 10:20 AM on January 19, 2011


I'd like to see it go. The beauty of having it gone is that all you people that like it can learn that exciting new cutting & pasting skill.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:28 AM on January 19, 2011


If you want to know how often we were there, apparently the first time I read something out loud without being prompted was reciting the movie titles to myself in the store

Oh, man, I spent a lot of time at Square 1 Video as a kid. I was pretty seriously familiar with the cover art of every commercially available horror film released before 1990, even though I never got to rent them. It's been weird catching some of those actual films after the fact; no actual horror film, certainly none of that mainstream schlock from the 80s, could live up to the promise made by slick, iconic cover art and a good zinger.

Like, House? Awesome undead disembodied hand. Ringing a doorbell. "Ding dong, you're dead." There's about five tons of promise right there. The reality is a sludgy is-it-a-comedy-or-not cheesefest with Bull from Night Court terrorizing The Greatest American Hero over Vietnam guilt. THERE'S NO FLOATING HAND. WHAT THE FUCK.

My adulthood as a horror fan has been a long string of such disappointments. That childhood spent gazing up at embossed slasher flick covers, memorizing franchise subtitles, imagining the movie behind each compelling tableaux: all just time wasted worshiping a false god.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:36 AM on January 19, 2011 [19 favorites]


I remember their being a lot more toilets on the covers of those tapes then you'd expect to find.
posted by The Whelk at 10:38 AM on January 19, 2011


I never saw Ghoulies II but I'm pretty certain the tagline was "Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the bathroom..."
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:43 AM on January 19, 2011


Goddammit I was just thinking that it was safe to go back to the bathroom.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:51 AM on January 19, 2011 [11 favorites]


Top-of-the-line models had custom VHF rheostats with smooth, silky action, like the totally sweet Curtis Mathes my dad bought in early '80s. (He bought it to play Magnavox Odyssey games on. My mom wasn't impressed.)

I absolutely remember those, but you're off by around ten years. The Odyssey came out in 1972 and was discontinued by the mid-70s (though maybe your dad was WAY ahead of the "classic gaming" curve in the 1980s). I remember Haunted House which was the coolest thing I had ever seen until my sister cut up the overlay. I remember nothing about game play -- just that I thought it was the pinnacle.

I also remember a TV remote with what looked like rafia on it and two big buttons that made a "kerchunk" sound when you pressed them to change the channel. I can't find an image anywhere on the Internet, though. Was that the product of an eight year-old's fever dream?
posted by The Bellman at 10:52 AM on January 19, 2011


Hm, I appear to have totally ignored and answered the default question about the nickname. But now I kind of want to go back and add in how I agree that the internet was better in black and green and gopher was my friend.
posted by Miko at 10:59 AM on January 19, 2011


Oh man, the Odyssey... one of my friends in Montana had one of those in the late 70s. And also they raised sheep.

There is no connection between the two, except that they are the only two things I remember about the guy. Video game, sheep ranch. I'm not even sure I remember his name (Dusty? Might be right.)
posted by caution live frogs at 11:03 AM on January 19, 2011


caution live frogs: "Oh man, the Odyssey... one of my friends in Montana had one of those in the late 70s. And also they raised sheep."

Well, it was a tv. It's what they do.

Wake up, sheeple!
posted by maudlin at 11:12 AM on January 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well if we're doing VHS covers that enthralled our younger selves then I'm going with: Chopping Mall 'Where shopping can cost you an arm and a leg'
posted by urban greeting at 11:14 AM on January 19, 2011


Ugh. Can y'all please remember to rewind the thread once you are done reading?
posted by special-k at 11:16 AM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Couldn't they just change the first sentence of their profile to "I can remember the first time I found the internet"?

Yeah, but it would be weird and seem to come out of nowhere, most likely.
posted by kenko at 11:24 AM on January 19, 2011


We could go with the question, "What's the best thing you've ever seen on the internet?" but I kinda like the archaic weirdness of the question as it stands.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:33 AM on January 19, 2011


On MetaFilter, the internet uses you.
posted by oinopaponton at 11:36 AM on January 19, 2011


Forget it, Jake. It's MetaFilter. Leave it as is.
posted by languagehat at 11:37 AM on January 19, 2011


Replace it with plentyoffish.com style polls. I need some good stats so I can know who my enemies are.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:39 AM on January 19, 2011


I remember when cable TV first came to my small town. We didn't have it at home yet, but we did have it at my mom's shop. (She owned the flower shop downtown.) I was so excited to have it that I talked her into letting me stay there for a few hours and walk home because I had seen a commercial for Starcade and really, really, really wanted to watch it.

Sorry, what were we talking about? It's just that I remember that story whenever I read threads about how awesome growing up without TV is and I can't help but think "Would my life have been even more awesome without it? Because it was pretty fucking awesome with it."

As for my first Internet experience, my best friend and I "somehow" stumbled onto a gay chat bulletin board within minutes of being on the 'net outside of our high school. We laughed and mocked. And we both came out less than 5 year later.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:39 AM on January 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


I like that there is a prompt, even if the prompt somehow felt a bit weird to me. I like when people include pictures of themselves in their profile, and I like when people talk a little bit about themselves and their ideas in their profile.

In fact, I find that almost all my favorite posters here have well-populated profiles. The connection seems to be that with a picture and some thoughts/description there, I can better understand them as human beings. It puts a face to the prosody-free snark and blag of daily 'Filtering.

And just to add to that, it's a big disappointment when you read something really interesting from somebody, or think you might know them, and go to check their profile and there's no name, gender, nothing - maybe a single ask.me question and perhaps dozens of answers but no further anything. I respect anonymity and secrecy but ultimately it is disappointing. People sharing about themselves ultimately helps it feel more like a community and less like... any other forum.

All in all, I don't want the prompt to go away, but I could imagine a shorter one or something. In truth I'd really like to see profiles used more.

it's kind of like asking when the first time you watched TV was.

BTW, I'm 28, and I still remember my first contact with ODIN at the library, my first BBS connections, first emails, first PRODIGY service, first WOLF3D over a modem, first internet and first WWW. Back in the early days of free 5 hours of AOL (think I was in fourth or fifth grade?), I used to keep notebooks and paper scraps of "keywords" that I wanted to learn about. I would think about ten or fifteen keywords per day... I was insatiable and those early glimmers of Internet still mean a lot to me - it was a world opening up before me, waiting at the end of the schoolbus ride home.

On top of that, though I work in a more-or-less secret research lab, I still often meet people who barely know how to search Google on a daily basis, as well as people for whom it is a distant abstraction ("you kin get anythin on searchin Internet, sure thing"). Don't forget how far out on the curve you are.
posted by fake at 11:43 AM on January 19, 2011 [8 favorites]


I think it's a good question because it answers a basic question about both the internet and Metafilter: 'How'd you come to it?' As though MeFi were a bar in a particularly obscure place (I'm thinking 'Siberia,' an epic and weird late 90's NYC bar that was off a stairwell leading down to the subway) - and one point of interest was how you came to be in this particular, out of the way and utterly particular, place.

All of which is to say I respectfully disagree - it's a good question, a good opener, especially for those who want to answer it.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:43 AM on January 19, 2011


My first experience with "cable" TV was my father's divorced man swinging 70s bachelor pad in Manhattan Beach, Calif. The landlord had the super-mega-pirate satellite dish and pirate box that could pull in and decode everything. The remote (which was connected to the box by a cable) was a giant plastic brick with analog dummy switches, like something you'd see with a Dharma initiative logo on it.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:48 AM on January 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


My grandad actually had one of those color televisions with the round screen. I fondly recall how we watched Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom and The Wonderful World of Disney on it on Sunday nights, and The Wizard of Oz once a year on it.

10 years later, I remember watching television one evening, and we lost the signal. I distinctly remember hitting the side of the box in hopes of restoring it. The real reason why I couldn't watch my show was completely unthinkable and never occurred to me.
posted by crunchland at 11:48 AM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


And just to add to that, it's a big disappointment when you read something really interesting from somebody, or think you might know them, and go to check their profile and there's no name, gender, nothing

Oh man, I just signed up for Reddit finally a few days ago and one of the things that was weird and disappointing to me was discovering that you just plain can't fill in a profile. No spot for "hey, tell us a little about yourself", no nothin'. It was disorienting, because I've gotten so used to that being the norm on the sites and services I do bother to sign up to—the notion that other folks there would in theory want to know who you are, who is saying this stuff, what the human context is for what you post. It was surprising to have that just not be part of the deal.

Which is aside from the question of whether people should feel compelled to include such stuff, of course; I think you should put what you want out there and no more, and if what you want to put out is nothing or the bare minimum that's a valid choice. Maybe you're trying to be incognito, or just don't feel comfortable talking about yourself like that, or so on.

But I surely do like it when people do write a little bit about themselves. Helps this place feel a little more real.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:51 AM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Link doesn't work, crunchland. :(
posted by Melismata at 12:01 PM on January 19, 2011


The second generation Magnavox Odyssey debuted in '78, and had sold 3 million units by '83.

So... schooled!
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:09 PM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


1989.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:13 PM on January 19, 2011


The Bellman:

You had a Space Command?! I thought those were the coolest thing ever!
posted by TedW at 12:14 PM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I totally agree that no one should feel pressured to reveal more than they want, but I also have the sense that the gestalt community experience is elevated with each bit of personal sharing.

A side consequence of profile-free sites like Reddit is that all you have to judge others on is their comment stream. One thing I like about MeFi, in contrast, is that I can go to someone's profile and be informed by it, instead of being forced to troll through potentially years-old stuff (which might be misleading, they might have grown or changed their mind and could use the benefit of the doubt) to get a sense of an individual or the particular warp of a certain comment. I like the way that MeFi subtly discourages dredging up old comments in new situations, and I feel the Reddit-approach systematically encourages it (though they don't seem to have a big problem).

I didn't always care about my profile. It used to say "God is dead. Art is dead. Mr. Rogers is dead.". Which I felt was pretty much what I had to share with random people on a site, something funny and dark, but also poignant and resonant in its own ugly way. But one day a poster here memailed me and said something like "I looked at your profile and was pretty turned off by you. But then I checked out your personal site, and it changed my opinion. Nice ____ on your ___.". I was a bit taken aback, but then I realized that there really wasn't much there to respond to, and little context for who I am. Since then, I have come to value profiles and their content more, and feel them as real, even if this place is a cacaphonic hall of blue, green, and gray mirrors.
posted by fake at 12:21 PM on January 19, 2011


I sort of like it, it's a little piece of Internet/MetaFilter history.

This, this, this. I so enjoy the prompt for that reason, and of course reading when people have explained a bit about what they think of as early experiences online - for some it's BBSes, for some it's Friendster, and it gives this great picture highly granular timeline of "what was slightly obscure when you were 14 years old".
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:33 PM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, I'm sure I'm not the only one here old enough to remember going to the hardware store (with my father) with a handful of vacuum tubes to plug into the tube tester and replace the bad ones. It worked for radios too!

And we got kind of screwed on cable since we lived on a small cul-de-sac and the cable company thought it wasn't worth it to run cable up there for just a few houses; my friends who lived on busier streets had cable years before we did. And don't get me started on how after years of begging my parents finally got HBO-the year I left for college.

On the other hand, that black and white TV with all the tubes did allow me to watch men walk on the moon live. Now I live in the woods and wirelessly stream high definition video throughout my house, but it somehow doesn't seem as magical as a small analog monochrome CRT did that July evening.
posted by TedW at 12:34 PM on January 19, 2011


My family first got cable in the mid-80s. The interface was a black converter box that sat atop the television set with an analog dial on its face whose numbers went from 1 to about 60. My parents, being late adopters and somewhat frugal, didn't pay for any of the premium channels. But my brother and I discovered that if you turned the dial halfway between HBO or Showtime and the neighboring channel and then wedged a penny underneath the dial, you could see boobies for free!
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:36 PM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know what would be really cool? A random assortment of various irreverent prompts, (maybe taken from this thread?) so it ads a layer of interest because people are responding to different things
posted by angrycat at 12:46 PM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh man, having flashbacks now of my father screaming at me for turning the UHF dial too fast.

You've just made me realize that the UHF dial on the family TV from my early childhood probably counts as my first drum machine.
posted by Babblesort at 1:18 PM on January 19, 2011


the UHF dial on the family TV from my early childhood probably counts as my first drum machine.

I love the drum fill of channel changing that hits right before Danny Boy starts talking here.
posted by dirtdirt at 1:54 PM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just signed up for Reddit finally a few days ago

Oh god, I'm so sorry.
posted by Zozo at 1:54 PM on January 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Awww, Reddit's not MeFi but it's still tons of fun.
posted by Gator at 1:56 PM on January 19, 2011


Reddit's not MeFi but it's still tons of fun.

To date, reddit has been the only site I've blocked via my hosts file out of spite/anger.
posted by hellojed at 2:08 PM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


urban greeting: Well if we're doing VHS covers that enthralled our younger selves

May I remind everyone of some earlier posts: Classic VHS cover art across the web, and 3600 VHS Video Covers (sorry, the post content is a dead end, but the comments live on).

... and reading said comments, I notice that louche mustachio posted a link that still works, though I'm not sure if this site has the same content as the original link).


the online world was better in black and green

Maximian: Seriously. I'd be happy to see that kind of regression. Why can't the Tea Party focus on a return to gopher and telnet, working to repeal Web 2.0 and the DMCA? We could still have metafilter via telnet.

We wouldn't have so many SLYT posts (or YT posts at all), as YouTube's ASCII prank (as seen in this screencast) of the TEXTp setting is no more, but we still have ASCIImeo (ASCII version of LBJ buying pants; via the blue).
posted by filthy light thief at 2:11 PM on January 19, 2011


To date, reddit has been the only site I've blocked via my hosts file out of spite/anger.

Awww. I suppose if I hung out in political subreddits I'd feel the same way, but I stick to fun ones like /r/comics, /r/pics, /r/minecraft, /r/itookapicture, /r/startrek (surprisingly low-traffic), and of course /r/aww. And last month, they featured one of my photos as a nonad! Whee!
posted by Gator at 2:16 PM on January 19, 2011


Yeah Gator, that seems to be the consensus. reddit seems to be a much better site if you look at it like a subcommunity directory, rather than a place to share links. And pare off the sites that you don't like. even then it's kind of frustrating.
posted by hellojed at 2:18 PM on January 19, 2011


Sorry Melismata. It's on this page. Scroll down to the one marked "1966 Zenith 24NC31Z."
posted by crunchland at 2:39 PM on January 19, 2011


Thanks to empath for posting this. I read the comments by cortex and fake about their feelings on profiles and the information they contain being valuable to a sense of community. So I updated mine with some more info to flesh out the enigma that is pixlboi.

Yeah, I know, who...?

Anyways, while doing that I looked over my history and all the interesting answers and information I have received over the years and I have to say...

GODDAMN THIS PLACE ROCKS!
posted by pixlboi at 2:43 PM on January 19, 2011


TV: 1964; neighbors.
Internet: 1999.
Next question
posted by Namlit at 2:59 PM on January 19, 2011


When I was a little kid we had one of those giant TV's, well a small screen in a big heavy wooden cabinet. As there was no fireplace or mantle in our apartment each Christmas we hung our stockings on the TV (yeah, we're kind of trashy). We were the last people to get color TV and cable, long after everyone else had.

In 1990 I figured out how to install a modem in my computer.
posted by readery at 3:13 PM on January 19, 2011


Also, I'm sure I'm not the only one here old enough to remember going to the hardware store (with my father) with a handful of vacuum tubes to plug into the tube tester and replace the bad ones.

Me too! But I was 18 and by myself. My mum had been given a "sort of working" portable TV from someone's junk pile. Since I thought I'd prefer the evening news if the image weren't so snowy and didn't keep flipping round like a paddle wheel, I borrowed a DIY TV fix-it book from the library, and felt incredibly clever and competent as I tested the tubes, bought new ones as required, and had my little TV in fair working order for about $10.

Internet: back in the days of BITNET, about 1986, I think.
posted by angiep at 3:14 PM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


FWIW my profile doesn't make any sense without the prompt, but it's also a lame and facile joke and considering how much time and energy I spend here I think I'll write up something more substantial tonight.

Also, what theodolite said.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:18 PM on January 19, 2011


I dunno, the other night we went around the table and shared our first Compact Disc purchases.

Public Enemy, "Greatest Misses" and Faith No More, "The Real Thing"
posted by Beardman at 3:52 PM on January 19, 2011


First CDs? That would Handel "Messiah" and Holst "The Planets."
posted by crunchland at 3:57 PM on January 19, 2011


First LP? Peter and the Wolf.
First CD? Schumann's Symphonic Etudes with Ashkenazy.
First cast iron frying pan? 1983; Cousances 28cm.
First sip of Champagne? 1963 when my uncle graduated from high school. They woke my up for some funny-tasting bubbly stuff I wasn't supposed to drink at that age.
First harpsichord lesson? 1965.
Last man standing? Soon not any more, need to quit here and have some sleep.
posted by Namlit at 4:05 PM on January 19, 2011


Heh. The cable TV in my 'hood in the eighties came with a brown faux-wood converter of the kind that a tiny virtual Kim Mitchell is using to change channels at around the 1:00 mark here (warning: Canadian Gen-X nostalgia). The first online forays were onto BBSes in 1990. I do not recall the exact date of my first look at the fledgling World Wide Web, but I recall the most exotic thing I found on it: after discovering that my local newspaper and public library had these "web page" things, I went further afield, looking for something from abroad. I recall my family being really impressed when I showed them that on the computer you could find the phone book for Stockholm. Actual Swedish phone numbers! On the computer!

The first CDs were gifts for my mom, along with her CD player: a Bob Dylan compilation, a Bob Seger album (Stranger in Town, or maybe Night Moves) and a Bach CD, because classical made the first big leap into the new format. I have no idea what the first one I bought for myself was... maybe Quadrophenia, which was in the first two or three I owned.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:33 PM on January 19, 2011


Living Colour, Vivid.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:43 PM on January 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


My first web search was at work in 2001. Of course I searched my name, and I came up with Maureen McCormick, and Maureen O'Hara and various other people named Maureen. So I looked around the room and saw my colleague who had twin baby girls so I searched "twin girls." Yep, porn on my second ever search.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 5:07 PM on January 19, 2011


Living Colour, Vivid.

I saw them open for the Stones at Shea in '89. They were pretty damned good.
posted by jonmc at 5:15 PM on January 19, 2011


Tom Petty Full Moon Fever
posted by Sailormom at 5:17 PM on January 19, 2011


Madonna Like A Prayer

But the first CD I bought cause I couldn't find crap online and someone had one and I NEEDED IT

Dory Previn Mythical Kings And Iguanas

I owned so many more cassettes, once CDs came along they became beyond cheap, so I had ...a lot.
posted by The Whelk at 5:42 PM on January 19, 2011


Living Colour, Vivid.

This was also my first cd! My second was Ride the Lightning.
posted by empath at 5:49 PM on January 19, 2011


I was strangely loyal to the cassette (first cassette Madonna Madonna) so I didn't buy CDs until fairly late in the game. Which is why my first CD was Mazzy Star So Tonight That I Might See. In 1993.

It's possible I still have a bunch of cassettes. Maybe.
posted by grapesaresour at 5:51 PM on January 19, 2011


VHS? Pfft, we had Betamax.

Which is why I wasn't an early adopter of either Blu-ray or HD-DVD
posted by djgh at 5:54 PM on January 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


There are 4,879,095,144 people in the world (give or take) who could answer that question "today".
posted by doublesix at 6:03 PM on January 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ask Me: I AM COLD AND WET AND SCARED AND WHERE IS MY NUTRIENT TUBE? OH MAN IT'S SO COLD AND WHERE IS THE BIG WARM SHAPE? BIG WARM SHAPE! AHHH!
posted by The Whelk at 6:13 PM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here you go.
posted by Sailormom at 6:28 PM on January 19, 2011


TV: I remember watching the Flintstones and having to go to bed right after. I was about 3, and this was around 1963.

Internet: March, 1997. My new boyfriend had a computer and AOL. My first web searches took me to LL Bean's website and NOFX. A link on NOFX's site took me to an anarchist's site, with recipes for making bombs.

CD's: Queen's Greatest Hits, and Steely Dan's Greatest Hits. I didn't even like Steely Dan, but there were very few CDs available in 1983.

Holy crap, I'm old.
posted by MexicanYenta at 6:37 PM on January 19, 2011


My first CD was Poison's "Open Up and Say...Ahh!". In 1988 my dad just got a bling stereo system with one of the first 5 disc carousel Sony models hooked up to a 150 watt amp. He hated hair metal but really enjoyed the clarity of the drum thumps at the end of the break in "Nothing but a good time".
posted by Burhanistan at 6:55 PM on January 19, 2011


Combat (when I was a baby, my folks bought themselves an Atari 2600--to hear them tell it, I liked video games before I liked tv), Cleveland Free-Net, It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back.
posted by box at 7:01 PM on January 19, 2011


First CD for myself? Classic rock compilation. Alman Brothers, Clapton, Golden Earring, Deep Purple, the usual war-horses. Had a five-CD turntable changer, so I filled the other slots with the Dead, Jethro Tull, Moody Blues and Rush.

First CD ever? Pixies. It was a present for my Sister, who liked that sissy crap, but hey, at least it wasn't metal. Only d-bags and jocks listen to metal.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:08 PM on January 19, 2011


Thanks to cell phones there are loads of people with internet but no TV or CDs.

I didn't buy any CDs till college because that's when I finally got a CD player - and then I bought the Lion King soundtrack. And I only ever bought one audio cassette that wasn't blank - the karaoke version of a Gloria Estefan album, for use at the open Mickey Mouse Club audition when I was 12. They cast Justin and Britney and Christina and frankly I'm okay about not making it past the first cut.

My first VHS purchase was, I think, the six-tape set of Star Trek films. Generations came out like a year later and I realized I was a sucker.
posted by SMPA at 7:27 PM on January 19, 2011


First record? Red Roses For Me. On vinyl.

That makes me cool, right?
posted by stet at 7:31 PM on January 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


I can't remember what my first CD was, but thinking back reminded me of the cardboard sleeves that CDs used to come in. (Was that a packaging ploy to make the purchased product seem more substantial?) The sleeve from the double CD set Yessongs served as the hideout for my ashtray for many years.
posted by slogger at 7:53 PM on January 19, 2011


If memory serves, the longbox was adopted partially as a way to make CDs fit into LP shelving. Also to discourage shoplifting.
posted by box at 7:57 PM on January 19, 2011


I don't remember the first CD, but I remember our family's first CD player. My dad won it a radio station contest - you had to suggest a three-song set, and he suggested "Crossroads," "Southern Cross," and "Crosstown Traffic." He had to pick it up at the radio station, in Midtown NY, and we decided to make a family outing of it. I was 12. We went to the station, picked up the player, and toted it around all day in the rain, but it set up fine once it came home, and he still uses it.

It's worth noting that train fare to NYC for a family of four, meals while in NY and whatever else we did still did not cost as much as the CD player, new, would have at that time. So this whole expedition seemed totally reasonable.
posted by Miko at 8:20 PM on January 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was 12.

Wait wait, I couldn't have been 12. Must have been more like 14, 15.
posted by Miko at 8:21 PM on January 19, 2011


Does CompuServe (circa 1992) count?
posted by chndrcks at 8:48 PM on January 19, 2011


My mom got a TV when I was 6, and it was burgled a month later. She didn't get another one until I was 10 (1972). 3 channels on VHF, 1 on UHF. UHF was the freaky stuff with late late movies, and crazy local ads.

Also, Prodigy, 1990, 'cause I am leet old.

I bought 2 CDs the same day -- Animal Logic, and Tin Machine. I still like the Tin Machine -- that actual disc is 21 years old now - I remember the naysayers prophesying that CDs would fall apart physically within 10 years because of some sort of glue or laminate manufacturing snafu.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:51 PM on January 19, 2011


Metafilter: a cacaphonic hall of blue, green, and gray mirrors. I like that idea, fake.
posted by maryr at 8:52 PM on January 19, 2011


And P*, all the way. This was about 5 years before my IRC days.
posted by maryr at 8:55 PM on January 19, 2011


1997. Geri Haliwell nudie pics and Kids in the Hall transcripts.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:14 PM on January 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, wow. My first CD was Press To Play by Paul McCartney. It was one of about six discs, longbox and all, sitting in a cardboard box on the counter at Record Store in Bloomfield, NJ (where I continued to buy records for another ten years or so until they closed up shop). My first CD player was a Fisher, and it looked almost exactly like this.

(My next two CDs were both gifts from an uncle - the "Rock For Amnesty" compilation and Pink Floyd's The Wall. I still have them both and hold them pretty dear. (The Wall sounds like brittle, hissy ass. Man alive, those early CBS CDs were awful.)
posted by mintcake! at 9:50 PM on January 19, 2011


Also - any other DDialers out there?
posted by mintcake! at 9:54 PM on January 19, 2011


I don't remember what my first CD was, but I do remember my first CD player. My father bought it for me as a Christmas present in 1987, between semesters of my junior year in college. He was an old-school audiophile, all Technics and stuff, had been a reel-to-reel man in the 60s. We asked my then-boyfriend (now my ex-husband) to come out with us to pick the player out a few days before Christmas. They got me a single-disc player, a Sony IIRC. After we got back from the store, he asked if I would stay for dinner, but I had too many things to do and was anxious to spend a last evening with my boyfriend before he flew home, plus I was about to spend Christmas with my parents, so I begged off.

The next day, at lunchtime, my father had a fatal heart attack. I never saw him alive again; we buried him on Boxing Day. I used that damned CD player until it wore out, too.

(Sorry to be kind of a bummer in the thread, but it was the music question I could answer, and that's not a story I can bring myself to put in my profile.)
posted by immlass at 10:01 PM on January 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


For most people on MeFi, perhaps the question doesn't make that much sense anymore.* Still, it kind of gives a nice start to the profiles people fill out, despite feeling kind of quaint, so I personally favor keeping it as is.

*It's like the internet survey questions that ask "how many times in a day do you go online." That's a completely irrelevant question, IMHO, because it's almost unanswerable. I use the web/internet as if it was part of my computer/phone, it's not a separate entity in my mind (until the network goes down, anyway). I have no idea how often I "go online" in a day, and yet I filled out a survey today that had that question...
posted by gemmy at 10:10 PM on January 19, 2011


Perhaps it doesn't make sense any more, but by [deity or alternative invocation] it's a sign that MetaFilter is not bloody Facebook.

My first computer game, like that of so many people, was the brick-in-wall game that came with the 48k Spectrum, though my first real experience of computer games came a little earlier: ADVENT and a bow/arrow game on the mainframe at my mother's workplace.
posted by holgate at 10:25 PM on January 19, 2011


I don't have anything written in that part of my profile because I don't like the question. AOL in '97. Meh. My vote is Lose It.

I got my first CD player in 1994. My first CD was the awful soundtrack to the awful motion picture The Flintstones. I have no godly idea why I bought it. I can only assume it's because I was twelve and stupid and anxious to get the CD player up and running, and it was probably the only thing in the store that my $5/wk. allowance could buy.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:40 PM on January 19, 2011


(My second and third were weezer and Ill Communication, so I wasn't totally out of it.)
posted by Sys Rq at 10:44 PM on January 19, 2011


The first CD I remember buying is The Offspring at around age 11 or 12. This was in my phase of still somewhat idolizing my older sister who was into all of that alternative music stuff. I didn't really listen to that much music at the time, though, and most of it was just playing with the record player downstairs, which left me mostly with the options of 60s weird music, classical, and Barbara Streisand. Oh, and Auscultation of the Heart. There were two copies of that record. That is going to be my fake band name when I make my fake band.

The first Internet I remember is Prodigy, and I mostly just remember playing silly games and then one of my classmates trying very poorly to spoof an email. And then my father using PPP to chat with my sister online while she was at college (using something that looked a lot like talk if it wasn't actually talk).

My nickname was just randomly chosen just for metafilter. I wanted some sort of semi-anonymity for it so I didn't want it to be one of my standard usernames. There's kind of a directed graph from metafilter to my rest-of-internet identity, but I still think it's at least marginally difficult to find me on metafilter if you know my other internet identities (i.e. my mom is unlikely to accidentally stumble upon it, but someone actually trying could probably manage it without too much difficulty).
posted by that girl at 11:24 PM on January 19, 2011


Is this where I smugly mention that I don't have an internet?
posted by Decani at 1:51 AM on January 20, 2011


Like, you have two internets? Heard that before...
posted by Namlit at 2:04 AM on January 20, 2011


I talked my friend John into loaning me $5 so I could buy the Pretty in Pink soundtrack. From the Strawberries around the corner from the Worcester Galleria. It came out in '86, so I was maybe 14? I have to be honest and say my choice was partly a ploy to soften ol' John up to loan me the finsky, and that I would have chose something loathsome if I could have bankrolled it on my own. But it was a lucky break that John was there because that record (terminology!) holds up and I still listen to it, from time to time.
posted by dirtdirt at 4:22 AM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


What I do not understand is how some users consider it an open ended enough question that they stuff C.V.'s, reading lists, and Westphalia Treaties into that box. If we had it to do over again the phrasing of the question could use loads of work, but it is far for the better to just let it stand.

The next time somebody asks me for my favorite band, television show, or movie I am going to tell them Motley Crue, the puppies channel, or Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer.
posted by bukvich at 6:32 AM on January 20, 2011


The sleeve from the double CD set Yessongs served as the hideout for my ashtray for many years.

Yessongs was the first LP I ever deliberately went out and bought for myself, which, if you're not familiar with it, is a monster package. Three records, four foldout panels (8 separate 12" spreads of art), 20+ page full-color booklet.

I was 14 and, up to that point, got all my albums as gifts from friends mostly (we did this thing of always buying albums for each other for our birthdays, then trading them back and forth). But nobody was going to buy Yessongs for me. The weird part is, I had no idea what I was getting. I didn't even know it was a live album. I just really, really liked the song Roundabout and the only album in the local record store that listed it on the cover was Yessongs (Fragile, the original album was too austere a work of art to be sullied with liner notes on its outer cover).

Anyway, I saved up my 14 bucks (a lot in 1974) laid it down and thus began my cosmic journey into the weird and wonderful and only partly absurd world of all things "progressive".

As for TV, my first memory of it was in a pub in a small town in Ireland, circa 1962. I would've been three. Half the town had gathered to watch Have Gun Will Travel.

You're all welcome on my lawn.
posted by philip-random at 7:35 AM on January 20, 2011


I can't remember what my first CD was, but thinking back reminded me of the cardboard sleeves that CDs used to come in. (Was that a packaging ploy to make the purchased product seem more substantial?) The sleeve from the double CD set Yessongs served as the hideout for my ashtray for many years.

IIRC, the longboxes were used so that CDs could fit into the record store bins where, uh, records used to go. I decorated my childhood bedroom with longboxes for a bit there.
posted by joe lisboa at 7:37 AM on January 20, 2011


My first album (that I got for myself) was Queen's The Game. My first cassette was AC/DC's Who Made Who, and my first CD was something by Motley Crue. Girls, Girls, Girls, I believe.

First online experience (other than briefly playing with a terminal in '83 or so) was a local BBS called Phantasy that, in 1996, I accessed on a 2400 baud modem, then a 14.4, then a 28.8, at which point I went to work for an ISP called ExecPC (along with most of the other members of the BBS including the owner).

Every single one of these things would eventually prove important in the person I became.
posted by quin at 7:48 AM on January 20, 2011


My first CD was Alanis Morisette Jagged Little Pill, a Christmas gift along with my first CD player. The next day I added Green Day Insomniac and Blues Traveler Four to my fledgling collection. I also remember having asked for Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, except I was confused and thought it was Green Day, not Smashing Pumpkins. Ah, the follies of youth!

My first online experiences were playing Doom deathmatches and dialing into as many local BBS(es?) as I could get my hands on the numbers to. Mostly I played LoRD, but I would also peruse the download libraries(xmodem! zmodem!), and was actually active in the forums on one or two. Eventually I talked my dad into an AOL account, which I used pretty much for the built in web browser. And chat rooms(I was a young teenager, sue me).
posted by owtytrof at 7:49 AM on January 20, 2011


I think my first CD player was the drive in the laptop that I got when I went off to college. I honestly can't remember the first CD I got; I was in a pretty serious Floyd haze at the time and my beat up vinyl wasn't gonna travel to school so it was probably Meddle or Obscured By Clouds or something. I remember arguing hard against the CD format one day on the bus to or from middle school, probably 1993, and doing so from the comfortable position of someone who didn't own and didn't plan to own a CD player because it seemed like expensive bullshit and anyway you couldn't record your own music at home on one so feh.

I think I've admitted elsewhere that the first musical album I went out and bought for myself was a cassette of Mariah Carey's Music Box.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:10 AM on January 20, 2011


First LPs were my first purchases with my own allowance money:

Juice Newton, Juice
Abba, Arrival

First CD was Flood by They Might Be Giants. I was a late adopter. I liked the portability of cassettes because they and their players fit in the pockets of my J. Crew barn jacket.
posted by *s at 8:49 AM on January 20, 2011


My first CD player is still my CD player. A second-generation Philips. How is that possible?
I bought it in 1987 as a last-of-its-kind-on-the-shelf-item for cheap. Consequently it stopped doing its stuff pretty much instantly, like the proverbial last puppy in the basket.
Back. Repair. Long wait.
Stopped working again. Back. Repair 2. Long wait.
Repaired item comes with screws still half sticking out at the back and the power button disabled.
Me back to the store; envision a German music student in his mid-20s in a downtown Amsterdam radio shop, bellowing in faultless-yet-accented Dutch at the shop owner, pointing at sticking-out screws, gesticulating towards the non-functional power button, shouting take this piece of hum back and pay me willya, and threatening Or Else.
I went home totally disillusioned with myself, feeling ridiculous, ineffective, clumsily German, and still angry.

Then there happened some shift in reality; Kazengg, slight dizziness and such, Calvin-and-Hobbes style. CD player comes back within a week and apparently has been redone in some indestructible stuff from the future; it's been working perfectly ever since, 23 long years of Beethoven, Albeniz and Rachmaninoff. I've been wanting to upgrade for fifteen years now but the thing just doesn't break.
posted by Namlit at 9:13 AM on January 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


First CD: "Travelers and Thieves," by Blues Traveler, which I got for Christmas along with my first CD player in, like, '92 I believe. First purchased CD would have to be Widespread Panic's "Everyday," because I exchanged a cassette my dad mistakenly picked out for me for Christmas plus like $5 for that one.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:21 AM on January 20, 2011


At this point it's kind of like asking when the first time you watched TV was

I don't get this. Pretty much anyone over the age of 30 discovered the internet as an adult, and I'd imagine most folks over the age of about 20 discovered the internet when they were old enough to remember the experience.

Could you ask this question again in 40 or 50 years when "discovering" the internet will in fact be an unusual experience?
posted by emilyw at 9:50 AM on January 20, 2011


My first CD was, I think, a Menswear single I bought in 1996 because I had the feeling I'd get a CD player for Christmas. I did. My dad also bought the Help album and a Pet Shop Boys CD from a second-hand CD store for my mum for Christmas (my mum didn't have a CD player - we had a broken music centre in the cabinet 'just for show' because nobody listened to music outside my bedroom - and my dad was really cheap). I'm amused that a first CD being Flood makes one a late adopter!

First album was Blur's Parklife, bought when Boots still sold tapes and I had vouchers - as a dorky kid I had no use for make-up so I spent some of it on that album and some on patchwork-effect stationery featuring bemused kittens.
posted by mippy at 9:55 AM on January 20, 2011


First CD was Flood by They Might Be Giants.

I like the cut of your jib.
posted by owtytrof at 11:07 AM on January 20, 2011


My first computer games were Letter Invaders--a typing tutor based on a Space Invaders theme--and the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy game, both for the old desktop Apple whose entire memory consisted of the floppy disks the games themselves came on.

Hitchhiker cheated like a motherfucker; I can still remember my annoyance mixed with admiration for the sheer ballsiness of the designers. I even bought a cheatbook for it, consisting of pages of clues written in invisible ink and a yellow marker that revealed all (but that was only after i had finally gotten the damned babelfish in my ear).
posted by misha at 11:19 AM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Growing up in the bay area, my first exposure to modems and such were in grade school in the early 80s--friends' dads had those telephone receiver cradle modems, and we would laboriously print out ascii images of naked ladies. I tell you, that was a lot of work for some pretty optimistic masturbation.

And, of course, we printed the Anarchist Cookbook and stuff from the Cult of the Dead Cow. That stuff damaged my youth in untold ways, I am sure. It also damaged my friend's back yard when we whipped up some homemade napalm using egg whites and gasoline, and couldn't put it out once it started burning.

The first CD I bought was probably The Pogues' If I should Fall from Grace with God in 1988. The Battle March Medley and South Australia weren't available on the vinyl, you see. I remember making a point of noting on the cassette I used to tape it (Maxell metal tape only, please) that this was the CD version.

The first vinyl album I ever owned was Men at Work's Business as Usual, but the first one I bought with my own money was Bob & Doug McKenzie's Great White North. Coo roo coo coo coo roo coo coo.
posted by Kafkaesque at 12:30 PM on January 20, 2011


Oh dear. I'm not only really old, but completely uncool. The first recorded music I bought with my own money was an Edison wax cylinder a vinyl LP of Appalachian Spring by the New York Philharmonic, Bernstein conducting. I was 11, and while rock music was not exactly in its infancy, Mick Jagger was still not trusting anyone over 30.

My first CD player was a hand-me-down from a good friend updating his player. I remember the occasion clearly because it was (cough, cough) my 10th wedding anniversary. I don't remember the first CD, but it was likely the von Karajan Beethoven symphonies.

I took my first programming course in 1977, and wrote my code using keypunch cards. The printer was the size of a pickup truck. When it jammed, an enormous maw would slowly open on pneumatic struts, revealing the pin-fed green-tinted paper pile. The first time it happened to me I didn't know what the problem was and sort of threw myself on top of the "upper jaw" hoping to prevent impending doom. Some engineering students talked me down.

I won't even begin the story about how I broke an entire oil tanker by pressing the wrong button on a video-tape player the size of a dishwasher.

Now, if all you kids would kindly remove yourselves from my lawn....
posted by angiep at 1:29 PM on January 20, 2011


It's a funny ol' confirmation biased world. I haven't paid attention to that note in years, and just re-noticed it again recently, and magically, this post appears. Huh!
posted by thinkpiece at 1:51 PM on January 20, 2011


This prompted me to answer the Internet question in my profile for the first time.

Can't remember the first CD, but the first 7" was Men at Work's "Down Under". I have still to taste the glory of a vegetate sandwich.
posted by arcticseal at 2:49 PM on January 20, 2011


The profile question is so oddly specific that when I first signed up I left it blank for a long time - I didn't have any interesting answers for it. After a while when I realized that people were often using that space to tell about themselves, I added something to it. I agree that having some details about the people I'm interacting with enhances the community experience here. Leave the question as it stands, for sure, but it would be great if something could be added, like "or just tell us a little bit about yourself" I think that would make it a little more welcoming.

also - first CD was The Cure's Kiss me kiss me kiss me
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 4:19 PM on January 20, 2011


my first cassette was Men at Work down under

I heard "vegamite sandwich" as something truly weird for many years
posted by angrycat at 4:29 PM on January 20, 2011


I got my first CD player (purchased at The Bay during vacation and during which I embarrassed the heck out my mother when I negotiated a 50% discount with the salesperson) and first CD in 1986. The CD was Janet Jackson's Control; I couldn't drive yet, my taste got better.

I put thousands of miles1 on that CD player before the volume control gave out in 1998. 101 is one of the best driving albums ever.

1Literally, I used it strap it into the rear seat of my big '66 Chrysler (with webbing, no middle belts in 66) for road trips because otherwise I just had AM Radio.
posted by Mitheral at 5:44 PM on January 20, 2011


My first CD was Green Day's Nimrod. I wish I remembered why, because Green Day is down there with the worst bands ever. I didn't like them at 13 and I don't like them now. It is a good album name, though. It must've been to be cool. Interestingly (I guess) I'd been downloading music from usenet long before this.

I also remember my first time on the internet. I was seven, and we'd just moved in to the house my parents live in now, so It must've been about 1991 (the year after the Christmas of the NES). We got Prodigy. I remember being sorely disappointed that our dot matrix printer did not magically convert the shitty ASCII Santa I wanted to print into an actual picture.
posted by cmoj at 6:28 PM on January 20, 2011


Green Day only really started to really suck when Nimrod came out and they thought they were the Stray Cats all of a sudden. (It was bad enough that Brian Setzer clawed his way back from obscurity around the same time, dragging the corpse of swing music behind him.) Everything up to and including Insomniac is actually pretty great, as long as you've managed to erase from your brain all the shitty pop-punk it spawned--which is surprisingly easy to do, actually.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:35 PM on January 20, 2011


Our friends are all busy with their own affairs
becoming punk rock millionaires
They're taping their live album at the Hollywood Bowl
We're taping our flyers to the telephone pole
posted by mintcake! at 7:49 PM on January 20, 2011


First CD was Flood by They Might Be Giants. I was a late adopter. I liked the portability of cassettes because they and their players fit in the pockets of my J. Crew barn jacket.

Flood wasn't my first CD, but it was among the first -- I was also a late adopter, but I went straight from vinyl to CDs, pretty much.
posted by desuetude at 8:21 PM on January 20, 2011


My first CD was the Batman soundtrack, featuring Prince.
posted by ODiV at 10:22 PM on January 20, 2011



It has that charming and slightly melancholy quality of slapdash fill meant to be temporary but which winds up lasting forever


Sorta like every early email address I ever had or even password... *sigh* unlike MeFi, not meant to be cherished institutions..

I vote for keeping the history, hermitosis has it right.
posted by infini at 1:56 AM on January 21, 2011


First CD: Merzbow, Venereology (I was a late adopter)
posted by idiopath at 5:21 AM on January 21, 2011


Gator- iirc hellojed was Unicode Unicorn. I'm still a little sad UU's gone.
posted by Jpfed at 9:17 AM on January 21, 2011


Decani: "Is this where I smugly mention that I don't have an internet?"

My personal assistant takes care of all My Metafilter activity, reading the threads over the satellite phone from the US and transcribing my responses so I can stay here in my fantastical yurt community in Siberia. He just explained to me that this whole time, you people have been sitting in front of computers for hours a day instead of shoveling yak droppings or some other real work. Hillarious.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 10:12 AM on January 21, 2011


Internet- AOL, sometime in the early 90's after it just came out. I remember it taking 30 minutes to download an image of a Robotech Veritech. My parents hated how much I'd occupy the phone, but they were working graveyard often enough that it didn't matter.

Before that my dad had gotten me a C64 with tons of cracked games. I was vaguely aware that there was these networks of folks cracking and copying games, all with hacker names and crews. Some of them would put awesome intro music before the game started, with weird shout outs and messages to other folks.

Music- First concert? A Tribe Called Quest & De La Soul. Some guys tried to start some drama with De La Soul and De La demonstrated that their arms were bigger than most folk's torso's and they prompt STFU. I think my first cassette tape was something corny like Fat Boys. I'm pretty sure New Jack City was second and Geto Boyz' "Mind's Playing Tricks on Me" was 3rd.
posted by yeloson at 10:17 AM on January 21, 2011


This thread is actually contributing to me starting a bunch of torrents, nostalgically, but still illegal.
posted by fuq at 11:25 AM on January 21, 2011


My first Yak droppings? Right above here.
posted by Namlit at 11:33 AM on January 21, 2011


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