We're Still Here March 13, 2019 3:49 PM   Subscribe

The Web is 30. MeFi is nearly 20. Times change. Tell me about it.

MeFi/ the Web, nostalgia, stories, best flameouts, good times. whatever.
posted by theora55 to MetaFilter-Related at 3:49 PM (87 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

I have gotten in the habit of now and then of using the @metafilter twitter account to respond to off-the-cuff tweets that use MetaFilter as an example of an old thing that doesn't exist anymore with a terse
ಠ_ಠ
But, yeah. Time! Time. It keeps on marching, and here we are still, and I am daily grateful for—and occasionally when I step back a bit genuinely kinda marveled by—that fact of continuity over all these long years.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:53 PM on March 13 [36 favorites]


Just in case anyone was wondering, this is the post that made me add MetaFilter to my blogroll, which was a vellum scroll that all Web 1.0 users carried around for the purpose of recording the names and Uniform Resource Locators of our favorite blogs.
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:55 PM on March 13 [22 favorites]


Are we planning parties? I like parties. I like to help throw parties.
posted by vrakatar at 4:00 PM on March 13 [4 favorites]


So as far as anniversary gifts go, for the 20th the traditional gift is 'China', the more modern gift is 'Platinum'. I'm thinking we celebrate with a commemorative MetaFilter mug? Or a MetaFilter pin?
posted by Fizz at 4:21 PM on March 13 [9 favorites]


. for all of those who are no longer with us, in one way or the other.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:24 PM on March 13 [59 favorites]


I'm glad this is literally the one place online I can have any conversations any more, since I do not do social media.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:26 PM on March 13 [12 favorites]


what is going on with the challenge coins?
posted by vrakatar at 4:29 PM on March 13 [8 favorites]


I used to work for a company that owned Tymnet. Every day, I would print out my boss's emails on a honking big dot matrix printer. It was a terminal printer, so there was no monitor. We didn't get a computer until 1988 or 1989.

He would pen replies, and I would type them on my TI (Texas Instruments) thermal printer. This was a little device with a keyboard and a roll of thermal paper, such as was used in fax machines, with 2 black suction cups at the back. I'd have to dial an old-school phone, listen for the node connection (similar to the old AOL sound), plug the phone receiver into the suctions cups, and then log on and type things. The editing was similar to HTML, but it was done line by line, so I'd have to print the line numbers, look for typos, and then do LINE 102 CH/TEH/THE or some such, and print it again.

So I'd type his email replies, then print them out, and then he would mark them up by hand, and I'd fix it and then reprint them, give them back, and then only send if he marked it "OK" in red pen.

The fun part came when I had to do the monthly travel budget report on the damned thing. It had to be done by hand on graph paper, then I would transcribe it onto the thermal printer, and print it out and hand it to his assistant (the bean counter lady), and we'd all proof read it and then it would get sent out, usually with a note from my boss on who was going over or under their travel budget.

I also went on BBS (Bulletin Boards) for a while, using an old Mac SE that some nerdy guy had loaned me (1986? Something like that). My boyfriend was friends with him, we used to do HAM radio together and this guy was a smarmy sort, who then came over to my apartment and gave me a silver bracelet. I was young and naive, but even I knew to say, "here's your SE back, bub."

So then I didn't get onto the net until 1994, when I got a Mac IIsi. I got some sort of a discount somewhere, and then I got AOL, and that was it for me. Chat rooms, whatever web pages were out there, eventually MetaFilter. I read MetaFilter for years before I signed up for an account.

I also made $4,000 cash by designing products for a novelty company using emoticons. I kept telling the owner that this internet thing was going to take off, and he bought my ideas for cash and promise of future royalties. Then he decided to open a mall kiosk, even tho' I told him to sell the stuff online (he never did get a web page, just a scan of his catalog, maybe). I think I got $30 a quarter for my stuff. But one time, my Mom and I were at the drug store in UP Michigan, and I saw one of my mugs there (this guy marketed to gift stores like Hallmark). It had a frowny face on one side that said, "Before Coffee" and a smiley face on the other that said, "After Coffee." My Mom bought it, of course, and it sat in the plastic case on a side table in her dining room.

Me, I paid my bills for 2 months and took a trip to the UK. So thanks, Internet!
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 4:36 PM on March 13 [26 favorites]


I have a lot of nostalgia for the Web 1.0 and the era of personal blogs but I have no idea if it's just my version of "times were better when I was younger" or if it was actually better than what we have now.
posted by Memo at 4:43 PM on March 13 [8 favorites]


Was having an argument with an old colleague last week about which was better between AltaVista and Lycos, but then we both got tired, started discussing our various medical ailments and pension plans, and then I had to go home to have a nap.

By coincidence, we were both born in September 1968. Or, as my cousin's son calls it, "The time of the Ancients".
posted by Wordshore at 4:49 PM on March 13 [31 favorites]


Those xkcd maps are so full of dead sites that were Yuge. On the 2nd link, MeFi Island is in the Troll Bay, just off the coast of Twitter.

I exchanged a number of emails with MeFites in the last few days. One person I asked to reconsider a comment and she wrote back cordially. One person thanked me in a way that was kind and meant a lot. Mods are teh bomb, thank you restless_nomad, and a MeFite near me reached out when I was in a sad place. It matters.

I sure miss the img tag.

Altavista was more accurate for me. Hahaha there was search before Google, imagine.

I used a 14,4 modem and compuserve, then we got broadband and ethernet cables through the house, the Web happened. I used to tell students in an intro class, accurately, that we had more computing power in the classroom of 12 boatanchor pcs than NASA had for the moonlaunch, though I forget how I verified it. Now I have that in my phone. I want to live a long time because I want to see what happens, you damn kids.
posted by theora55 at 5:15 PM on March 13 [14 favorites]


I'm just still reeling from the realization this place is nearly 20. I feel like the 10 year anniversary just happened.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 6:47 PM on March 13 [9 favorites]


In the back half of college, the newsgroups ate my time - mostly talk.bizarre and alt.tv.tiny-toons.
Four years after college, I started at a market data software company that billed itself as "First in Windows!" They were making the switchover from developing for 3.1 to developing for Windows 95. We were phasing out our support of certain datafeeds - I never had to support the Bonneville feed that used an FM modem. Our server room was two windows boxes with re-distributed CME data.
Back in those days, you could just about get a day's worth of NYSE or NASDAQ data processed and stored, and charts for six or seven socks displayed, with three apps on the same machine.
NYSE hadn't decimalized yet - trades were quoted in fractions of a cent.
The various US futures exchanges were all separate companies, and they didn't like each other, and they didn't care if they used the same two-letter future root codes as their competition for completely different products.
The internet was considered too unstable to send meaningful financial data across.
I don't have a good wrap-up for this maudlin meandering.
posted by Mutant Lobsters from Riverhead at 6:58 PM on March 13 [3 favorites]


charts for six or seven socks displayed

"Tube socks are up, ankle socks are down, dress socks looking good."
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:42 PM on March 13 [12 favorites]


Metafilter's creation led to a strong couple of years for the sock puppet sector.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:27 PM on March 13 [7 favorites]


I personally kept the sock puppet sector going strong for at least a decade.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:36 PM on March 13 [14 favorites]


I used to play bass for Sock Puppet Sector
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:05 PM on March 13 [23 favorites]


Marie Mon Dieu, your comment was great, would like to hear more. The thermal printer machine reminded me of a friend of mine in her sixties who spent her secretarial career using one of these. Imagine 2,400 keys on your typewriter...
posted by huimangm at 11:05 PM on March 13 [5 favorites]


Every day, I would print out my boss's emails on a honking big dot matrix printer. It was a terminal printer, so there was no monitor. We didn't get a computer until 1988 or 1989.

Oh man, with my jobs the big dot matrix green bar paper printers were the bane of my existence back in the day. It wasn't even so much the printers themselves, even though they'd jam regularly, so much as it was the way they were stored so as to be out of the way and out of sight save for where the paper came out, when it was loaded properly. That meant they'g get stuck under counters in some corner that would never get proper cleaning. Since I was the one who had to print all the bulk reports I'd also usually be the one who had to fix the printer when it jammed or replace the paper when it ran out, so I'd have to crawl under the counter to get to the machine in a space that allowed little room to maneuver the machine and end up looking like I had a side gig as a chimney sweep once I was finally able to get it running thanks to all the dust that would accumulate.

On the other hand, the reports I printed had a page at the end devoted to notes, which were never used, so I took that as an opportunity to transcribe Edgar Allen Poe short stories, word for word in small sections, which would then be part of the bulk daily activity records send to the higher ups in the corporate office and then stored. I hope the big bosses really enjoyed reading The Cask of Amontillado while browsing our sales figures.

One of those jobs also had the fun of having to send credit card batches by hand each night, which meant typing in every card number and amount of the several hundred room hotel by hand on a reverse ten key (phone style) key pad. That was always a fun way to spend an hour each night.
posted by gusottertrout at 11:49 PM on March 13 [4 favorites]


Wow, I just read through the original cat scan thread and saw two comments from skyscraper who is still a regular (and a really good guy) at the Seattle Tuesday night MeFite pub quiz team. I thought I was the old timer. Seattle people need to come out to the George and Dragon for Pub Quiz on Tuesday’s — we never lose if we have more than 3 people and there’s like real money involved. (There’s often like 4-8 of us.)

I still remember the 8th anniversary Mefi meetup at Ground Control in Portland where I already felt like an old timer. I did the Dance Dance Revolution with cortex and received a surprise hug from jessamyn (who is a super good hugger) and went to Voodoo Donuts before I knew it was a thing.

My first website was hosted on soda at Berkeley dot edu in like 94 and it was pretty much about how important it was to vote for Jerry Brown for president because he would abolish the death penalty and establish single payer health care and I’ll stand by that.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:58 PM on March 13 [10 favorites]


My mom was taking classes for her masters in computer science in 1994, and I remember

1. going with her to class and learning about stacks and queues
2. loving the little edge strips from dot matrix printers, as I could make endless accordions from them
3. getting really great 8-bit games from floppy disks

By 1999 my friends and I were making harry potter fan pages on Geocities, working our scrolling marquee tags to the fullest.

In 2001 I learned QBASIC! I remember being really chuffed at writing an infinite loop of putting a dot at a random part of the screen with a random color.

Slarty Bartfast I'll try to come to next Tuesday's quiz!
posted by batter_my_heart at 12:49 AM on March 14 [5 favorites]


Happy pi day everyone.
Metafilter was just a 5-year-old toddler when mathowie opened the flood gates to the $5.00 noobs November 18, 2004.
How fleeting is fame: Spellcheck questioned "mathowie".
posted by Cranberry at 12:57 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


Slarty, did you play Quizbowl for Berkeley?
posted by jadepearl at 1:30 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Wow. That XKCD Map of the internet linked above is.. wow.

If it were updated I wonder how the 'landmasses' would change?
posted by Faintdreams at 3:37 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


I am always so, so impressed with how AskMeFi members come together to help with something in real time - often this involves people locked out of places but also lost pets. Some of the threads are pretty awesome and epic.
posted by wheek wheek wheek at 3:57 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


I sometimes wish internet was funny again the way it was back in the day. The running joke used to be that the internet is Serious Business with the implication that it was decidedly not. Well now it IS serious business and in more ways anyone could imagine back in the early 2000s and everything is... different. I’m not going to say worse because that’s just old man talk but anyway.

A lot of the fun of the early web was that there was now this THING and people didn’t know all the things it was good or bad at and there was a lot of experimentation going around. A lot of things were bad but often they’d be bad in a fucking hilarious way. That was great.

Ah well. I guess I’ll see you guys again in another 10 years and post this same thing again!
posted by Soi-hah at 4:55 AM on March 14 [10 favorites]


Marie Mon Dieu, your comment was great, would like to hear more

Thanks! I think I misunderstood the original question, as stories about the internet and MetaFilter, ha-ha, with emphasis on remembering MetaFilter.

I had a word processing certificate in Wang word processing. Wang was located in a town near where I took the class, so they provided the word processor to the school. Every time you typed, there was a dot for a space.

We had another machine, I think it was a Lexatron. We had to type resumes for the boys who were taking trade classes. The women took word processing and secretarial classes, and the boys took trade school classes. That's the machine we used for the resumes.

I also used an IBM Selectric, and got up to 80 wpm with zero mistakes. Our teacher made us type sentences backwards, to ensure accuracy. It's all gone away now, I make typos all the time and am horrible at proof reading my own text.

I worked at Allstate in the mid-1980's, hand typing commercial insurance polices on a Xerox MemoryWriter, which had a single tiny screen on the front. It had floppy disks that you inserted and they had programs for the document you were typing: so if it was a form where you had to type the VIN numbers for a fleet of automobiles, it would tab to each line for you. Or if it was Workman's Comp, each state had its own set of cards, I remember Utah's was yellow, and you could enter the company's name and address and it would memorize those and type it for you with one or two keystrokes. Each company had to have 2 ID cards, along with the policy (declaration).

They did have computers to print out policies, but the paper used for the dot matrix/track feed only had 4 copies. So if an insured, say a tanning salon, had more lienholders who had to receive a copy of the policy by law, we had to type them by hand, 7 copies at once, using carbon paper, and no mistakes were allowed. We had a separate unit whose only job was to examine our work, and if we got more than 5 mistakes a week, we were in trouble. They came back with a half-sheet form, bordered in red, with notes on what needed to be fixed. We had to type a minimum of 40 policies a week.

To fix an easy mistake, we would separate the paper and carefully scrape off the offending letter, and the top copy would get the white-out treatment. Otherwise we'd have to start all over. I hated auto policies due to the tiny spaces they had to type the VIN numbers, rows and rows of them, so I tried to become a Workers Comp specialist. I also typed cancellations and reinstatements. We had to use microfiche machines to gather data from last year's policy.

But they let us listen to our Walkmans. I used to type along, listening to Wham! on the radio. I remember the day the space shuttle exploded, because someone heard it on their Walkman and we all sat there in shock.

Also: there was a friendly competition between me and another girl to see who could get the highest big hair bangs. It involved a lot of mousse. Which went fabulously with our sweater dresses with shoulder pads, faux pearl necklaces, and Lee press-on nails.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 6:00 AM on March 14 [19 favorites]


theora55: "The Web is 30. MeFi is nearly 20. "

I'm older than the Web and MetaFilter put together!
posted by chavenet at 6:42 AM on March 14 [14 favorites]


My junior year of high school I went to the local university library with my boyfriend to do some kind of research. The computerized library catalog had an icon that said "Mosaic" and I remember so clearly standing there next to him as he clicked, chatting a bit about how we'd heard something about this but didn't know what it was, exactly. Once the program opened we didn't know what to do next and wandered away to look at the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature or whatever.

26 years later, we're married and staring at our phones on the couch while Buffy the Vampire Slayer streams on the TV and really: what an amazing world.
posted by something something at 7:05 AM on March 14 [15 favorites]


Thirty years ago, I was a graduate student and my online presence consisted of dialing into Q-Link (the precursor of AOL) with my Commodore 64 and a 300-baud modem to play online trivia, and also using the university's computer lab PCs to follow a couple of Star Trek newsgroups on USENET.

Twenty years ago, I had a personal webpage on Tripod.com and was just beginning to get wind of this new thing called "weblogs". My main interaction online was through the Utne Reader's "Cafe Utne" community site, which was very much like an early version of MetaFilter. I have often wondered how many people here might have been part of that community as well.
posted by briank at 7:53 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Thirty years ago, I was--uh, well, I was just barely conceived, and wouldn't be born for a few months yet. *grin* Twenty years ago, I was just starting to realize that the Internet was a thing that existed, and beginning to dabble in Neopets and learn Baby's First HTML.

I'm really enjoying listening to all of your stories.
posted by sciatrix at 8:38 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


Took me the best part of 20 years to notice the draggable corner.
posted by robself at 9:08 AM on March 14 [6 favorites]


what is going on with the challenge coins?

Crap, I haven't checked back in there in a while! I've been distracted with stuff and then I got sick and/or allergies and/or a sinus infection and have spent the last week basically either prodigiously blowing my nose or asleep.
posted by loquacious at 9:22 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]


A Dan Rutter link brought me here. Speaking of whom, whatever happened to him? His blog has been quiet for years. Did he ever finish his book?
posted by Splunge at 9:33 AM on March 14


literally the one place online I can have any conversations

In my experience, this has been the only place "on-the-web" where I have ever had a real conversation (Compuserve, BBS/Fidonet, then Usenet were my previous communities of choice) - MetaFilter has been the bedrock of my internet life since 2001.

The most value for $ that I have ever received - MeFi has made me laugh, made my cry, educated me, horrified me - but fundamentally made me a much better person.

So - thanks to everyone who made it that way - you all rock(ed)!

(sniff... now ya got me all maudlin)
posted by jkaczor at 10:40 AM on March 14 [7 favorites]


I got laid off in 1998, took the summer off, and then saw a Community College catalog with a program for "Interactive Multi-Media". Thinking that might be a thing, I enrolled (and the state paid for my first 1.5 years of 2.5 years). Two years later, I somehow found Metafilter, and joined as a "newb" in 2004. As others have said, this place has made me laugh, cry, has educated me, horrified me - but it's always here, and for that, I am so VERY grateful!
Oh, and that degree turned into Technical Writing, which turned in the Technical Project Management - I've never looked back, except in amazement.
posted by dbmcd at 11:16 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]


My brother introduced me to the site, and he was a friend of Mathowie at the time. He gave me the super secret back door signup link back in the day when signups were still technically closed, so my user number - and others in that range - are all secret back door signup users.

I liked MetaFilter because the membership and comments reminded me of the sort of quality discussions I'd find on Usenet, email lists and newsgroups.

At the time I was also thinking about jumping on the blogger bandwagon (rather late, I felt) with vague, non-concrete plans about how to monetize that activity like so many people I knew seemed to be doing.

In hindsight I'm actually pretty glad I did not go with this path for a number of reasons. For one it was a dead end for most people and I missed the boat. For another, looking back at my younger, less mature and, ah, more energetic self I probably would have ended up doing or saying something stupid and starting some dumb internet conflagration of epic proportions and getting famous for it in all the wrong ways.

MetaFilter has helped me grow and learn a lot about myself, the world around me and the incredible diversity of experiences and perspectives that make up our lives and world.

It has been an honor and privilege to learn from so many remarkably bright and talented people and grow with you, to share joys and sorrows and keep on keeping on.
posted by loquacious at 11:17 AM on March 14 [7 favorites]


30 years ago, I was regularly spending far, far more money than I should have been per month to play Air Warrior on GEnie. I was also still pretty active on a bunch of MD/VA/DC BBSes.

Sometime shortly after that, the family got our first Internet connection (dial-up to a shell account via Digex (nee Digital Express Group), where I had my first real experience with command-line stuff. Didn't take long to figure out how to turn that into a pseudo-SLIP connection, allowing me to use then-new graphic utilities for mail, Gopher, and this thing called the World Wide Web.

20 years ago, I was IT for a small-ish US Navy contractor in Arlington, VA, and had just finished moving us from getting Internet connectivity via the Navy to our own Blazingly!Fast!Fractional!T1 (356kb/sec, which was SCREAMINGLY fast at the time) and created our own domain name and website. Having my name and address in our domain registration led to me getting spam, to me learning how to investigate and fight spam, and eventually to a series of Actual Paying Jobs that involved stopping spam or fixing policies to stop my own employers from sending it.

And, 11 and a half years ago, I became a MeFite, sometime shortly after moving to the Bay Area for the first time. One of the few decisions from that time that I do not regret in any way.
posted by hanov3r at 11:18 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


Ok, so the challenge coin thread is archived and dead.

Would someone like to gather the various mockup links and craft an update MeTa? Maybe set up a new poll on what we've got going so far? (In a few moments I'm going to be hammering fence stakes to build a compost pile.)

I'm still interested in doing the design work! I just need some better direction and consensus.
posted by loquacious at 11:27 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


My earliest memories of the internet involve people being wrong about Doctor Who and now it is 2019 and people continue to be wrong about Doctor Who on the internet.
posted by betweenthebars at 11:40 AM on March 14 [8 favorites]


MetaFilter was one of the best gifts my ex-husband ever gave me. I didn't join 'til we were split, but I sure lurked, and learned, and for better or for worse was discussed!
posted by wellred at 11:45 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


If you want a look at what was being passed around the web in 1999-2001, check out the searchable Enron email archive.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 1:13 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


I lurked for a while, but I didn't trust PayPal so I couldn't join.

Finally (in 2008) I worked up the courage to Mail The Mods, and offered to put some actual paper cash in an actual paper envelope and mail it to them so I could sign up. To my utter amazement this was acceptable, and I have been Flagging As Fantastic ever since. (I asked the same thing of Tim at the librarything.com web site, and it worked there, too!)

Last weekend I pasted down my MetaFilter sticker on some vinyl-faced flexible magnet to create a car magnet, so now I am repping MeFi on the roads of Rhode island (along with "Save the Boundary Waters").
posted by wenestvedt at 1:34 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


My first job as an actual librarian started in 1991 and involved a ton of paper. We had one computer for searching Dialog, Lexis-Nexis, and Dow Jones, and I could tell by listening to the modem handshake what speed we were connected at. For Dow Jones (now Factiva), I'd usually just get the citation and then go to our paper collection to get the articles because it was cheaper; we had the Wall St. Journal on microfiche and used it frequently.

I still had access to Usenet via my university account and spent way too much time on rec.arts.books, rec.arts.sf.written and alt.tv.x-files, among other places. I spent a fair amount of time downloading multi-part posts, and converting them in Binhex, all for a tiny scan of David Duchovny and/or Gillian Anderson.

When AOL started getting bigger, I'd hang out there and play games online, especially GMTA. I managed to win a free hour a week or so playing, thereby subsidizing my online habit.

The AltaVista scene in "Captain Marvel" definitely brought back memories. The first time I heard about Google was at a library conference, where it was just one of many new websites being talked about.

I found MetaFilter via the linkroll on the Obscure Store & Reading Room (not far below Jessamyn's librarian.net, as I recall), and lurked for a few years until there was a free sign-up day. Thanks for everything and I'm glad the site's still here.
posted by mogget at 2:02 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


* waves *

I asked the same thing of Tim at the librarything.com web site, and it worked there, too!

It will surprise no one to learn that Tim and I are pals.

I should probably do a thing at my house this summer but I have a very short event horizon for stuff lately, but aspirationally that would be a good thing to do.

My dad did computers and so I'm on the older edge of people who grew up just using them like they were a normal part of life. I was re-reading an article about him recently. In Wired. From nearly 20 years ago. And it's hard to get my head around how much of this stuff is in my rear view mirror.

And today I helped my landlady, born in 1926, use her new printer/scanner/copier and just getting the idea that a copy is an analog thing that is 2D and a scan is a digital thing that is 2D but could be of a 3D thing and... it's a little boggling to her and makes me realize, again, how much I "just know" that I take for granted. I'm pretty good at making tech topics understandable by non-tech people, but for the "instruction list, not flow chart" generation, I still have challenges.

a surprise hug from jessamyn (who is a super good hugger)

I remember. That was a good party. I don't know what the MeFi coffers are like but it might be nice to try to do a thing like we did for MeFi10 where every meetup of a certain size gets a little cash to buy everyone a drink (of any kind) or maybe a pizza. I'd chip in for such a thing.

I was trying to remember how I sent email way back in the day, where there had to be some sort of IN%"something goes here maybe an email address" to get the email from the local server out to the larger internet. Back when there were multiple networks sending mail. Anyhow, I was trying to remember what that was after this tweet from Harper asking about your oldest email addresses. Surprisingly hard to Google (tho i have since figured it out). My first one was in 1985 but the oldest one I'm still using is from 1996. Because my dad, the computer guy, got me the jessamyn.com domain for a birthday present. And I still blog there!

It's only been in the last few years that I've actually felt a little geezer-y (not in a bad way, just in a way) talking about older tech. Like I have friends on my trivia team for whom this stuff isn't even older tech it's before they were born history. And it's fun to talk about, but I often need to get together with other folks more my age-ish to play "hey remember when...?" games. And I've been struck lately with how important those conversations are in terms of community and aging.

I am just glad you are all here, is mostly what I am saying. This place is great.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 2:07 PM on March 14 [19 favorites]


Anyone who has seen my email address in real life may have done a take at it; it bears no resemblance to my initials, name, or any other known saying. It probably looks like a weird randomly-generated collection of letters; the ISP listed also is one few people have heard of. There is a reason for that, and I swear that it is relevant to this discussion.

Back in 1994 I was working for a self-professed entrepreneur; one of those guys who gets interesting ideas, but knows jack-all about how to execute them. (But lots about how to convince people to give him money for them anyway.) At the time, the business he was trying was an in-room high-end gift delivery service targeted at business travelers; the idea was that dudes on business trips to New York have no time to go souvenir shopping, so we bought up a collection of about a dozen different iconic New York themed gifts and had them all sitting wrapped up and ready in our office, then we had our brochure in the rooms at 6 different business-traveler hotels in Midtown. The idea was that they'd call us to place their order when they got back to the room late after business meetings, and we'd run whatever they wanted over to the hotel front desk so that when they checked out at 5 am for their red-eye back to Cleveland or whatever the front desk clerk would hand the gift over.

As with any new startup retail, business got slow. My boss was also one of those guys who wants to try every new Flavor Of The Month business/marketing technique; a lot of times, he'd come to me with a new thing to look into and "check out and see how we can use it for the business." And one day....the thing he wanted me to check out was the Internet itself. "Sign up for an account, in our company name," he said. "And then spend like an hour every day just exploring it, check out how we can apply it to our sales." So we did exactly that - we got an account, and I spent the next two weeks being paid to occasionally surf the Internet.

The problem was, this was RIGHT before the World Wide Web (I think that only started up a year or two later). So UUSENET was all there was, and I was finding that there was a very strong anti-sales culture there, so trying to post an ad would not fly. ....However....there was alt.tv.x-files. And alt.music.sting. And alt.music.genesis. And....

After two weeks I went to my boss and said that the culture on the Internet at that exact time was not quite at the point that we could monetize it. "....However," I sheepishly added,"If it's okay with you, I'd like to take over the account myself if you don't mind." He agreed, I gave them my payment info and that was that.

So my email address is the initials of that company. And if the World Wide Web is 30 years old, then that means I've had the same email address for three decades. That's gotta be some kind of record.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:12 PM on March 14 [11 favorites]


Been memory tripping more about AltaVista and Lycos, and those first five years of Web activity. Because various Internet archiving that's still accessible didn't get going until 1996 onwards (roughly), those years of 91-96 have an almost mythical feeling at times. I've got a few papers and bits and pieces written back in that time period, which are fun to look at.

Ferreting through old editions of Ariadne, and remembering how controversial it was (various people in UK academia and library land angrily contacting the funders to tell them to stop wasting money on this flash-in-the-pan World Wide Web thing, where anyone could put papers online without peer review) is part of this memory-tripping. Ah, found the two articles distantly remembered...

From Issue 2, March 1996, Alta Vista vs. Lycos by Tracey Stanley which contains screenshots of the interfaces of both search engines. Remembering when we made that issue live and were discussing which would be the predominant search engine come the magical, and still far off, year 2000, and how likely it would be that Yahoo would rule the web for aeons to come.

And also on search engines, from issue 6, November 1996, An Investigation Into World Wide Web Search Engine Use from within the UK: Preliminary Findings by Simon Stobart and Susan Kerridge, which lists some interesting data e.g. "The first [log] containing 1,000,542 URLs. This was taken from the cache of a single site covering the dates Oct 19th to the 25th, 1996 for one week." And also contains various diagrams and charts about search engines in use at the time; for your memory-tripping purposes, fellow "Ancients", here's the list mentioned:

Alta Vista
DejaNews
Excite
HotBot
i-Explorer
Infoseek
Lycos
Magellan
Open Text
Point
Search.com
(Shareware)
Webcrawler
World Wide Worm
Yahoo!


Others not mentioned but remembered from around that time include:

Ask Jeeves
Dogpile
Go.com (?)
Inktomi
MetaCrawler
Northern Light
W3Catalog

posted by Wordshore at 3:01 PM on March 14 [6 favorites]


Two stories:

One:
I used to have a blog called “whim & vinegar” which is long since defunct, but it was back in the early days, pre-Blogger even. I’m sure some of the folks I followed were the ones I heard about Metafilter from. So I discovered Metafilter early on, but eventually drifted away and lost track of my login. Years later, I made a new account - this one. I was curious about the old one, and Jessamyn helped me track it down. Much to my surprise, it had a three digit user number. I’m occasionally tempted to switch, but this account is home.


Two:
30 years ago I met this guy in rec.games.frp and we exchanged emails. Trusting internet strangers actually happened back then, so I gave him my account login, and we chatted by using two instances of me and the “talk” command.

This year we’re celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary.
posted by booksherpa at 3:08 PM on March 14 [16 favorites]


HotBot or gtfo.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 3:10 PM on March 14 [6 favorites]


I’m in the maybe unusual position of remembering some of the geezer days (I was a teen in the 90s) but having joined Metafilter only recently.

The biggest things I remember were the omnipresence of text and the sense that only nerds were online; at the time this was freeing, because I was naive and didn’t understand yet how that could be toxic sometimes. For me the Internet was always a social hangout, before what we call social media now - I had a BBS I liked, and then a MUD, and then an email list. So I didn’t get very interested in the web until it enabled more direct interaction with other people.
posted by eirias at 3:11 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


Although my IT career started in the mid-80's, due to one thing and another (too mundane and irrelevant to go into) I didn't start experiencing the Internet until something like '97 or '98, so I missed out on a lot of the stuff people here are mentioning. The first "social" online thing I got into was bandying jokes with folks on rec.humor and then Plastic.com. After the rec.humor group wound down (believe it or not the jokes got too corny and repetitive even for me!) and the Plastic site kinda went offline a couple times, I found and started lurking on Metafilter.

I'm embarrassed to say that it took me at least a year, maybe more, of just following front-page links (a la Memepool) before I realized there was a whole other world in the comments section of the posts. I finally joined in 2008, and the rest, as the kids say these days, is history.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:41 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


I started talking about Usenet at work yesterday and my coworkers are either too young, or didn't get internet access until after Usenet's decline. 😢
posted by vespabelle at 4:16 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]


I have this manic depression thing. The first thing I found online was mental health support chats. It was great. Still is, though I'm rarely in them, having finally reached medicinal armistice with the illness in late 2003. But the knowing that there are absolutely understanding ppl 24/7/365 is still a comfort to me.

We could -- and did -- compare notes on shrinks, therapists, medications, manic runs, depressed funks. No judgment. Nothing shocked any of us, we'd all been there too. We joke about the darkest,horriblest stuff you can imagine, got to have fun with it and we can do it with each other. Always always always someone there, not just because so many of us are night owls and/or can't sleep but also because there were people from all over the world, different time zones etc.

One young woman came into that chat one night and we all loved her instantly and she damn sure loved us, too. Along with manic depression she was on the spectrum, some level of Asperger, and couldn't look ppl in the eye. But she didn't need to look us in the eye, she was looking right at our hearts, and we were looking at hers, right there on the screen -- you'd be amazed at how much can get through, love I mean, in freshly minted words on a cold bright screen.

For the first time in her life she had friends, good friends, friendships she still holds close. She built trust in those chats and then was able to actually go and visit people who she already knew heart to heart, and her world opened up. Her brother got married here in Austin a couple of years ago, and I got to meet her and her family, come down from Guelph, up Canada way. Great people, though of course they sure talk funny, but it's not their fault, probably they'd talk regular if they could. And she knows that I also have social problems, and can freeze, but since it was her I didn't much have to worry about it, as we've chatted about this jive for hours and hours.

She's bright as a blazing star, she pretty much knows everything, she's the one who helped me determine that I have frontal lobe epilepsy; I'd started having these dives into olfactory psychosis, like an acid trip but coming on through my sense of smell, and I just figured I was going crazy(er), told her about it one night in chat, she knew exactly what I was talking about and comforted me, said nah, not really a big deal, and it wasn't, not once I knew what it was, in fact then it became sortof fun, relax and enjoy the show, as it were. I don't know if it's still happening or not, lost my sense of smell (long story), for all I know I might be overrun with them this afternoon and just don't know it. I miss them.

Anyways. Mental health chats, that was my killer app, one of the first things I found and one of the best.

~~~~~

I got a Hotmail email account way early, like maybe 1995, I was working in a mainframe IT shop and Jackie heard about it and she came around and told us all and we all signed up that day. That Hotmail address is still my primary email address. I think we were limited to ten meg in the inbox, it was A Big Deal when they bounced it up to twenty meg -- holy shit! No way I'd *ever* use all that room. I think I've got 33 gig now, jumped through various hoops, signed up friends, whatever. I've got three other hotmail accounts, 25 gig each, free, it's one place I keep backup of mp3s etc. I've got 100 gig on my dancestoblue gmail account, I had bought a bunch of room one year and they screwed the pooch, lost a lot of my files, I went all redneck on them, actually even got someone on the phone, burned their little ear off, got 100 gig free forever, which is cute. Probably they'd have given me stock just to get off the phone with me; I ought to have held out.

Alta Vista was too fussy for me, I used Dogpile, which went out and went up against four or five search engines and then fed those results. I use duckduckgo because of the privacy but I'm pretty sure they only go up against google, I was searching for a Gene Wilder bit and got nowhere, opened a private window and used bing and found the file instantly. It's on vimeo; occurs to me that google might only search against youtube, and if duckduckgo only goes up against google that would explain why it didn't turn up.

I never went with AOL or yahoo or any other of them, I'd read that it was "curated", sortof an early version of apple's walled garden and I wasn't interested. Anyone else remember geting cd's from AOL in the mail every other day? Annoying. I went with a straight-up dial-up account, it was *way* slow compared to work but it's what it was then. I was with them til I went with a cable modem, which was like going from fuzzy black and white to full-on color -- ZAM! I'm in one of the neighborhoods that google ran google fiber into, and I can buy blazing fast connection for about fifty bucks a month or I can just use it free, way faster than that cable modem was, takes maybe 3 or 4 minutes to download a movie. Free is nice. Unlike that cable service, this line is almost never down, and never bounces me off when downloading a movie or whatever.

I've a friend who was a dancer when she set down drinking and drugging etc, and here these years later she's a PhD working as intake in pscyh wards, she's worked in the movie star treatment centers in Arizona, she's pretty much done it all -- alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders, sex addiction, love addiction, blah blah blah. She pulled an intervention on my ass when I was totally living my life through a wire, when I was so tightly wound into that mental health chat community and just whatever else. It's not like she got my family involved but she laid it on the line and she was on the money. (You have a friend like her you've gotta be careful, she's got this huge bag of tricks. I know for a fact that it's love that she's giving me but Hey! go a bit easy on me here, TB.) We've been friends for over 30 years, just a ton of fun to mock her for being a PhD when I know the backstory, plus she's got tons of things to mock me about, too. Great person, Tina is. We have a time.

~~~~~

I paid over a grand for my first laptop, a really sweet little Dell, cute as a bugs ear. I never, ever could get it online though, other than through a phone or other line. I found my way here to MetaFilter because of an Ask trying to get that Dell online using a wireless card. No dice. One of the frustrating things about being online and around puters and loving puters etc is that I'm *not* a propeller-head, I tried and tried to get this Linux distro or that one up and running on this machine or that one but No Luck. I've got a puter down right now because the network card in it died, and I've bought two USB wireless and cannot make it happen. I've always got to have a friend who is able to Do Things With Computers. Many of them are savants, or so it seems to me, they have unreal skills, it's like a dark magic of some sort, they possess all of this arcane knowledge and special tools, like plumbers, though their hands are (generally) cleaner. I've always got to have a line on someone who has the chops.

~~~~~

Imagine living without Wikipedia. I use it every day, many times a day. Whenever I want to know something, anything, it's right there at my fingertips. It's magic. I have this nasty-ass disease -- Osgood–Schlatter disease -- which has flared badly due to intense workouts, big-time pain and swelling in both knees, first time in over 50 years that it's kicked up this badly. Did i have to go to the library and look it up, or call my doc? Nope. Punch it up in duckduckgo, and even though I have the spelling way, way off I've got great information about it. Magic.

~~~~~

Myself, I vote we keep the internet.
posted by dancestoblue at 5:04 PM on March 14 [12 favorites]


ICQ @ 7kb/sec when the modem could handle it.
Backweb for the extra kb/sec. and the daily weather satellite on my splash screen. I loved to watch the Pineapple Express come rolling in off the Pacific.
Ah, Spidey, crawl for me.
WYSIWYG was some drag and drop magic. I came from Kaypro green screens w/the A &B drives, so boy was I impressed.

Don't forget to unhook the phone's receiver when you are done.

I didn't find Metafilter until 2012.
posted by mule98J at 5:36 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]


I remember Alta Vista as a place where the more you knew about searching the better your results. *looks sidelong at Google's deprecation of search operators*

I knew I was turning into a Technology Geezer when I caught myself drawing unflattering comparisons between current tech and "old" tech -- like the line, above.

Or remembering how in about 1995 I learned some barebones HTML in order to set up a web site for my college roommate's sort-of-cousin's band, using access on a company server provided by his then-roommate. There was so much to learn just in deciphering the string http://www.virtualmusic.com:80/~himself/doctors.html! And when they finally got properly on the Internet, they quietly asked if I could make my stuff go away...and I was happy to do so because I just wanted good things for one of my favorite bands. *sigh* Who knew I should have extorted them, like anyone would do now, by domain-squatting and a flurry of bogus DMCA notices they couldn't afford to fight??

And I remember in 1995 giving an Internet Stranger dude in Boston a grayscale portrait display built to be used on Macs so that he could work on the m68k NetBSP port. For free! Just because he was Doing Something Cool!
posted by wenestvedt at 5:43 PM on March 14 [5 favorites]


Anyone else get a Cleveland Freenet shell account in 1992 or '93, just because they were free and you could leave you own campus's network?
posted by wenestvedt at 5:46 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Ten years ago we had this many parties, with NYC leading all scorers with 146 members clicking they would attend, but I was there that night and would say we saw 300 people over the course of the shindig.

Cities
Albuquerque, NM (14)
Ann Arbor, MI (20)
Atlanta, GA (19)
Austin, TX (23)
Bangalore, India (3)
Beijing, China (5)
Birmingham, England (5)
Birmingham, AL (5)
Boston, MA (71)
Brisbane, Australia (9)
Budapest, Hungary (3)
Buenos Aires (1)
Buffalo, NY (11)
Calgary, AB (10)
Chicago, IL (48)
Columbia, SC (2)
Columbus, OH (11)
Dallas, TX (17)
Denver, CO (11)
Dublin, Ireland (6)
Durham, NC (13)
Hong Kong (1)
Honolulu, HI (9)
Indianapolis, IN (9)
Juneau, AK (2)
Lawrence, KS (10)
Leeds, UK (3)
Lexington, KY (6)
London, England (41)
Los Angeles, CA (43)
Madison, WI (7)
Manila, Philippines (4)
Melbourne, Australia (23)
Mexico City, Mexico (11)
Milwaukee, WI (6)
Minneapolis, MN (25)
Montréal, QC (5)
Mountain View, CA (9)
Nairobi, Kenya (3)
New Orleans, LA (60)
New York, NY (146)
Orlando, FL (13)
Ottawa, ON (7)
Philadelphia, PA (26)
Phoenix, AZ (6)
Pittsburgh, PA (16)
Portland, OR (63)
Portland, ME (16)
Prudhoe Bay, AK (1)
Regina, SK (2)
Richmond, VA (3)
Sacramento, CA (2)
San Diego, CA (9)
San Francisco, CA (49)
São Paulo, Brazil (2)
Singapore, Singapore (4)
South Pole, Antarctica (1)
St. Louis, MO (14)
Sydney, Australia (16)
Tokyo, Japan (9)
Toronto, ON (68)
Tucson, AZ (5)
Vancouver, BC (19)
Virginia Beach, VA (5)
Washington, DC (49)
Wellington, NZ (6)
Zanzibar, Tanzania (2)

Providence RI what the hell? You best step it up this time around.
posted by vrakatar at 5:58 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


reached medicinal armistice with the illness

Just acknowledging what a fantastic phrase (and fantastic win) that is.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:33 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


I'm 36. I played Leisure Suit Larry until my parents realized how inappropriate it was and deleted it. My dad downloaded newsgroups overnight since it took so long, then we read them during the day and posted about Star Trek TNG. I ordered a movie poster from a dude on Usenet in 1996, my very first internet purchase before online shopping was a thing; my parents had to mail him a check. My first boyfriend was a guy I met on IRC the same year. I made Geocities websites for fun. I used Napster in my college dorm.

I found Metafilter in my college apartment soon after 9/11. I joined in 2002. I read Metafilter through college, law school, dating, being a lawyer, marriage, becoming a parent, and progressing in my career. Metafilter has been a constant my entire adult life. I have watched the internet morph from its infancy as I aged with it, and it's remarkable how comforting this wall of text is after all these years. I truly do mentally seperate my internet life as pre- and post- discovering Metafilter.
posted by gatorae at 6:43 PM on March 14 [7 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos: " So UUSENET was all there was, and I was finding that there was a very strong anti-sales culture there, so trying to post an ad would not fly. .."

But it worked so great for Canter & Siegel!
posted by Chrysostom at 7:25 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


That may be the only time my old hometown, Columbia, SC, could be said to hold its own with Sacramento, Sao Paulo and Zanzibar. Suck it Hong Kong! I remember I bought bean dip that night, seemed fitting.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 7:57 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


I still use my hotmail account from 1995.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:41 PM on March 14 [8 favorites]


I probably came to Metafilter as a result of a search for Buffy fanfic. Lurked for many years before registering.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:54 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]


Gods, remember when Hotmail was "HoTMaiL" because it was web-based?

I just tried to dig into Google's USENET archive (man, I *still* miss DejaNews), and there are whole chunks of my life that have gone missing there. I *think* I first posted to USENET around 1994. I can find a few MtG-related posts from the mid-90s. Almost all of the 'work' I did in news.admin.net-abuse.email appears to be gone, though.
posted by hanov3r at 8:17 AM on March 15 [2 favorites]


where did the years go? *lament*
posted by Jeremy at 8:21 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]


I worked part time in a campus computer lab during college. This was during the beginning of the first dot com boom. My job was mostly tending the printers and answering basic computer questions, but mostly I just stood at the desk tinkering with CGI scripts and the early web.

One day an older gentleman in a dark suit approached me at the help desk. In a thick Russian accent, he offered to hire me, full time. For what? He was cagey. He wouldn’t say, but it had something to do with the internet. Even 19 year old me had the sense to turn him down, but I think back on that sometimes and wonder if I missed my chance to become Ben Kingsley in Sneakers.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 8:40 AM on March 15 [2 favorites]


I was [at the NYC Meta 10-year party] that night and would say we saw 300 people over the course of the shindig.

If memory serves, that's because we were partying so hard that random club kids started partycrashing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:30 AM on March 15 [2 favorites]


Was having an argument with an old colleague last week about which was better between AltaVista and Lycos,

I remember that I wanted to make a Lycos parody site called Mycos: a search engine for the Mars-wide-Mycelium. But domains and hosting were out of my budget and I was lazy :)
posted by sevenyearlurk at 11:09 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]


I'm also one of the super secret email signup 17k folks, I think. I honestly can't remember if it was that or if that was when Matt would open the signups for like a day and cap the number. It's been so long, who can remember?

I've been here for 16.5 years. That's a long time. When I consider that those years spanned my late teens to present-day 35, it's more like 40 years of development.

I basically didn't have parents from middle school onward, struggled with substance use and mental health for most of my early-mid 20s, only gradually came to accept my bisexuality, worked through most of the lingering trauma of a childhood rape...and also made a ton of internet friends, went to meetups and played boardgames, hiked through the woods of western NC with mefites and had a picnic at a waterfall, learned about countless cool 'net stuff, and more..

I dunno. This isn't a website to me. It's a part of myself and life, like a piercing you've had so long you don't even see it in the mirror or in photos anymore. It just is, and I hope we never go away.
posted by lazaruslong at 11:58 AM on March 15 [8 favorites]


hiked through the woods of western NC ... and had a picnic at a waterfall

I lived in Asheville for 14 years until I moved across-country about 10 years ago and I have great memories of the area's mountains and waterfalls. I seldom get "homesick" pangs, but that definitely gave me one. Fortunately the Pacific NW has some pretty great scenery as well so the pangs aren't too painful.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:13 PM on March 15 [2 favorites]


Hah! Yeah, I lived in Asheville before moving to philly. The meetup I mentioned was in Asheville. We went to rainbow falls. I don’t miss the town but goddamn I miss those woods. I know what you mean.
posted by lazaruslong at 12:16 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]


For all the good stuff, this was essentially a mistake. Letting old, racist white people consolidate power was (in retrospect) an obviously insane move. Metafilter has been diverting enough, but it's not worth it for the downsides of the web as populated by "regular" people.
posted by codacorolla at 9:03 PM on March 15 [2 favorites]


I can't recall if it was ICQ or AOL messenger app (or maybe both?) that could be set up so you could watch the other person writing in real time, as they wrote -- what a great way to see how someone thinks. They'd write something, then back up over it, or edit it down or fill it out more, and then maybe just chunk the whole thing and start again.

Great fun to see all that they wrote before they punched up "Send" and then send off this edited, and sometimes highly edited msg. They had to agree to have it set up that way, and not everyone was interested in it, for sure, but I loved it.

One friend in particular, Amy, she's just remarkably creative, sparks of Art fly off of her, it's just who she is, it really was great to see how she thought, and how fast she thought, to see the permutations gone through on the way to hitting "Send."
posted by dancestoblue at 10:26 PM on March 15 [2 favorites]


I came here from kuro5hin. Over there I had a bunch of sock puppets, one of them was named "cherished sock puppet". His schtick was constant banging on the Welsh. At the time it was purely in fun, the "racist" things he said about the Welsh were non-sequiturs and bizarre conspiracy ravings.

I am kind of sad that this timeline is such that you cannot do humor like that anymore, too hard to tell it apart from the real monsters.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:18 AM on March 16 [1 favorite]


Threads like these always make me wish I lived somewhere where all those great meetups occur. They sound like so much fun. Meetups over here are rare and when they happen they are small.
posted by Too-Ticky at 4:37 AM on March 16


Anybody else use Wingspan bank online? I was with them maybe two years, or three, I think it was Wells Fargo bought them out; I loved the idea of banking online, which I obviously do now, just that Wingspan was the first as I recall it.
posted by dancestoblue at 12:06 PM on March 16


Dammit cortex, "Time! Time. It keeps on marching"... It's supposed to be "Time keeps on slipping slipping slipping, into the future". Steve Miller Band Fly Like An Eagle HQ With Lyrics
posted by zengargoyle at 6:06 PM on March 16


Metafilter story is a bit hazy... When I started working again around Y2k and got promoted I was one of two new guys. My office mate was cool and we traded 80's music and all was good. One day he noticed that I was reading a Kuro5hin post and said something like "If you like that, you'd like MetaFilter". I checked it out and another cool link aggregator whatever..

Then I kept seeing things on other blogs that were 'via MetaFilter' and kept ending up here. It took a bit for me to discover the green, and even longer to discover the grey...

I thought for a long time that I remembered the post that made me pony up the $5 to reply (but on investigation... a little bit wrong but close). So it's the first Ask that I went "I've got this" and I did. It was a blogger in Japan posting photos from their phone and the kanji was getting messed up and at that time I was running the backend bits of a Japanese language learning site and had done that thing before and knew I could fix that problem.

Now I'm still here because MetaFilter is just a wonderful place and full of decent people.
posted by zengargoyle at 6:45 PM on March 16


I used PINE for my email, and I also used something called TELNET but I done forgot what it did.
posted by Morpeth at 7:11 AM on March 17 [1 favorite]


reached medicinal armistice with the illness

Just acknowledging what a fantastic phrase (and fantastic win) that is.

posted by Greg_Ace at 8:33 PM on March 14

If I recall correctly, that phrase actually came about in 2002 when I was writing on NANOWRIMO -- it was one hell of a month, I was in the worst manic run of my life (up to that time anyways) and I was writing my heart out every day, didn't miss writing even one day that November.
NANOWRIMO yet *another* fine thing on these here internets.

It's an uneasy truce that we share, manic depression and myself, there are sometimes shots fired my way, the occasional artillery barrage, and I stand up in the trench and shoot back -- duck and cover is *not* the way to go with this stuff, got to be pro-active, face it head on, look it in the eye and flip it off and then shoot right back...

Anyways. Kind words, warmed my little heart over here on a rather chill Sunday morning.
posted by dancestoblue at 9:50 AM on March 17


When I was ten, my father took me to an outdoor company party, beautiful day and I meet the computer guy, this would be Ann Arbor, 1977. He agreed to let me see the Computer room. And I did, he showed storage, screens and the modem. Not a small company but 4 or so terminals were linked to the main office. And he just typed something ubiquitous. And the two hour download began. Smart ass I was asked
"You typed that lunch thing and chess move so you knew who was feeding you data, gaining access"

"Yes,"

"What if someone put a camera on the screen.."
[Points to camera]

"Well thanks Bob for showing the boy around, heh, ok"

He showed me how to code like two weeks later. it was a return address label for small envelope's.

As to internet. E-mails to Japan, circa 93' teachers friends class. Peer to peer, open question. Still have a few hard copies.
And applied at AOL, Jacksonville in 95'. I liked the bustle and newness but declined, the commute was terrible, building was cementy and always seemed underpowered.
posted by clavdivs at 8:19 PM on March 17 [1 favorite]


Did a crtl-f for Prodigy and got nothin'. Oh Sears, you really blew it.
posted by JanetLand at 6:57 AM on March 18 [4 favorites]


I was on Prodigy! Man, that takes me back.
posted by lazaruslong at 11:29 AM on March 18 [1 favorite]


I tried to make a Prodigy comment, but it's been buffering since last Wednesday.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:23 PM on March 18 [3 favorites]


Oh man, IRFH, I accidentally picked up the phone in the basement. You might need to restart that.
posted by lazaruslong at 12:32 PM on March 18 [5 favorites]


Hard to understand the nostalgia. I used pine too, I had a .plan, there are a bunch of embarrassing Usenet posts you can find somewhere from when I was 14. Before that I spent hours and hours on BBSs. OK, there were some nice moments, but in retrospect all of it was so obviously a terrible mistake that has propelled me and us into this horrific living nightmare that is 2019. I spend every day in front of a computer because I don't know another way to make a living but I don't kid myself that any of this is anything other than bad—for me and everybody else. Frank Herbert got it right, thinking machines are bad news. #butlerianjihadnow
posted by enn at 1:17 PM on March 18 [4 favorites]


I had the odd good fortune to be present for the rise and fall of Internet Gopher at the University of Minnesota. It was a pariah when it was being developed; once it became a hit, everyone wanted a piece of the action. And then the World Wide Web arrived and Gopher became roadkill.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:03 AM on March 19 [4 favorites]


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