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Way off topic: How primitive was your very first Internet connection?


I never really paid much attention to the Internet when it started to become a bigger part of society back in the 90's. I was in my 20's then and you would think I would have wanted to be part of it, but quite frankly, I just didn't care.

I remember some of the commercials promoting the web, like the one of a guy who asked a girl for her phone number and she wrote down her email address. I was aware of more and more products with the www as part of their name. But it wasn't until I started working at Pitt in 1998 that I first got online. The computer and dial up Internet service were very primitive by today's standards, but it was all the rage in '98 and I was fascinated.

I was still in my mid-twenties and trying to find my way in those days and I couldn't afford a computer of my own but I really wanted to explore this new phenomenon.

Even though a computer was out of my price-range, I did discover that there was a way to get connected to the Internet through your very own television: Webtv.

In March of 1999, I decided to hit my local mall and spend a portion of my tax return on a Webtv Plus model. I got it home, figured out how to connect it to my old floor model television set that I inherited from my grandmother, and the rest was history. Shortly after I got online, I discovered the wonderful and bizarre world of chatrooms. I spent the entire night talking to people from all around the world and I couldn't believe I could do that.

I was so fascinated with "chatting" in those days, that the first month I was online, I lost 8 pounds. When I wasn't working, I was online chatting.

Getting connected was also how I rediscovered my love for writing. Back then, however, there weren't any blogs, and even if there were, I didn't know where to find them. I would entertain people in chatrooms and if I had something I wanted to get off my chest, I would write it in an email and send out one giant cc. A personal webpage was another alternative to express one's self back then. Webpages were sort of the facebook of the day.

Since I had dial up and the slowest modem around, I couldn't access much. Most videos and java-based anything were certainly out of the question. I didn't have the capability to upload a lot of stuff on my webage, but since I loved to write, my webpage sort of became my original blog.

Believe it or not, Webtv was my primary means of accessing the Internet until 2006. A friend of mine rescued me from that primitive world and gave me her old computer. It was a 2000 Gateway and I still used a dial-up host, but it was a step in the right direction.  Although, by '06, dial-up was quickly going by the wayside as more and more people were switching to either DSL or high-speed.

Even though a computer was more convenient in many ways, an old computer with dial-up was almost as primitive as Webtv. I would get knocked offline at least a dozen times a day and if my phone lines were down, I was out of luck.

I still couldn't access videos or music online and if I could, it was very slow. I still had my old Gateway 2000 until two-years ago when it finally died. I invested in my first lap-top and high-speed connection and quickly caught up with the rest of the Internet community. I often wonder if I'd still have my old PC and a dial-up connection today if I wasn't forced to change simply out of necessity.

Anyway, when did you get online and how primitive was your initial connection?

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