Saturday, September 11, 2004

Technology, shmecknology.

I recently switched to a normal Internet service. By which I mean, no special proprietary software to access the Internet. Just plain ol' Windows, like back in the old days. Odd things happened, however. I tried out the newest version of Pegasus (Pegasus was the first email software I ever used, long ago) and it was working great, then suddenly it stopped. In my inexpert level of expertise, I can only figure that somehow it has stopped properly translating my IP address from winsock, and my email server thinks I'm not supposed to be there. I can still send emails to others within my domain (, but not to anyone outside. Oh well. Eudora comes up with the same problem. Fortunately my old standby Agent works (I've been an Agent user for years). Unfortunately, even the new 2.x version of Agent is straight text only. From a security standpoint, this is the best way to go. However, I don't think anyone I receive email from has been using the Internet for more than 5 years (if that long), and they almost all use html-formatted email. It gets to be a drag to launch a web browser just to read email. So, it looks like I'm using Outlook Express. I really dislike this program, but so far only it and Agent are able to talk to my email server.

Although I don't remember the exact date, this year will mark my 10th anniversary of using the Internet. I suppose like many people back then, I had already spent some time logging on to local BBS's and had tried a few online services (for you newbies, AOL, Compuserve, et al, did not originally provide access to the Internet). The first Internet service I used was called Novalink. I have forgotten the monthly fee, although I think it was $14.95, and for this you got 5 hours of access per month. That's right, 5 hours. You could either log on to their in-house service using a simple terminal program, or you could fire up Windows (3.x), start up Trumpet Winsock, and access the Internet using NCSA Mosaic (but only if you had also installed Win32s). I remember one of the few websites I visited back then was a catalog of Rush lyrics. The front page was a collection of thumbnails of all their albums up to that point, and you could click on the thumbnail to see the lyrics for that album. I thought it was fantastic. The only problem was, it took a long time to load all those little pictures at 2400 baud. Yeah, 2400 baud. Oh yeah, and back then Mosaic couldn't display inline jpgs, only gifs, so the pictures tended to be somewhat larger than the norm now.

I bought that 2400 baud modem for $5 at a ham radio swapmeet. By that time, I think the cutting edge was 9600, so it was obsolete. But it worked. I thought I was really going blazingly fast when I jumped up to 14400.

The first search engine I encountered back than was called Infoseek. It's now called "" and pretty much stinks. It apparently is owned by Disney, and it no longer bothers even to use its own search engine. It uses Google.

So ten years have passed, and the Internet has been a big part of my life, providing me communications with family and friends, allowing me to make some new friends, and providing a source of knowledge and humor. I just hope that in another 10 years, high-speed technology will have advanced to a point where it's affordable.

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