Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Internet Day

John B. Marine | 8/23/2016 08:13:00 PM | | | |
(UPDATED: August 27, 2016)

Internauts, unite! On August 23, 1991; the Internet was available for us regular folks through the World Wide Web. We've come a long way since. Can you imagine where we would be without the Internet, or at least consumer-level Internet access? Social media and blogging probably wouldn't exist. Shopping online probably wouldn't happen without the Internet. Online gaming probably would be a foreign concept. So I think this is one of the coolest deals going. It is really funny and interesting knowing what would or wouldn't be possible without the Internet and without the Internet being available to the general public-at-large. Let me share some retrospective on the Internet and how far we've come.


AUG 27 2016 - edited some details- it was a Packard Bell, not a Hewlett-Packard (HP) PC

My Internet Retrospective

The Internet is nothing new. Today's Internet goes back to somewhere in the 1960s or 1970s. The service just never became available to people until the 1990s. Since then, people have used the "Information Superhighway" for purposes ranging from actual research to entertainment and even... adult websites and other questionable content. And today in compiling this blog post, people who use the Internet were apparently called "Internauts." We would be in a much different place without access to cyberspace and the Internet. This even includes the likes of online gaming and other things. All of this was made possible the founder of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

So how far have we come and how much does the Internet mean to me? I'll share my own retrospective.

My Internet Memories and Timeline.

Where do I slot in with the Internet? Well when I first saw this little notice on Facebook this morning, I thought about my earliest experiences with the Internet. I could remember my brother taking me to the library at the University of Houston. I found myself trying to look up news and notes on "Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars" back in the mid-1990s. I remembered using browsers such as NCSA Mosaic and even Netscape. Oh, and there was also that browser called Internet Explorer that was also cool in its time.

Some time in 1996 or so, I would join America Online and have AOL as my gateway to the "Information Superhighway." My PC wasn't really spectacular even in its time, but it still got the job done. I had a Packard Bell PC with Windows 95, an 8 MB of RAM, and a 75 MHz processor. It also had a 14.4 kbps modem. That modem made great music trying to connect to the Internet. And so many times, I would try to feel happy to hit the Internet even while in my High School days. I was kind of feeling good at the notion of wanting to do something like online gaming. The landscape was surely different then on that front, but I do remember games like Quake 2 where as many as 32 players could all play at once in one level. Too bad I didn't have the PC to play that game then, nor did I have the money to try such a thing. I do still enjoy spending late nights on Friday and Saturday browsing the Internet. I even spent time in Chat Rooms on AOL and doing lots of Instant Messages (IMs) there. I enjoyed myself considering some of the knuckleheads I had to deal with from time to time. I even still used AOL for downloading material. That even included using AOL's own collection of downloadable material. I got things like stuff for games and even game demos like "The Need for Speed" demo.

In about 1999 or so, my brother bought an eMachines computer to replace the aging old PC I had then. This newer computer had Windows 98, 32 MB of RAM, about a 233 MHz processor, and a 56 kbps dialup modem. That meant I would be able to enjoy using the Internet at faster speeds and try out more intense programs. There was a time when my brother and I used to try to connect to the Internet through the University of Houston's dialup system. There were two packages- one allowing you to connect for 30 minutes, and another to connect you for 4 hours. The 4-hour one would take longer since more people wanted to stay on for much longer. When the remnants of Tropical Storm Allison hit Houston in 2001, UH was all flooded and everything. So I was unable to get onto the Internet for about two weeks or so. It was still great to jump back online and enjoy everything. That even included a time in 2002 when I first introduced myself to Japanese pop music. I was listening to a service called Live365. I hated Live365 because it took so long to refresh everything. Then with a program called WinAmp, I came across an Internet stream called Japan-a-Radio. That got me even more into JPOP, and I was enjoying it without having to deal with the browser-based Live365. Besides this, I even had the opportunity to use computers at my community college to download material for games that would take ages for me to download at home. I used Netscape as my powerful browser for the most part. Most important in using Netscape was in the ability to make a Bookmarks file that was essentially an HTML file full of links.

Let's now fast forward to about 2005. I was absolutely surprised when I got a brand-new computer for Christmas. It was an HP computer with Windows XP. It also had about 381 MB of RAM, (I forget its processor speed), and a 56K dialup modem. I used the dialup for a good amount of time. This was also when I got my first bit of social media involvement. I began using services like Hi5 and Friendster because I was skeptical about joining Myspace considering all the news reports of people doing bad on Myspace. I then eventually got tired of Hi5 and Friendster and eventually did join Myspace. It was Myspace where I got to get involved with setting up blog posts through Myspace. Maybe Myspace blogging would fuel a future interest. Hmm... Then some time later, I would join a rival budding social media platform called Facebook in about October 2007. Playing a game like rFactor, some mods for that game couldn't be downloaded in a short amount of time. So I used the fast online access at my community college to download mods better. I also used their PCs to load Myspace pages faster. I had a basic-looking Myspace profile so I could view everything properly at home on dialup. I later got around to a few unique new layout then. I was finding myself using Mozilla Firefox and Opera. Of course, this was before Opera mostly became Chrome or became mostly Chrome-based. I even still have a copy of Opera 12.

However, some time in 2008 or so, it was a new experience for me with the Internet because after give-or-take 13 years of dialup, my family finally got around to having wireless DSL Internet. This meant I could use the Internet all day and not have to worry about having land-based phone lines disrupt my Internet experience. It also meant I could access websites much faster than with dialup. Having Internet at these speeds and available all day long meant I could then try things like YouTube and blogging. YouTube would take forever to load up on dialup. So that's why I would watch video after video in college before being able to confidently view videos on a fast connection at home. What about blogging? Well, as I was becoming more serious about blogging, I enjoyed being able to have the Internet available to me to be ready to upload a blog post whenever I was ready. About this time in the past, Netscape was discontinued as people were recommended to use Firefox instead. I think I still have the last version of Netscape.

In 2011, I bought a PlayStation 3. Even with my wireless WiFi Internet access, this was my first true experience with online gaming. I joined PlayStation Network and got around to doing some online gaming. This was all part of a new experience for me. I could use the Internet on my PC to access material while also using my PS3 to do some online interactions. My family was going from AT&T internet to incredibly fast Comcast Xfinity Internet some time later.

It was 2012 when I bought a Samsung Galaxy Player 3.6 portable media player. Not only was this my first Android device, it was also my first mobile device I've ever owned. This portable media player has WiFi connectivity, so I found importance in having such a device. It meant I could access cyberspace even when not on my computer. That was one thing I wanted to take advantage of in case I am unable to use the computer to access the Internet. A year later, I'd get the Samsung Galaxy Player 4.2 portable media player. Again- another device to enjoy Internet access away from the PC. I then got my first tablet PC when I got a Hisense Sero 7 Pro for Christmas in 2014. Again- another mobile media device with WiFi access. A tablet PC is more practical.

In 2015, I bought my first PC. I carried over the faster wireless adapter to enjoy the faster speeds on my current PC. I have been enjoying my experience with the Internet and the various ways of accessing the online realm. The versatility of using the Internet and such has been nothing short of amazing.

Now you have an idea of my Internet history. Now for some final thoughts.

Internet Day: Final Thoughts

Suffice to say, we would be in a much different culture without the Internet and without personal access of the Internet. Even seeing websites in their past form shows the real evolution of how far we've come since the World Wide Web was open for business and usage since its 1991 debut. Our lives have changed a great deal since consumer-level access of the Internet was established. In addition, certain companies would not be as profitable or versatile without the Internet. So we owe a whole lot to the Internet and of World Wide Web founder Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Be sure to pay respect to the pioneers of making the Internet available to common folk like you and I. Even my own online work probably wouldn't be possible. Don't forget to imagine what life would be like without Internet access, and be thankful for what Internet access has provided to us all. Appreciate the Internet and how far we have all come.

With this reminicing complete, I conclude this blog post. Now you know how I feel about how far we've come with the Internet. Feel free to comment if you like. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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