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Tell us about your first time ... on the internet

Tell us about your first time ... on the internet

This week, as we've noted here, Australia celebrates the 25th anniversary of its first internet connection. We want to know what your first time was like. Was it gentle?

I've explained my formative, fumbling, dialup experiences at the link above. Do let us know how you went the first time, too.

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Re: Tell us about your first time ... on the internet

First connection was in 1987 and was dial up 300bps modem, via a Govt department that kindly allowed access. No web, only FTP, telnet and primitive by today's standard email. Gopher and other tools like Archie were fun and you could roam the world exploring, security was simple and in some cases simply avoided. Corporate connections to AARNet had to be justified as beneficial to the educational community prior to the early 90's that was a tough one.

1994 got a server placed in another Govt org, running 24x7 for 20c, allot cheaper than an ISDN line at the time, my own Class C and visions of my home devices all wired (seems like most visions it takes about 20 years :-).

2004 saw a shift to DSL and putting up with ISP call centers, and am weeks away from NBN FTP :-) Been on VoIP for 8 years, phone books and calls to my land-line are a long distant memory.

I wonder what the next 25 years will hold.. either a return to the more open networks of the past probably not, but I think more likely corporate control enforced by rights deals, and government by the people for the corporations.

Either way its been a fun ride so far, and the biggest plus is how the broader access to information has empowered folks, who have access.. After all that's what the whole point of the Internet was envisioned to do.

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Re: Tell us about your first time ... on the internet

Had to be 1992 or thereabouts. The school where I managed a brand spanking new computer lab full of MacLCs bought me a 300 buad modem. The connection was a bit tricky, a SLIP connection to a university which was offering connections... NCSA Mosaic was the only browser I could find. Soon Netscape Navigator came along... A lot of time exploring gopherspace and FTP...

Next thing was talking them into a 9600 modem, and finding Usenet.

At home, BBS then AOL, then Mindspring. That 14k modem sure did scream, and I thought I was in speed heaven with the 28.8 on a LCII with 6MB ram, 40 MB HD...

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Re: Tell us about your first time ... on the internet

My first time? Email access via cc:Mail on starting work in Melbourne in June 1988, does that count?

After day spent in the lab hearing the dialing to the local node multiple times a day I can still whistle the DTMF modem dials I'd always hear.

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Re: Tell us about your first time ... on the internet

Signed up with Demon in 1992 but before then I booked a holiday to the Faro's in 1987 using a BBS system. At the same time I bought 8Mb of RAM for 32 quid and a 32Mb HDD on a card for 230 quid and wondered what I could do with all that space. But, I could shell out of NewWord into VisiCalc without the machine crashing.. Progress eh?

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Re: Tell us about your first time ... on the internet

"First connection was in 1987 and was dial up 300bps modem, via a Govt department that kindly allowed access. No web, only FTP, telnet and primitive by today's standard email. Gopher and other tools like Archie were fun and you could roam the world exploring, "

You may be misremembering or confounding different time periods. Gopher wasn't a thing until the 1990s. The same goes for Archie.

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The early internet in Australia was pretty much reserved to those who had "bucketloads of money and perhaps a reason for it". But I was a mere mortal human, and had been already established with a 2400 baud modem and BBSs, so had no reason to even think about it. Even less so "who was on it", because the answers was invariably "no-one useful yet".

By the time I had actually seen the Internet, it was setting up a corportate client with the then AOL of Australia, Ozemail. The client's reaction mirrored mine: "Is that it?". Perhaps more so with me, because I had already been spoiled with BBSs, file transfer routing between systems, all wrapped around an AFFORDABLE network.

Some years later when prices had dropped to the point where tight arses like myself could get it, I signed up for a 60MB (yep, I was a glutton for data useage..) a month deal with a small ISP, primarily for email and newsgroups. Windows3 was on its way to being established, but software availability was entirely void of anything useful, even if many were so mesmerised by the cool "new" graphics they didn't notice. So, sticking with DOS and the plethora of good Fidonet mail readers, I wrote a gateway that translated Internet email and news into Fido netmail and echos. I wasn't impressed with DOS based graphics for 'net access, so still used windows3 intermittantly for http access. I stuck with that arrangment for some years, till about the mid naughties where I conceeded defeat: Fido was dead (well, perhaps twitching a leg and a bit of whimpering) and the windows developers at the time actually realised there was more to it, and pretty pictures weren't going to cut it anymore.

So I gave up Fido, and the politics behind it, and bloody Fidonet Policy 4 which wasn't helping matters.

And the rest as they say, is a bad memory. As far as differences go? It had hard to get soft porn, little to no spam, no flash (fuck you macromedia, fuck you very much), and 16 colour low resolution graphics. So, some things have improved, some declined. On the upside, now that "everyone" is using it, contacting people via electronic means is easy. (Fuck you Facebook, fuck you very much).

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Alien

Compuserve

For the first few years that I used CompuServe it was a walled garden but one day - around 94, I think - they added internet access. Non-CompuServe email addresses had to be prefixed with INTERNET: to get stuff routed outside, IIRC.

I stayed with CIS for a couple of months but then switched to Pipex for proper access. The per-hour charge from CIS on top of BT's dialup charges were starting to bite. I did miss the CIS "shops" where you could buy software and the cost was added to your monthly bill. Nice and easy but it wasn't as well organised as it could have been. The software used to arrive by post on floppies.

Around that time I was involved in a big project for a ME-based outfit. My contact there also used CIS but his nearest dialup PoP was New York. The thought of making an international rate call from the UAE to NY to collect email seems laughable these days.

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Adam BBS and Trumpet Winsock

Mid 1990's: Using Windows 95, I used hyper terminal to dial up to one the local BBS's, Adam. From there on the text driven menus, I had to choose something like 'Internet' and then launch Trumpet Winsock. that would show a bunch of text and then be 'on the internet'. From that I could then launch the web browser I was using (pretty sure it was Netscape Navigator) and start looking at geocities pages.

Hardware was a 14,400bps modem at that stage, although I owned a 2400bps modem too which was used just for BBS usage as I enjoyed that more being a teenager and playing Hack n Slash (which I believe was hosted on Amigas only).

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The first time?

The very first time I set up my *own* connection to the internet, at home?

Mid 1990s. OS/2 Warp.

All preconfigured, it Just Worked out of the box. Remember when IBM was an ISP? Very smooth and well-lubricated, no trouble at all.

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Silver badge

About 40 years total. 31+ years of "live" TCP/IP access to what we now call "The Internet".

I helped with NCP at LBL/ Stanford / Ames / Tymshare / Moffett / Sumex (early SAIL? I can't remember ... I must be getting old), SRI, Xerox, Rand, UCLA et alia [1975-1978] while pursuing an engineering degree at Berkeley ... this lead to another degree participating in developing TCP/IP with Cerf & Co. at Stanford, which in turn lead to Flag Day, 01/01/83, when the NCP to TCP/IP switch-over took place.

I lived in the wrong place & time, I guess ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: About 40 years total. 31+ years of "live" TCP/IP access to what we now call "The Internet".

Yes, yes, so you keep saying. To quote Marcello Truzzi, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof." So.. evidence?

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Re: About 40 years total. 31+ years of "live" TCP/IP access to what we now call "The Internet".

Proof? Not a chance. I'm not "outing" myself in this forum. Too many idiot skiddies likely to go "real life". But try to remember, there were people there back then. Real ones. Some of us post here, still trying to educate the kiddies ... and probably tilting at windmills.

Try to find fault in my commentardary, instead of venting your own jealousy over not having been there, or actually accomplishing anything useful in your own life. It'll do you a world of good.

The late Ted Sturgeon said "90% of everything is crap". Personally, I feel that 99.999% of everything you see and/or read on the 'net is crap. So statistically, according to my own commentary, I am full of crap. Do with that what you will, no skin off my teeth :-)

THAT said, I am back in touch with several old friends who tracked me down thanks to my posts in this forum. So if you are a determined skiddie, you can find me[1]. Have fun!

[1] Not recommended.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: About 40 years total. 31+ years of "live" TCP/IP access to what we now call "The Internet".

<SNIP>

Your 'achievements' as a pseudo-AC are, to put it bluntly, several thousand posts worth of words; and talk is cheap. I think the correct description for the emotion I'm edging towards when it comes to you is contempt, possibly seasoned with a smattering of pity.

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Re: About 40 years total. 31+ years of "live" TCP/IP access to what we now call "The Internet".

You are the fantasist known as "Paul Cummins" and I claim my five pounds. He's the only notable Usenet Lack of Personality that I can recall who made such overblown and unbelievable claims about his experience. It all rather fell apart in a bad way for him.

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Sysopping a Maximus BBS with Fidonet and Worldnet email

This is what I was doing before the internet - I was pretty impressed when I had a diil-in user from Texas one night..

I put all this on the back-burner to study (and party) during which came my Ozemail connection,I wouldn't be able to count the hours or list the things I have done since then, I have certainly dabbled with a lot of technologies that are as common as the internet along the way (Wifi!).

From being a teenager running his own International BBS to currently a very innovative Senior Cloud Technical leader - working at one of the top 10 Multinational IT Service providers.The internet has been a major contributor to my life and my career, I love what I do and couldn't imagine how my life could have turned out if there was no internet.. .

The internet has come a long way and there is so much potential for it to go a lot further.

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Early 1990's on a green screen terminal

Using net news, archie and gopher. I was a university undergraduate, and at the time everyone who wanted access had to make their case - in writing - to their head of department, to explain how it would benefit their education.

A couple of years later the university opened up access and installed a web browser (Mosaic, I think) on a room full of X-terms. I remember the first URL I typed in - someone had written on the whiteboard at the front of the room:

'Start Here - http://www.stanford.edu/~jwang/yahoo'

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"The internet" is hard to define

I guess the first IP packets I generated were probably emails originating from Prestel (Micronet) or Telecom Gold or Compulink (CIX). They didn't have any serious content. I would download software and exchange messages from bulletin boards, but not using IP protocols.

Later I browsed text-only web pages via Compulink (using gopher to find them).

I sent proper IP packets from Trumpet Winsock after getting a Demon tenner-a-month dialup connection.

Seriously useful messages started being exchanged when I began using usenet.

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Anonymous Coward

JANet

Back in 1989 there was JANet, linking a number of UK Universities (we were on a Pyramid system at the time). I remember that the experience was basically telnet and gopher and I think ELM was also available then. I can't recall if it was already linked to the US side of the world then or if that came the next year. Oh and WAIS was in there somewhere too. Then came the Sparc 2's and the network PCs and from there on out it went graphical.

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Re: JANet

Also my first experience of the Internet in 1987 when it became possible to access the net via JANet. I did the impossible and sent an email via the Internet from Manchester to Leeds!

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Silver badge

First Class

Time: 1993/4

Hardware: Mac IIsi, at home, Mac IIci at work, 9600 modem, later a 14400, then a 28800

Method: dial-up

The company (a newspaper) paid for dial-up access... but not, at first, to the Internet. Nope, we went (long distance...) to various bulletin boards, mostly running First Class, a very Canadian server/client software team. We ran up truly magnificent long-distance bills. (Every week someone, that, is, me, had to contact a site in New York to download that week's TV guide. 6 MB. Do any of the other dinosaurs out there remember how long it took to download 6 MB even using a 28800?) Management took a look at the long distance bills and nearly fainted. Around that time First Class started flogging a version of their server which could access something called 'the Internet' and the site we had to get the 6 MB file from had 'Internet access'... and I pointed out to management that this 'Internet' thing could be accessed for the cost of a _local_ call. (Plus other fees, of course. Still cheaper than long distance...) Management got several accounts at a local ISP for the company. I got one for myself, same ISP. The ISP gave us Mosaic, and later Netscape 0.9 and Netscape 1, plus email clients and ftp clients and usenet clients and, well, a lot of stuff, all on floppy of course. For a long time I kept on using First Class, only over the Internet, as it had a much better interface. (Still does...)

By 1995 the IIcis were replaced by first generation Power PC systems (Carl Sagan 7100s and Cold Fusion 8100s at the office, a Piltdown 6100 at home...) and the 28800 modems by first 33600s and then (oh, the sheer incredible speed!) 56k units. I still recall the rejoicing when we got two dual 56k network modems on the office network; now four people at a time could go on the Internet! More important, now I could delegate downloading that damn 6MB file to the people who actually needed it: the Sunday magazine crew. They got a block of time on one of the dual 56ks just to get that file... Much grousing, as with regular dial-up the download could be interrupted and renewed, but with the ftp site if the signal was lost they had to start again from the beginning. As this was no longer my problem...

I left that job just after we first got 'broadband'. Sigh. 500 kb down, 128 kb up... Truly magnificent speed. Who could ever need any more than that?

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We had a connection to Prestel at college in 1988-89, using BBC micros. That was a bit of fun.

The first time I used the actual internet was in September 1995, just started at University of East Anglia. It was a balmy 29 Celsius outside, but in the computer lab it was lovely and cool. You were given a floppy with your credentials on it, then you were away. I wondered what all the fuss was about. Eventually landed on a page with the complete script for the first Star Wars film, all centred in yellow text down a blue background. Getting Amstrad CPC games over FTP was more rewarding!

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Anonymous Coward

Mac Internet Connection

At the time we lived in the backwoods of Missouri. A start up offered dialup, We bought a 14.4K modem and Mac OS 7.6 and a cd-rom. Installed the cd-rom, Mac Os 7.6, downloaded the driver from Zoom for Mac, et voila, internet connection. The servers were running NT. This was after Win 95 and before Win 98, it just worked. BTW, the Mac 660A/V is still running BSD 5.X to this day. Have since moved on to Linux and AMD, but the wife and I still recall the first time we encountered the world wide web

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Before Internet

I remember owning a Tulpi dialup modem, 1200/75 baud standard. Made in Frenchs Forest, Sydney. With a unique range of commands, not Hayes. CompuServe was my ISP with it's walled garden. Actually it had a lot of content, just the cost was prohibitive.

I used to use software named Ozark which enabled automated logon, grab messages and any interesting Forum content, logoff and review at leisure. It was cheaper to make multiple phone calls than spend too much time on CompuServe.

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Silver badge

Dialup on my Amiga, 18.5 years ago

Back when you had to know or were willing to learn some shit about how computers work to get online, now every fucker with a 'smartphone' can flood their nonsense on the internet without having an inkling of what a bit or byte actually is.

The 28k8 SupraFAXmodem alone cost £200, later upgraded by firmware to 33k6. Now I'm on 80 megabit....

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Silver badge

1987-88 at university, accessed usenet through the uni's vaxen. 1988-89 sent some emails between my uk.ac.stir.cs account an a uk.co account (yes, those were the days of backwards domains) and in 1989 used a BBC connected to the university's VAX network to FTP the BBC Small-C compiler from uk.ac.sari.

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Happy

" between my uk.ac.stir.cs account an a uk.co account (yes, those were the days of backwards domains)"

No! Those were the days things were the correct way around. It's *now* everything is backwards!

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1994

I first saw the Internet at work. It was a simple page based on the classic "outline" format. Titles, subtitles, bullet points and subs points with underlined links. Can't remember what the website was nor the browser we used.

I worked for Zyzel at the time. Needless to say, they were wondering how their product fit into this new communication system.

2 years later I had my first ISP account and built my first website. By 1999, I had several website businesses. By 2002, I had lost it all.

Ah, the boom days.

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1979 i think

My brother in law had a trash 80 and a 300 baud modem and am impact printer. Can't recall the board but it had to do with hobby kits

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Before 1982, technically.

Starting running a "store and forward" BBS node in about 1983? 84? About then. Memory failure. Eventually ran one of the first versions of FidoNet, whenever that came out. 300 then 1200 baud modem connecting to the "next" node that was a far away as possible without incurring long distance charges. Eventually upgraded to 14.4.

But was "connected" to ARPANet prior to that through work, starting with teletype "display" on 110 baud connection, graduating to green-screen VT100 terminal in the early 1980's.

How are we going to define "internet"? I define it as "single connection point to access required information" (as opposed to having to dial in to a specific system). That was probably late 1980's for me, through a work-provided modem dialup.

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Pint

1987? I think?

A friend had a modem for his CoCo2 and also a briefcase-sized standalone terminal with one of those modems that was two rubber cups that you could put your phone handset in. His father used it when traveling to connect to the mainframe at his company, I think. We used to connect to various BBSes, which at the time was expensive and unreliable, but a world of fun.

As far as actual internet, it must have been mid 90s. Windows 95 had recently come out and I bought my first IBM compatible PC. A screaming fast AMD 586 processor at 133MHz, 16MB of EDO RAM, an 850MB hard drive, and an 14.4K internal modem. It was a good budget system for someone that couldn't afford a Pentium. I tried all the various dial-up services that it came bundled with--AOL, Prodigy, Compuserve, etc. and ended up becoming an AOL subscriber. At the time, AOL was cool and offered the best internal content as well as being an ISP. Back when chat rooms were nifty. Part of the motivation to finally buy a "PC" was that a girl I was into had gotten one and now I could chat with her "online." I stuck with dialup until about 2001 as I recall, finally taking the plunge and getting a cable modem. Those were the days of Napster and I remember setting up a dozen or more downloads on dialup and letting them run all night, only to be chagrined when I discovered my dialup connection had dropped about 5 minutes after I went to bed. I was as far as you could get from the telco's CO and my connection speed left a lot to be desired as well.

Interestingly, I still had to use a modem to dial into and administrate various UNIX and Linux systems for one of my first IT jobs after I had forsaken dial-up for broadband. When I took the plunge and dropped my land line completely and went to VOIP phone service, I used to plug my modem into the VOIP-based phone service. And it actually worked better and got better connection speeds on VOIP than with my old AT&T land line.

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Silver badge
Pint

Networks before 'The Internet'

1979 at my university on a networked terminal. Some sort of widely networked system, but before 1980s Newsgroups.

Within a year or two, our family household would have several pre-PC computers. TRS-80s: Model 3, several CoCos, Model 4. 300-baud acoustic modems, later 1200-baud luxury. Z80, TRS-DOS, CPM. 6809 assembler, BASIC of course, OS9. Early 1981, speaking to my CS201 class of 100+ students. Not one had any computer at home, except me. I already had three.

Google was my browser homepage mere weeks after they went live.

Crikey, CS isn't even my field.

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PJD

1986

Started an engineering degree at University of Western Australia in 1986. Got a unix account (on a vax 11/750 :) which was connected to the outside world. Joined several special interest newsgroups and marvelled at asking and answering questions with people scattered around the planet in almost real-time. Also marvelled that the university would send an email every time you posted on a non-AUS newsgroup informing you that 'this is not a bill, but your posting to the international newsgroup <blah> just cost the university 23 cents'.

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Early 90s

My brother had just bought a cheap run-out model Mac II, and borrowed a 300baud modem from a friend, while a friend of mine who was a sysop at one of the university computing units gave me an account on one of his boxes. Spent hours running through a terminal, using mostly Usenet.

Of course, as the international connection was sponsored by NASA for the Deep Space Network, some groups were periodically blocked due to their policies on appropriate material. This meant that some groups would only get content that was crossposted to groups that weren't blocked.

Then my brother, who had his own account through his friend in the same computing unit at the university, heard about this whole "World Wide Web" thing, using the Lynx browser.

Eventually, they upgraded the dial-in to SLIP and eventually PPP, enabling a full internet connection, moved all their off-book accounts to a spare pyramid server, and finally had to shut it down after the club they set up to manage it imploded. By then we could finally get commercial dial-up accounts.

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1983

My first time on The Internet was in 1983. At MIT, on mitvax (later mitvax.mit.edu).

Back then you could know every machine on the internet by looking at the hosts file, which was updated and distributed daily.

There were many isolated islands, such as Compuserve and Bitnet, along with BBS machines that occasionally exchanged mail. But these weren't really The Internet.

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@ Simon Sharwood

I did not initially connect to the internet itself. Instead I signed up with a user group called Club Mac that used to operate a bulletin board.

Are you confusing "internet" with "world wide web"? It sounds very much like you connected to the Club Mac bulletin board via the internet itself.

I am posting this comment via a "web page" which is part of the "world wide web" of web pages with "hyperlinks" to other web pages: all made of code, not something you can touch. The "internet" is lots of cables and servers networked together: hardware which you can touch.

The internet is used to send/receive data for many different kinds of service: bulletin boards, emails, file transfers, and yes accessing the world wide web too.

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Re: @ Simon Sharwood

Are you confusing "internet" with "world wide web"? It sounds very much like you connected to the Club Mac bulletin board via the internet itself.

It's most likely Simon knows the difference quite well and was connecting to a BBS which then provided access to the internet. Things were different in the early days.

1989 was when I got on the Internet also - via Victoria University (NZ) and also via my job at Data General. I remember that due to that mail was only delivered by batch, I could send an email from my work account to my university account and walk the 1.5 km between the two faster than my email could get there.

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Tell us about your first time ... on the internet

My first time on the Internet was in 2004,i think ,in high school time

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First time ever

was as a kid in a cybercafe (back when those were a thing) for half an hour at a time. First time at home was when me and my dad installed an internal modem dug out of a box of random parts (turned out to be something silly like 9600) and signed up using a Freeserve CD.

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2000

2000

It was around 2000 and I had a job interview with a company that was putting video on the web. The day before, I got myself online with a gmail account. I wasn't exactly impressed by what was on offer since all they had was a handful of out-of-copyright programmes such as a teach yourself ballroom dancing programme and the odd language tutorial.

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