(Do You Remember) the First Time?

March 30, 2009 at 9:37 am Leave a comment

You remember ‘the good old days’ where they claim the grass was greener, the beer was stronger and the trains were cheaper? I could go on about this forever, but instead of ranting on about how certain things in 1973 were better than 2009, I shall use this post as a nostalgia fest on’ t’internet’.

This came about as a conversation I was having with Alex. He told me how he first found the World Wide Web in 1997. We went dewy-eyed over the Netscape v. Internet Explorer battle, loading pages on a 14.4k baud US Robotics Sportster modem (he bought his after a favourable review in The Guardian’s Online section), and of course how dated sites were then.

When Alex came to Chez Ogden for his Sunday dinner, he brought his laptop in. He decided to show me his latest addition, a 15” Macbook Pro. On this state of the art PC, he showed me his first website from 1996. There were framed pages galore (which was state of the art at the time) and animated GIF images.

He then showed me his latest website, an all singing all dancing affair coded in XHTML, using CSS for positioning and formatting. I was amazed to find how far we’ve come in 13 years – back when social networking meant bulletin boards and meeting ‘offline’ in pubs, rather than Facebook, Twitter and Co.

When I first found the joys of the internet, online shopping as a replacement for ‘the big shop’ seemed a novelty. Now we think nothing of logging on to TESCO’s website and buying for a fortnight, or even a month. This was 2004, some 10 years after I discovered Teletext (and stupidly wondered what happened to the ORACLE).

Alex was a child of the computer age, so it is no surprise as to why he grew up with a PC of some description since birth. Even when he was young, he would hog the school’s BBC Micro, so much so he managed to book a holiday using the school’s Micronet 800 account on the sly! He first found the internet before it existed – and has vague recollections of Prestel! I always remember the Prestel number as being on after Chris Kelly or Judith Chalmers sold us the joys of Lanzarote and before the credits on ‘Wish You Were Here’.

After Alex left for his humble abode in Bredbury, I retired to The Nursery for a couple of pints, and returned home to take Nelson for his daily walk. Then I went on my PC, only to find Judy has opened a Facebook account and received a friend request from El Tel Turkey Toreador. I also had a look on Archive.org to see how Google looked in 1999. As Judy was on my PC, whilst I was sat at The Nursery, she left a link to this great forum posting:


I was amazed as it was almost like that ‘Magical History Tour’ Alex took me on earlier.

T.U., 30 March 2009.


Entry filed under: Computing, History, Internet, Off-topic, Social Networking.

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