Coming Of Age

The World Wide Web is 20! They grow up so fast. Seems like only yesterday he was sticking erotic playing cards in the spokes of his bike and now he’s graduating boner pill college and marrying a sexy sorority slut in your home town who’s waiting for you.

NEWS FROM THE FUTURE! [Posted 5/9/13]

Here are things you should know about: 

  • You can now read HijiNKS ENSUE (and a crap load of other fine comics) on the Official iOS app of webcomics, Comics Chameleon. It’s free and has a pretty slick interface and it supports the creators of the comics it displays (unlike EVERY OTHER webcomic app in the app store).
  • Phoenix Comicon is in 2 weeks (May 23-26)! I will be there with David Willis at Booth 1749.
  • Speaking of David, he is kickstarting his new Dumbing Of Age book, for which I wrote the foreword. It’s already funded, but you should back the hell out it anyway.
  • Hopefully tomorrow I’ll have an announcement regarding my involvement with the Cyanide and Happiness Show.
  • LAST THING! HijiNKS ENSUE turns 6 on Saturday (May 11). If you have an idea for a piece of HE related fan art (using any medium), I will announce a Fancy Bastard Fancy Fan Art Contest on Friday. The winner (chosen by me) will get prizes! Get to arting!

COMMENTERS: What was your very first experience with The Internet (I know the WWW isn’t exactly THE INTERNET, but hey… whatever)? What type of machine was it on? When did you first use the Internet/WWW and realize that it was going to change basically everything about how society operates?

Comments (35)

My first Interneting was most likely using AIM at a friend’s house during the summer between 8th and 9th grade. That was the first time I knew a kid with a dial up modem. I never had Internet access at my own house until I moved out on my own when I was 18. Even then, Im pretty sure I was borrowing a dial up connection that my buddy got free with his college tuition for at least 2-3 more years. My first email address was a hotmail (pre Microsoft) account created at the behest of my 10th grade photography teacher. He insisted that we all have email to get assignments then never once sent us anything electronically. I remember there being a 3 or 4 page form you have to fill out to get an email address. It seemed super official, like the IRS was involved.

1 reply · active 107 weeks ago

Conrado's avatar

Conrado · 108 weeks ago

Long time ago, maybe in 1992, I found out about this “Bitnet” thing in college (damn! I was in college in 92′! I suddenly feel old…) Next year the computer lab had several IBM Unix worksations running this “X-Windows” and there was that program… “Mosaic”… and there was this thing, the World Wide Web… and there was Lycos, and NSCA, and Yahoo Directory (actually a physical book!), and a lot of sites devoted to Doom WAD’s, and FTP, and Gopher… damn! I’m old! :p And I got my first email address… And then I became a geek…
Damn kids! Get off my web server!!

1 reply · active 108 weeks ago

Carlos's avatar

Carlos · 108 weeks ago

Holy cow! I started with Bitnet too. Only I was in high school at the time, which shared the computer lab with the adjacent college. Pretty soon I was all UNIX-y and started FTPing images off of the servers one of my high school assignments. Blew the pants off my teachers and fellow students who didn’t know you could do that. Emailing with pine followed. After that I got a chance to handle some NeXT workstations where I first started using graphical e-mail and some of the Mosaic goodness. The road to geekdom…
Lynne's avatar

Lynne · 108 weeks ago

My family got our first computer in 98 (when I was about to turn 8). We had a dial up modem, and I remember it being a really big deal whenever my mom would let me get on AOL for 30 minutes on Saturday mornings to play hangman. Sometimes she was expecting a call, though, in which case I had to wait until she was done with that.
I’m in pretty much the same boat as Conrado. I got on the college network (a VAX system) in 1990, which had an internal forum. It was either 91 or 92 when I ventured out into the wider Bitnet world (we thought those “internet” people were in a ghetto, because they didn’t have utilities like “finger”). I got on a bunch of email lists.Then, in late 92, I discovered Usenet. If you young’uns don’t know what Usenet is, go search Google Groups. Go WAY back in the archives. That’s Usenet. Fortunately, I graduated and got out of Usenet just before the Eternal September.

I was off the internet for a bit, until I went to work at an ISP in late 94. That was my first experience with the three Ws. I also learned about MUDs and shit. It’s been all downhill ever since.

Paul Turnbull's avatar

Paul Turnbull · 108 weeks ago

Earliest Internet was probably Newsgroups being imported into one of the dial-up BBS’s I frequented in the late 80s. First WWW use would be 1992 or 3 using Lynx on my university’s VAX system.And now I’m startled to realize I’ve been using the web for its entire existence. Yikes!

1 reply · active 108 weeks ago

HikingViking's avatar

HikingViking · 108 weeks ago

I was a late adaptor to the interwebs, in the same way that I’m typically a late adaptor to just about everything. I started “using” in the mid 90s, but really it was more for e-mail than anything else. I had a Yahoo account, because even at that time AOL accounts were kind of sad. Actually, to this day, some of my only online snobbery comes into play when I see someone with an AOL e-mail. I’m kind of waiting for the cool kids to start getting AOL addresses as an ironic thing. And no, I didn’t have any clue at how much the WWW would change the world. Or computers for that matter. I thought it was all just another toy – a novelty that would die down. How incredibly wrong I was, and how glad I am that I was wrong.
I was ten. My school library had installed two computers with THE INTERNET which we were supposed to use to help with library things. Of course a bunch of ten years olds in those days had no idea how to use the internet to get information so we just fought over who got to use it to play Neopets which had only just launched.For some reason we all thought that pressing down the F5 key would make the internet work faster.

Getting onto Prodigy and then having absolutely no idea what I was supposed to do. It was on an old IBM 486DX machine. This would have been around 1995? Really got into it once my 50 free hours of AOL kicked in! WOO!!!
hoboken nomo's avatar

hoboken nomo · 108 weeks ago

my first memory was back when ever the AOL first came out…my old man made that whole buddy list thingie there. you know that messaging system that has evolved into every sites chat program…… i was like 9 or 10
Josh would be proud: my first chat room hook up. Brown chicken brown cow!!Side note: I so wanted those Oakleys back in the day. Thankfully I resisted.

Ali's avatar

Ali · 108 weeks ago

I was in elementary school. We had “computer class” and I think about third or fourth grade, the teacher taught us how to use Netscape Navigator and AskJeeves. There were weird things about “gopher” and whatever the other one was that wasn’t http, that I don’t remember at all, and have NEVER needed to know since, except once recently I accidentally (I don’t even remember how) typed “gopher” in my address bar and pressed enter, and my browser added a :// to it and then got confused.My parents were fairly well-off by the time having internet in your home was a thing; we already had two phone lines, plus a third line for faxes, so they got a fourth line just for the dial-up modem, and we never had to deal with the whole “get off the computer, I have to use the phone!” deal that I see people my age reminiscing about. I quite enjoyed the modem handshaking sound and was kind of disappointed when we got cable.

1 reply · active 108 weeks ago

Ceri's avatar

Ceri · 108 weeks ago

Netscape Navigator – wow, that takes me back! That was the first browser I ever used. It must have been late 1997, when I was in England at my mom’s for a few months after graduating High School. I can’t remember what I used The Net for back then, because I’m sure I didn’t have an e-mail account until I started university in 1999 (just in time for the Y2K panic!). I do remember my first visit to the crappy computer labs at my Uni – you had to queue for ages, and the computers were so. damn. slow. I remember searching in vain for the Netscape icon on their desktop, because that was all I knew. Then I just clicked the one thing that had “Internet” in the title – yes, the dread IE – and made myself a hotmail account. The Uni mail system ran on an antiquated version of Pegasus – black 8-bit letters on white, keyboard use only. Ahh, simpler times…
Oh Internet. Your a good kid sometimes.
geekbear's avatar

geekbear · 108 weeks ago

CompuServe 1982. Atari 800XL .
AOL in Geoworks Ensemble in 89.
Faye's avatar

Faye · 108 weeks ago

I don’t have an impressive story, I didn’t even get online until 1999-2000, but it does come full circle.I remember getting an hour a day on the family computer when I was growing up, and choosing to spend it on the ol’ dial up modem, playing about on MUSHes. (The same game is now deserted at the times I used to log on, thankfully I’m no longer limited to ‘an hour a day after school’.)

When I was 16, and had money of my own, I bought my very own computer, with my own dial up internet – and a much faster 56k modem! Zoom! However, it could not maintain a connection for more than 5 hours at a time. I never actually used the phone that came with the line, I only wanted the internet.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Earlier this year, I got my own ADSL2+ line set up, using the very same additional phone line I had to have installed when I got dial-up. I still mainly use it to MUSH. (Yes, people still play on those.)

There are some differences: I do a lot of other things at the same time now, like read comics. (I have a dual monitor setup, typically browser or games on one, MUSH on the other.) And I have ‘Naked’ ADSL2+, which means no phone.

Nephaline's avatar

Nephaline · 108 weeks ago

My boyfriend was studying programming in another province, back in 97, the university had a T1 gateway. Since long distance was so expensive, my parents gave me their old computer and I paid into a BBS (Billboard System) email gateway over a dial up modem, so we could communicate.
After asking for additional donations so they could upgrade, this BBS group that had been going for many years collapsed. I assume this was because the cost for individual dial up was becoming more affordable, and people were no longer interested in the BBS system. Spending & donating that money and only get a few months of the BBS made me so mad!Did not have internet until late 1999-2000 after the boyfriend got a job and his office had a line I could dial into at night, used it for free for several years.

My family bought the Bally Computer System instead of an Atari, and you could follow the booklet provided and program games on it.:
Back in 83 my junior high had a computer programming class, where we “learned to program” (ha! right!) on Commodore Vic 20’s. We learned a bit of basic and were supposed to make our own games, but those stupid tapes were usually faulty.

bionelly's avatar

bionelly · 108 weeks ago

Not really using it myself, but the first time I remember being made aware of the internet was in my middle school computer class. It wasn’t part of the curriculum at that point, but the teacher demonstrated sending an email to us, then said, “By the time you’re adults, you won’t be able to get a job without being able to use this, and the kids who are in kindergarten now will be better at it than you. Good luck.”
Fisrt thing I did in internet was joining IRC; it was a chat room in DALNET i remember. And it took some time for people in the chatroom to convince me that they were not bots talking. I didnt give any chance for them to be real. The operator in the room was named Scott and at that time he was like a father to me 🙂
The Web was just a novelty in 1993, the Internet was still Usenet, email, IRC, FTP, MUDs and MUSHs and so forth. At the time, the response was often “well, it’s like a GUI for Gopher, right?”The real Internet disruption of 1993 was The September That Never Ended, when the commercial internet outfits invaded the previously-mostly-academic Usenet and associated environs in the fall of 1993. Previous Septembers had been periods of barbarian invasion on Usenet as the freshmen discovered their new university accounts and were painfully socialized and civilized. In the fall of 1993, the expected invasion proved to not just be the usual passing disaster,, but was instead a never-ending flood of digital Vandals, and the somewhat insular, hippie-libertarian culture of “the Net” never really regained its bearings.

Brian's avatar

Brian · 108 weeks ago

A dead crab, she said, she said?My family didn’t have much money, so we still didn’t have a computer. My first internet experience, therefore, was WebTV. I mostly used it for associating on a Tolkien fan board. I met my wife there. I didn’t know it was going to be the big thing, but it was pretty big for me at the time.

Ceri's avatar

Ceri · 107 weeks ago

I’m looking forward to the inevitable cosplay versions of World Wide Web you will meet at conventions from now on, Joel.
(Pics or it didn’t happen.)
Mahnarch's avatar

Mahnarch · 107 weeks ago

I remember my first foray into the WWW… Computer class (94?)
My teacher and I couldn’t figure, for the longest time, why the internets HATED me!No matter what computer I went onto I couldn’t get a single site to come up. I’d switch computers with another student. They’d work “mine” perfectly, and their old computer suddenly stopped working for me…

Turns out; It’s not http://www,(comma)[websight],(comma)com…
It took us over a month to figure this out.

missmushu's avatar

missmushu · 107 weeks ago

In the mid-80’s, we had a frankensteined Apple IIe that my dad cobbled together from spare components he found in the industrial engineering lab at the university where he worked. When he took me to work with him on the weeekends, I would use the dial-up connection to send messages to my sister at home. And when I say dial-up I mean I took the phone receiver off the hook and put it in a cradle and manually rotory-dialled the number. It was like a prehistoric live chat. Good god, I’m old.
Joseph's avatar

Joseph · 107 weeks ago

I went from BBS’s to Prodigy, and then to AOL.
Bryce's avatar

Bryce · 107 weeks ago

The first internet I remember is Hunt the Wumpus. I hunted that Wumpus so hard…
Shayne's avatar

Shayne · 107 weeks ago

1985/86. Commodore Amiga 1000. I was 12/13. Mostly local Bulletin Boards (BBS). I remember when Tetris landed. I happened to be learning russian at the time. This helped greatly since the executable/installation had not been translated yet. I got it installed and my older sister monolopized the computer from then on.
StoneMaven's avatar

StoneMaven · 107 weeks ago

Oooooh, the dark ages when I’d just gotten out of college and gotten married. My sister had something miraculous called AOL at her home in Denton, and we played trivia games in the chat. Then my husband signed up for the beta-test of our local phone company. We were livin’ the high life with Pegasus Mail program and downloading crap and ignoring WAREZ spam posts off the usenet. Those were the days.
Well I’m old skool…first Internet was pre-WWW using Gopher to hack out of University to grt into UglyMUG and other multiuser games. Rainbow also, and Aminet.I’d been using the Internet a few years until the browser came along (a few years late) but there wasn’t much to see in 1995. I was more about usergroups!
Gordon's avatar

Gordon · 106 weeks ago

All about the bbs on my Commodore 64, dog!
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  1. Well I’m old skool…first Internet was pre-WWW using Gopher to hack out of University to grt into UglyMUG and other multiuser games. Rainbow also, and Aminet.I’d been using the Internet a few years until the browser came along (a few years late) but there wasn’t much to see in 1995. I was more about usergroups!

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