Instead of thinking about writing someday…

I am going to just start. I have been online since the days of CompuServ, GEnie, and Prodigy (do you remember that horrible client you had to install??), and am finally going to spend some serious time developing my own blog. I’ve had a few family-type ones before, which hardly got updated, but never one  just for me to write, and share, and ponder.

Speaking of the early “online” days, I kind of miss them. I’m talking before the internet, when there were a bunch of bulletin boards that you could dial up with a modem, log on anonymously and poke around to see what was being offered. There was a lot of command-line navigation, and I don’t recall if I ever encountered any content that was very valuable, but it was fun searching for stuff. Then came CompuServ, with those crazy userIDs (something like 12345,4567). CompuServ had a lot of great forums, and I liked the navigation because it was fast, once you knew how to get around.

I tried Prodigy, because I had some free trial on a floppy disk, but the graphical user interface was very slow and clunky. I don’t think I kept an active account there for very long, but it was interesting to see how different the experience was from CompuServ.

Then, GEnie. I remember how excited I was to find online games available on their network. And totally thrilled when I learned that some of them were multiplayer games. When walking down the street and encountering someone else — it could be a non-player-character, or it could actually be someone else playing the same game in front of their computer! What a revelation! I was instantly hooked. These games were text-only, which may seem totally not fun, but they actually had some of the richest environments and best gameplay I’ve ever experienced. I’ll probably write about the games later, as I spent a lot of time and $$$ living in a certain massively multiplayer role-playing game.

Ok, I did have an AOL account at one time too, but I’ve always considered it an “online newbie” network that basically protected their users with a useless layer of fluff in front of the real internet. Remember when our mailboxes were full of AOL disks and people were upset at receiving this “postal spam” of disks and CDs. Aren’t you glad we don’t need a client to connect to the internet today?

I remember when the “interconnectedness” first started. I was very glad to hear that I would soon be able to send an email from GEnie to a user on CompuServ. Wow, what a concept! I should dig some of my old emails out of the hard-drive graveyard in my desk.

I’ll save Gopher and modem fun and King’s Quest III for another time. Hasta manana.

Read More