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The Internet as we know it came into being in the early 1980s, but it wasn’t until the World Wide Web was born The Web Is 25... So Let Us Celebrate [Weird & Wonderful Web] The Web Is 25... So Let Us Celebrate [Weird & Wonderful Web] The Web recently turned 25, with this incredibly dense and diverse set of online destinations having been born in 1989. I think it's time to celebrate the Web in all its different forms. Party, anyone? Read More that it entered into mainstream consciousness. Now, the Internet is available almost everywhere, and it can be accessed through such a wide range of devices it would be impossible to list them all here.

We all take the Internet somewhat for granted these days, but it wasn’t so long ago when we would have taken our first tentative steps onto this world-changing technology. Do you remember your first time? We sincerely hope so, because that’s the subject of this week’s MakeUseOf Poll.

Windows Haxors FTW!

To answer this week’s question please scroll down the page until you see the poll staring back at you. But first, we need to look at the results from last week, when we asked, “Which Windows Subjects Should We Cover More?

Out of a total of 1,481 votes, 2.3% chose Windows XP Forever, 11.3% chose Windows 7 & Windows Vista, 11.1% chose Windows 8 Modern Interface & Apps, 18.4% chose Windows 8 For Desktop Users, 25.3% chose Windows Software & Tools, 29% chose Windows Hacks & Tricks, and 2.7% chose Other.

These results almost formed a perfect upwards trend, but the slightly higher percentage of people interested in Windows 7 than Windows 8 apps destroyed the symmetry. Still, this poll shows that despite the outcry over Microsoft killing Windows XP Microsoft Has Killed Windows XP... Now What? [We Ask You] Microsoft Has Killed Windows XP... Now What? [We Ask You] Microsoft ended support for the aged operating system; it's time we all moved on. But move on to what? Read More , most Windows advocates are much more interested in the more recent operating systems.

Windows Hacks & Tricks was the clear winner, and that comes as no great surprise. These are, after all, the hidden shortcuts and workarounds that make the difference between Windows being a pain to use and being a joy to use. The more you know about how Windows works, the better Windows works for you. It should be noted that the same is also true of Mac OS X and all flavors of Linux, but that’s why MakeUseOf covers all of these subjects and more besides.



Comment Of The Week

We received a lot of great comments, including those from Dwayne, Chrissy Roberts, and Peter F. Comment Of The Week goes to Sudeepto D, who won with this comment Which Windows Subjects Should We Cover More? [MakeUseOf Poll] Which Windows Subjects Should We Cover More? [MakeUseOf Poll] We thought we'd ask you, the people that matter, which aspects of Windows you'd like to see more of on MakeUseOf. Read More :

I would like to request MakeUseOf team to cover more on Windows hacks and tricks focussed mostly on Windows 8 / Windows 8.1.

I am stressing on Windows 8/8.1 because these two versions are right now being sold by MS and there is a large group of people who has this conviction that Windows 8/8.1 is not focussed for Desktop Users.

I first dabbled with customer preview a couple of years back and I really despised the look and feel of Windows and was scared about its future. It was not meant for desktop users at all.

Windows 7 felt much more smoother at that time and I thought I would probably skip this version just like Windows Vista . But I was wrong!!

Yes Windows 8 was initially wasn’t good but with time and many requests (complaints maybe), MS has started paying heed to their desktop users as well.

I don’t use Windows 8.1 as I am a Ubuntu user. But there are times when I need to use some Windows specific softwares.

I want MakeUseOf Team to regularly provide articles that discuss the good points of Windows 8/8.1 , like the power menu, the enhanced search functionality etc.
You guys could post an articles on weekends describing some cool hacks and tricks that many Windows 8/8.1 users don’t know.

Rumour has it that MS has finally accepted to include the START MENU in their next iteration of OS i.e. Windows 9.

Thank You .

Do You Remember Your First Time?

As outlined in the lede above, this week’s MakeUseOf Poll is all about your first time online. You don’t need to be too specific, but we would like to find out roughly when most of our readership joined the interconnected throng that now spans the world. So, when did you first access the Internet?

We’ve left the poll quite vague in case you can’t recall the exact details, but we suspect most of you will be able to pinpoint the year when you first headed online 10 Videos Exploring The Internet As It Was In The 1990s 10 Videos Exploring The Internet As It Was In The 1990s The history of the Internet stretches back as far as 1969, but it didn't become popular until the 1990s when the whole thing became commercialized, ISPs started offering access, and the World Wide Web emerged... Read More . If you have a keen memory then please feel free to fill us in on the details in the comments section below. We’re particularly interested in what country you live in (we promise not to stalk you), what age you were when you first went online, and which device you used to do so.

We really appreciate every single person who takes part in our weekly polls, as they allow us to get a vague sense of what kind of people are reading MakeUseOf on a regular basis. And remember, there’s an awesome T-shirt in it for the person responsible for the coveted Comment Of The Week. Which surely makes it all worthwhile!

Image Credit: Laffy4k via Flickr

  1. bolgwrad
    October 23, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Dial-up to Voss Net on an Atari STE (4megs of RAM) in - must have been '95 or '96. Used to make the same noise as connecting to the old Roland Juno 60.

  2. Anthony
    September 8, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    I remember first using the Internet at my public library, over a 2400 baud modem, using a Macintosh II with MacSlip (then later MacPPP) and then using NCSA Mosaic and TurboGopher. Boy that was a long time ago.

  3. Nahla D
    September 4, 2014 at 6:25 am

    OMG. Interesting question. I cannot remember exactly when I used the internet for the first time! Now I cannot rest until I remember the year...! All I can remember was that we had our first internet connection when we first bought a desktop computer and it was Windows XP Professional (it was the latest that time) I think, and my brother was in high school (he's 28 now). It must be around the late 90's?

  4. Chris LaFave
    September 4, 2014 at 1:01 am

    I'm saving this whole thread of comments to my hard drive because they bring back so many memories of my early days on the internet. I'd estimate that I started in the late eighties. My social outlet was the Usenet newsgroups (I can only remember "alt.binaries.*" and, frankly, "alt.drugs") and getting around using Gopher servers and searching using Archie servers, I think. I remember FTP'ing over to the McMurdo base in Antartica and feeling that it was really cool to be there vicariously, even if I was just looking at what their public directories looked like. And eventually hypertext documents were becoming popular and then came the World Wide Web with its HTTP protocol and I figured that it was an interesting way to get around, _maybe_ better than gopher, archie, etc. Then came web pages with inline pictures and even video! ( thanks to Netscape) And it was the coolest thing ever. I could go on and on. Did you ever imagine that we'd eventually all have wireless internet on a tiny supercomputer / mobile-phone in our pockets? This is the best age ever!

  5. Robert Getsla
    September 3, 2014 at 4:19 am

    I forgot to mention that I actually had 2 machines at home for accessing CompuServe, an S-100 box running CP/M called a NorthStar Horizon (an industrial strength machine) and a TRS-80 Model 100 Notebook. The Model 100 cost me over $1000 when I got it in 1983, and even today, it was worth every penny, because it came bundled with a free month of CompuServe. Shortly after I got my Model 100, I got my N* Horizon with an external 1200 baud modem (another $1000, and the N* was broken and needed repair, which I did, or it would have cost me even more!)

    My wife thought I was wasting a lot of money until she needed a resume, and I used my machines and the daisy-wheel printer I bought to produce really good looking resumes on bond paper with a carbon film ribbon. When she saw them, and saw that I could customize them whenever she wanted me to, she was sold. When my "waste of money" helped her to get another job, including using my hardware to research potential employers for her, it became commonplace for me to use my machines to help her line up another job, she we ecstatic, because I was able to help her have perfect cover letters and resumes ready to mail at any time, including midnight. Thank you to CompuServe, CP/M, WordStar, and Modem 7!

  6. Robert Getsla
    September 3, 2014 at 3:56 am

    I was hired by Stanford University as a Science and Engineering Associate I and I became the keeper of a genuine Broadband network (IEEE 802.7 -- based on FSK carriers riding in what looked like a bi-directional Cable TV network). There actually were a number of high speed (for their time, each clocking at about 1 megabit/sec, but bursty because all of the data signals were HDLC/SDLC in packets) data signals scattered amongst the 30+ video signals also running in the main linear accelerator control system network. I was given an number of accounts on IBM and DEC frames located in various buildings at SLAC (the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center) and I regularly checked my in-house email. But I eventually discovered the various news groups (upwards of 20,000 at that time) and USENET.

    I had CompuServe dialup at home since 1983, but it wasn't until the early 90's that I tried using CompuServe to send email to people I met through the SLAC mainframes. I will never forget the time when CompuServe started shutting down their 1200 baud dial-access numbers. I called their Customer Service number and discussed the problem of losing my 1200 baud dial-up with them. If you do the math, 1200 baud is equivalent to 1000 words (5 letters each plus a space character between words), and I defy anyone to read a text screen scrolling that fast on a sustained basis. So I asked the customer service rep why they thought 1000 words per minute of text was not "fast enough". Eventually I came around to the following observation -- "You folks don't want to send me characters, you want to send me pixels, and the reason for that is advertising!" His answer was, "You said it, I didn't, but guilty as charged."

    Those were the days when the Internet was "The Great Library in the sky" -- long before someone put a minefield disguised as an attractive shopping mall in front of the library, and expected us to step on their landmines (cleverly designed ways to get our name, credit card number, shipping address, and billing address.)

  7. Roger
    September 1, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    As far as dialup networking is concerned, I had a Wyse terminal I bought with a 300 baud modem, and used it to connect to the Unix/Vax Clusters at work from my home in the 79-81 time frame. Tried a few BBS, and later with a 286, ran Prodigy back on a Dos 3 machine. Had a HUGE 80Mb hard drive. LOL!

  8. Roger
    September 1, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    We had a Unix system and a VAX system at work. They were linked to the various universities in the area- Duke/UNC/NCState/Merideth/NCCU, as well as to other entities, the EPA, NIEHS, ARO, etc. The Unix system in 1983, had the "netnews" readers groups that allowed information and (oh joy!) text conversations across the networked computers. Sometimes this got out of hand resulting in Flame Wars, but just about anyone could create a new newsgroup on just about ANY subject one desired to post a comment on. One of my early favorites was net.books.sf, and another was Then came the graphics interface for the "World Wide Web." Then came the explosion to the "Internet."

  9. Patrick
    August 27, 2014 at 12:31 am

    That would be a Mac Performa 400 via dial up.

  10. Hal
    August 19, 2014 at 6:35 am

    In the late spring/early summer of '93 I picked up a 386DX from the newly-opened Dell Factory Outlet. They had an employee Family Day, and my roomie was kind enough to use his employee discount to get me a deal. I played around with local BBS'es for a couple weeks, then after reading a local Alt newspaper feature story about the 'net, I was hooked. I signed up with a local ISP, (, I believe) and launched an obsession that lasted for years. The web was so different back then. Commercial interests hadn't infiltrated yet. Porn hadn't yet become an internet commodity. There wasn't much eye candy in '93, but there was real personality on every site. That's what made it so exciting! Those were real people out there bashing around on this new medium. Usenet had the insanely hilarious BOFH, but the web had everything else. Well... almost. They both shared the Purity Test, but the web had made better presentations than usenet. Another thing... the internet was like the wild west. Very little monitoring and very few restrictions. Anything was likely to pop up on your browser if you wandered too far afield. The 'net and the web have both made many advances, and increased in technical quality and quantity in the 20-plus years since that first login. I really miss the flavor of the old days, but I wouldn't trade what we've got today for it. That's progress I guess. I cant wait to see what the next 20 years brings us.

  11. DonnaMN14
    August 18, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    I remember going online in the early to mid 80s and it was nothing fancy. For some reason I remember text being simple black and orange and little to nothing for graphics. Really didn't understand what all the fuss was about. Still it felt pretty cool being able to tell people that I was an internet user. They either looked at me like I was a Goddess or computer geek. Mostly a computer geek I believe. If we knew then what we know, how things have changed.

  12. BWood
    August 17, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    mid-80's and I am no kid. I remember gopher and also used a Sun computer (Unix) . I used it to communicate with people in Sweden, not sure why Sweden except they had streaming video so we could communicate---remember how few websites existed then and, also, I remember how nice the pictorial interface (Mosaic) was after using words.
    I had an Apple II, then. Now have fallen far behind, but no Apple II. I remember the best and worst (the Cube) of Apple.

  13. Von Adam Martinez
    August 15, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    As a 90's kid, it was the best thing after learning mspaint and pinball.

  14. Campbell
    August 14, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    Yes, I do recall my first time, back in the sixties. Oh yeah and my similar (Is that all there is?) experience with the Internet was in the mid-eighties in the old US of A.

    In my office we had an CPU combo/printer that had something to do with DOS (we pronounced as 2 in Spanish) that no one knew how to use online efficiently.

    Had a crazy brother-in-law who read a manual from cover to cover before using a new program. Who does that? He build us a custom computer for about $400 with an 8088 processor and 20 MG hard drive which was the cat's pajamas. 300 baud modem and floppies were 5.25" and actually floppy. I still have some, but not sure why.

    We were operating DOS 3.0/3.1 and he turned us on to MS Word, as well. We did some basic accounting and word processing with some occasional online use. I was introduced to bulletin boards, but found those boring and difficult to use. I never was much of a techie.

    I really got hooked in the mid 1990s and joined AOL when they had about 250,000 members each paying a hourly fee for dial-up. They had dozens of online "groups" that were easy to access. I'd go online to download my email, respond offline, then go back on to upload it.

    If you were emailing someone who also had an AOL address, you didn't have to use the domain name. The horse and buggy days of Internet.

  15. Ken DeVries
    August 14, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Probably 1994 on my Mac Plus. You had to buy a book just to figure out how to use the internet. There wasn't much on it then. Usenet and ftp sites were more prevalent and appealing, and there was no corporate presence of any kind, no place to buy anything at all.

  16. Tracy R
    August 14, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    In 1998 on a custom built, but very slow PC on a 28K dialup Modem with Freeserve (Penny a minute job). We did have a Packard Bell PC in 1995 running Windows 95, which had IE, but didn't have internet access back then.

    Some of the first programs used were Windows Messenger, ICQ and I also had a Geocities site and helped my mum set up a MSN Community.

    Like many folk we only had 1 computer in primary school, think it was an acorn. I don't remember ever using a computer in Secondary school.

  17. Don Neale
    August 14, 2014 at 7:58 am

    United States

    At the age of 45, I first explored the internet in 1996 using an Apple Macintosh Classic.

  18. Lynda
    August 13, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    I was using a Commodore 64 and we had "Bulletin Boards" that we accessed thru a 300 baud modem. Not strictly the internet, but then I started using the internet about 1998 using a very costly PC with 3gb of memory, but I thought it was so great after the commodore 64 and floppy discs. Today, hi-speed internet and 5 year old HP which was Vista, then I upgraded to Win 7 and now using Win 8.1 and it works the best on Win 8.1,
    I would be lost without the internet in today's world.

  19. Joe Fleming
    August 13, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    I got my first computer in 1985 a TI 994A. Used it for mostly entering apps. My second was an Atari 130SE and I had a 150 baud acoustic modem. With it I got on my first bulletin board in 1986. When I got a 300 baud modem with a speaker I was all puffed up. I had to wrap it in foil and place it in a coffee can because the of the AM radio station nearby that would pump up the power at night and would send hang up signals to my modem. First IP was Prodigy. I have been online since.

  20. kg
    August 13, 2014 at 4:52 am

    I went back to school in 1991 to get my teaching degree. I got my first email address through the university, and one of my greatest joys was meeting people from around the world via listservs and the bulletin boards. By the time I graduated, l had developed a nice collection of cyber friends and professional contacts, via the Internet, and my first teaching gig as well. Since I was going to be teaching in Mexico, I knew I would need to learn Spanish. Through the listservs, I was able to research and contact schools, and get recommendations from people who had studied in Mexico and Guatemala. So when I left for Mexico, I had some good schools lined up and had gotten some good travel advice in the bargain. One thing they never warned me about, though, was the chapulines on the ubiquitous roasted peanuts served at happy hour, in the Zocalo, in Oaxaca. Oaxacans have a saying. They say that if you eat the chapulines, aka roasted ground grasshoppers, you will never leave, and if you do, you will always return. And so my heart was for ever lost to Mexico, and the course of my life was changed forever by my access to the Internet. In a few short years, I was transported to a world where insects are food and Spam isn't. Well, maybe spam never was. These days, exiled from Mexico, I spend my free hours learning to make trees and and mushrooms and buildings out of mesh so I can landscape my sim in a virtual world.

  21. Joe
    August 13, 2014 at 3:52 am

    I can't remember exactly when I started using the Internet - probably around 2000.

    I was using The University mainframe, our local BBS, and then Compuserve before that, but they were all dialup (starting with 110 baud and an acoustic coupler connected to a telephone headset.)

  22. Alan
    August 13, 2014 at 3:10 am

    My first use of the internet was at work, using a unix box to ftp for 3d objects on the china lake server.

  23. VincentM
    August 13, 2014 at 2:32 am

    Before the Internet became readily available I used 2400 and 4800 baud modems for PC to PC communications. In 1991 I installed my first 9600 baud modem to access dial-up Bulletin Board Services (BBS). With the advent of the internet, modem speeds progressed from 14.4Kpbs to 28.9Kbps but it was only two years later, in 1996 the 56k modem became available. Internet services used included Altavista for searching, Geocities for developing your own web site, ICQ for messaging and IRC for getting into trouble. These days my ADSL 2+ services at 14 Mbps seems slow, Facebook and Twitter have replaced ICQ and IRC for getting into trouble, and Google and Wikipedia for most other activities.

  24. Dale Buckwalter
    August 13, 2014 at 1:26 am

    At the time, I was living in western Illinois and my daughter was attending Ball State University in Indiana. In the fall of 1985, while visiting her, I stopped at a computer store and purchased a 300 baud modem for my Commodore 64 computer. After returning home I hooked it up to the computer and dialed into a site 90 miles away and started surfing online. All text and no graphics, of course.

  25. JDGretz
    August 12, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    I'm another Old Guy (tm) who has been doing this for way too long.

    I built my first computer (Heathkit H-89) in 1977 and acquired a 300 baud modem shortly thereafter. Discovering BBS was a eyeopener, and then Archie, Veronica, Gopher and the like opened worlds of information to me.

    Work with the US Army gave me access to the DDN in the early '80s, and I still have my key generator for Dockmaster when I began working on security issues back in the mid '80s.

    Ah, good times and great memories, getting to know folks like Drs. D. Elliot Bell and Leonard J. LaPadula, Roger Schell, Marcus Ranum, Clifford Stoll, Steve Lipner, Stephen Walker, William Murray from IBM, and the whole crew at TIS and Locus Computing.

    Where's the Wayback machine when you really need it?

  26. Tony Hughes
    August 12, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    The first time I used the internet was in September / October 1998 I had gone back to collage to take a professional qualification and the PC's we had in the collage library had access to this newfangled internet or 'World Wide Web'. Around the November I bought my first Internet enabled PC with an integrated 57k modem and got on line at home for the first time, seems strange to think that it could take some pages a minute to fully load and at 1p / minute for internet access this was very much a time limited exercise. I now sit here with the benefit of a 50Mbit cable connection and pages load almost instantly.

  27. Victor
    August 12, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    Sorry, the BBS's were accessed initially on a 300 baud modem and 2 years later it became 1200 and soon after 2400 baud.

    Similarly during the Internet era, it was first 33.6K then the ultimate 56K modem before broadband was introduced.

  28. Victor
    August 12, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    Although I only started to use the Internet sometime around 94 or 95 (I really can't remember the exact date), I have been playing with the BBS (Bulletin Board System) way back 1983 on an IBM PC XT with a dial up connection speed of 1200 Baud. Those were the days. It was a new kind of experience of communicating online over the telephone line and you can easily get hooked on accessing these BBS's. I used to stay awake the whole night just browsing the BBS sites after sites and posting messages and replies, not to mention downloading utilities and applications just like the way we use the Internet today apart from the data speed and graphical interface. Most of the BBS sites were text-based with mosaic-based graphics at best.

    10 years later when the Internet became commercialised and consumerised, I thought oh no this was yet another extension of BBS. By then I was already bored of the way that online access was done the BBS manner and hesitated to get on the Internet bandwagon. When I took on a new job as a computer instructor in 1995, my college began to subscribe to the Internet and soon I started my experience with the Internet due to work.

  29. Rich C.
    August 12, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    I don't recall the precise year, but I got on the internet after buying a then-contemporary Everex 386-16 desktop from a business bankruptcy. I used Netscape (which had just started being offered free) under Windows 3.1 with first a 28 baud then 56 baud modem on POTS. So that was a fair few years ago.

    Interestingly, I still have the same account (though now with a DSL line) with the same ISP, so my original email address which is still operative must be one of the oldest in continuous use on the web.

    And before I moved to Windows, I had an 8-bit computer with which I sometimes used its 300 baud modem (the fastest the memory and video card would support) to post on local BBSs using POTS.

  30. Andrew Schwartz
    August 12, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    A Mac Plus in '87 -- 1 meg of ram, everything was external except for a floppy drive. Hayes 2400 baud modem accessed the internet having read a news article exactly how to find "Compuserve!" There were no emoticons back then! lol every thing you did was command driven. Trying to find a chat room a long drawn out process...but even so, feeling as if I had discovered a new world that was sort of a secret until then was the ultimate. Then being swamed by AOL! Those discs fell out of every magazine you'd pick up! (I think I would one day take a bunch and mold a sculpture from all of them...The early years of AOL were by a monthly fee or corporate fee...and the early versions opened up a whole new world; sure we were all getting knocked offline every 15 minutes if that long but it was the first when it came to user friendly. Obviously, all the others went bellyup..Prodigy for one. AOL bought Compuserve;; no idea whatever became of that .... well you asked when was the first time, so I'll stop now! lol

  31. hecate
    August 12, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    Very early on, when I got my first Commodore 64, it had cassette tapes instead of floppies or hard drives, and you had to type in (from a magazine) any program in BASIC and save it on a cassette to run it. Soon came dial up modem (who can ever forget that sound?) and The Well, a BBS. Although many here have memories of AOL, Prodigy was my choice and I did consulting for them for years---we were the first, I believe, to allow direct connection to the Internet---with AOL you connected to AOL and then through them to the Net. And the Prodigy Web Pages program brought web sites to ordinary people---what a kick that was!

  32. JR G
    August 12, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    I got access to the internet through working a a small non-profit that was affiliated with a university. The university gave us school staff accounts. I can remember using Gopher, Archie, Veronica, Jughead, Dogpile....a new thing called Mosiac came out connecting to something called the World Wide Web. Mosiac later became Netscape Navigator. I can remember learning raw HTML to create a website. It was a lot of fun...still at the non-profit doing other thngs...but our website is much more complex than in the beginning.

  33. mwd
    August 12, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    I remember using ARPAnet to "attempt" to communicate with various educational institutions and Govt facilities. I say attempt because using uucp to route messages was some tricky :)

  34. Eleanor
    August 12, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    For work, we had networked Unix systems back in 1979 and 1980 over several floors of our building and by phone lines to an adjacent building and our company's head office in another city. From home, I used Compuserve from about 1989 or so, and Quantum as well. Compuserve had a local node, so I used it more. There were a few BBBs in my hometown as well, but more geared towards juvenile males :) After I got married, I lived say out in the country, and had to go into town to my uncle's place to dial-up. When we finally got dial-up, my nephew, brother-in-law, son and I were in geek heaven. Anyone remember original ICQ? When I took Computer Science in High School, it was mainly a discussion of programming logic flow, and a tour of the computer room at the local college. We spent all of 3 hours on the topic, I believe. Such a dry and boring introduction to one of my favorite pieces of technology.

  35. JeanneS
    August 12, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    I went to work for Boston College in 1989 and immediately dove into the pre-Web Internet: mostly Usenet, email and Gopher. I had owned a computer since the original Apple II, then various luggables in both DOS and Mac using a number of dialups to Compuserve, AOL and local providers, but Boston College had a real Internet connection. They still have the URI so they were an early player. I remember going to conferences for years asking vendors if they had apps that supported TCP/IP and no one knowing what I was talking about. "Novell, we support Novell networking" or IBM's Token Ring network. Who even remembers them today? I remember being very excited the day I saw the beta of Mosiac, and the first color and text formatting on a page. We immediately dumped Gopher and switched all our documentation to HTTP (web). Links, graphics, illustrations and color -- The joy of HTML 1. The Wayback machine still has my first website. We didn't get tables until HTML2, but that was when I knew the Web would take off. You could do anything once you had tables! :) It is amazing to see the web today. My children cannot imagine a world without it, and truly, I have a hard time remembering it, it seems so far away.

  36. Deborah Buma
    August 12, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    It's really hard to pinpoint my first use of the Internet, because i worked for the US Navy in telecommunications way back into the 80's, so my experience has evolved as we went through the phases of development of the Internet. I do remember distinctly when I first introduced the Internet to my high school computer classes in the early 90's, and how intrigued they were that they could communicate outside our local network. They were all so impressed with the ability to reach out through their desktop computers and connect through URL's and BBS's to people around the world. We've come a long way from those days, yet is amazing that some of the same issues are prevalent, such as privacy, security, and offensive or objectionable content.

    The results of the poll are interesting, and I wonder how many of the respondents can't remember the first time they used the Internet because it has always been present in their life. My students today are exposed to the Internet from pre-school and before, and have no idea what life was like prior to being able to find anything and everything online. Their lives (as well as everyone else's) are inextricably intertwined with social media and Google/Bing/Yahoo as a source of immediate information. How we manage daily life is often tied to an app or a website, or what's trending on Twitter. It is amazing the impact that computer technology and the Internet have had on society in such a pervasive fashion, for it would be difficult to determine any part of our lives today that haven't been touched by it in some way. It will be equally amazing to see how things continue to evolve as technology adapts and changes with the needs and demand of consumers. I love forward to being there when it happens!!!

  37. Tracey N
    August 12, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    The first time I went on the internet, it was still ARPANET. It was sometime around 1980, when we got our first computer.

    My father works in telephony and he showed me a little corner of ARPANET where the techs and their kids would meet and play games like chess.

    We had a 100 baud modem and I would fall asleep to the sound of my father dialing in to test something or other, free from the hasle of doing it while people were trying to ask him questions. Occasionally he would call home after school and ask me to start something or other running on the home system, so he could run trace routines at work.

    With modem music as night time sounds, it is no wonder I ended up in IT.

  38. Saikat B
    August 12, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Being a kid, at the age of fourteen, experiencing the Internet for the first time, I did everything I could with this wonderful invention, none being productive. I can't even mention a few of the things here.

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 11:22 am

      We all did that, Saikat... you're far from alone ;)

  39. tim dahlin
    August 12, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    I believe my first internet experience was on an 386 using ftp.

    My first exposure using a browser on the internet came in the early 90s, and I believe it was through compuserve on a mac centris (I think running Mosaic).

  40. Dirty Dog
    August 12, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    Well when ARCHIE was dating VERONICA, I was plugged in.... but I was on International Time Sharing (aka teletype services) back in 1975 at CSUN , and on an IBM System3 prior to that... then the MINIs came to be... oh well... time flies when your having a BAUD time..

    Still doing the IT thing, all AppV and VMs... who'da thunk

  41. Dirty Dog
    August 12, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    Well when ARCHIE was dating VERONICA, I was plugged in.... but I was on International Time Sharing (aka teletype services) back in 1975 at CSUN , and on an IBM System3 prior to that... then the MINIs came to be... oh well... time flies when your having a BAUD time..

    Still doing the IT thing, all AppV and VMs... who'da thunk

  42. A41202813GMAIL
    August 12, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    On A Weekend Around 2001.

    I Used An Old NOKIA 5110 Mobile Phone As A DialUp Modem Connected By Serial RS232C To My PC.

    That Phone Was Prepaid With A Credit Of Around 400 USD.

    Needless To Say, That Amount Disappeared Almost Completely On That Crazy Weekend.


    • A41202813GMAIL
      August 12, 2014 at 2:54 pm

      Sorry, My Bad.

      I Messed Up The Money Conversion.

      Make That Around 200 USD.

      Sorry, Again.

  43. Endri
    August 12, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    First time accessing the internet was at my high school. I was going at Harry T. Fultz in Albania and it was 1997. The school had just gotten their computers networked, and by accident I tried to go to the only website I could remember at the moment. It felt amazing that we could see information that wasn't stored at the local computer or school.

  44. Jim Aspinwall
    August 12, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    When wasn't there an Internet (at least of sorts) for most of our adult years (60 and under) ?

    The Source, PeopleLink, CompuServe (1986-1992, 31+yrs old)

    UUCP email (1993), hooking-up Branciforte Jr High-Santa Cruz in 1994) and work at the Maui Research and Technical Center (where I was, dang I miss that email address!) in 1995.

    All by PC, some TCP/IP over Novell LAN or modem.

  45. Rick Gollhofer
    August 12, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    I still have a copy of the facsimile I sent and received to obtain my e-mail account in December 1993 when I was 38 in the USA. I had seen e-mail addresses in Communications and wondered how that could be enough to send a message to someone, because I had only used dial-up access to a specific provider, like the DIALOG database. I'm not sure when I first accessed the Internet, but it probably was sometime in 1994.

  46. Michael Shuttlesworth
    August 12, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Wow..It was such a long time ago, hard to believe that it was 1990 when I got my first PC (Tandy 1000). Had just got out of Navy and moved into my first home, the first thing I did to reward myself was by a PC at RadioShack. Of course, I needed to have internet access so I purchased a 2400 baud modem. To think that we thought it was the bomb compared to the super-fast internet we have today..amazing! The funny thing about computers and the internet is that no matter how fast or fancy, we seem to be never satisfied and want more :)

  47. les hester
    August 12, 2014 at 11:50 am

    It was 1985 .I still have email address from that provider .They went from .com I had to change all my amail addresses.Started with a Vic 20 then a 64 then made my first pc. Still have the old vic-20 ,sx 64

  48. Peter Andrews
    August 12, 2014 at 11:26 am

    Was it that long ago??? I had been using an S100 bus with an Intel 8080 8 bit 2 meg chip. I had 32 kilobytes of memory and was saving for another 32k of memory. Initially i was using a compact cassette for my system running CP/M. That was in 1976 about Christmas. The next year Popular Mechanics (I think) publish a test on the Penny-whistle modem acoustic couple with a speed of 75/100. I was studying part time at UQ in Brisbane QLD Australia at the Prentice Centre and we had been linked to Monash using a copy of the ARPANET concept. If we worked late (like 3am) we could get a connection to the mainframe from home if we didn't disconnect while we were at the lab. I was given an email address in 1977 and at the time was also working for the Federal Government computer section and was allowed to investigate different aspects of linked mainframes.

    I moved over to a Commodore Vic 20 about 1980 because it had colour! It was slower than the 8080 but it was able to log in to CompuServe. In 1982 i was to buy a Commodore 64 but they were out of stock and as Australia was thought of as a frontier, they were not allocating any 64's and were surprised we had electricity. I got one of the 1st 86's XT with 256k of memory and two 5 and a quarter disk drives and a monster 20 Meg HDD! That was just in time as CompuServe and my local BBS (Powerup) were giving 2 hours per night access to the QLD Uni internet. I was still studying part time at UQ and had my email address which still had its own IP address!!!!
    I still have a copy of BDOS, CP/M 3 a copy of DOS 1.3(?) and a copy of Windows 1.1. With DOS I used XTree as my front end. In 1994 I set up an Internet Server at Kangaroo Point TAFE for my students and part of the funding was an additional phone line to home so I could "mind" the system at night. As none of my students had enough cash to own their own PC I was loaning Apple systems on a one week turn around. As there was only 6 Apple systems available, my connection was very quick, I could download a page of text in less than 15 minutes!
    Looking back at those times, I now sit in front of a system that is thousands of times faster than our mainframe that took a staff of 10 to keep it going.

    • Dirty Dog
      August 12, 2014 at 3:07 pm

      Well when ARCHIE was dating VERONICA, I was plugged in.... but I was on International Time Sharing (aka teletype services) back in 1975 at CSUN , and on an IBM System3 prior to that... then the MINIs came to be... oh well... time flies when your having a BAUD time..

      Still doing the IT thing, all AppV and VMs... who'da thunk

  49. aussie andy
    August 12, 2014 at 10:13 am

    I finished high school in 1992. I left with no idea whatsoever that the internet existed. Nobody told me anything about it. I think that I first used the internet at home in 1998. I had no idea what to press. I had no idea how to search. It was AOL search engine I think. I was on dial up and I was being ripped off by my ISP - the now defunct Ozemail. I had 40 Mb of quota a month. I was not told when I went over and found bills charging me 200 dollars a month. I had nobody to ask what was going on - ISPs knew that knowledge was power and boy in the 1990's did they exploit that to the hilt. At least that's what occurred in the Australian internet market.

    Now I know what I am doing online and I like it. But to paraphrase Seneca, for me the road to internet understanding was like saying "it's a rough road that leads to greatness".

    BTW I saw no "poll" above. So I have just commented.

  50. John Fahlsing
    August 12, 2014 at 10:05 am

    Its was 1985, I just bought a Tandy 1000 HX, whopping 360k memory, cga graphics and had to hook it up to a tv. Back then it was PC Link for chat, text adventures and limited access to the Internet. Some MIT places for IRC and a few BBS's coming out. Lot of fun and I remember writing my first QBasic program, compiling then running it in DOS. Got hooked bad then, still am today. Live long and prosper PC.

  51. steve
    August 12, 2014 at 7:52 am

    well Microsoft has a bullsheet can not communicate directly with them,they took out the w-xp with no remorce on what most people think&feel ,and so on....they never/hardly respond on people ?&problems,and so on...but is not much we can do and they know this that we are hooked....we should switch to Linux or something else....I belive that big company are indirectly behind the virus problem,and control us,and spy on us,for security/my ass reasons...

  52. Eluwa M
    August 12, 2014 at 7:28 am

    Well in my own country Nigeria, Internet came in late and i got exposed to it by the year 2001 when Mum will send me to the cafe to send email with yahoo mail to my dad then in Niarobi Kenya.

    I remembered the pc at the cafe then ran on Windows 98 on big CRT screen monitor. I used for my email ,Then a friend introduced me to b2k social chat then later to yahoo messenger before shifting to

    I remembered playing doom, duke nukem etc.....I think the internet has really come a long way and its still growing.

  53. Robert Papps
    August 12, 2014 at 6:47 am

    It was July, 1994 and I was doing a computer course at TAFE.
    I was able to view an image of Jupiter after the impact of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9

  54. aye carumba
    August 12, 2014 at 6:09 am

    Not that anyone would care but here you go enjoy

  55. Bill B
    August 12, 2014 at 5:46 am

    1983 - I contracted with Computer Consoles Inc. in Reston Va. and had an account on their research systems. Long before the Web. Yeah Archie, Veronica, Gopher, Usenet, email, etc.

    Old memories.

  56. Mizrable
    August 12, 2014 at 5:20 am

    I was returning to college in 1983 and the computer lab was a buzz about DOS 3.0 and the person who had purchased one (at the time ~$300 a lot of money then). The first computer I owned was one I built with spare parts from the trash behind a corporate headquarters for a coal company. There wasn't any plug-n-play back then and mother boards using dip switches and pins were unmarked as to what went where. You had to carefully select what you were going to do, and then test it to set what went wacko after that. Although even then there was a pin set to remove any password and setting that locked your system up. Talk about a life saver! Then computers were built with only 64 bits because the engineers couldn't possibly see a need anyone would have for more. We can forgive that notion because these guys were locked away in a basement somewhere, hidden from the sun and using primitive tools and parts stolen from pocket calculators and such to be able to advance. They not only built the hardware but had to develop the operating system also. Speaking of pocket calculators... The first one I ever purchased was from a department store for $10 which was great because desktop adding machines with tape were selling for $50+ at the time.

    The first modem I purchased was a 1900 baud USR. Started out with a dumpster find with a 900 baud. I remember wanting to sacrifice the vacation money to purchase a 56K when they came along. Got into online when there was only bulletin board sites that were mostly just email and porn. Yep, even back then it was available. Wasn't long after the Feds started closing BBs down for the porn, that AOL came along. This too was just a large BB on start-up, but it had the first genuine email that I could use, and they had Celebs chatting online that you could join in and ask questions and get a real time response. After 18 months or so, AOL expanded onto the World Wide Web! (for a small fee of course!)

    From here on things accelerated into a blur just like the Starship Enterprise hitting warp speed. First new computer was an HP and had several others after until going back to building them to get a better, faster one for less money. By this time plug-n-play had come along with Win 98. I still have every Operating System for home use starting at DOS 6.22 up to Win 8.0. Didn't like Win 8 in the beta and the last laptop I purchased a year ago, came with it also. Don't have a touch screen on that lap top so WIN 8 was worse than useless to me.

    Sort of backed away from hard core computing when networking came to vogue. Got tired of the expense and the restraint on my free time. The wife certainly was glad about that. I have a small simple network now that it's pretty much rock solid and even have done some web camera usage! Talk about an old gray mare! You'll still find me out here in the slow lanes of the web so toot when you fly by!

  57. Graham R Smith
    August 12, 2014 at 5:02 am

    I joined the internet in early 1991, although the company I was working for was using email since 1987. My personal delve into the Internet was with Compuserve and my personal email address was, this was later gobbled up by AOL. I used an HP LX pocket computer which had a PCMCIA 2400 baud dial up modem. Where was I, actually working in Brunei and my local dial up point for compuserve was in Singapore. At the time Compuserve had forums that you could join, a bit like LinkedIn today so that you could network with your peers and discuss various topics. If I remember correctly Compuserve was born out of the US military or the Arpanet as it was then.

  58. Two Turns
    August 12, 2014 at 4:58 am

    A slight amendment...I can remember now also one day my dad bringing home a beat-up looking TRS-80 and about an eight inch high pile of floppies.

    I had no clue what to do with it or them, and got far enough to see a cursor on the screen (hey, I was 16, it was '78 and computers were unknown in households in general except for Ataris for games, and no one was teaching *anything* about computers in schools, at least not in Vegas at the time). I had fun sure trying hard to get that thing to do *something*, anything for about a week and then I just got frustrated and left it in the closet to collect dust and get sold a year or so later.

  59. Steve
    August 12, 2014 at 4:45 am

    I had access to a high powered IBM mainframe that only really ran a stats package for several hours each evening. There was a self-study course in esoteric medical diagnosis that I was taking that also ran on this computer. It was so weird to use a computer that had so few user. I had access to email, but I had no one to email.
    We were warned not to go to naughty places on the computer, so usenet and groups really were useless.

    Now to embarrass myself. My first internet access that I myself owned was.....I better not say it....was WEBTV in 1997. And yes, you could view whatever porn you wanted on webtv without fear of getting yelled at or fired. Webtv did have usenet capability, along with MSN groups, where you could find lots of trouble to get into. I have met some people thru webtv chat that I am still in email/chat contact.


  60. Two Turns
    August 12, 2014 at 4:42 am

    It was around '83 or '84. A buddy got himself an Apple IIe. I can remember reading BBS's, but mostly we just used it for games (well...the other three of us that were renting the apartment, heh, the guy who bought it actually was using it for a little bit of his work *and* the games). I can remember spending hours and hours either drunk or stoned trying to play a text adventure game called 'Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy'. I remember getting stuck at one place in it for days and then I ended up moving to Vegas for some reason.

    After I came back from Israel in '90, I got my own computer in '93...a PoS Packard Bell 133 if I remember right. It had the strangest desktop OS on it and was really weird and it was buggy as hell. Because of that though it got me started in making my own hardware repairs and then software repairs not long after, until in a couple of years I was building systems for myself and my friends and have built *all* my systems since then, including the one I'm on now.

  61. Lee Wilhite
    August 12, 2014 at 4:20 am

    I was a computer-fixer for 3 school districts in suburban Kansas City, MO back when Apple // computers were the installed machines, before the PC. While schools had computers, they had not yet begun to hire computer-literate staff. One of the districts had a contract with a firm with mainframes that could accept the Apple's slow transmissions (100 baud modem) and transmit it at the 300 baud minimum speed of the Internet, providing grade-schoolers communication with other classrooms.. The date would have been around 1991-3. In addition to computer repair, I also worked through any communication problems for this district.

  62. Rod
    August 12, 2014 at 3:53 am

    My first ISP account was a text-based Internet service through our local library, BCPL, which used some Federal grant start-up money, in Feb 1995. The service included text-based email, USENET newsgroups, FTP, lynx browser, etc. Over the following year it evolved to a GUI-on top of a text-based service. Within the next year we were full blown WWW html. From the beginning we were alloted server space for storing files or primitive Internet pages. Remember dial-up 56K modem service and eventually moving to a dedicated phone line for "data" which eventually became a DSL line (and THAT evolved into fiber).

  63. Mike
    August 12, 2014 at 3:31 am

    I'm in the UK and used dial up to contact the suppliers of our equipment . We had 7 different version of UNIX and mostly 3COM bridges and concentrators and switches. It took about two years before Internet support turned out to be any better than phoning and getting them to send the local rep round with a pile of floppies. Thank goodness for FTP that speeded up in a measurable way. Aah the good old days

  64. Mike L
    August 12, 2014 at 3:01 am

    My first taste of the internet came when I was about thirteen years old. In our school we had one computer, and it was connected to something like a teletype machine. I remember the first time I typed the word logon. The whole world grew smaller for me at that precise moment in time... and more wonderful and exciting. I spent fifteen minutes that first time chatting with someone on the other side of the world, and I felt like I had taken my first step on the moon. My passion for writing and travel has its roots in that moment, I wanted to, and still do, experience everything wonderful in this world. I want to write about it all as well. Today the internet is something that many in the world take for granted and could not live without. We even carry it around in our pockets. The next big thing will be here soon, and another young person will feel like he or she has opened the door onto a brand new world, and realize that a step has been taken that will change their lives forever.

  65. GoaTrance
    August 12, 2014 at 2:41 am

    I have difficulty really working out when the Internet became the Internet as such. Perhaps it was when the first publicly available dial-up services were available, but the functionality was certainly there for a long time before that albeit for most people not available.

    I first started on ARPANET through the UK EPSS (X.25) network around 1975 initially using a 110 Baud 'accoustic coupler' where you plug the phone handset into rubber cups, followed by IPSS (X.25) when EPSS stopped being 'experimental', Then what I call a true Internet based on DECnet as the transport within Digital Equipment Corp around 1981. Following this public Internet services on dial-up started up. I think the first one of those I used was AOL - At the time it was amazing, but pretty rubbish compared to todays high-speed Broadband and very subject to phone line quality and the modem used.

  66. Ellen O
    August 12, 2014 at 2:38 am

    I'm old school - I've been on what would eventually become "The Internet" for a LONG time. I started out in the 1980s using a dial-up modem and dummy terminal to access my university's mainframe computer from home - I was writing my masters thesis using a LINE EDITOR! Seriously! Whenever i was working, the phone was tied up and no one could call us - the day-long busy signals drove all our friends NUTS! I think that's when I first got the habit of working late at night, when the phone wasn't needed by anyone else.

    Then I went to Cambridge University for my PhD and had access to Phoenix, the CU system. We had a great bulletin board called GROGGS - Generalized Reverse Order Gossip Generating System. We used it for everything - even had a never-ending game of Mornington Crescent going on! We also used a lot of jargon - long before texting was popular, we were ROTFL'ing, replying iMHO, and telling people to RTFM! We also had Zinque, which was for really long rants

    We also had email, but when you graduated, you lost your computer access, so every June lots of people would say a truly sad farewell to their email. I was lucky - since I became a university professor in the US, I continued to have computer access, and could even log into GROGGS from my university computer in the US! I also spent too much time on USENET. Eventually, I got a home computer and tried out AOL at first but fell in love with Netscape - I was quite loyal to Netscape Navigator pretty much until the bitter end!

    For a real laugh, though - I remember sitting at the dinner table one evening with my parents and my brother - this would be the early 1980s as my brother and I were both undergrads. My dad wanted to buy a TRS80 (the original Radio Shack Color Computer - anyone remember those?!) and he was trying to persuade us all that it would be really useful. I actually remember saying that I couldn't think of anything I would need a computer for (I had a really good electronic typewriter that I used to type my papers on and was perfectly happy with that). Can you imagine!!!

  67. john knight
    August 12, 2014 at 2:17 am

    First time was in 1994 when assisting a patient setting up his pc.

  68. ewhatley
    August 12, 2014 at 2:06 am

    It was early 1995 and I ordered a book from Amazon and fell in love. That was the beginning of many thousands of dollars spent for the (almost) instant gratification of shopping in your pj's in the pre-dawn hours before going to work.

  69. David
    August 12, 2014 at 1:49 am

    Prior to 1994 - in a New Zealand library. Before Netscape made an FTP request to an academic library in South Dakota. Blown away by downloading a whole book in a minute or so. Also used GOPHER and ARCHIE not sure if that is before or with the Netscape browser - but certainly when there was no Google equivalent and you had to know both the Location of a file - and even the name of that file - before you went. So actual books of good URLs were around then - I think I got one as a farewell present from one position in 1995.

  70. Mark E
    August 12, 2014 at 1:46 am

    Depends what counts as internet. Here are my personal firsts ...
    a) first international email - 1984 (aged 20)
    b) first cross-continental login - using AARNET in 1985
    c) first inter-continental login - using internet in 1989 from Tucson AZ to Perth, Western Australia
    d) first SMTP spoof - 1992 just for the lols
    e) first inter-continental voice chat - 1992
    f) first WWW use - 1993
    g) first WWW site set up (using HTML but served via ftp) - 1993
    h) first class teaching WWW to students - 1993
    i) first course taught with all teaching materials online - 1995

  71. Steve Kopischke
    August 12, 2014 at 1:41 am

    I had a CompuServe account as far back as 1988 or so....I think. It just occurred to me just how long ago that was. I know CompuServe wasn't really "The Internet," but as soon as I figured out how to turn my User ID into an email address, I had my first email address. I remember surfing with dial-up connections before my daughter was born in 1993. She is a senior in college and has never lived without online access.

  72. JC
    August 12, 2014 at 1:37 am

    I remember accessing the 'Blacksburg Village ', in 1993 that was in Blacksburg, VA, where Virginia Tech is. I'm fairly sure it was created by VA Tech. Next got a subscription to AOL and with a 14400 baud modem would download sounds and pics with good old Win 3.1. Crazy how things have changed.

  73. Gary H
    August 12, 2014 at 1:29 am

    First time online was at 49-years-old. Previous experience was as a user on a Digital Equipment Mainframe. My new PC was had a small disk drive and almost no memory.. My ISP was AOL and I got just a few hours a month at no charge. Above that they hit me for $2.50 per hour. My funniest experience was when I found a stack of the old LOTUS 123 spreadsheet disks at my office. I figured, why not?... I was a serious newbie and I didn't know anything about software laws nor computer memory. I loaded 27 program disks on that little computer and wondered why it ran so slowly and crashed so frequently.

  74. Paul van den Bergen
    August 12, 2014 at 1:07 am


    usenet, chat, email, ftp, gopher...

    I'd been exposed to PC's many times prior but never anything quite like the explosion of new that I encountered when I got to uni.

    I spent 45 minutes looking for the On switch on a Mac IIe....

  75. Ian W
    August 12, 2014 at 1:05 am

    In 1991, I met Samir Malak. He had just returned from a research conference where Tim Berners-Lee gave a lecture on hypermedia initiative and outlined HTML. When I heard about it and read what little there was back then, I was addicted... crazed about the technology. Back then, everything was coded by hand, the big browser of the day was Mosaic v0.95, and the fun never stopped. I owe my career and livelihood to Samir and to Tim!

  76. Ken Long
    August 12, 2014 at 1:03 am

    I would guess it was about 1992 give or take a year. One of the local BBSs started offering Internet access from the normal dial-in connections. My first time was using ftp and Archie via a 2400 baud modem.

  77. Carolyn L Carr
    August 12, 2014 at 1:00 am

    My Sister Made Me Do It! By 1992 AOL was inexpensive enough that I gave in to her constant prodding! And loved it! I followed it - as I always do with much excess. Staying up all night to learn more about computers and the internet. Going to the local community college - where the first thing my teacher told us was, "fill all the forms out with inaccurate information." Now I know why. That guy was way ahead of his time. And I have followed his lead as much as possible with social media, etc.

  78. Gary T
    August 12, 2014 at 1:00 am

    The Tandy Color Computer 2 first got me connected to the internet in the 80's and local BBS and college computer networks. What a rush to have connections over telephone wires! I didn't mind the wait then - it was cutting edge stuff to me. Funny to look back on the comparative primitiveness of it all. Hmm,... wonder where I put that old thing.

  79. Pat Oliver
    August 12, 2014 at 12:58 am

    It was in the early 1970's, I was Librarian at St. Croix Central HS, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. Our connection was a local call to what is now the SITI project, one leg still is on the eastern end of St. Croix. The joke was that if ET walked in and wanted to call home, it would be a local call!

  80. onebree
    August 12, 2014 at 12:54 am

    With my father employed at a (new for the time) startup telecom company, I was first hopping online late '90s when I was three. My first computer was at four. I remember learning anything and everything about Windows from such an early age. I recently uncovered my very first website login sheet, back when Noggin on Nick was still a thing. My username was 1bree, and password two words - - a strategy many people are moving towards today, and I was only 8 back then! That username has matured but is still my online handle.

    One memory was when I was maybe six. I knew about "dangerous" (porn) sites reserving domains appearing to be a popular site misspelled, but I was careless still. I tried going to only to find a blue website with red headers, and photos of women. The details are probably repressed, but I do remember crying and calling my father into the room for help.... Just my little anecdote.

  81. John B
    August 12, 2014 at 12:49 am

    I'm about as old school as you can get when it comes to home computer use. My first experience on the Internet (or at least something similar) was with local BBSes in the mid-1980s using my 300 baud Commodore VICModem on my Commodore 64. And let's not forget Quantum Link!

  82. Glenn H
    August 12, 2014 at 12:39 am

    My first computer was in 1979 and was an 8K Ram Commodore PET (Personal Electronic Transactor) with a sequential access cassette tape drive (no floppy - couldn't afford it). The internet was unknown then. I then bought an Apple 48 clone with a floppy drive in probably 1980. No internet. Then I bought an Amiga 640 and still no internet. I then stepped up to an IBM compatable 486DX33 and I remember logging through a dialup BBS using a 1200 baud modem and going "online" using Unix commands. I didn't know many of them but could barely work my way through using the DOS command line interface and eventually I "opened" a library site and navigated through some of their directories (folders) and came across a GIF file I think it was - I commanded the download again via unfamiliar UNIX and was presented (very slowly) by the first known picture in black and white of president Lincoln who was addressing a crowd near Gettysburg. I was utterly amazed that I could get this and I distinctly remember thinking to myself ..... "my god, the world's knowledge will be available at some point on this system". If I only knew ..... This must have been in the early 1980's I remember then that my BBS was offering the exotic option of connecting us to the graphical internet which was just becoming available - for a big price of course. I succumbed and started using Netscape version .7 which was still in beta. Amazing and from there I installed Archie, Veronica, IRC chat, Newsgroups and from there I started to offer install setups as a part time business for Windows 3.0 and was very much in demand to give instruction as to how to use this new stuff. A friend of mine and I even thought to start up an Internet provider business but we didn't because we didn't have the confidence and missed a tremendous opportunity. I wish I would have invested in Netscape as well when they went public but again, I missed the opportunity. I'm feeling like an old guy now - turning age 63 now but I guess back then I was about age 30 and I remember all this like it was yesterday. seize the moments! Follow your gut feelings and instinct and be confident - I didn't and I wasn't but I've had a lot of fun with computers and getting here now. Thanks for reading!!

    • onebree
      August 12, 2014 at 12:56 am

      I remember Netscape. The true blend of Firefox and IE. My father snatched his online handle via a Netscape email, and still uses it for Xbox live.

  83. Todd
    August 12, 2014 at 12:34 am

    About 15 years after using punch cards to program in high school, I started using Macs at my university in 1987. Then I decided to check out the PCs. Using the latter, I remember using the WWW whenever I was in the computer lab. I plainly recall using Netscape, but I was on somewhere in the early 90s, which was not long after Al Gore invented everything. :)

  84. Randy M
    August 11, 2014 at 11:54 pm

    For me it kind of morphed. From 300 baud modems, accessing local bulletin boards. To AOL. AOL was kind of like it's own internet for a while. Then I dropped AOL and went pure with Netscape. Until MS put them out of business.

  85. Robert B
    August 11, 2014 at 11:35 pm

    I first accessed the web via CompuServe starting back in 1987 using a really slow baud rate modem, the kind you stuck your old style telephone receiver into using my first computer a Commodore Amiga 1000 computer that I still own. This was mainly BBS,email etc the Internet that we now know did not really get under way until around 1994/95. Then I was using a custom built Pentium 133 with 32MB of ram and a huge 200 MB HD and accessed the internet then via AOL and then Earthlink. Back then the Internet was a lot more fun to access, everyone was trying their had and making their own web page and this predates all the canned homogonized tools that it seems everyone uses today, you know Joomla, Webpress and their ilk. Back then the internet was no where as comercerlized as it is today and just browsing from one site was truly fun and you had a since of adventure. You had no way of knowing if the next site was going to be really lame and difficult to look at because of a horrendous layout and or colors and then if it was going to have anything of interest to read and look at. Back at the beginning the Internet was a crap shoot. The only way to create a web page as to know how to code in HTML, one site you quickly left when the next one was absolute beauty with extremely interesting content. The web back then was pretty static most systems and internet connections could not handle streaming video and what videos you found were of the downloadable type that you looked at after very long download times. In spite of this or rather because of this the Internet was a lot more fun and interesting and I have to admit that I spent hours just browsing from one web site to the next. Now I find the Internet to be very boring and I never just browse like I once did because every site looks the same with only very slight variations. And unfortunately I feel that the ideal of freedom that exuded from all the sites back at the beginning is now dead and it seems everything on the Internet is now up for sale and everything is going to the subscription model. When this completely happens I will most likely just use my PC as a tool at home and forgo the expense of high speed internet service because the Internet is now boring and there are fewer and fewer truly interesting things there. When this happens completely I will just return to more basic forms of entertainment. I am old enough to remember what life was like before the advent of the PC and how life, for good and ill has changed since its introduction back in the 1980's. I still remember how to use my imagination and to create and make things so I will just go back to a simpler time and build things in my workshop.

  86. Mark
    August 11, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    I was a Military Air Traffic Controller in 1978 using ARAPNET.

  87. John H
    August 11, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    1994 is the year that the internet became "The Internet". Web browsers became available and PC OSs accommodated them beginning about that time. Personally, I was on what became the internet in the mid 1980's because I was lucky enough to be active with USEnet in the Research Triangle Park area and used it for work as well as an early twenty-something. I also had an ARPAnet account and played with a lot of UNIX with the Berkeley folks while being a UNIX geek who liked playing with my 3b2. I knew then it was gonna change the world, just like the rest of my friends did. We weren't wrong, but I sure wish I could retrace a few of the steps I mistook along the way. :-) ($1 domain name registration in 1988 comes to mind...)

  88. Bright Machona
    August 11, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    I remember very well early 2001, my brother had just migrated to Australia to get a better job .During that time being a young Zambian man at 17 years old meant you couldn't have access to a cell phone or for that matter even a fixed land line in your home so the only means of communication especially to someone ouside the country was by post .I remember my brother telling us to check for e-mails at his friends office twice a week in case he has sent us some cash.we did but could not understand a thing since computers were limited to offices or shops and never in a home.but things changed when internet shops started to appear in the neibourhood.I remember one day a friend talking to me about the power and the things u can do with it and the first thing he mentioned was pictures involving nude people , I thought this was impossible but I soon learned that the system was responsible for e-mails too!
    I went to a small shop a kilometer from my house and asked the shop owner what type of equipment I need to receive and send e- mails and he replied ,none! Sit on pc-3 and tell me your e-mail address I told him I don't have one so he helped me create one .and from that day I discovered this new found ''internet'' had more power than I had emagined . I have bee online since then.

  89. John
    August 11, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    As an instrument technician working for a research company back in the late 80's. I had a job to replace a 5MB (Yes, 5MB) hard drive in a electron microscope.
    I needed details to configure the drive, so I asked one of the scientists to let me have access to the internet. Back then, only a few people had internet access.
    I did a search for "Hard Drive" and low and behold up came a soft porn site.
    Eventually I did obtain the hard drive information I required and had a successful repair of the microscope.
    This was my first experience if the internet.

  90. Gary Lloyd-Coxhead
    August 11, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    My first use of computers was with a friends PET computer and we spent quite a bit of time scouring the BBS's, this would have been around 1978/9. However, I recall my first foray onto the Internet was in 1983 when I bought my own computer, a Dragon 32, and accessed several Bulletin Boards and in particular Cix in London. At the time I built myself an RS232 Interface which I used with a wonderfully HUGE ex BT modem that worked at 300/300 baud! Back in '83 I would have been about 30 years old. At this time I used my Dragon to access my college's network to upload my assignments that I had completed at home for my HNC in Computer Studies. When I attended college the files would be there waiting and I would use the college's system to compile my handywork. Soon after the Prestel service was launched and I reviewed a Prestel Modem/Interface for the Dragon that had a 1200/75 baud rate, which I thought was great even though the graphics were very blocky like the early days of Teletext. I also recall using the Hackers Handbook in 1985 to gain access to some BBS's in the USA by using a hack into Janet - the Joint Academic Network. When the World Wide Web came along I had 'upgraded' to an Atari ST and the first browser, the name of which escapes me, was a bit dire and at dial-up speeds we tended to turn the graphics off. I was still heavily into the Cix forums and the Atari had a lively section along with some dedicated software called Cixcomm and Cixread. This enabled you to log on and download the most recent messages with Cixcomm and then you would go offline to read them and reply with Cixread. This was essential as it was too costly then to remain 'online' to read and reply to all the messages. Although a great machine for its time, the Atari died out and I went the same way as many others using a PC. My first PC was an IBM machine with 512K of Ram and a 10 megabyte Hard Drive and 51/4" floppies. There was no real 'graphics' as such until Windows 3 came along but even then, using the internet was agonisingly slow, so again I stuck to Bulletin Boards mostly. Things have come a long way in the 40 odd years I have been online and today we wonder how we managed without it.

  91. musiicmom
    August 11, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    Pre-1984. In 1984 I purchased my first computer for home use. Before that I just used work computers. This was a Texas Instruments "portable" but it was still as large as a suitcase, and heavier. The keyboard attached as a lid over the screen and front face for travel. The really big deal was getting a (separate) modem that was a 56MBps ( think that was it), which plugged directly in to the phone jack without having to use a clunky acoustic coupler. Now that was high tech! This was a pre-Windows machine and ran DOS. It also had an integrated floppy disk drive - 5 1/4 inch size. Internet access was email and news-groups through a university.

  92. Sharon Roth
    August 11, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    I was working as the overnight librarian at a college library in rural Georgia (USA) in 1993-1995. The college was trying to get university status and had just upgraded its' library's computers and online research capabilities. Part of my job was to learn the system and assist students with research.

    I was amazed and delighted the first time I (using the dark green-screened, text-based browser, dumb terminal) negotiated my way through the various access points to peruse the catalog of a university library in Israel! I jumped up from the terminal and ran up 3 floors to squealingly tell my co-worker about it...

  93. Art Werschulz
    August 11, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    I first used the ARPAnet back in 1974 or 1975, as a graduate student in Math at Carnegie-Mellon University. My dissertation advisor was J. F. Traub, chair of CMU's Computer Science Department. Part of my research involved solving some moderately complicated equations, which I was easily able to do with a program called MACSYMA, that was located at MIT. So I was regularly making telnet connections between CMU and MIT, so I could use this program.

  94. Charles D
    August 11, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    I first logged on to the Worldwide web through a phone number I got from a friend. That number hooked me up to the computers at U-M, and I could do searches at any college that was connected. It was costly at first and slow, since a land-line was being used, but it was much different then local bbs.

    First commercial company I used was Prodigy, before jumping to AOL (because of a discount from where I worked).

  95. Tania
    August 11, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    I first accessed the internet 2010 at the age of fifty, with a 7 year old boy at school. Our local school had a "Computer in Homes" course, which is held throughout New Zealand to give every child in NZ access to a computer at home. Parents have to attend a 10 week evening course and on completion you go home with a computer (Windows XP) for your child/home along with free dial up access to the internet and after 12 months a free computer checkup to correct any malfunctions you may have caused to happen to your PC while learning how to use it. Everyone else on the course hooked up to broadband straight away while my boy and I sat waiting for everything to load on dial up. Living in a rural area it was a great way for my boy to keep in contact with his school mates and family, amongst other things, but the dial up was so slow it made it hard for him to connect so I hooked up to broadband and we haven't looked back! I taught myself a lot through experimenting along the way with the result that by the time the checkup came along I had totally confused the computer to the point where it wouldn't turn off unless I unplugged it from the wall. The tech took one look and decided to shout me a whole new hard drive, 250 gigs, for free he was so impressed at what I had done, not! He felt it was easier to do that than try to figure out what I had done to it. Still going on the same computer, am able to fix most things my boy does to it and am now trying to decide to go new or update it to Windows 8.1 now that XP is unsupported. Decisions, decisions, any suggestions??

    • Naoman
      August 14, 2014 at 6:22 am

      If you are so keen to learn new things. I suggest you try a linux. preferably 'Linux Mint'

  96. Ken
    August 11, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    The time was the winter of 1978 and using an Apple II with a 300 baud modem, my brother and I would sit around for hours waiting for files to download from Compuserve. We'd also spent quite a bit of time hanging out on one BBS or another looking for files or spending time in the message exchange areas.

    We were so into getting online in one way or another, we even ended up sharing the cost of an upgrade to a (then $480) 1200 baud modem. Man, did we think we were flying when we switched over to 1200 baud. Compared to the 50Gb connections we have now, it's hard to believe that being online back then was that slow. I'm sure most of us remember the day we switched from dial-up to a cable or DSL connection. I'm also sure sure on that day, we all vowed to never go back to dial-up.

    Looking back, we were two guys who got hooked on computers early. During the late 70s through the 80s, we had a couple of Apple IIs, 3 Atari 8 bit computers (a 400, an 800 and eventually a 130XE), an Atari ST with a color monitor, a Commodore 64, and finally, an Amiga. We didn't get our first PC until the early 90s. To say our room was computer heaven back then would have been an understatement.

    The odd thing about back then, is that, even with all those computers in the house, I remember spending just as much time outside with friends as I did indoors in front of the computer.

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 11:05 am

      That's the earliest I've seen so far in this thread. I was only born around the same time you first ventured onto the Internet? Not to make you feel old or anything.

  97. Carol R
    August 11, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    My Roommate worked with computers and also had an interest is astronomy. So I was sitting beside her as she got on the Web and looked at some pictures of the comet (?) fragments hitting Jupiter. This was through a Mozilla browser if memory serves.

  98. Rob H
    August 11, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    Its a difficult question to answer as evidenced by many of the above postings. The problem is: when did the internet start? Many of us were using other systems like bulletin boards and in UK Prestel, others had access to Janet (mostly scientific & universities) which was essentially the communications technology that was later used for the wider internet.

    But when we look at the current common perception of "the internet", for most users it means the web. Archie, gopher, usenet, veronica, WAIS, IRC etc are either unheard of or long forgotten. Even dedicated email and FTP programs are a dying breed, increasingly everything is accessed via a web interface.

    So my answer is: I've been using related technologies since the early 80s (my copy of "The hackers handbook" has a publication date of 1985), I'd signed up to some services and eventually bulletin boards started to offer an internet gateway. The first recognisable commercial ISPs in UK arrived early 90s but I regard Netscape in 1994 as the game-changer. Not the first web browser but the first that bears much resemblance to today's browsers allowing web pages to include text AND images!
    I regard 1994 as the start of what most people would now recognise as the internet, sure the underlying communications network pre-dates that but before Netscape there was little to appeal to the wider public in terms of usability. Getting a connection set up from your PC would have been a technical challenge too far for most - buy and configure a modem, sign up to an ISP, work out how to connect the modem to a phone line and PC, get copies of the software you'd need: winsock, netscape, an email program, maybe FTP and Usenet programs (possibly involving purchases and supplied on diskette) install and configure. Even then there was too little content to attract any but a specialist audience but it was the technology that made adding content a more attractive proposition especially as browsers and connection speeds continued to improve.

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 11:04 am

      Perhaps I should have been clearer OR even asked when people first accessed the Web rather than the Internet. Working out when the Internet as we know it started is an intriguing problem in itself though, so we may turn that into an article.

  99. Boyd C
    August 11, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    Regarding the year when I first headed online.

    I bought my first PC, a "486" with DR-DOS as the OS in 1988. It cost about $4,500. With a 1200 BAUD modem, I headed online to the Personal Computer Club of Toronto (PCCT). Unfortunately, I could only connect to the PCCT at their standard rate of 300 B/s. The "Internet" wasn't very useful until the world wide web came along a few years later. It's hard to believe I've been using a PC and been "online" for over 25 years.

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 11:02 am

      $4,500? Gee whiz. That kind of price must have really sorted the men from the boys.

  100. cwsnyder
    August 11, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    I first accessed the world wide web from a Compuserve gateway in about 1993, but thought at the time that it would have a hard time getting consumers on-line without local access. Compuserve, AOL, and Genie were better values if I had to pay the long distance charges. I had been on one or more of these services for about ten years at the time, going from 300 bps to 2400 bps during that time.

  101. Technobrarygeek
    August 11, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    My first attempt to connect to the Internet was late '80s. I had an acquaintance who could connect a Bread Board Bulletin Board to the local university. You had to compile your own version of Mozilla and have GREAT timing to get on. I was on ONCE for about 3 mins. I also beta testing Prodigy.

  102. JT
    August 11, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    First online with IRC chat in 1991. Developed first website (with staff) for the local transit company in 1993 for the Mosaic browser, before Netscape or IE. First computer was Mac SE/30 in January 1989, along with the new LaserWriter Pro. We kicked butt with this new equipment in my little design shop. We were setting type, making pages, sending for output over modem and receiving via FedEx'd next day in 1989.

  103. Julia
    August 11, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    The soft feel of ferns, the taste the humidity,, the sounds of slogging lumbering feet slogging through the swamp and the occasional screech of a pterodactyl - those memories of my dinosaur days - flood my head when I think of " my first internet visit".

    Should I mention DARPANET back on the early 80s and 300 baud access? Will I have to explain "baud" and how we functioned without search engines? Better to talk about the excitement of upgrading to 9600 baud - about the same thrill now as getting your own dedicated 45M line.

    Or in 89 when I did my first "modern" internet login? And after the amphetamine -high of using a "real" search engine, felt the crashing low when I realized that a good marketable portion of my value as an employee had plummeted overnight - now everyone who could access a computer could be a researcher? (Great ones still separate wheat from chaff ....)

    Or should I just not sound like an old codger having one of those "back in the day" monologues and spare sane people the exercise of rolling their eyes and scrolling their window? (Grin)

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 11:01 am

      I'm loving reading the "back in my day" comments, yours included!

  104. Dr. Ron Wolfe
    August 11, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    I'd been using computers since the late 1950's, starting with the Olivetti Card-programmable calculator. Through college, IBM 360 dominated my data processing. Then Fidonet came along and the interconnectivity of machines became "the thing". I had my first webpage when I started on my PhD in 1990.
    I've always built my own boxes, and have been dragged, kicking and screaming, to each new OS. I love XP, but yes, I have a Win8 notebook, too. (KICK, SCREAM) And a fully functional Win311 setup.

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 11:00 am

      You're not a fan of Windows 8 then?!

  105. Tony H
    August 11, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    We used to have very basic intra-company messaging systems between the various European sites we had based on our logins which I guess was very exciting then. I am by training an accountant but back then, for some obscure reason, accountants were also primary back-up people for systems people. By the turn of the century I was installing full-blown company systems for start-up companies. because Internet was vital for any new companies.

    Doesn't sound very exciting now, but I live and work in Spain. Back then Spain was a quite a long way behind, technologically, so it was extremely exciting. Still is!!! Suddenly we were connected to the world.

    Within the next 10 years I was married because of the Internet - but not from a dating website or similar but by pure coincidence - long may it live!!!!!

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 10:59 am

      The fact you secured a relationship from the Internet is testament to the ongoing impact it is having on the world. And yet we take it for granted these days.

  106. Phyllis Parker
    August 11, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    Wow, so many wonderful comments! If you can guess my age, you might be amazed that computing is not as "scary" as some people believe. Having worked on early PC's fraught with all kinds of limitations, my "first foray" into computing was right around 1985 when the MACs began to "make life easier" with actual "plug 'n play" computers, etc. I remember "HAVING" to get my "first" Mac when I saw their most memorable commercial on TV.

    Since the time I first opened that box, plugged it in, and played with it until nearly 4:00 AM, I have run bed and breakfast and inn establishments, a full service restaurant, condominium & car rental, home and church activities & "more".

    On top of all that, over the next 25 years, I trained all our staff and many a family member in using a computer for business and they learned to run their own inns and make a living as well. I have become "self trained" and still continue taking courses and classes and studying manuals in areas of my interest. I like the IT side of things and am able to do small LANS, and fix various hardware/software issues, etc.

    Thanks so much for this poll, it has brought back some great memories about how "fast" we thought things were "back then" and how unbelievable changes have occurred and are every occurring "every" day! BTW, I sometimes have more toys than some of the boys what with iMac, iPad, iPhone, and a myriad of other fun things I'm planning on. No way I am bored . . . go ahead "jump in" . . .

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 10:57 am

      What's even more startling is that what we think of as being cutting edge today will look as stupid to people in the future as those old machines do to us now. Do you exclusively own Apple products?

    • Phyllis Parker
      August 16, 2014 at 7:07 pm

      Hi Dave,

      Yes, it is rather unnerving (exciting) how quickly things can change -- literally overnight! After having been subjected to many crazy, older, difficult-to-use computers, I did indeed settle on "all things Apple" and haven't looked back . . . there's room for anyone of nearly any age to enjoy the future (which is what is happening now as we speak; eh, type :) :) Thanks for your note and I "LOVE" MakeUseOf.

  107. Chris L.
    August 11, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    1981 on a BBS at 1200 baud on Atari 800

  108. Chris L.
    August 11, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    1981 on a BBS at 1200 baud on Atari 800

  109. Dennis Dubs
    August 11, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    I remember it as late 80's. I was using BBS's and email, I still have my original MS hotmail address. I still remember looking up every web page in Quebec and the results were on one page ( less than 50 ) and mostly university related.

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 10:55 am

      It's astonishing to think there was a time when there were so few websites you could legitimately visit them all in an afternoon.

  110. Cindy M
    August 11, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    OK it was a 1200 baud. (Thanks Lisa C) I was guessing at the 1400. I just knew it was slowwww. Think it went to 9600 then 14400. Just so long ago, not sure anymore.

  111. Cindy M
    August 11, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    In 1986 I was using a 1400 modem to send horse racing results to the newspapers in Philadelphia. The first personal computer I saw was (I wasn't allowed to touch) at the U of Md's Consumer Economic Dept in 1984. I think it was an IBM, but it was in it's own room with a little fence around it. Sometime around the later 80s, I was using my internet provider's program to access bulletin boards, email and the the state library system to order books from other county systems.

  112. Gleason Sackmann
    August 11, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    FYI: my net history... 1989 - 2004

    By 1993 Internet pioneer Gleason Sackmann started collecting the first school websites that came online.

    This is the first website in the United States to collect school websites. It is a public folklore project. Gleason sent the information to his Net-Happenings mailing list readers, the oldest K-12 Mailing list that started in 1989.

    Thanks to the Educational CyberPlayGround who kept our history alive and current through the past 20+ years on the net!

    [ material deleted ]

    Unknown Culture Makers:
    Gleason Sackmann and Karen Ellis

    Our friend K-12 Internet Pioneer Gleason Sackmann was the person who thought to announce the very first U.S. school websites that went up on the net. We honor my friend's tradition and kept the directory of K-12 schools going.

    Before Gleason retired he asked me to keep this project going, and I was honored and happy to become the new Culture Keeper of Nations K-12 Education online activity!!

    This is now and always has been a Public Folklore Project, built by the nation, for us and by us. We are the "Folk" the unknown culture makers who built the net and the content on it.

    While teaching HS Science, I installed and maintained the 1st Bulletin Board System [The Academy] for education in North Dakota in 1989.

    I maintained a software distribution site for free or shareware educational software. At one time, I had almost 10,000 software files available for downloading. My biggest down loaders were from outside North Dakota, since there was not that much going on in North Dakota in regards to educational telecommunications. The system also had e-mail accounts for teacher AND students.

    The SENDIT project I worked on [91-97], was one of the first statewide telecommunication networks dedicated to the K-12 community. SENDIT was one of three statewide telecommunication networks at the time. The other two were BigSky in Montana, and TENET in Texas.

    Jan. 1993 to the 2004 Moderator of Net-Happenings
    an electronic mailing list, newsgroup, and Website, provided to the Internet community since 1993. Net-happenings distributes 40-60 announcements of Internet resources and events daily to thousands of Internet users.

  113. Sola
    August 11, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    This poll should include the age of the voters cos that would tell you at what time in someones life he first used a computer. If for instance most voters are older say above 35, the year is earlier

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 10:54 am

      I did ask people to include their ages, but only a few have done so. Oh well, it's interesting regardless.

  114. Peter Walker
    August 11, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    I remember my first time like it was yesterday. I sent my first email on October 21, 1988 on an Atari 520 STfm on a 1200 baud modem. I sent two emails that day; one to the Atari User Group of Montreal; another to Star Fleet Command BBS asking for access. Through the BBS, I got into a number of systems for great information like the Archie, Veronica and Jughead servers at the University of Minnesota. Now my first time on the World Wide Web was November of 1991. In February of 1992, I took a piece of paper and counted the webpages/websites available. The grand number of websites came to 47.

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 10:53 am

      Woah, a grand total of 47 websites?! That's astonishing.

  115. GeertVc
    August 11, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    It was around 1995 and I remember that it felt as if I was thrown in the middle of the ocean and had to start swimming, not knowing in which direction. But in the end, I managed to get ashore... :-)

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 10:52 am

      I felt more like I had been dropped in a city; so much to explore and no idea where to go or what to see first!

  116. Lisa C
    August 11, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    In the early 80s I was an intern on the development team for Prodigy, which created the first visual/pictoral user interface and content for the Internet. Minitel and Compuserve were around but they were just screens of data. I stayed on that team for six more years, developing content in the lifestyle and entertainment areas. I also ran one of the bulletin boards. My first modem was 1200 baud.

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 10:51 am

      Wow, another true geek who had a hand in shaping the Internet as we know it. I'm more impressed with the calibre of MUO readers than ever after reading this thread.

  117. Peter T
    August 11, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    I remember it clearly: it was 22 June, Christo and Jeanne-Claude were wrapping the Reichstag in Berlin, Germany, and I was watching them online on a machine at the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria.

  118. Videot
    August 11, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    Circa 1992, I remember accessing the Internet through a local Fidonet BBS system! The first innovation was when I could pick up my Fidonet messages as a "point". This meant that I could use dialup and have my messages automatically downloaded to my computer, instead of tying up the phone line to read each and every message, and respond to them!
    It wan't long after that, and I discovered that I could send a message to an honest-to-goodness internet email address! However, because Fidonet passed messages from one BBS to another until it finally hit a BBS with Internet access, it took three days to get to the Internet and three days back! It could take a week to get a reply!!!
    I also discovered a way to "read" a webpage via email, and took advantage of that as well.

    During this time, I met a friend on the web (during a debate as to whether Madlyn Murray O'Hair was still alive!). We still correspond to this day and sometimes call each other for Christmas; although we've never met in person.

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 10:46 am

      Wow, you have an online friend from the 1990s you have still never met? That's incredible. Do you think you will ever meet up?

  119. Patrik Strömberg
    August 11, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    It was during my University studies here in Stockholm, Sweden.. I also knew the people behind Stockholm's first internet café ... Remember the day Netscape and Gopher was state of the art and IRC-chat was something new and hot....

  120. Pattie Ann
    August 11, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    Periods 1st accessed should have been broken up
    more and started from the beginning 1980s years. Many of us
    accessed the internet before it was the web. Like
    to see how many answered this. Many universities also
    had access that early.

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 10:45 am

      In hindsight, I think you're right. I chose 1994 as the starting point purely because less than 1% of the population was online at that point. It's clear the MUO readership has more than its fair share of geeky early-adopters. Which isn't a bad thing!

  121. Dan R
    August 11, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    My first internet usage was through Sprint when they opened up to Usenet, newsgroups and some email. I was a beta tester on some of that...

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 10:44 am

      Nice! What year are we talking here?

    • Dan R
      August 16, 2014 at 3:48 pm

      I think that was 1992 maybe... I tried looking up Sprint and couldn't find much on them. I think it was GTE Sprint at first. I had them for a long time.

  122. R Murphy
    August 11, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    I worked for a hardware company in 1991, and one of the tech guys launched a pilot program to give employees access to the Internet. I signed up, despite the fact that it had nothing to do with my job (technical writer). I used to telnet over to the White Sands Missile Base file site and trawl around looking for interesting software. 100% text-based, no WWW yet...

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 10:43 am

      I bet the change to a graphical interface blew your mind, no? I know it blew my mind the first time I saw it.

  123. AJ Clark
    August 11, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    It had to be around '91 or '92 - using Compuserve via a DataPack number and BBSes then a local BBS sent out a new client that had "gopher" support. There were a few other protocols it supported but only recall using gopher initially.

  124. Eddie W
    August 11, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    14.4 bps and then 28.8, and then the emergence of Google, I was in Heaven!!!

  125. Hans Schuurmans
    August 11, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    I remember the way we used internet in the year 1982. Sending a text message to a server in the US and wait for two days to receive an answer. No graphic interface only texts. Those where the days. Connected through EARN, Bitnet, Arpanet. Nice times.

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 10:42 am

      Wait. You preferred those days to what we have now? And not just out of a nostalgia?

  126. Porkchop
    August 11, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    In 93 or 94, Prodigy added a new "Interweb portal" feature or whatever they called it, and I started using it to check news and comic book pages. Around the same time I was using Fidonet/Netmail on BBSs, and I think that used the Internet so that counts right?

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 10:41 am

      Oh, that definitely counts. If you read some of the other comments many people have cited much earlier Internet services that bear little resemblance to what we know today.

  127. Barb C
    August 11, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    Commodore 64 here, started with CompuServe in 1984 and graduated to the ImagiNation Network soon after. I was on AOL for many years after that.

  128. FlyingAce
    August 11, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    1996, I was 14 at the time. There was an internet cafe in a shopping mall not too far from home, I used to spend my time on Microsoft Comic Chat (anyone remember that one?)

    Oh, and I'm in Guatemala :)

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 10:00 am

      You must have been in the tiny minority of Internet users in Guatemala in 1996. I can't say I remember Microsoft Comic Chat... was it one of those (badly) animated virtual chatrooms things?

  129. Steven R
    August 11, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    I live in Ohio in the U.S. My first foray onto the internet was during the 1994-95 school year (I was in college then and tend to view those years and earlier from an academic calendar perspective, so I'm not sure if it was 1994 or 1995). I used a VOX client and Telnet. I took a break from college during the Fall 1995 semester, and when I returned my university had upgraded to PC's and I saw the World Wide Web for the first time.

    I remember being awed and amazed at the graphical user interface (much like my switch from DOS 5.0 to Windows 3.1 just a few years earlier). Yahoo! was in it's infancy as a web portal and not a true search engine, and Internet Explorer was the browser of choice (mainly because there WAS no choice!) with it's oversized "Back" "Forward" and "Refresh/Stop" buttons.

    Ah, those were the days. If someone told me that just a rough 20 years later I'd be streaming TV shows through a Roku, accessing the internet via task-specific apps on a cell phone, and using a handheld tablet right out of Star Trek: The Next Generation, I'd have laughed in their face!

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 9:52 am

      Isn't it amazing how far we've come? I remember watching Star Trek TNG and craving a tablet like the ones they used. And now we take iPads totally for granted. Madness.

  130. Marc
    August 11, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    I wish that I could remember the exact year, but I probably first went online with our family's dial-up modem on a Commodore Vic20 or Commodore 64 (we'd had both) in the mid-80s. This would have been high school or university. I recall hanging out on a local BBS (Bulletin Board Service for you young-folk!) called Mindlink and going through them to Commodore Users Groups further afield. We really were limited at that point, because you didn't want to be calling long-distance with what even then felt like painfully slow data transfers. Then AOL cam along... I think I actually found one of the billion+ install discs that I received in cereal boxes and other places the other day! It's hard to remember a time without being "jacked-in." :)

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 9:50 am

      I wonder where all those AOL discs ended up. Looking back it was such a waste!

  131. Evan Greenwald
    August 11, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    Wow, I remember I was in the Navy and had started using the ARPANET while there, but I first got onto the Internet in December 1994 after being discharged from the same Navy getting myself an AST midtower a 60Mhz Pentium processor, which I still have, makes a great Okay I used Mosaic and an internal modem at 9600 Bps(?) I have to admit it was such a rush...I was hooked for life...

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 9:49 am

      Ain't that the truth. It doesn't matter how slow it was, we all got hooked after those first few times on there. Which is astounding when you think about it.

  132. Ted
    August 11, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    Earliest was the original ARPANET while I was a programmer for the military, that was in '82 or '83. First personal use was on Prodigy, a few years later.

    And yeah, I learned to program by punching cards. LOL

    • Marc
      August 11, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      Clearly, Ted, I'm WAY younger than you... We could actual use pencil on our cards in '84, but debugging giant stack of computer cards was a giant pain in the $#*&#*&!!!!! :)

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 9:47 am

      You kinda helped shape the Internet we know today then.

  133. Brian
    August 11, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    I first used the internet in 1986 with a Mac Plus. Initially this was in the research department of a large science-based company. By the next year I had set up home service with a Mac Plus and a telephone modem using a subscription service of some kind: not AOL, I somehow remember it was called Discover(?)

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 9:47 am

      I clearly erred in not offering earlier poll choices. 1986 feels very early to me, you massive geek :)

  134. Fritz G
    August 11, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    I'm thinking it was 1999, because our first computer had Windows 98SE. We still have that computer and the printer and separate scanner we bought at the same time, all in good working order yet.

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 9:46 am

      That would make sense as I first ventured online in 1999 and had Windows 98SE. That was one hell of an OS for the time. Sadly, that computer shuffled off the mortal coil a long time ago, so I'm astounded you still have yours in good working order.

  135. Rhonda Arkana
    August 11, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    I got online when there was a command line interface on Unix. I remember being thrilled when lynx came out, no more gopher.

  136. LoveALLThingsComputer&Internet
    August 11, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    I can vividly recall my first-ever experience working on a computer: It was really embarrassing!
    I worked at a place in Coney Island (Brooklyn, NY USA) and so on my lunch break I went to a neighborhood library and the first website I went to was
    WELP! It was a porn site at the time (I don't know if it still is).
    (Little Did I know that the official President's residence in Washington, DC is at!)

    I did NOT know what to do as I did not know how to shut down the computer so in a panic I enlisted the help of this kid who without batting an eye removed the site instantly for me.
    PHEW! Glad he did.

    So two years later in 2002, I purchased a laptop where I could be embarrassed in the comfort of my home (No just kidding!)

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 9:42 am

      Oh dear LOL. I just checked and is now just being squatted on, so not sure what happened there. I'm sure you hadn't gone looking for porn though, nosiree ;)

  137. Cheryl Harless
    August 11, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    To answer the question, I lived in San Diego, CA at the time. And I'll be honest. I don't remember what year it was. I only know that it was before the graphical interface we now know as the World Wide Web. It was clunky, cumbersome and time consuming. But being able to have intelligent (well most of the time!) conversations on bulletin boards with folks of like mind was amazing.

    Looking back on those days, I don't know how we ever had the patience to put up with the snail's pace that today would have us fuming.

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 9:36 am

      I guess we just didn't know any better. I certainly never thought browsing the Web would be as instant, painless, and standard as it has become these days.

  138. Karen
    August 11, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    I lived in Michigan, USA. I was 28. I don't know the kind of computer because it was not mine. This was at a party where the host was showing off this new thing. Almost certainly he had some kind of Mac. We all took our turn at poking around on the Web, and we were all properly awed.

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 9:35 am

      What sort of year was this? That's the thing, the possibilities for this new-fangled technology left everyone in awe the first time they saw it.

  139. DocWolfram
    August 11, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    I used BITNET and ARPANET, too.

  140. Jennifer
    August 11, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    It was Fall 1988 (3rd day on campus) in the "Sun Lab" at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY). It was on a Sun workstation running UNIX. I spent most of my time there, on one of the 24 machines. They were far better than the DEC terminals scattered around the rest of campus.

  141. Warren B
    August 11, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    I forgot to mention, when I started up the BBS service I mentioned, I lived in the state that currently one of the worse overall internet speeds in the country, Kentucky. Plus, I was not in the large cities of Louisville or Lexington, I was in the central part of the start, where it is more rural, but I was still living in the city. However, I think I mentioned I was in High School, but not that I was a Sophomore.

  142. Mark
    August 11, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    It was probably some time in 1994 for me. I was working at Digital Equipment Corporation (in the USA) at the time, so the technology was pretty available. I would have been using my desktop VAX over the company network.

  143. Warren B
    August 11, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Back in 1994, my first computer didn't even have Windows. It was a DOS 5.0 system. Win 3.0 was simply a thing in the works and I was just starting high school. Me and a buddy were sick and tired of the local BBS network in our town and how much the fees were for membership. Therefore, we both agreed to start our own system.

    While the other system was geared more towards the adult population, we geared ours toward the high school and local university population. After about a year of service, others in the adult population took notice and started to join. Before long, we had about 3/4 of the BBS network in the city going through our servers.

    Before long, the other BBS had lost so much business, they decided to merge with us, and we gained all of their servers and their customers were able to get the service for free. The head of that service liked the concept of what we were doing so much that he funded the project for the rest of the time it was up (yes he was one the the richer guys in town).

    I had not heard of Linux or open source, or any of the likes at the time, but to be able to provide a free service such as this at the time was a good feeling. Especially for two broke teenagers who wanted BBS access ;-)

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 9:33 am

      Wow, that must have been quite the coup for a couple of nerdy teens. I'm assuming you were nerdy anyway.

  144. Mike S.
    August 11, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    I recall starting out with a 300 baud modem on my Commodore 64 and living on bulletin boards. Then came the early internet and many hours spent using mIRC and other tools long before graphical browser were the main tool.... great, but sometimes frustrating days indeed!

  145. ButterSpider
    August 11, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    My first foray into surfing was using the BBS sites with dial up modem. The modem was the old type with the rubber sockets for the phone handset to be pressed into. Soon after, I was one of the early users of the Prodigy service that was the fore runner to sites like AOL.

  146. Jim Browning
    August 11, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Compuserve via a a 2400 bps modem. Wayback machine memory!

  147. Amrit K
    August 11, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    In 2005 to watch porn...

    oh... Just kidding... In 2005 I used to read few tech and gaming magazines in my school library.
    In those books I often found links for games / quizzes / articles.
    I started to maintain a diary full of Url (because I was not allowed to access internet).
    In 2006 On my 13th birthday I took my all saved allowance and went to cybercafe and that's where I accessed Internet for first time.
    I tried to visit all the url in my diary and also tried to download few games.
    Overall, it was a nice experience.

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 9:32 am

      I'm sure porn is the first thing a lot of people look for online! I think it's brilliant that you wrote down a load of URLs in your diary in preparation.

  148. Aunty Proton
    August 11, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    I'm fairly sure my first time on the Internet was in 1994. Ex-boyfriend had gotten me into the local BBS network and I'd made a few friends there. I was going to college at the time and had no idea I was entitled to a free .edu e-mail address. The ex, however, knew about it and pressured me into getting set up for it. That didn't work out so well as the college's bandwidth was atrocious so he got us onto one of the new ISPs who were just starting up. And that was it really.

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 9:30 am

      And you've never looked back since. Well, except for ditching the ex :)

  149. Ankit
    August 11, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Around 1999.
    And the most visited sites were altavista, yahoo, AOL.

  150. Keith Wright
    August 11, 2014 at 10:47 am

    I'm with infomom here. TRS-80 model 100 with 8k RAM (expanded to 16), 300 baud modem, acoustic cups, cassette tape memory, 4aa batteries, 40 x 8 character led, full size keyword, and the BASIC language was the last team effort Bill Gates worked on for the Kyocera 80c85 chip.

    This was the first true notebook computer. I took it to college, the first computer in classes there ever, for notes and writing papers. I had to go to the computer lab and print them there.

    I was on BBS services like The Rainforest and service providers like CompuServe, and The Source.

    I paid as much for that computer as I did for the Note 3 I'm writing this on.

    I know that many people are still using them. They are excellent for remote needs for collecting data and writing articles. They are easily powered by alternative sources.

    My M100 met its demise from my cat who mistook it for a litter box.

    Oh. It was great to play Zork on.

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 9:30 am

      And I bet your Note 3 is a lot more capable too. The pace of change over the last 30 years has been phenomenal.

  151. Jan F
    August 11, 2014 at 9:34 am

    I recall my dad getting Internet to work from home sometimes via some 28/56k modem (you gotta love that sound).

    I didn't really start using it until years later playing Diablo on the Internet with my guild and when Napster came out, waiting half an hour for a song to download.

    To me, Napster was actually kind of a social network already since people started to chat with each other asking for songs and then getting to know each other beyond that – quite interesting looking back at it.

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 12:22 am

      I guess Napster was a fledgling social network. That's an interesting thought in retrospect. But those half-hour waits for songs... I'm so glad they're a thing of the past.

    • ben
      August 28, 2014 at 12:31 am

      @Jan F & Dave P
      It's not the thing of the past here in the Philippines. If you have loads & loads of money then, you can live life in real time. I'm ashamed of it.

  152. Ron B
    August 11, 2014 at 6:44 am

    1993, I was in my apartment in Seoul Korea, dialed up to the ATT server at the office, dropped to the UNIX and open an FTP connection to the University of Tel Aviv and download a not even remember was the file was but I could not contain my excitement. My wife could not understand what I was so excited about......I think that between 1992 and 1999 I spent over $1500 on modems getting the faster one time it came out.

  153. Adil F
    August 11, 2014 at 5:29 am

    It was in 1998 when i used internet for the first time in my school.

  154. Bobbie T
    August 11, 2014 at 5:16 am

    Okay - this is me trying to see through the fog of the past. I have one of the worst memories in the world but here is some of what I remember from the experience of being a doctoral student (social sciences) working in an institute for advanced technology in the early 80's.

    At that time being on the Internet meant:
    - handing out business cards with a uucp mail address but having almost no one to write to,
    - browsing the ever growing list of Usenet newsgroups (and subgroups and sub-subgroups...) and suddenly finding out that everyone else has gone home,
    - staying on even later to play Rogue or Hack (and heading back to Usenet to get some tips) but doing it at the secretary's desk at the front of the building so that the security guards know I'm still there.

    And believe it or not, I actually got some work done too.
    The times were exciting. We felt we were at the forefront of things, ready to try new things, unafraid - and totally unaware of where the Internet would be 30 years later.

    It's still exciting!

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 12:18 am

      Do you like the direction the Internet has gone in or do you have a certain nostalgic yearning for yesteryear?

  155. Bill Fleet
    August 11, 2014 at 3:19 am

    I've been online in one form or the other since 1982, but the real point is, when did it become the Internet? I started with the (peculiar) TI99-4a and the Source as an online service provider. I remember the excitement of online chat with someone from Iceland, and then California, later the same night. But The Source was expensive! I moved to CompuServe, which was cheaper and more comprehensive, and stayed there for several years, eventually becoming Sysop in a forum.

    In the meantime, I had moved to an Atari 800, a Compaq suitcase XT-clone, and finally a Mac, the 512K Fat Mac. All of them worked well with the text-only online services that were around. But there was something missing: the 'true' Internet. You know, ARPAnet, DARPAnet, USENET, services I'd heard about but couldn't get access to.

    In the 80s, the 'Internet' was only for people who had a purpose for being there. Computer Science students, government and research professionals, and select others were allowed in, but I couldn't qualify. A friend with access was kind enough to bring me floppies with dumps from, which fed my growing pinball obsession. He offered to post to the group for me, but I would have to write it out on paper, so he could take it in to his work (where he had access) and manually type it in. We weren't on systems that could share email, and I could read his floppies, but he couldn't read mine.

    This isolation had a curious effect: a sense of elitism in those who had access over those who didn't. (Also, the frustration of new CS graduates who had lost access and couldn't get it back.) Many of those with access supported this isolationism; it was 'our service', and not for the unwashed masses. This view held until 1993, when AOL and then Compuserve opened partial and then full Internet access to their subscribers. The tidal wave of new users overwhelmed the old guard, who bleated with dismay about the invaders until they faded from view. In the end, who 'belonged' or not became moot.

    So where did the Internet begin? Is it only the 'true' ARPA/DARPA/USENET root that matters, or do they all count, the CompuServe/AOL/Prodigy/GEnie/FIDOnet contributors? Because like the tributaries that combine to form a larger river downstream, they all became part of the Internet we know now, and making a distinction about where one started seems baside the point.

    In the beginning, the Internet was about connecting computers. Now more than ever, it is about connecting people, about connecting human hearts and minds. And I've been on it since 1982.

    • Lisa C
      August 11, 2014 at 5:36 pm

      Hi Bill: Prodigy was years in development and launched before AOL. I always felt that AOL was smart. They let Prodigy spend millions developing it, and then AOL copied it - and spent millions marketing it.

    • David K
      August 11, 2014 at 11:59 pm

      Yes, I had an apple II and a dial-up 2400 baud modem in the early 80's. Mostly accessing bbses, but there was Prodigy, AOL , Compuserve & Tymenet. I think the first time I accessed the internet proper, was at University in 1990

    • Bill Fleet
      August 12, 2014 at 12:53 am

      2400 baud? I remember when that seemed blindingly fast! Text came across my screen ACTUALLY FASTER than I could read it! 300 baud had been a comfortable speed, 1200 baud was just readable, but with 2400 speeds, I just gave up.

      Later, I bought an exorbitantly expensive 9600-baud modem, but it saved me money because I could have it automagically nab all my content quickly and log back off, saving me online time so I could read my stuff offline.

      Yeah, Prodigy had kind of a neat trick when they bundled their starter kits with 2400-baud modems (that was fast then). But I felt their content and forums were kind of over-moderated, and there wasn't much of a back channel. One could post, but it wouldn't appear for a day or more, until a sysop okayed it. They had vector pictures to download, but you couldn't draw any. You could read articles, but couldn't comment. So it was kind of a non-starter, an online version of broadcast media. All out, no in. AOL copied that model, but encouraged customer input, which was the killer feature.

      When my parents wanted to go online, I pushed them toward AOL, because it did a lot of the hand-holding they needed. They kept that account open until just a few years ago.

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 12:17 am

      Deciding when the Internet proper begins is tricky, but 1982 is certainly early by any standard. You're right though, connecting computers is just a means to an end now, and not really even considered by anyone too young to remember where the Internet began.

    • Bill Fleet
      August 16, 2014 at 3:35 am

      Well, I am rather deliberately stretching the point, but I wanted to entertain the thought that the Internet did not have only one path, but many that have come together over time. So deciding that whatever 'root' one started on may or may not be legitimate seems to be less important now. The vast majority of current Internet users who were active online back in the 80s were not on the main ARPANET/DARPANET/USENET root.

      Side note: anybody remember Gophers?

  156. fernando
    August 11, 2014 at 1:52 am

    I remember my cousins messing around on websites with green text and very text based websites in 1999 ~ 2000, back in that time i remember those type of sites (XXX). My first computer and access to the internet was in 2004 ~ 2005 i guess, bought a pentium 4, 512mb , and the famous FX5200 graphics card LOL, playing need for speed on the recent pc build.

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 12:14 am

      With dial-up speeds circa 1999 text-based websites were a Godsend. Now, the more pics, GIFs, and videos the better.

  157. mike
    August 11, 2014 at 1:36 am

    In 1991 when our first ISP accepted subscriptions. My email limit was 3 or 4mb. Had to ask friends not to send attachments when overseas or mailbox will be clogged. My first modem was 300bps! Had to turn off image loading.

  158. Bob
    August 10, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    Used BBSs and heard of this new thing call TCP/IP and WWW. Signed up with IBM as the ISP at $5 an hour and 2400 bps, used a gopher which was the forerunner of the browser and was hooked. When Mosaic arrived I thought it was magic. Pictures as well as text! And a little globe that spun to let you know it was working. I was chuffed when I discovered my POP email outbox (sent from Sydney) was in New York and my inbox was in San Francisco. Wow!

    And you tell the young people of today that - and they won't believe you.

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 12:12 am

      Pictures. yes, but didn't they take an age to load up?!

  159. Alex D
    August 10, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    I still remember our Windows 95 and 98. I remember signing onto AOL's only web client and dealing with the atrocious dial up tone and loading. God forbid someone answers the phone too.

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 12:09 am

      I had totally forgotten that taking a phone call killed the Internet connection. The things your brain chooses to forget!

  160. bern
    August 10, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    I was using Prodigy to connect and used their proprietary browser to connect with. The browser head a then useful feature that allowed you to toggle pictures on our off to speed the loading of pages at the slow dial up speed of the day. It still seemed powerful and magical.

  161. Gerry
    August 10, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    Pre-1994, and I'd been waiting for it. Almost had a BBS running on a CPM machine (that's a pre-Windows operating system, newbies) with 8" floppies and no hard drive. Then got a DOS machine and was soon running and calling BBSs, the phone-based precursor to the internet, then on to Compuserve and Dialog. Wangled an email address at a local college so I could get on the new internet when it was for academic use only and commercial use was forbidden. This was all dialup, and I was deeply envious of my professor friend's always-on connection. Used the text-based Lynx browser and Gopher. First contact with the WWW was a large red button that took forever to load, but demonstrated that the internet could be graphical. All fun enough, but I like it better now.

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 12:08 am

      Oh, it's much MUCH better now, eh.

  162. Zhong J
    August 10, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    I live in a place that many people felt connected to, it's not something you can simply ignore or just glance away from and NYC is no different. Technology spur the information age and libraries is the central hub to the public. Any resident can go there and setup their card to access to library resources.

  163. Suleiman
    August 10, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    I am stunned by the extreme ends of this polling results.

    1994 or before: Are you guys government officials?

    Between 2010 - 2014 : Where you the people who where recently discovered in the Amazon region ? :)

    Mine was early 1996. My friend bought a used pc and asked me to go with him to pick it up. Once we got it to his place, he set up everything and he started to chat with someone in Italy ( we were in Montreal, Canada). He was interacting as if he was talking to a real person. I asked him that if the person was responding right then. He said yes. I was in shock and awe. He told me to write something to the unseen person. I said" hi" . I got a responce " Hi , how are you". Still not believing what I witnessed then, I said" where are you now" . The response was, " I am in Italy, and you" I got more shocked. The first thing that came to my mind was HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Oh wow so awesome!!.....that is cool!!....the future is here!! .....wait..wait a minute......this is awful!! HAL killed the astronauts ....stay away from the screen, man!!

    I went home and told the amazing story to my newly wed young wife about the thing I discovered that day. It took me hours to explain to her. Then, i dropped the suggestion ,which was more like a must, that we have to get a pc ( pc price around $3000 then). She laughed and said no and explained that we were too broke. Then she suggested that I should go to the public library that she heard about that have "www". I went there and it was true. Three computers were connected online for all to use. When it was my turn, I went to my designated pc and sat down. Eh, now what?...really didn't know what to do. It was not DOS or Gopher . I called for the librarian for help. She clicked on Win 95's start button , popped out the browser and Alta Vista search engine showed up. She told me to write anything I want and press the search bottom and that I will get the answer. I almost laughed when she said that because I thought then that she thought of herself as being wise gal. So, I typed the name of my country of origin, " Eritrea". Boom! ......there they were all... a map , a flag and paragraphs of infos about Eritrea. That was the true moment that I decided to get a computer under any situation. I got extra jobs, saved enough cash and got my 1st ever "Lamborghini" computer that went by the name of Compaq Presario; fully loaded, with latest softwares and all the bling blings and with it the 1st ever 17" Compaq monitor in the market. It coasted me around $4000 Canadian Dollars. I told my wife that I got it for $500 dollars and she reprimanded me :)

    This is how I was introduced to the internet and the consequence of that was a life changer for me and my family.

    Thank you for reading my long long memory highway called internet. Thanks Dave for asking this question, it was fun to respond it :)

    • Albert
      August 11, 2014 at 2:01 pm

      I imagine Make Use Of doesn't target the 0 - 4 age group...

    • Suleiman O
      August 11, 2014 at 3:46 pm

      wow @Albert, good point but I guess they do! :)

      My friend's 3 years old kid can easily go to "his" iPad and touch the app to play his game flawlessly. When my 1st kid was just about 2 years old ('98), i got her an Elmo software and a big Microsoft mouse with a huge yellow ball to move around the huge hand shaped courser on the screen. She also used to play her game by herself flawlessly.

      So the geeks at Make Use Of have realized that kids can do it too and they put 2010 - 2014 on their polling :)...and it is working because 0.79% actually voted...... i wonder how they managed to do that...hmm

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 12:07 am

      2010-2014 was included more for people in their countries who are just finding their way online. It's still a surprisingly low percentage of the world population who are online. But I guess it applies to kids aged 0-4 too ;)

  164. infmom
    August 10, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    Do you mean "the internet" as we know it today, or its predecessors, the online services like CompuServe, QuantumLink and The Source? I first signed onto CompuServe in 1983 (and I'm still there) and was active in many of the long-departed services as well, including PlayNet (AOL's ancestor) and Viewtron (first network for news). America Online was Apple-only when it first started (QuantumLink was for Commodores) and I was a beta tester for the first PC software for what became AOL, which was based on Geoworks.

    As for "the internet," I tried it out in the early 90s, but the Mosaic browser was so frustrating to use that I went back to just signing into CompuServe for a couple years till better browsers came along.

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 12:05 am

      The Internet as we know it now, rather than its more military predecessors. But the range of stories on here suggests more people were using the predecessors than I would ever have guessed.

  165. ReadandShare
    August 10, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    1995 - using my beloved Packard Bell 486 computer, a 9600 bps fax modem and Netcomm Netcruiser software. Clicking to a news website and waiting for the weather map to download... slowly... half an inch at a time... taking almost forever... and thought that was so cool!!

  166. likefunbutnot
    August 10, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    1991. I was calling long distance to access a BBS that had an SMTP e-mail relay so I could send messages to an older friend of mine with a email address. By the end of the next year, I was using trn and gopher. My first experiences were all from an 80x24 UNIX shell account, but they opened up a whole world to me.

  167. Elizabeth
    August 10, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    Pre-1994. Anyone remember Gopher and later Mosaic? Then came Netscape and the browser battle with Internet Explorer. We have had so many browsers over the years but I have only used eight (not counting variants): Cello, Chrome, IE, Maxthon, Mosaic, Netscape, Opera and Safari.

    This brought back college memories. Fun.

    • Arhazade
      August 14, 2014 at 4:40 am

      Yep, I remember Gopher and Fetch, which I used on the Mac SE at my desk in the (medical research) lab, back in the early 90's.  It ran Mosaic fine, but couldn't take the later upgrade to Netscape.  I had a personal webpage later (circa 1995), piggy-backing on my husband's page at MIT, which was pretty much a crayon drawing compared to today's stuff.  The whole thing must've been less than 50kb, including the images!  I still had the floppy disc until just recently, when I finally got around to clearing the old boxes out of the basement.

  168. Ryashini K
    August 10, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    I was 12 when I first used the internet (and made a friendster account) in 2007. I was on a desktop pc in a cyber cafe. I had used computers since I was 6 in primary school but they didn't allow students to use the internet. We didn't buy a computer for the house until I was 13 and didn't get internet at home until I was 15 in 2010. We weren't poor or anything. My parents just didn't feel the need for us to have a computer (which I think is very stupid).

    • Amrit K
      August 11, 2014 at 3:20 pm

      that's cute... I brought my 1st laptop by saving my allowances and from my own salary... after completing my engineering. :D

    • Dave P
      August 16, 2014 at 12:01 am

      Was Friendster only 2007? That seems like a lifetime ago, which, for you at your age, it almost is!

  169. Jon
    August 10, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    I just checked my America Online membership, and see that I first joined in April 1995. No, I'm not one of their current 2.5 million dialup subscribers, but it seems that my old login creds still work on their web site. Cool. I still use Altomail and also the AIM service via Apple's Messenger. I was active "online" before that, however, via BBSs and the First Class based OneNet service. I also had an account with Compuserve, and used PPP via that to browse the web via Netscape 1.1, also in 1995. Those were heady days. ;-)

    • Dave P
      August 15, 2014 at 11:56 pm

      I'm so glad you're not one of the 2.5 million continuing to pay AOL for dial-up. Who are these people anyway?!

    • Jon
      August 16, 2014 at 7:31 am

      I can't speak for others, but i know why I kept my AOL membership until 2005. We live overseas, and when we were in the US, we traveled a lot. I needed the international numbers, and dialup while in the US as backup. I didn't use it a lot, but it was one of those "peace of mind" things so that if our full-time internet went out, or we were stuck in a motel without internet (quite common in 2005), we could still at least check our email.

      I should have added that I was online before AOL, but that was BBss and such. AOL was our first access to internet. I also had a Compuserve account with PPP access, and for a while, eWorld. But only AOL lasted, because my wife used it a lot.

  170. Corky McGraw
    August 10, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    I remember sitting down at my Compaq Suitcase and booting it up, plugging the phone line into the modem jack, then listening to that god awful sound as it connected. But, then, on my little black and green screen, words appeared. Well, not just words - they were a bit more than that. Through Usenet, FidoNet, E-mail, Bulletin Boards, and the like, this nerdy, geeky 20 year old discovered that there were people out there, just like him - and suddenly the world wasn't quite so lonely. It would be a long time before being geeky or nerdy was cool. But, thanks to The Internet, I was able to just be myself ... and make a few friendships along the way ... and I began to realize the world wasn't nearly as cruel as all the school bullies had led me to believe.

    • Dave P
      August 15, 2014 at 11:56 pm

      It's rather ironic that the early Internet opened up new possibilities for making friends, but it's now arguably harming real-life relationships.

  171. Jerry
    August 10, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    well late 80's i used bulletin board systems to access the internet on "Windows 1.0 " through "Windows Terminal" heck we thought that was the shit back then we were used to just working in "Dos" so when windows came out with the graphical shell blew our minds and my machine had a blazing 2 mb ram which was awesome back wasn't anything like today's internet

    • Dave P
      August 15, 2014 at 11:54 pm

      2MB of RAM. Heady days indeed :)

  172. Mats Svensson
    August 10, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    I was first introduced to it, in the form of news-groups and email, at university in 1987.
    I remember it as pretty dull, and clunky in those pre-www days.

    I didn't start making use of it seriously until i got on the web from home, around 1996.
    It was a perfect storm of cheap(ish) dialup-access + my first web-browser + my first 24-bit graphics card.

    • Derek
      August 11, 2014 at 5:11 pm

      Similar situation. I was introduced to news groups, email and www via FTP at Digital Equipment Corporation in 1988, but didn't really start using it until Netscape Navigator came out.

  173. Peter F
    August 10, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    Wow this is bringing back some long forgotten memories.

    Back in the distant past known to many as 1996 in deepest darkest England (northern Manchester) I first ventured into the unknown universe known as dial up internet.
    AOL was the connection of choice (did we have a choice back then??) and as a spotty 16 years old the sound of electrical squeaking and scratching indicated that within mere minutes I would be able to log into a chat room and talk to complete strangers anbout anything and nothing.

    I went by the name Pickled Egg (for reasons lost to me now) and struck up friendships with a number of people from all over the world.

    I do remember one chat room where we all started talking in rhyme.

    I'm not sure why or how it started but the conversations lasted weeks! It was great fun coming up the next line but making sure that the conversation actually made sense.

    I lived on my own at the time and was so impressed with the internet I had no idea that 20 years later the web would change so much not just in design but speed and capability. Only this morning I was talking to my friend about how much times have changed since the 1990's and what the next 20 years might hold.

    It's incredibly impressive what we has achieved in the time from the slow dial up with floppy discs, megabytes and e-cards to super fast broadband, tablets, smartphones and cloud computing and GPS and Facebook, Twitter, Internet TV's and goodness knows what else.

    At this rate, 20 years from now - we'll all be living on the Moon and eating food in pill form!!! hahaha.

    • Dave P
      August 15, 2014 at 11:53 pm

      Was Freeserve a thing in 1996? That's the only alternative I remember.

      The changes over the past 20 years have been insane. I don't think anyone predicted the Web would have on society. And if they claim they did then they're liars.

    • Matt Hartman
      August 17, 2014 at 4:31 am

      Prodigy was an alternative to AOL (and much better, unless you'r only use for the internet was "chatting), as was many of the telco companies (here in the US), who would charge by the hour for internet access. AOL and Prodigy were both great because unlike the Telco companies, they didn't charge by the hour. AOL was great, because there were so many AOL discs laying around in book stores, coffee shops, gas stations, restaurants, Dr. Office' waiting rooms, snailboxes and you could even find discs just laying the street with the rest of the garbage. Those AOL discs were everywhere (which contributed to their unprecedented success) and were great because they'dd give you 300 hours for free, or a month for free and you could just basically go from disc to disc without ever having to pay for internet access -if you were a broke teenager like me. I truly believe that the internet would not be what it is today, if it weren't for those AOL discs that basically allowed everyone and their grandmother to access the internet for free -no catch! With AOL and their extremely massive and unprecedented free service discs campaign (along with their flat-rate billing model -also used by Prodigy) , millions of people never would have even had interest in paying the $3.95 per hour that AT&T (yes, capital letters) and other telco giants were charging for access to a relatively small global network.

    • Peter F
      August 17, 2014 at 9:19 am

      Dave P - I do remember being laughed at by my friends, when i got my first ever mobile phone, for saying that one day we would be able to watch live TV on our phones. Nobody believed me but it seemed logical to me that technology would head in that direction.
      It's about the only I've ever predicted that came true though. hahaha.

      Matt, I think I remember the discs giving something like 100/300 hours of internet. Can't remember how I got them, but i used to "find" news ones all the time in computer magazines or even through the post (I'm sure they came through the post - my mind is not what it was).....
      When the discs stopped being produced I left the internet for a good year or so and by the time I was ready to return, technology and companies like BT had moved on and it was a lot easier to have standard internet for a monthly fee.

  174. James Bassett
    August 10, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    It was definitely September 1994 - because that's when I started my Computer Science Degree and the University was part of the JANET (Joint Academic Network) which was one of the early "bits" of the internet along with DARPANET and various others. Before that I remember using PRESTEL, a Teletext style bulletin board system, in the early-to-mid-eighties but that was slow and fairly useless.

    The first time I used the internet proper I remember going to a launch page (Alta Vista, I think) with a list of categories; News, Sport, Weather, Universities etc. If you clicked one of them it listed all the sites it knew of within that category. It was like the yellow pages but for the Internet. I'd guess there were only a few tens of thousands of sites back then so there was no need for a search engine. I still have the Yahoo email address I signed up for 20 years ago.

    • Marie D
      August 11, 2014 at 2:47 pm

      I worked at ULCC at the time, and was Chief Network Support, responsible for making sure all those JANET links stayed up and running :)

    • Thom L
      August 12, 2014 at 4:31 pm

      I do remember Alta Vista and my 286 dos based system the sometime shortly after that I found AOL

    • Dave P
      August 15, 2014 at 11:51 pm

      My remembrance is that 1994 was THE year the Internet entered into mainstream consciousness, at least mainstream geeks.

      Oh, Alta Vista, even the name takes me back on a nostalgic trip.

  175. Angela A
    August 10, 2014 at 7:57 am

    I remember in primary school we had a class chat via text with a class a few towns away. This was at a time when there was only one computer in the school! I don't recall ever using the Internet at high school... it just wasn't a thing yet.

    In Uni one of our first IT classes got us coding HTML on Unix machines. They also gave us dialup access for free and some of the older, geekier students got us hooked on IRC. No turning back. :)

    • Joe
      August 11, 2014 at 7:25 pm

      I can remember it clearly, I ordered a internet account from a company that was not AOL. it was Prodigy. I got an email address and it was during the early part of 1993. it was on my very fast Packard Bell 386 SX 20 with 12 megs of ram and a Reveal multimedia kit that included a sound card and a CD player. I played Leisure suit Larry and I had a program that kept en eye on my money, but it wasn't Quicken. Windows 3.0 and Windows 3.1

      The biggest thing to happen to the internet soon after that was CNet had a tv show that had a reenactment of the OJ Simpson murders online and on the show. I think the show was on Saturday or Sunday mornings. it was so exciting and so slow. when US robotics came out with their X2 technology increasing speed to 56K it was revolutionary and honestly a big deal.

      That was a million years ago in Internet time.

    • Dave P
      August 15, 2014 at 11:49 pm

      @Angela You were hooked right from the off? It;s amazing how the Internet does that.

      @Joe I can't believe you remember so many details! Do you keep a diary or something?

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