Thursday, March 6, 2008

My first years on the Net

Figured out that I have been on the Internet for about 19 years (a prime time I must say). Didn't experience the stone age of the Internet, but I probably started somewhere around the bronze age or at least the iron age of the Internet. Here follows a summary of my first years on the net.

I was fortunate and got (dial-up) Internet access at high school through a project called SIRNett (~Schools in regional network, purpose was distance-education collaboration between high schools). Cool things at the time included Turbo Pascal, Amiga and e-mail. Was Guinea pig for the the Winix email software (developed in Trondheim), the software also had terminal emulation (we had a local unix box of some kind, don't remember which). Winix later became infamously known (for a while) as the largest IT scandal in Norway, but I guess investing hundreds of millions of kroner (/5 to get rough $ amounts) on creating commercial software relying on Internet services around 1990 was somewhat optimistic.
(note: The first Internet ISP appeared in 1990
(according to this source there were about 560k worldwide Internet users in 1989)

1st (playful) year at University, lots of computers and all with Internet connection. MUD (Multi-User Dungeon), archie and ftp were the cool things ( Computers were either IBM PS/2's or DEC VAX/VMS terminals (even one terminal with Motif/Xish UI). Met some smart people in NVG who were extremely early adopters of Linux (Linux was born in 1991). The local college had a 64kbit/s line (which was easily saturated by ftp traffic).
File format of the year: DMS (for Amiga).

Became involved in PVV. Learned to use Latex to write documents. Starting using Perl. Tried a bunch of flavours of unixes and met some incredibly smart people (quite a few of them ended up in the search industry, e.g. Yahoo, Fast, Google, Overture and Microsoft :) Monster box at the time was, it was a Dolphin OS based RISC box (spinn-off company of then still-alive Norsk Data). Tried Gopher (which I was quite impressed of, little did I know what was yet to come).

Mosaic, NCSA Web server, Netscape. Oh joy!

Semester Project about "Marketing on the Internet". Field trip to Silicon Valley with visits to Berkeley University, Apple, Oracle, IBM Almaden Research Center (Ted Selker showed us a prototype keyboard with 2 trackpoints), Sun (demo of Java, it was only ~1+- applet at the time, one at San Francisco Chronicle if I don't remember incorrectly), Silicon Graphics where I got my head scanned on a nice Onyx IRIX box. But I didn't know that 10 years later I should visit the same campus and seriously use my head again in a job interview with multiple rock stars :)

Internship with IBM Canada. Cool software at the time was PointCast and Smit (for AIX). Working for IBM while Deep Blue beat Kasparov in Chess was quite fun :)

For my years on the net from 1998 to 2000 click here

1 comment:

Viktigpedia said...

The Unix server was running Interactive Unix, and was equipped with an Intel 386DX processor and 16MBs of RAM. All clients and the server had Western Digital wd8003 nic. Rather tricky to configure.

So, things have changed, very soon now a beer can has more ram.

Oh, almost forgot: the server also had a tape streamer, taking 250MB. Who would ever need more?