Thursday, February 10, 2005

Ah, the Usenet....that takes me 1997 or thereabouts....

I've alluded fairly often to the fact that before I moved to Blogistan, I maintained a long residence in the wacky world of the Usenet newsgroups. My big hangout was, although I also lurked at rec.arts.sf.written and rec.arts.sf.composition (at least, that's what I think that group was called). My Usenet participation started dropping when I launched Byzantium's Shores, and finally ended completely early in 2003. So it's not with much emotion that I note that today AOL finally discontinued its support for Usenet newsgroups; it's more a case of "Meh, who cares."

But I recall back when I first encountered this Interweb thingie, back in fall of 1993 (or was it spring of 1994?). Back then, Usenet was almost the entirety of my Internet use. I remember using UNIX's rn program to read groups first, later switching to AOL's newsgroup service, which never changed one bit the entire time I used it (from 1997 up to the other day). When I wasn't reading newsgroups, I would surf the Net using Gopher. Now there was a clunky thing to use. And then I recall this new program they installed, something called "Mosaic". Now that thing was weird -- this spinning globe up in the corner and I was reading this thing where some of the words were blue, and if I moved the mouse over those blue words, the cursor would switch from an arrow to a hand pointing at something. I couldn't see what that thing was ever going to amount to.

Yup, those were the days.

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