Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Internet in 1996

Jason Kottke's recent post on "Was the internet boring in 1996?" got me recollecting about my history with computers and the Internet.

Unless you think about it 1996 doesn't seem that long ago, well for me at least, cause I am still fairly young. But 1996 is 13 years ago, and for me that is a little more than half of my life ago.

It is hard to think about everyone not being on the Internet, but back in 1996 there were a lot of people who weren't connected.

My family has always had a computer and some sort of Internet connection, thanks to my Dad who has always been at the forefront of technology. But my big Internet starting point was in 1996-1997. This was my first year of Junior High School at John D. Bracco in Edmonton, AB, Canada. I volunteered to help the IT guy put together a website for the school. This was very exciting because I got to do a lot of learning about HTML as well as getting to spend otherwise school time on the computer.

My three biggest memories of computer and Internet usage from 1996-1997:
  1. After Edmonton Oilers beat the Dallas Stars in Round 1 of the 1997 Stanley Cup Playoffs, I found and emailed a picture of Todd Marchant's game 7 winning goal to our IT guy. He put the picture as the wall paper for the entire computer system. It was only a thumbnail size, but brought so much emotion to using the computer because that was one of the most exciting goals I've ever seen.
    Infact, watching this goal still gives me goosebumps.

  2. I got a bunch of .bmp picture files that I wanted to put on the school's website I was creating. I knew enough to know that .bmp files wouldn't work on the Internet, so I converted them to either .jpg or .gif files (I can't remember which). The only problem was that they wouldn't show up on the webpage. No matter what I tried these files just wouldn't work. My Dad finally helped me trouble shoot, and we realized that I didn't actually convert the files, I just changed the file ending.

  3. I signed up for Hotmail so I could have an email account to get all my webpage design stuff completed more efficiently. This was back in 1996 shortly after it came into being, and before it was purchased by Microsoft. I remember very early on they employed a login button that was actually a picture with a link attached to it. I found this a little frustrating because I could type in my username, tab over and type in my password, but I couldn't just hit enter or tab and enter to finish the login process. I actually had to move over to the mouse and click on the login picture. I decided I would send this up as a suggestion to the Hotmail team, and sure enough the next day the login picture was gone and was replaced by a login button. I like to think I changed the course of Hotmail and free webmail service for the rest of time.
It is a lot of fun reminiscing about when back when on the Internet. What fun stories or good memories do you have of the Internet from the mid to late 90s?

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