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Inclusa
2012-Mar-15, 08:16 AM
Internet only comes into common uses in the late 1990s; let's talk how do pre-Internet life work.
My blog put a small list of things.

Gsquare
2012-Mar-15, 07:43 PM
Internet only comes into common uses in the late 1990s; let's talk how do pre-Internet life work.
My blog put a small list of things.

Contrary to popular belief the internet didn't solve all our problems.
The grass still grows , and you still have to mow it;
the neighbors dogs still poo-poohs on your front lawn;
and illegal drugs and murder are more rampant than ever before
. :)

Internet is a great tool for research, communication world-wide (without a long distance charge), or for just piddeling around, but it still hasn't gotten rid of pain, sorrow, hatred , war, disaese , and death.... so I will refrain from worshipping it for now.

G^2

Solfe
2012-Mar-15, 08:29 PM
Well, I have to say the biggest thing change is that burning ball of light in the sky. Since broadband and gaming sites became more prevalent, I haven't see it.

The other change is that my wife knows the difference between 2d6 and 1d12 even though she doesn't play those kinds of games.

slang
2012-Mar-15, 10:09 PM
Pre-internet? FidoNet.

Squink
2012-Mar-15, 10:15 PM
BRS After Dark.

Tensor
2012-Mar-16, 04:51 AM
Pre-internet? FidoNet.

Echomail, Zone mail hour, Bluewave, taglines. Being the Mod for Astronomy, before all the local BBS closed. The good old days.

Inclusa
2012-Mar-16, 05:31 AM
Echomail, Zone mail hour, Bluewave, taglines. Being the Mod for Astronomy, before all the local BBS closed. The good old days.

These were all small group activities that have little to do with the general public.

slang
2012-Mar-16, 06:51 AM
These were all small group activities that have little to do with the general public.

So was the internet, for a very long time.

Van Rijn
2012-Mar-16, 07:40 AM
These were all small group activities that have little to do with the general public.

Then I'm not the general public.

I was on the internet in the '80s, and the web by the early '90s. I was using Compuserve for a fair number of things I do now on the internet. I was on a fair few BBSes and did a bit on Fidonet.

Van Rijn
2012-Mar-16, 07:41 AM
Oh, and I did other stuff too, but that would be telling. :)

astromark
2012-Mar-16, 08:52 AM
:rolleyes: That you spent time talking with and of 'Invisible elves' led me straight to the fact that you

Van Rijn have a turn of phrase admirable.. I was a late starter to this Internet thingi.. 1998.

and look at it now.. wow.. :)

Before the internet I was at sea.. really. It was data streams and files that introduced me to the 'net'..

Inclusa
2012-Mar-16, 09:20 AM
Yes, I started Internet around the same time, and I assume this was around the time that the Internet gets into public usage.

Tensor
2012-Mar-16, 01:12 PM
Define small group. In the early to mid 90s, a BBS I was active on had over 1000 members in a town with just over 15,000 people. Realistically, we had just over half of those who were active on FIDONET. Doing a BOE calculation here, using the present rough population of the US, that works out to about 10 million people now. That's hardly a small group and I met many people of the general public that was aware of it.

Now, if you want to talk about what many of us were doing pre-BBS in the mid to late 80s, yeah, then I would agree with you. My old 300 BAUD modem, transferring files between several of us with modems, looking for just about any place we could hook into. I thought it was amazing enough that I could use the modem to do my programming and systems homework without leaving my house or at 2:00 AM, much less connect with other people.

Swift
2012-Mar-16, 01:43 PM
Internet only comes into common uses in the late 1990s; let's talk how do pre-Internet life work.
So if by "pre-Internet" what you really want to talk about is pre-any-sort-of-computer-network (I was on BITnet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BITNET) back in the early 80s), well, life existed too.

We had phonebooks, we had the telephone, we had typewriters, we had libraries. The research for my undergraduate thesis and my graduate dissertation was done working the stacks, the card catalog, Chem Abstracts, and Citation Index.

Sure, the Internet is great. If I need to find a left-handed-reversing-sprocket, I hit Google now a days before I hit the paper McMaster-Carr catalog. But we still managed to get work done.

dgavin
2012-Mar-16, 06:59 PM
I say there is an invisible elf in my backyard. How do you prove that I am wrong?


Van?

Will you please tell your invisible elves, to stop harrasing the faery's and pixies in my back yard? It's completly thrown them off thier pollination cycle and they are much better at it then bees. And they sing too.

PetersCreek
2012-Mar-16, 07:23 PM
Yes, I started Internet around the same time, and I assume this was around the time that the Internet gets into public usage.

You assumed wrongly. No doubt, Internet/World Wide Web usage was much more common in 1998 but I began using the Web earnestly in 1995 and I was far, far from alone. Prior to that, I used the Internet for e-mail, TelNet, etc.

grapes
2012-Mar-16, 07:35 PM
Now, if you want to talk about what many of us were doing pre-BBS in the mid to late 80s, yeah, then I would agree with you. My old 300 BAUD modem, transferring files between several of us with modems, looking for just about any place we could hook into. I thought it was amazing enough that I could use the modem to do my programming and systems homework without leaving my house or at 2:00 AM, much less connect with other people.Now we're talking 70's, right? Except mine was an *acoustic* modem, just slap the old handset into the muffs, and send away. Worked great as long as you weren't at your mother-in-laws, and all she had were princess phones. :)

I showed up in NC in 1988, and the MCSC was flexing a Cray III for a year, and asked for volunteers. You got as much time as you wanted, dial up access, and an email address. I kept my account for years. Simultaneously the world's most expensive, and cheapest, ISP.

Luckmeister
2012-Mar-16, 08:17 PM
I spent much more time in libraries and doing active things outdoors. I read more books. I rode my motorcycles daily. I saw bands live instead of on YouTube. We actually had full rich lives without being online, as impossible as that may seem to some young people today.

IMO the most valuable things the internet has brought? The ability to do fast, extensive research and to do what I'm doing right now -- instantly communicate with people worldwide on any subject..... Priceless!!

Tensor
2012-Mar-16, 08:37 PM
Now we're talking 70's, right? Except mine was an *acoustic* modem, just slap the old handset into the muffs, and send away.

Nope, it was 1983. It was a separate little box (about the size of wireless router, come to think of it) with a line running into a phone and a line running out. It was a TRS 80 Modem 1 (ftp://maltedmedia.com/coco/MANUALS/TANDY/HARDWARE/Modem1.pdf) for my TRS-80 Model Three.

KaiYeves
2012-Mar-16, 09:35 PM
I want to write a story that would be set in late 1985 that might feature a space/astronomy BBS that the main character is a member of. (Since she's basically "an alternate me", and thus needs a BAUT.) Would I be correct in assuming that there are a lot of people here I could ask questions to about accuracy?

slang
2012-Mar-16, 10:00 PM
Would I be correct in assuming that there are a lot of people here I could ask questions to about accuracy?

Yes.

Van Rijn
2012-Mar-16, 11:39 PM
Nope, it was 1983. It was a separate little box (about the size of wireless router, come to think of it) with a line running into a phone and a line running out..

My first modem was a Hayes Micromodem II that I bought in '80 or '81. It looked like this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Micromodem_II_in_Apple_II.jpg

It too hooked up through the modular line and worked at 300 bps. It pulse dialed (you'd hear ticks as it dialed a number). At the university we used accoustic couplers on campus to access the computer unless in the main computer lab, the only place the terminals were direct connected. They were still 300 bps except for one that went at 1200 BPS. It seemed amazingly fast at the time.

At the time, 1200 BPS modems cost over a thousand dollars, and weren't commonly used. I remember reading about an early 9600 BPS system, which required separate send and receive units. I think it was something like $10,000 for each briefcase sized unit.

Van Rijn
2012-Mar-17, 12:24 AM
I want to write a story that would be set in late 1985 that might feature a space/astronomy BBS that the main character is a member of.

(Since she's basically "an alternate me", and thus needs a BAUT.) Would I be correct in assuming that there are a lot of people here I could ask questions to about accuracy?

One thing I'll point out is that BAUT is huge compared to BBSes at the time. Most of them were one modem, one phone line affairs. A popular BBS might have a few dozen users, though you might see many of the same people on a few different BBSes that focused on different things. Also, most BBS users were local, simply because of the cost of long distance dialing. Networking really started taking off in the later '80s, and the early readers were clumsy and unwieldy, so popular Usenet or Fidonet topics would be very hard to follow.

Inclusa
2012-Mar-17, 03:50 AM
Just imagine reading stuffs off a monochrome monitor of the 1980s.
My oldest computer showed all texts and graphics in green.
8bit or 256 colours were considered "revolutionary" at the time; now it is mostly 16 bit or 32 bit (since I'm really backward in technology, do they have 64 bit now?)
My oldest modem was 14400 BPS, than perhaps, in 2000, my family switched to high speed Internet (ADSL); after the last upgrade, it is a few times (about 5 times?) faster.
Imagine using Facebook on 14400BPS.

HenrikOlsen
2012-Mar-17, 02:36 PM
Just imagine reading stuffs off a monochrome monitor of the 1980s.
My oldest computer showed all texts and graphics in green.
8bit or 256 colours were considered "revolutionary" at the time; now it is mostly 16 bit or 32 bit (since I'm really backward in technology, do they have 64 bit now?)
Not really useful for displays as that rather exceeds the human visual systems capabilities, but there are photo manipulation systems which use a 16 or 32 bit range in each color channel, to avoid information loss during manipulation, then down grades as a final step for imaging. Very useful for high dynamic range work.
So far that's been the only capability I've found GIMP lacking in, that I actually have a use for.

slang
2012-Mar-17, 04:50 PM
Just imagine reading stuffs off a monochrome monitor of the 1980s.

I remember using very nice monochrome X Windows terminals in the 80's, much better on the eyes than the CRT monitors back then. Oh, I used "The Internet" on them. :)

publiusr
2012-Mar-17, 07:37 PM
Just imagine reading stuffs off a monochrome monitor of the 1980s.
My oldest computer showed all texts and graphics in green.

Yes, but the data looked more important that way. Now with all the bright colors, we are spoiled. That green look had the NORAD look to it...

Van Rijn
2012-Mar-17, 10:08 PM
Just imagine reading stuffs off a monochrome monitor of the 1980s.
My oldest computer showed all texts and graphics in green.


When I started there, all the terminals at my university had monochrome monitors, but there weren't many of them, and the computer they had couldn't support much more than they had. So for the larger, intro programming courses (Fortran IV and COBOL) we had to use key punches (they looked like this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:IBM_card_punch_029.JPG)), keying one card per line of code, to be taken later to the card reader.

I really hated that, mostly because the key layout was a little different than a standard typewriter keyboard, and as I was going between key punch machines, and time-share terminals as well as a typewriter for other classes, I was constantly mistyping. These machines had no text buffer, so that meant ejecting a card and typing another. When I found out they were going to get a new, much larger time share machine in a couple semesters, I avoided taking any more classes that required keypunch entry.

At home, my first monitor was a color TV with 40 characters per line (output from an Apple II+, which had been designed to output 40 character wide lines deliberately, because TVs were substantially less expensive than monitors). Years later, when I bought my first IBM PC clone, I had a monochrome monitor, which was much easier to read than the old TV monitor I'd used with my Apple.

Solfe
2012-Mar-17, 11:42 PM
My Timex Sinclair connected to the TV. I don't think I heard about modems until I saw the movie War Games.

Oh, before the internet, I went out to the movies. :)

Gillianren
2012-Mar-18, 06:18 AM
You assumed wrongly. No doubt, Internet/World Wide Web usage was much more common in 1998 but I began using the Web earnestly in 1995 and I was far, far from alone. Prior to that, I used the Internet for e-mail, TelNet, etc.

The first time I heard about it that I remember was November, 1994. But I had friends who did the whole AOL/CompuServe thing even before that. This was just the first I heard about the broader World Wide Web, and I was in high school and not exactly a science geek.

Inclusa
2012-Mar-18, 06:40 AM
Ok, let's assemble the common things on Internet these days: Facebook, duckduckgo (the search engine), news, etc.
I've heard that the newspaper is disappearing, but I'm far from positive.

Gillianren
2012-Mar-18, 06:54 PM
I've never heard of Duckduckgo.

George
2012-Mar-18, 09:23 PM
Now we're talking 70's, right? Except mine was an *acoustic* modem, just slap the old handset into the muffs, and send away. Worked great as long as you weren't at your mother-in-laws, and all she had were princess phones. :) Yep, who would have guessed simple binary would be better than powerful analog? ;) [Of course, we still don't know what one another around here actually sounds like. :) Tradeoffs.] Odd that it took so long for us to be allowed to own those tranceivers.


I showed up in NC in 1988, and the MCSC was flexing a Cray III for a year, and asked for volunteers. You got as much time as you wanted, dial up access, and an email address. I kept my account for years. Simultaneously the world's most expensive, and cheapest, ISP. I don't recall; did we compare those units based on cubic feet or pounds?

slang
2012-Mar-19, 11:31 PM
Ok, let's assemble [...]

Oooh, assembly! Now that's going waaay back! MOS 6510 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MOS_Technology_6510) FTW. :)

Solfe
2012-Mar-21, 04:14 AM
My first encounter with a computer was in Kindergarten:

The man wheeled this huge typewriter into the room and connected it to a phone. It used huge sheets of perforated paper and had a metal bell that rang when it finished working. Each of us took turns typing in math problems.

"2+2="... A long pause. "4" was typed on the paper and in case we didn't notice that, the bell rang too.

I took a second try at it, this time something more complex. "5+7". Ding! 12.

I knew how the machine worked! A person was hiding behind the machine and under the paper. This would also explain how the paper advanced and what rang the bell. I walked the machine and couldn't find anyone obviously hiding behind it. I took the phone receiver off the top much to the annoyance of the man. No one answered me when I said "Hello." Since there was no one on the phone telling the machine what to do, it must not have been a trick.

On my third go, I typed in something impossibly hard to answer. It may have looked like this. "35235151542354+9094241423". Ding! It answered me and I was pretty sure it was correct even though it would be years before I could handle that sort of math check.

The man gave me the print out. I should have saved it. :)

Jens
2012-Mar-21, 06:12 AM
I want to write a story that would be set in late 1985 that might feature a space/astronomy BBS that the main character is a member of. (Since she's basically "an alternate me", and thus needs a BAUT.) Would I be correct in assuming that there are a lot of people here I could ask questions to about accuracy?

Sure. We used to communicate quite well back in the days. We just lit bonfires and used blankets to control how the smoke rose.

JustAFriend
2012-Mar-21, 02:56 PM
Back in the '70s and '80s, my wife and I actually looked FORWARD to going out to the library on the weekend.

They actually had books then...

:rolleyes:

Drunk Vegan
2012-Mar-22, 07:24 AM
I want to write a story that would be set in late 1985 that might feature a space/astronomy BBS that the main character is a member of. (Since she's basically "an alternate me", and thus needs a BAUT.) Would I be correct in assuming that there are a lot of people here I could ask questions to about accuracy?

You might want to try browsing a few BBSes to get a feel for how they operate and what's available on them. There are still dozens of them out there. Here's a list of some active ones, and it has links to other BBS stuff including a history of all things BBS related:

http://www.gcommarchive.com/bbslist.htm

The main differences between pre-Internet BBSes and present BBSes:

1) They were all dial-up connections with one modem dialing another. Now they're all accessed via Telnet.
2) There are no longer any people using the chat rooms or Forums on BBSes, since everyone does those things on the Internet now. You'll want to check them out though to see what they're like.
3) Games are now multi-player, whereas in 1985 all of the "Door Games" could only be used by one user at a time. You'd play your turn(s), then exit out so someone else could use the game while you opened something else.

If you do end up setting it in 1985, you might feature the game Trade Wars 2002, which was the most popular and enduring BBS game of all time, and was released in 1984. The game is still updated regularly and there are stand-alone game servers still dedicated to playing it.

Oh and while you can just click any of those addresses and be able to access the BBSes, it'd be a good idea to download a telnet client because it displays much better than using the default Windows telnet program.

Van Rijn
2012-Mar-22, 07:56 AM
As an example of what BBSes looked like then, Citadel was a popular BBS software choice. You can see some screenshots at the Wikipedia page, and it gives a bit of background on the software:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citadel_(software)

Citadel allowed for multiple topics when many BBSes were single thread message boards.

KaiYeves
2012-Mar-22, 11:48 PM
Thanks for the information. The BBS won't be a huge part of the story, since the text will be what the main character is writing in her journal, so she'll only be mentioning it when somebody's said something she thinks is worthy of writing down, like: "(username) was watching from the causeway, and he wrote a description of the launch for all of us. It sounded absolutely breathtaking. I really hope I'll see one in person someday soon." (The space shuttle is really the focus of the story.)

slang
2012-Mar-23, 12:08 AM
1) They were all dial-up connections with one modem dialing another. Now they're all accessed via Telnet.

And trying to get a connection to a popular BBS with 1 or 2 phonelines could take a looong time.


2) There are no longer any people using the chat rooms or Forums on BBSes, since everyone does those things on the Internet now. You'll want to check them out though to see what they're like.

Heh, or the sysop (system operator, the owner/operator of the BBS) might decide he or she wanted to chat with you, and you'd suddenly see The Almighty Sysop talking to you, scaring one almost to the point of requiring clean underwear, especially of one were to be browsing the file area with, umm, well.. you know.. the kind of pictures GIFs were once famous for.


btw Kai, I'm not sure if I actually linked to FidoNet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FidoNet) before, but the Echomail feature it had was much like the newsgroups on the internet. If two people in your story dialling into the same actual BBS would be too much of a coincidence, they might be both participants on Fidonet, in a space-related echo. Fidonet is (was?) worldwide. BBSes would provide the option of reading the posts in the echos online.

slang (who was a "point" on Fidonet, in a spacetime far, far away)

KaiYeves
2012-Mar-23, 08:53 PM
btw Kai, I'm not sure if I actually linked to FidoNet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FidoNet) before, but the Echomail feature it had was much like the newsgroups on the internet. If two people in your story dialling into the same actual BBS would be too much of a coincidence, they might be both participants on Fidonet, in a space-related echo. Fidonet is (was?) worldwide. BBSes would provide the option of reading the posts in the echos online.

slang (who was a "point" on Fidonet, in a spacetime far, far away)
You hadn't before, so thank you. I was assuming that the main character would have been using the BBS for a while and be friends with the other users there, and thus be used to their personalities, (this guy works for NASA, so he's always first to know about everything, this woman likes to post in rhyme, this other guy is very cynical, etc.) so that those users would be reoccurring characters themselves.

ravens_cry
2012-Mar-23, 10:30 PM
My first encounter with computers was fairly late, around 1993, 1994, on some old school computers, with monochrome and CGA monitors, playing Oregon Trail and a printshop program, printing out cards for my Mum out on a yellowing, even then, dot matrix printer.
My first encounter with the Internet was even later, some time in the late nineties at my aunts house I believe.

Solfe
2012-Mar-24, 05:41 PM
Thanks for the information. The BBS won't be a huge part of the story, since the text will be what the main character is writing in her journal, so she'll only be mentioning it when somebody's said something she thinks is worthy of writing down, like: "(username) was watching from the causeway, and he wrote a description of the launch for all of us. It sounded absolutely breathtaking. I really hope I'll see one in person someday soon." (The space shuttle is really the focus of the story.)

There is BBS: The Documentary (http://www.bbsdocumentary.com/) on the web. The DVD set is $40, my friend purchased it and made me watch it. It is entertaining, but I wouldn't have made the purchase myself.