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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Memories of the Digital Past (Part V)

14.4 kbps, it was dark gray, small, and it had a clip on it… unfortunately I can’t remember what brand it was.

I don’t know what got into my cousin when, some time in 1995, he offered to lend me a modem—yes THAT modem (together with a phone number, username, and password which he got somewhere). After setting the whole thing up, telling me when and when not to logon, and giving me some other instructions, he left. The modem would stay with me for about 2 days before my cousin would come to our house again to get the modem back.

And it would take several months after that before my brother and I would have our very own paid two-hours-per-month 14.4 kbps dial-up internet access which at that time cost a lot.

TWO HOURS A MONTH! And that’s not the worst of it! Since I was sharing it with my brother, I only got to use it for an hour each month! Ridiculous isn’t it? I remember logging on and crashing into some (browser-based) chat site and sending private messages to people, hurriedly telling them of my predicament, and asking them for their email addresses just so that I’d have someone to exchange emails with.

There were some who were kind (or naïve) enough to give me theirs. For so many months I spent my hour of internet access just for sending and receiving emails to and from those few kind souls (all of whom I have lost contact with now… except for one).

During that time, I got to learn HTML which, naturally, had me building a few personal homepages soon after. The first one was on (which does not exist anymore, I mean both my homepage and The second one was on fortunecity which is still online, however, due to fortunecity’s reformatting over the years, my homepage there is now all messed up. The third one was on geocities (which at that time was not yet part of Yahoo), it is also still online, but it’s pretty messed up also. And the fourth one… well, let’s just forget about that.

Along with learning HTML, I was able to expand my vocabulary: LOL, ASL, CTC, BRB, ROFLMAO, GTG… and, like many others, at first I thought the first two were abbreviations of curse words.

I used to access the net, or more particularly the world wide web, just to pass the time… chatting, downloading all sorts of useless stuff, and website hopping. Now, 13 years after I got my first taste of life online, I’m able to earn some money from it (US$30 so far), learn new things from it, and a whole lot more.

I wonder what I’ll be saying 13 years from now.

Read Part I
Read Part II
Read Part III
Read Part IV


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