Blast From The Past
Wednesday, 26 July 2006 10:50 Hrs
❝ 10 Years on the Internet

Got a bit distracted but it was worth it. Added to Urban scrawl list, [0] got me thinking about a post I did ages ago (2004) on /. (when the slash and the dot meant something ~ for those that don't know ./ is mysql cli command ...

"Condescending Unix user" [1]

The shot shows a favourite dilbert cartoon that I remember pinned to a unix workstation at work many years ago...

This post, 10 years on the Internet, first appeared on my /. account, Monday February 23, @12:24AM, 2004. [2]

Early Internet - what information can I find?

I had to get out of the current job I was in. Doing some extra studies was a good way learn more about computing and software development. The first thing I noticed about the computer centre [3] was the crappy Windows 3.1 machines. [4] Remember this was before the rah rah rah of Windows '95 understanding networking, [5] browsers and IP stack (ed: what about unix?) (Trumpet filled this gap [6]). Microsoft had yet to realise the importance of the Internet. Some say they still don't. It took me about one afternoon.

"The biggest change was networking ... We had unlimited access to the web through our student accounts"

Things had changed a bit from my undergraduate years. [7] Gone where the mainframes, punch cards (pdf) [8], deck writers. It was light years away from doing mainframe (similiar to this one) [9] , batch card [10] (info for purposes of understanding how batch works only) processing in Fortran [11], editing mainframe text files in Ed [12] and writing desktop GIS graphical and console applications in pascal [13] during undergrad.

The biggest change was networking. The computer centre consisted of banks of networked, generic PC's via Banyan Vines [14] to the *nix mainframes hidden deep in the bowels of applied science building. I went there once, to get a new password and was acknowledged by the cliched bearded systems admin [15] who emerged only from their glass-bowl data centre, to quickly read out my 16 digit hashed password. We had unlimited access to the web through our student account. Getting onto the Internet involved a choice of CLI [16] or graphical applications. Graphical Internet access was available through a client program called Cello [17] an early browser interface. Mosaic [18] had yet to be installed - had it been released? [19] (yeah by about 2 yrs). I remember spending a bit of time working out how to search with a web search engine, and it's less successful predecessor, gopher and landing in a place called Doomgate to grab Doom wad files.

cont ...

First taste of *nix & internet apps

"access through a mainframe Unix shell dialup account gave me my first real taste of *nix"

Home access through a mainframe Unix dialup shell account gave me my first real taste of *nix. Ftp for downloads, Pine for email, Lynx for internet, vi for editing and c for programming applications. I think there was about 50K machines on the Internet by this time. The information space was huge and more importantly, growing exponentially.

It would a be almost a year and a bit before I started at my first computing job at sausage. But by the end of the first day playing around on the Internet and Web I knew something big was going on.

This post, 10 years on the Internet, first appeared on my /. account, Monday February 23, @12:24AM, 2004. [20]


2015 I didn't realise the Internet rusts this much.

2006 Talk about link rot. I wrote this in 2004 & 5-6 links here no longer work. [update links with newer more stable references]


[0] Urban Scrawl list, flickr, [Last acccessed 26th July 2006]

[1] Scott Adams, Dilbert,

[2] goon, slashdot user 2774 [Last accessed Wednesday, 1st April 2015]

[3] Swinburne University IT department, [Last accessed 26th July 2006]

[4] wikipedia, Crappy Windows 3.1 machines, [Last accessed 26th July 2006]

[5] MS Windows '95, "before Windows 95 and even the early version of '95 had trouble understanding TCP/IP, correctly." [Last accessed 26th July 2006]

[6] Trumpet software, [Last accessed 26th July 2006]

[7] RMIT Geospacial undergraduate, [Last accessed 26th July 2006]

[8] Punch cards. The first link describes the IBM series cards in detail. The second link shows a scan of an actual batch card I used.

[9] On on-going query into this reference:

@museumvictoria on cite Reference, [1] University of Melbourne Computer History (1995) is 404. Did by any chance someone take a copy of the information OR do you have an updated link?

[10] Link rot, substituted for my batch card.

[11] Link rot on FORTRAN.

[12] Ed, the GNU editor.

[13] Link rot on Pascal (TurboPascal)

[14] Link rot on Banyan Vines.

[15] Scott Adams, Dilbert, Ibid.

[16] Link rot. Refers to, "In the Beginning... Was the Command Line" an essay by Neil Stephenson. [Last Accessed Wednesday 1st April, 2015]

[17] Cello was an early graphical browser developed for MS Windows 3.1 by Thomas R. Bruce who worked at Cornell Law school. [Last Accessed Wednesday 1st April, 2015]

[18] Link rot on Mosiac.

[19] Q. When was mosiac released? PBS, "Nerds 2.0.1: A Human Face", [Last Accessed Wednesday 1st April, 2015]

[20] goon, slashdot, "10 years on the Internet", [Last Accesssed Wednesday 1st April, 2015]


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