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"Murphy was an optimist!"

The oldest evidence I can find of myself on the Internet October 17, 2009 10:14 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, History
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I’ll update this as I find older. So far the oldest evidence I can find of myself on the Internet is an Oct 31, 1991 email recording my YES vote for the creation of the rec.juggling usenet group.

I sent my first packets of information over the Internet in the Fall of 1988. I loved Gopher and Archie and Veronica. I thought IRC was the second best tool in the world with USENET being the greatest. I avoided MUDs fearing they would cause me to fail out of school. I missed the boat on Mosaic writing it off as a bloated toy.

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1. Richard - October 17, 2009

You predate me by a couple of years. I too loved Usenet and IRC. I remember downloading all night from some Usenet group named Alt.binaries.warez (shhhhhhh don’t tell anyone) on my super fast, super sleek 28.8 modem. I vividly remember being on IRC the night Doom II was released. Had to break some kind of record for IRC traffic that night.

Those were the days!!

2. Doug McCaughan - October 17, 2009

The Wild West of the Internet! I knew things traveled in small circles back then but I just didn’t appreciate the intimacy of the community building that which would change our lives so much.

3. Barry - October 19, 2009

I don’t know if this counts as the “Internet” or not, but from 1984-87 or so, I was in the Computer Science dept at UT and we kept ourselves quite busy with “Relay” – a precursor of sorts to IRC that was apparently mostly college linked. But we communicated via email not only to ourselves on campus but to students around the country as well as participated in a plethora of online chats and late night gaming sessions.

D&D – all played out via chat. Regular chat sessions late into the night. Nearly flunked my out of the program…

4. Doug McCaughan - October 19, 2009

I remember relay. I’d say that definitely counts as Internet.

Prior to 88 my “online” activities were mostly limited to Fidonet obsessions and that does not count for Internet activity.

5. Barry - October 19, 2009

Do you know Vania Smrkovski? Ask him about those sessions sometime 🙂

6. Doug McCaughan - October 19, 2009

Vania and I worked together at The Learning Company and we were friends before that.

7. Barry - October 19, 2009

He was in the CS dept at UT when I was, I believe and one of the group that communicated with the outside world.

8. Vania Smrkovski - October 19, 2009

How wonderful to be remembered? I was beginning to wonder if I really existed in those days. LOL

Yeah, I remember the “Internet Relay Chat” program we used in those days very well. I was amazed by the communities of people that were being formed at the time, and how remarkable it was that people were building friendships and flirting with people they’d never even met. Of course it’s all old hat now, but for a time, I was an oracle of sorts in my religions department where I majored for a while because I was telling them about this new community space that was being created that enabled people to interact in wholly different ways.

What’s funny to me know is realizing how unremarkable it all is to my eyes today.

9. Barry - October 19, 2009

We were all pioneers and didn’t know it. We were just using it to pick up girls…

10. Vania Smrkovski - October 19, 2009

Couldn’t have said it better or more concisely.

11. Doug McCaughan - October 19, 2009

Exactly! (re girls)

And indeed we were sitting in the offices, rubbing elbows and even participating in the RFCs and other things that defined the stuff that makes today’s Internet, clueless to the magnitude of the events happening around us. I so wish I could have a redo with a little bit more of a vision and appreciation than I had back in those days.