Why "since1994"? book photoBecause I was given this book in May 1994.

However, it was not until 23rd November 1994 I bought my first computer, an Apple Mac Power PC 6100 (8MB RAM, 250MB HD, OS 7.1.2),
and joined the net 10 days later.
The computer plus 15" monitor and keyboard cost £1990. This is equivalent to well over £3,000 20 years later.

Why Apple Mac and not MS WinTel? At that time Windows 3.11 was the dire offering from MS; even worse than MS DOS. My Psion 3 had taught me there was such a thing as a reliable user-friendly OS. I asked three knowledgeable friends if there was an alternative to MS and they all recommended the Apple Mac. I have never owned a Wintel PC.

My first net applications were Fetch (FTP), Mosaic (WWW), NewsWatcher (USENET), turbo-Gopher 1.0.8.b.4 and Eudora 1.4.3 (mail). Netscape Navigator 1 wasn't released until 15 Dec 94. In those blissful early days there was no Microsoft internet software of any type. This was 6 months before Bill Gates realised the internet might be more than something for nerds and sent his 'tidal wave' memo.

I was customer number 211 of my ISP, Easynet. I signed up in their premises at 46 Whitfield Street, London, just off Tottenham Court Road, about 6 weeks after they started. The wives ran a coffee shop downstairs (yummy chocolate cake) and Easynet consisted of a mail and web server run by the husbands above the shop. They also had three PCs for public use in the cafe and claimed to be the first cyber cafe in London. Customer service was provided over a coffee in the cafe. I worked just round the corner.

They gave me half a sheet of A4 paper listing the PoP mail servers and my fixed IP address and I signed a standing order. They provided a floppy disc (1.3 MB) with a copy of Fetch. I was told to use this to rummage around the net for the applications listed above, download and install them. In those days, PCs or Macs were sold without any internet software installed, other than the basic IP stuff. My first modem was a dial-up 28kb/s.

My first three e-mail exchanges were with a German friend in New Zealand (on the Waikato University, NZ network), a Danish friend in Hong Kong (running one of the first ISPs in HK) and a Brit friend in Switzerland. I sent my first e-mail on 4 Dec 1994 and received the first reply on 5th December. I've still got those mails. I didn't have any friends in UK on the internet.

I hope you like this default WordPerfect colour setting from the early 90s. Very restful on the eye. It is also the same colour scheme Moorfields Eye Hospital uses on all its signs.

1 December, 2014