~ contents of EarlyNet: [life] [memory]

The Early Net. personal cyberspace memory dump.

Inspired by this mastodon discussion and the Szczeżuja's gempost that kickstarted it, I decided to write what I remember of my early experiences online. It's mostly an excuse for me to reminisce, but if you're interested in a somewhat long-winded first hand accounts of some random guy's time on web 1.0 and beyond - read on!

Personal Prehistory Online #

My first online experience was around 94/95 on an Amiga (500 or 600, don't remember which as I owned both at different times and the memory is fuzzy). I got it second hand and it came with a hard drive and a modem. The guy my family bought it from had shown me how to go online with some text-mode client. It might have been some bbs, gopher or even ftp - all I remember is a list of files in a column. This was the first moment I was online... or at least in the presence of the internet. It was underwhelming to say the least.

Being around 10 I had no idea why I would ever need to do that again if all I wanted is to play games. Not to mention, the whole process of going online went over my kid head. After that original "presentation" I never took that machine online, nor had I seen any reason to venture into the cyberspace. For next couple of years internet was just this esoteric thing for other people.


It all changed somewhere 1997/8 after reading an article in a magazine. At this point most computer and gaming magazines (at least the Polish ones) would have a section dedicated to the World Wide Web. A common approach (apart from general how-to's to the internet) was to introduce a topic and talk about handful of websites where you can find more about it. The topic that got me hooked was emulation. The article not only introduced me to the concept (I can run nintendo and arcade games on my Pentium‽) but also gave me a handful of websites where I can download emulators and games! This internet thing suddenly became pretty cool!

At this time in Poland, dial-up internet was really expensive (you'd pay by minute) and my family couldn't really afford that. It was also before any internet cafes came to my city (but I knew they existed in bigger cities from magazines), but not all was lost.

I was fortunate enough to have someone who could get me online - an older cousin of mine who worked in a computer store knew someone in a community center on the other side of town that was connected to the "information superhighway." We arranged to go there next weekend.

I recall writing down all the websites I wanted to visit on a piece of paper (no idea why I didn't just write it down in a txt file). And because I gloated to my friends about my upcoming "trip to the internet" I also ended up with a list of stuff they wanted. Stuff like Nirvana lyrics and character bios from Dragon Ball Z (it was the 90s after all).

I don't remember if I brought floppies or my hard drive for the first visit (where I lived it was in vogue to have your hdd in a remove bay so you can go and exchange files with friends). All I remember is having bunch of internet explorer download windows open

Young Internet Explorer. #

Internet Cafe #

Home #

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