4.10.10

Internet veteran? moi?

Just been going through some old files, to try and find camera invoices, when I came across one for my first modem. I bought a US Robotics Sportster 14k (the Stylophone) from Dabs Direct for £129 on 4 August 1994. Can anyone beat that? I also have bills from my first ISP: Soft Solution (MCR1 Manchester Host) of Dewsbury - NUJ Net special offer £12 subs for three months - my charges for August 1994 totalled £46.23. NUJNet (Sam called it nudge-net) was set up by Mike Holderness and was text-only - and you had to dial in to Manchester. I mainly joined because Sam was at college and was keeping in touch with all his school chums by email. And I thought, if you can't beat them, join them! I also joined some dial-up bulletin boards. Soon after I got online, Pavilion started up in Brighton and I joined them - and started to see graphics in my browser.

My first computer in Brighton was a Mac Plus and I remember you had to buy a particular book to get the floppy disc with the right software on it to get connected. Simon Thornton also helped me out. At the time there were only about five people in Brighton on the net. The Brighton internet pioneers met at the Greys to chat: Tom Hadfield (of Soccernet fame) was about 12 and Tom Shepherd was only 16, so we had to sit outside! Other trailblazers included Matt Planet and Simon and Neil Turner of Virtual Brighton who very kindly gave me a brighton.co.uk address. Later, Mistral started up and they were cheaper, so I switched. Then Freeserve started up and that was free, so I jumped ship again. These were all dial-up services. I subscribed to the always connected ISDN Home Highway with BT for a while, but when Broadband arrived there was no upgrade path so I told BT to go away and went cable broadband with Virgin.

Before all this, whilst working at EMAP, I had on loan a Spectrum set-up with an acoustic coupler that connected to something called MicroNet, a Teletext/Prestel type service. After experiencing that I never imagined that the internet would take off as it did.
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