A bit OT - Urban Myths?

Paul Robinson paul at iconoplex.co.uk
Wed Jul 16 14:03:12 BST 2003

On Wed, Jul 16, 2003 at 10:50:49AM +0100, Paul Richards wrote:

> Depends when you decide the Internet as we know it today started. That's
> hard to put a precise date to. Demon had been around a few years but it
> was still a relatively niche thing, mostly it was people like us using
> the servive, the average person in the street hadn't yet caught the
> internet bug.

I'd disagree. In late '94 I was working in the first cybercafe outside of 
to open in the UK. That means that by that point, there was a keen interest. 
At the time there were about 5 ISPs in the UK. That was before the madness 
my colleagues and I managed to inflict a few years later over at Telinco.

Interesting side point: Freeserve was not the first ISP in the UK to drop 
subscription charges and make money out of 0845 revenue. We beat them by a 
fortnight, and by the time Freeserve launched we already had 60,000 
customers. The company that beat them to it was Telinco with Connect Free.
> Anyone have a definite date of when JANET switched to TCP/IP?

I can get a date for you later if this hasn't already been answered. If I 
can't, Sam Smith definitely can, because he works next door to the guy in 
Manchester who would have made the switch.
> This is just universities of course, *very* few business had network
> connections back then, doing business via email was not yet something
> that had caught on. Virtually no-one had internet access at home, and I
> mean as a percentage of the population not as a percentage of hackers.

Accepted. However, your memory is failing you here. In 1995 (not '93, not 
'94) the Internet was much more mainstream than you remember. There were 
prime time TV programmes about it, magazines all over the place, major 
companies had jumped on board, etc. It obviously wasn't as full of useless 
crap that it is now, but my Mum knew what the internet was back in late 
1994. And that's saying something.
> Anyway, this isn't directly related to the original discussion, but I
> think it's surprising how short a time the internet as we know it today
> has actually been around. I'm not that old, but I find it surprising that
> I can remember working with computers when connecting them together was
> something only Universities really did. In fact, I'd probably have spent
> even less time in college if it wasn't for the fact that I could access
> the internet when I was there.

Indeed. My sixth form college got internet access back in 94, and I recall 
spending more time in the one IT suite where internet access was possible 
than in lectures. I've just realised - back then, we had 20 machine being 
proxied through a linux box to share a single 28Kb/sec modem... cripes...

Paul Robinson

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