Wires & Tubes & Pangloss in Second Life

Pangloss (moderate)

Once upon a time, back before there was a World Wide Web, before something called Netscape was introduced, when companies like AOL tried to convince people to use their walled garden type of access, there were many stubborn innocents ignoring the piles of floppy disks arriving in the mail (physical spam) and exploring the wonders of the internet.

Pangloss (moderate)

With the benefit of hindsight we can recognize the difficulties we experienced along with the great excitement. There were never ending conversations with friends and family trying to explain why gaining access to something on a computer on the far side of the world was a “good thing”. They’ve probably forgotten their resistance now.

We used applications like Fetch and Gopher, and heard of new material being available at universities and museums from friends on Bulletin Boards. The toy was bright and shiny and wonderous.

Pangloss (moderate)

Internet Service Providers sprang up like fields of mushrooms, often with only 2 or 3 employees (with one devoted to coming to your house to install this modem thingie and show you how to dial-up).

Access was often problematic, even when that modem sound seemed normal. We joke today about blowing down the wires to clear them out and running out into the street, arms waving, telling people to “get off, I’m transferring a file”. Mostly we remember the feeling of the potential of this extraordinary joint venture in which we were engaged.

Pangloss (moderate)

I thought at the time that my visions for the future of the “electronic age” were probably overly-enthusiastic. But I didn’t care.

If I’d known that someday I could relax on a hammock high in the air, or have a close encounter with a giant blue sea turtle, I would have placed some bets with the doubters and made a killing. Go see this sim and be very thankful for those early pioneers – what we have is just magical.

Pangloss (moderate)
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7 Comments

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