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'I sent my first email 20 years ago, to a girl, obviously – you?' blog discussion

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'I sent my first email 20 years ago, to a girl, obviously – you?' blog discussion

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This is the discussion to link on the back of Martin's blog. Please read the blog first, as this discussion follows it.




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  • lindenslindens Forumite
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    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
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    I first got online in 1997 when i bought my first Windows PC . i remember when the modem connected me and i sat there staring at the blank "window to the world" web page thinking "what shall i do first?" i think i went to the BBC web page
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  • Double_VDouble_V Forumite
    912 posts
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    1995 I went online.
    Alta Vista or other similar sites.

    Should have started something back then. And by this time it would have made me a fortune. :(
  • zerogzerog Forumite
    2.5K posts
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    I first went online when my family business invested in a company that was laying an undersea cable from Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur.
  • EctophileEctophile Forumite
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    I would have sent my first email some time around 1985 or 1986, at university.

    There wasn't even an Internet in those days. All the UK universities were on JANET. If you wanted to send email to someone on a different network, you had to find the details of a gateway computer, and route it through that.
    If it sticks, force it.
    If it breaks, well it wasn't working right anyway.
  • bylromarhabylromarha Forumite
    10.1K posts
    I've been Money Tipped!
    1995 for me too. October, 1st year of uni. I emailed a friend who'd gone to another uni. Couldn't quite believe I could type a message, and if my friend was sitting in front of a computer with their email account open, I could get a reply from them within 10 minutes.
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  • jamesdjamesd Forumite
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    I'm not sure about my first email but my first instant message was in late 1983 on a Vax minicomputer to a pretty female student in the same computer room. It exploited the graphics features of the terminals to show a smile on her screen.

    My first heavy use started in around 1993-94 when I got a modem to experiment then discovered the forums on a major online service, eventually having the management contract for one of them. Experience there helped me to greatly improve my ability to communicate effectively.

    Since then I've done things like helping to run one of the world's biggest web sites that just about everyone here uses and am now working on software that's behind most web sites, including MSE. I'd probably be the national expert in what I do in more than half of the countries on the planet and hold my own very well in all of them.

    I got curious about computers in the summer between ending high school and starting university, reading a book on the fortran programming language that my father had left at home. That led to me asking for an account on the university mainframe a year earlier than usual. By the middle of the second year when a security person there asked me to run a job at higher than normal priority in a specific way I could instead show him that the operators had let me run a job that would tell me the master password for the mainframe .. or any and every other account indirectly. That was the one time I saw him run... out of his office somewhere... :)
  • rdonerdone Forumite
    485 posts
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    I think it was early 1998 when I was 7. It was just after we'd moved into a new house and the PC was on the landing next to my bedroom. I felt super special that I got to sleep closest to it!

    We had freeserve dial up and the first email went to my uncle who lived about 5 miles down the road. I then phoned him to tell him and ask him to email me back. Yes having to disconnect and reconnect in-between!

    I also remember ringing around all of my friends to ask if they had email addresses as I was so excited - no such luck though.

    I stared at that screen for hours waiting for an email and then would reply immediately. I say hours. It probably wasn't as I was 7. Plus how would someone have been able to phone me to tell me an email had been sent!
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  • nomoneytodaynomoneytoday Forumite
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    Another Janet user, as well as Prestel and Compuserve in their day :)
  • arisaris Forumite
    313 posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts
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    1987 or 1988 - for "Internet" mail - many of which had the .UUCP domain (long defunct I would have thought). There were BBS's way before that - but you could only mail users on the same machine before FidoNet came along.
  • konarkkonark Forumite
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    What a smug self-congratulating set of early-adopters you are,
    " I used the internet before it was invented!" indeed.

    I also was on JANET at Uni, but it must have been a different girl.
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