Celebrating twenty years of Internet access

Celebrating twenty years of Internet access

In the final edit of the Story of my Human Experience it will be duly noted the one most profound change in day to day living, the one thing that was the most instrumental in transforming me from being a mostly unaware product of 20th Century norms to an enlightened and forward looking techno-savvy user of 21st Century technology is the advent of the Internet.  Yes, the World Wide Web and my access to it transformed my life in ways I never dreamed it could.  Indeed, it provided me a means to obtain necessary information to make life changing informed decisions.  If ever there was one basic key factor in my life that defines me as a 21st Century adult it is the Internet.

I must admit that during the 1994 Super Bowl, the obtuse ads that outfits like MCI were airing were so perplexing that I had no clue as to what they were talking about.  Information Super Highway?  There is no more “there.”  “There” is here.  WTF?  I sort of got the message something was coming but I honestly had no real idea what to expect.  I had purchased a new desktop computer which was equipped with a device called a modem, but I really didn’t know anything about its full potential.

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In December 1995 I arrived at the last duty station of my active naval career, that being Naval Hospital Lemoore, CA located on the Lemoore Naval Air Station.  NAS Lemoore is seven miles west of the town of Lemoore and some 30 miles south of the city of Fresno.  For being a stateside assignment it is relatively isolated relative to other shore stations at which I had previously been stationed.  I lived on station in the bachelor officers quarters and there was not much to do.  Getting the lowdown on the latest new technology hobby from some of the people there was like absorbing information by osmosis.  Soon after settling in I made the decision to put some of the recently purchased technology to use.  It was twenty years ago yesterday I first paid a fee to access an Internet server and logged online for the first time.  It was twenty years ago today I first logged onto the World Wide Web with purpose via the King’s Internet (kingsnet.com) server.

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Here is what I have written in my personal journal regarding my initial Internet experience:

9 January 1996, Tuesday:  “….I drove out to the office of the local online service provider, Kings Internet or Kingsnet as it is called, is located in Armona in the end of a garlic processing warehouse.  I paid $24 a month for unlimited access.  I got the address of this place from Barry Jones. …….I cranked up the computer later on and started to learn my way around the Internet.  Got connected to Sooner Central, the OU sportsnet.  I am enthusiastic about seeing what the Internet can offer.” 

10 January 1996, Wednesday:  “….Got up on the Internet and browsed the OU sportsnet tonight. …Its easier for me at times like this to feel myself slipping into the future.” 

Slip, slide and totally sucked into the future is in fact what happened.  What occurred to me in those following weeks and months underscores in no uncertain terms the credo of our life and times:

In the age of information, ignorance is a choice!

It cannot possibly be more plain spoken.  Within four months time I had found all the information I required to make a deep personal decision on whether to stay or leave a religious organization, and I left it.  I also found ways to locate continuing education materials and more than anything I had found a connection with other like minded folks, particularly Oklahoma Sooner fans online.  I am proud to have been a founding member of an informal group of OU Football Chat regulars known as the OU Superfans of the Internet.  By the way, we still exist.

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My life along with the rest of the World really took off into the information age upon my gaining access to the WWW twenty years ago.  It truly has taken me places in my mind, in my heart and soul and even in my career I could not have imagined a year before it happened.  Affording the average person the opportunity and wherewithal to access the World Wide Web will likely be noted by many historians as the most revolutionary advent of the late 20th and 21st Century in terms of its impact on individual lives.  Well, it most certainly will by this historian.  I simply cannot imagine my life or the lives of so many people I know without it.  I am sure many will sympathize with that statement.  Seriously, can anyone reading this imagine their life without e-mail, social media or online commerce?  Welcome to our future and the facilitation of change.

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1 Comment

  1. Tom
    Jan 10, 2016

    Similar to my own experience, although I bought a Mac Plus in 1986, got access to the internet at work around 1994 (remember Telnet, Gopher, Mosaic, Veronica, WAIS, Archie and Usenet?) and then got a modem and connected to AOL and COMPUSERVE at home soon after. Who knew how it would change things, or how commercialized it would eventually become! Sadly I stopped keeping a regular journal in early 1990 and so can’t pin down the date I got online at home, but it was very likely in 1994.