January 26, 2015

The World Wide Web

I was trying to think of a topic to write about, when the ever sensational Granny Annie delivered it right to my door step, in the form of a comment. To whit, she left this comment on last Friday's post:

I left the workplace in 2000. Believe it or not at least half of the workforce did not use email or even know what it was.

That particular comment provided the inspiration for today's post about the World Wide Web.

Most of my readers today and frankly, a whole generation of people (starting with my daughter's age) grew up with the advance technology that is the Internet: good search engines, texting, e-mails, instant messaging and in starting in the mid early 2000's, quality social media and hi-tech video games.

But there is an entire generation of people, starting in the neighborhood of my age (roughly 5+ years south of 49), who actually grew up not only in the pre-Internet age, but in the Internet childhood as well.

To whit: When I started working in an office environment in 1996, that was my first hardcore exposure not only to computers, but to the dawning of the Internet, e-mails, fax machines, etc. etc. etc. Back then, List Servs were the e-mail community of choice. Also, the e-mail system of choice back in the 1990's was something called Groupwise. However, by the early 2000's the e-mail system of choice was Outlook (and we all know how that is).

Anywho, back to the subject at hand, the World Wide Web.

When was a lad between the ages of my daughter and my son, my early experiences with computers mostly dealt with very cheesy games written in BASIC and doing simply programs in BASIC. COBOL was the language of choice for businesses, and we loaded up programs/games with 5 1/4" floppies and cassettes.

Fast forward to 1996.

In 1996, when I started working in the office environment, it was the dawn of the Internet age, so to speak. As I like to say, back in the day, the office technology went something like this for me:

1} There was no Internet Explorer to use when I first started working in the office environment (even though it came to life in 1995 with Windows 95), only Netscape.

2} E-mail was just starting to come to life as a tangible business medium, thus the telephone was still an important tool to use.

3} I used such dead programs as Firefox (the database system, not the browser), antique technology like the typewriter, and I had an ungodly/unwieldy chart of shortcuts to use for Word.

4} I had huge monstrosities for a computer. You know, the kind of computer where you needed two people to lift it.

5} Social media was non-existent, but we had fun tuning into different radio stations from around the world. While a co-worker's favorite during that time was an indie radio station WFMU 91.1, mine was either KTUH or Triple J. And our job would crackdown every so often due to overuse of bandwith elsewhere.

6} I became somewhat proficient at using a fax machine, the world's best spam machine.

And finally, unlike some of my peers, I never became a computer junkie, which is probably why I didn't start yelling at my work computer until 2006, when I moved to my current agency of non-choice. And when I say never became a computer junkie, I mean that I can dis-attach myself from it without suffering severe withdrawal symptoms.

Yes, my friends, I am an antiquity, in that not only am I the original MTV generation (MTV came to life in 1981), but I am also the original Internet generation.

God help us all.

(c) 2015 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.


  1. pre-internet age. You mean my childhood, young adulthood, and middle age? :)

  2. That's true - we are the MTV generation. I remember watching that very first video. Do you remember what it was?
    We had a computer in the early 90's, but I don't think we got online until the later 90's.

    1. The Buggles "Video Killed The Radio Star" featuring Trevor Horn on vocals.

      We still have my late father's old computer as it still contains stuff that we can't access on a normal computer (WordPerfect anyone?)

  3. Yes, it's amazing how computer technology has revolutionized the workplace (and our own home lives too) in the past 20 years. And it is still in its infancy, really.

    1. It has definitely revolutionized things, for both good and bad, depending on your point of view.

      At my job, my unit can become completely crippled if our chosen software program goes off-line for any length of time.

  4. A world without Internet Explorer? I yearn for that! Did you know it meets the definition of a virus?

    My former employee is getting married, and I realized not only did she grow up with cell phones and the internet, she is also old enough to drink.


    1. You know, that doesn't really surprise me.

      Now you know how I feel whenever I set up a new employee who is at the maximum 6 years removed from my high school graduation date (1983).

  5. Thanks for the shout out. Glad my question inspired this informative post. It is difficult for many to realize the rapid changes over such a relatively short time period.

    1. You are very welcome.

      Change sometimes is a good thing, but more often than not, wickedly aggravating.

  6. I was working at BellSouth when we got email back in the 90s - my boss mentioned at one point that she didn't know how we did business before we had it. "We talked to each other more, I guess." Yes - that's what we did.

    My current boss blasted me on an email while I was on vacation about something that I was blamed for, but was not my fault. I hate that kind of thing. I went into his office and talked to him about it and suggested in a nice way that he gather more info next time before saying "don't let this happen again!" I hate that kind of thing - it seems cowardly to me. But I printed out that email and left it hanging in my cubicle for a few months to remind me not to trust him. :)

    1. For me, work e-mail is the root of all evil, and the one thing that most gets me into trouble.

      I still use an e-mail that I wrote to someone in all caps that closed with the popular cliché, "do I make myself clear, crystal or otherwise" as an example on what not do when some irritates you for the umpteenth time with a different variation of the same question you've already answered a dozen times earlier.

  7. I remember programming my friend's dad's Vic 20. It was a rainy day, and we spent hours copying machine code from a paper manual onto the machine, where it was recorded on an audiotape. The fruit of our labours was a very lame asteroids-style game. Kids these days don't know how good they have it.

    1. I remember when my dad used to come home with very large (and very long) dot-matrix pictures that he would create on his computer.

      And yes, they don't know how good they got it.


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