I started on Bulletin Board Systems back in the earlier 90s, shortly after I learned of the Internet but it wasn't till about the mid 90s that I had an ISP I could connect to the internet with. My earliest email that I still have in a folder from a web based emailing system, is from '97! That is well after my first email client, I used to have my emails sent through a pop account through my ISP cybertours - email wasn't always a service provide by the web. Web based email was a luxury item that came later, and now is mostly just considered an unnecessary relic. It is funny, yet sad, to think that was 24 years ago now. Nearly quarter a century ago.. I was using computers well before the Internet or BBSs though. I remember playing around with computers back in the 80s, and even back then they were considered to be sophisticated.. back in the 80s I would hear stories about how computers used to take up entire rooms
My first experience with the Internet, was with a company called CyberTours which was located in Kennebunk Maine - I connected to it through a 9600 baud modem I think. They gave me a few floppy disks containing Netscape 2.2 (it was a long time ago).. I couldn't connect directly though it though, even though there was a dialer, because I needed winsock to deal with TCP/IP at the time. Just dialing into an ISP was not enough for setups like mine. That is not to mention, back then - you had to deal with IRQ ports.. you had to physically hit switches on your hardware to ensure whatever IRQs you were using, did not interupt others.. a modem using the same IRQ as a mouse would just simply not work, lol. I downloaded Trumpet through a BBS, for my winsock needs, and found my way on to the Internet. Things were not so easy back then, you actually had to **** around with things unless you wanted to spend a ton of money on the mainstream services that did everything for you, on top of a long distance bill. Fortunately, back then I was already familiar with local BBSs and found a plethora of information, and had the know how to get **** done. I think back then, it was less than $20USD a month for the internet access, but you also had to have a phone line so it came out to more. I actually paid for a separate phone line at my parent's house, just because I did not want to get disconnected.
Internet speed went up drastically in the 90s over the phone line, 9600 was quickly replaced by 14.4k modems, which I got, then I skipped over the 19.6k modem to the 28k modem, and shortly after was the 56k modem which was to me lightening fast, I had considered at the time getting another line - 2 56k modems.. this was all still in the 90s mind you.. ISDN was like a wetdream when you considered the speed. Timer Warner hit our county, just shortly after I moved out of Maine, and I tell you, I was jealous! By the year 2000 we were seeing Internet speeds that were unimaginable to me, it was really spectacular.
To be quite frank, for all that the Internet provides us with today, which is quite significant, surfing the web in the 90s was a vastly superior experience. I doubt most people even understand what browsing the web is today, if they have joined up in the past decade or so - the popular search engines don't really let you surf, the waves just aren't there. The web is not what it used to be, not even close, although there is still a lot of fun to be found on the Internet.
The thing is, the web has become a haven for the very same people I used to try to escape from, they have taken over the place, and yes, I am bitter about that. These are the kinds of people, that think it is fun to treat others like ****, yet carry with them a persecution complex because others don't agree with them.. They also occupied a lot of games. It wasn't enough that they had the real world, they had to take a hold of the Internet as well, the ****ing dicks. The funny thing is, they consider people like me "normies". I've moved on from web now, it is filled with their foolery. (grrrr, angry face) Thankfully, there are less accessible areas, that require a bit of effort and desire, where climbing over others on a social ladder means jack squat. The web used to be a place for social misfits, it is a place we felt we belonged, until it became popular.
Now in 2021, it is kind of funny to talk about this ****. There is an extensive history out there, one that I am ill equipped to explain unfortunately. I am happy to have seen the beginnings of it, and would gladly go back to experience it all over again. For many people, the Internet is like color TV was for me, it is just something to take for granted. I think it had far more influence than TV ever did though.