Happy 20th Anniversary, Internet!
January 1, 2003 1:43 AM   Subscribe

Happy 20th Anniversary, Internet!

We ought not to let pass unnoticed the... 20th anniversary of the Internet. The most logical date of origin of the Internet is January 1, 1983, when the ARPANET officially switched from the NCP protocol to TCP/IP.

Where were you two decades ago on this date? And does anyone actually have a "I Survived the TCP/IP Transition" t-shirt?

Also being discussed on /.
posted by tenseone (35 comments total)
20 years ago today...high school junior, Spokane, WA...had no clue about computers, ARPA, or anything else tech-related, other than "War Games"-type computers, with room-size boxes and whirring tapes and flashing lights. Fast-forward to Dec 31, 2002: I love the internet, and can't imagine a world without it.

But how will the internet blow out the candles on his (her?) cake?
posted by davidmsc at 1:50 AM on January 1, 2003

I didn't exist. I have shared my whole life with TCP/IP, that cold and fickle maiden.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 4:03 AM on January 1, 2003

So TCP/IP is female to you?

Hm. I've always visualized it as a dapper fellow turned out in a full tux, looking rather like The Thin Man, or Fred Astaire.

I have no idea why.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 4:34 AM on January 1, 2003

TCP/IP is surely as womanly as the ocean.

posted by Pretty_Generic at 4:59 AM on January 1, 2003

No, no, the ocean is an old man with a flowing beard and a great booming laugh.

France is womanly. So is Belgium.

The moon is a rabbit, of undetermined sex, which pounds the mochi.

Happy New Year!
posted by Slithy_Tove at 6:15 AM on January 1, 2003

What I want to know is, does anyone remember how we wasted time before the Internet?
posted by mojohand at 7:39 AM on January 1, 2003

Ms. Pac Man
posted by dchase at 7:50 AM on January 1, 2003

posted by jennyb at 9:18 AM on January 1, 2003

Free Cell?
posted by jennyb at 9:19 AM on January 1, 2003

I, like Pretty_Generic, did not exist 20 years ago.

Doesn't really matter though, because I didn't realize computers and the internet existed until I was 8 and we got our first computer complete with a 486 intel processor, AOL 3, a 14.4k modem and Windows 3.1. I thought the AOL 13-and-under chatrooms were the full extent of the internet.
posted by puffin at 9:38 AM on January 1, 2003

i also, did not exist yet.
posted by sixtwenty3dc at 9:44 AM on January 1, 2003

I was actually using the arpanet. I would email dirty jokes from the west coast (my email address was reed@su-sierra.arpa) to my sister at ARPA in Arlington. She would pass them on to my father, who was convinced (he had been in military intelligence and worked for the CIA) he would lose his pension over our gross misuse of secret defense technology. That didn't stop him from laughing at the jokes.
posted by Wet Spot at 10:03 AM on January 1, 2003

I would have been one year away from my high school computer science class in '83, where we would play with Apple 2es and puzzle over Pascal and Basic.

You people who didn't exist 20 years ago? You suck.
posted by rushmc at 10:09 AM on January 1, 2003

The internet is nearly exactly as old as I am. We are like twins.
posted by romanb at 10:12 AM on January 1, 2003

At this point in time, I was almost (but not quite) a twinkle in my father's eye.
posted by dgt at 10:24 AM on January 1, 2003

Twenty years ago, I was twelve years old and playing with my first computer. A year later, my father gave me a 300-baud modem, and my world changed. I've been online since then. I love the net.
posted by swerve at 10:52 AM on January 1, 2003

I was home for the holidays from my freshman year of college. I hated my college and was very very homesick and also suffered intensely from unrequited love. I spent most of my time in my dorm room reading and watching reruns on a little black and white tv. My only computing experience had been BASIC classes 4 years earlier in junior high, where we dialed into the county's mainframe from dumb terminals and learned to do things like program the computer to draw ASCII pictures or do for/next loops. And played a lot of Oregon Trail.

Oh, and what rushmc said.
posted by JanetLand at 11:15 AM on January 1, 2003

oregon trail!!! i haven't thought about that in forever.

i was seven, and coding in i don't even remember what language, on a TI hooked up to the spare tv out on the sun porch, making a green inchworm move across a pink screen.

then i fell out of it until after college, when i bought my first computer and whiled away many lonely winter nights in maine realizing there was more to the internet than the old prism bbs on which i used to while away many lonely winter nights in college. what's this yahoo thing? a search engine? how neat.

i wish somebody had encouraged me to stick with it when i was little. i envy my little sisters' generations. (22, 17, and 14 years old.) and yet, in many ways, i don't.
posted by damn yankee at 11:36 AM on January 1, 2003

Can't resist. In University, second year linguistics, scraping up money to go meet my boyfriend in Europe the next summer. I had just had the extraordinary experience of having him call me over the holidays from Sudan, where the conversation was stilted by having to wait through the three second time lag while our words were transmitted back and forth by undersea cable. Computers to me were those pointless punch cards we had to fill in as an exercise in Grade 10 Math. Cool technology was video, or the synthesizers used by Orchestral Maneouvers in the Dark or the vocal modifications in Laurie Anderson's spoken meditations, and answering machines (and Sony Walkmans) were considered a sign of social breakdown, as they allowed you to avoid talking to people. Finding out about cool music was a matter of word of mouth in a way that just doesn't exist anymore; it often depended on who you knew, and what was in their record collection. It was the age of photocopied fanzines. I was nine years away from even hearing about the net.
posted by jokeefe at 12:59 PM on January 1, 2003

On January 1, 1983 I was probably busy playing with my brand new ColecoVision. That large power supply brick got pretty hot.
posted by gluechunk at 2:53 PM on January 1, 2003

I was playing Dungeons & Dragons. I played UFO on my Magnavox Oddessy and a TRS 80. I was learning how to do art.

I was also depressed a lot and contemplating suicide.

Damn. I'm glad I made it to adulthood. Life did get better.
posted by moonbiter at 3:25 PM on January 1, 2003

I was playing Dungeons & Dragons. I played UFO on my Magnavox Oddessy and tried to learn BASIC on a TRS 80. I was learning how to do art.

I was also depressed a lot and contemplating suicide.

Damn. I'm glad I made it to adulthood. Life did get better.
posted by moonbiter at 3:25 PM on January 1, 2003

Damn. And I just double posted. Sorry about that.
posted by moonbiter at 3:26 PM on January 1, 2003

6th grade, first French kiss. By the time I sent my first email in 1991, I had made it past first base. Progress!
posted by aeiou at 4:14 PM on January 1, 2003

I was playing Hunt the Wumpus on my TI. That Wumpus is still out there, somewhere, so watch your backs.
posted by homunculus at 5:06 PM on January 1, 2003

IIRC I was hunched over my first computer, (Sinclair ZX Spectrum,) writing my first game (a Donkey-Kong clone), after suffering a massive dissapointment with my first video-game as present (a bad to the point of not actually working, Donkey Kong clone).

I don't think I came into contact with the Internet for another four and a half years., although I did have a brief fling with a bulletin board.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 5:43 PM on January 1, 2003

Hmm, I was probably learning logo aournd then.
posted by Hackworth at 6:21 PM on January 1, 2003

I was eight years old...the same year my father died. my mother said once that he was getting into computers right before he died - he'd been a radio tech in the Air Force, and worked for the phone company.


but I do seem to remember that we got a VCR and maybe an Atari for Christmas '82.

(and I'll second rushmc, et al as regards to you younguns.)
posted by epersonae at 7:19 PM on January 1, 2003

Twenty years ago I was somewhere in my second trimester as a fetus. I remember my first experience with the Internet: early 90s, I think, I discovered that there was some kind of weird FIDOnet/e-mail gateway that I could access through a local BBS. I sent a test e-mail out and promptly got back an angry message from some man I'd never heard of (in fact the administrator of the gateway) berating me for wasting bandwidth with test e-mails. This is probably why I spent the next several years writing rants distributed (in the loosest sense of the word) via BBSs on the evils of the Internet, the Web, Windows, GUIs, etc., and the inherent goodness of the DOS-based BBS.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 8:31 PM on January 1, 2003

I was a couple months from conception. I never had the net at home until shortly after AOL began offering unlimited access for a flat monthly fee. But I remember in 5th grade when my best friend drew a :) on a piece of paper and explained that that's how people make smiley faces on the internet and how it's the coolest thing ever.
posted by katieinshoes at 10:01 PM on January 1, 2003

Twenty years ago I was ten. I believe we had a Commodore Vic 20 in the family at that time and were playing and sharing pirated games with others in the computer club my dad went to. Years later Dad would get the Commodore 128 and a modem and we would BBS for the first time.
posted by wobh at 6:03 AM on January 2, 2003

I was also ten. I did not have a computer, but a friend had one that you hooked up to the TV and could write little programs for that would make clever things like "Beth* is a dork!" scroll down the screen. I thought it was of dubious benefit and was more impressed by Beth's boom box, which had two cassette decks.

I didn't bother with the internet until a couple years after I graduated from college when I found myself living at home with my parents, bored stupid and cut off from my friends, with no direction in life, working at the same pizza place where I worked when I was in high school. I got a Hotmail account and found an Urge Overkill message board and was able to hang in until I could move away again.

*Beth was the name of the friend with the computer.
posted by jennyb at 7:09 AM on January 2, 2003

Twenty years ago I was three, having just finished my terrible twos, during which I managed to destroy several of my father's keyboards with juice, milk, and any other liquid I could get my hands on (and pry the top off).
posted by Kellydamnit at 7:57 AM on January 2, 2003

I was basically just entering my third trimester as a fetus, and therefore unable to use computers.

Which means that the internet and I share a birth year and also that I'll be 20 soon. I feel old. And young.
posted by SoftRain at 9:19 AM on January 2, 2003

Twenty years ago I was writing my junior high essays with WordStar on my dad's Osborne 1 and counting the days until cable, glorious cable TV came to town.

Although we never had a modem back in those days, my pop used to get me some games programs from the local monthly Osborne Users Group meetings. Mmmm...ASCII-based Pac-man...
posted by Guy Smiley at 4:08 PM on January 2, 2003

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