The Olden Days of the Internet

Read this fun guest post from Ian.

It seems strange to consider the “olden days of the internet”. I mean, it’s younger than my children, who are in college! The whole concept, once novel and rare, is now so commonplace that most people avoid it! Here are some stories from the early internet.


Person typing on keyboard
License: Creative Commons Image Source

In the 1950s, the space age was well ant thriving. A message was sent between two laboratories over a computer program called ARPANet. Nerit Network, Tymnet, and NPL (in the UK) used various protocols throughout the 60s and70s, networking separate computers, forming a web. It was in 1982 that the TCP/IP for Internet protocol suite, and the concept of a “world-wide web” was proposed. It was in 1990 that the antiquated ARPANet was finally decommissioned.


The Disk Operating System, or DOS, was the first computer system available for ordinary people. This was the dawn of the personal computing age, and IBM made it to market first. The DOS screen was black, with lines of white code appearing down the length of the screen. That was in 1981. Microsoft Windows even got its start with the DOS systems, even through to the year 2000.

Electronic Mail

email logo
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While the new personal computers were making their appearances in the homes of gadget geeks, another feature made them more coveted than most toys. That feature was called electronic mail. No longer did you have to wait for a letter in the mail. No longer did you have to pay $1 a minute to call a loved one long distance. You could simply send them a typed message through the internet web, and they would receive it within minutes. That is, of course, if they were savvy enough to have an electronic mail account, or even a personal computer. Just as with any other “fad”, the slang terms became popular, and electronic mail became “email”, and personal computer became “PC”. Those of us from an older generation had to distinguish between a computer and the most common form of social censorship, political correctness.

One of the most exciting sounds in the world on AOL was the email notification, with the announcement “You’ve got mail.” Now, we turn off the notification, and delete spam immediately.

Perhaps one of the oldest websites online is Warner Brothers’ “Space Jam” which can be found here This long-lived website promoting the 1996 movie has been on the internet for nearly 20 years. That’s like 75 in dog years.


While I went to the new-fangled computer labs at university (this is in 1986) to type up my master’s thesis, marveling at the fact that I didn’t need erasable typing paper, gamers were making their own use of PCs. It’s probably likely that the gamers are actually the ones that fueled the PC mania that is now translated to everyday life.

Each high school graduate needs a PC, laptop, or iPad for graduation. How can they attend college without one? Internet has come a long way.

Ian Zader loves to talk about the internet, new developments and gadgets. You can also find him working at an Exeter website design company.



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