Hello one and all, and welcome back to my little corner of the web!
So it’s time for the ever-exciting Seriously Geeky Sundays once more, designed and put forth into this world by Heather of Just Geeking By, probably the best person at supplying 6 weekly questions based on interesting themes in the world!
Today I’m going full old man, as we take a trip down memory lane, to when young Winst0lf first met… the internet!
Way back in 1989 on March 12th Sir Timothy Berners-Lee invented the internet. We all started our journey on the World Wide Web at different times, and while we’ve each had unique experiences we’ve all ended up in the same place; right here reading these prompts! Join in celebrating the anniversary of the internet by sharing your answers this week
Question 1 – When did you first start using the internet?
Time for me to show my age again then!
My first forays into the mindblowing world of the internet would have been in 1996/1997, when a fresh-faced, nerdy little teenager dared to go into a classroom outside of lesson time in high school, to sit before that most sacred of machines… the PC that was hooked up to the ‘net! There were 60 other machines in there, with floppy drives (and the mice even had rubber balls), but at this point only one, sacred PC had the internet access! It would be another couple of years, I think, before we go it at home, courtesy of a Freeserve internet CD-ROM (that sounds ancient, doesn’t it), so that single computer was my gateway to the world!
Also worth mentioning that the filter had blocked somebody from trying to access the Playboy website, which was stuck perpetually in the browser history. Our teacher later admitted that he had tried to search for it, to “test the filter”. Yeah, alright Mr. Cartledge, we believe you.
Question 2 – What nostalgic things do you remember from your early days of the internet?
JPEGs! The first time you could download a picture, just make it appear on your PC, that was mental! My high school user account was ram packed with images of Tekken characters, stuff from Final Fantasy VII, all sorts! Myself and a friend also filled floppy disks (that’s 3.5mb, youngsters) with MIDI files from video games! Why? I’ll tell you later.
There were also forums, where other people who liked the things you liked would chat with you in posts! Wait, what, there were more than two people on earth who liked Oddworld? No way!
And, once the internet landed in the home… that famous 56k dialup tone! Krrrrrzzzttt OOOooOOOeeOOH…
Question 3 – How long have you been blogging?
I have been writing in the ole blogging world since the autumn of 2018.
I made this site some months before, but had no idea what to do with it. I wrote a few (naff) articles early on, but was never really happy with them. Thankfully, my blog did help me to accomplish an amazing thing around that time, it allowed me to become a contributor for The Well Red Mage, a gaming website which specialized in solidly written video game critique that avoided clickbait and all of the other foul nonsense that pervades game journalism these days.
With their help, I was inspired to reboot my blog, trash the existing articles and start anew. I tried many things early on, but once Covid hit my inspiration took a nosedive. Thankfully, friends I had made along the way came to the rescue, and with the help of Heather and many others, my little site ticks over happily to this day.
So thanks, everyone!
Question 4 – Did you ever belong to any online fan clubs or message boards?
Early on, definitely! I was all over fan forums for various video games, in the golden era of the PS1. Sure, my favourite magazine PowerStation was still going, but forums offered something alongside it… you could talk to other people! Be they from the USA, Germany or even China, there were always new folk to share my hobby/obsession with!
Since then, I’ve not really been into them. Whilst I’m honoured to be in several looser, unofficial groups here on the interwebs, I’ve never been back to the fan club world!
Question 5 – What are your favourite sites on the internet?
Well, it’s going through some changes at present, but The Well Red Mage, my introduction to the world of writing, is always recommended to anyone who likes intelligent games writing.
I used to use Facebook, but I really went off that site when most of my family moved onto it (hi there, racist aunties) so I ended up jumping over to Twitter. There’s a lot of nasty people there too, but somehow I have managed to evade them!
There are also a boatload of amazing blogs that I follow on the internet, thanks to the friends I’ve mad writing posts like this very one. Of course there is Just Geeking By, the excellent Shoot the Rookie, Pinkie’s Paradise, Ace Asunder and the mighty Ospreyshire, as well as many others. I massively recommend checking these lovely folks out!
(would have actually linked to them, but WordPress keeps going mental when I try to… stupid WordPress!)
Question 6 – Do you have any geeky online stores to share with us?
To be honest, not really!
But I did misread it as “online stories”, and I do have one of those, so let me tell you all about…
The Year 11 MIDI Files Dealer!
That’s right, a friend and I stumbled upon quite the racket in high school, filling floppy disks with MIDI files of popular songs and… selling them! For 50p a pop!
That’s right, there were muppets in our year who would pay for a chiptune version of Pretty Fly For a White Guy or Dancing In the Moonlight to be popped onto their school Windows account, we had quite the lucrative trade and got a lot of food and drinks from the shop after school with the proceeds!
I will also add that we had a more… risky sideline as well. for £5 you could get a floppy disk with… er… softcore imagery on it, let’s say! We were Pornhub before it became cool! Am I proud? Not really!
And on that… er… bombshell, let us say farewell! As always, I highly urge you to check out all of the excellent writers posting under the #SeriouslyGeekySundays hashtag, they’re all amazing writers and I can’t recommend them enough!
See you all next week friends!