Hello to internet friend Angeldust, who starts at university today as a mature student. How she’ll cope with having to be mature, I really have no idea.
It reminded me, though, that it’s ten years this month since I started at university myself. Ten years, and it feels like no time at all. It certainly doesn’t feel like I’ve grown up at all in that time, although I almost certainly have without realising it. And ten years since starting university also means ten years since I got my first email address, and ten years since I first went on the web,* using university public labs with Apple Macs running Mac OS 7.5. I did even, occasionally in that first year or so, browse the web in black and white, because some of the university Macs only had monochrome screens. It wasn’t very impressive, partly because given the state of the university computer network at the time, the effective download speed in a busy lab was about the same as the 56k home dialup connections which were starting to appear around then too.
I didn’t get my own PC until I was in my second year at university, and didn’t get internet access until late in that year. Even when I did, the university was my ISP – I applied for, and was given, access to one of the university dial-in lines, available to any student who was good enough at navigating the university bureaucracy to find and fill in the right form. Somehow I doubt that universities offer that service now – but, then again, offering full network access to hall bedrooms was unheard of ten years ago too.
It really doesn’t feel like ten years that I’ve been on the net – but then again, I couldn’t imagine life without it now. In the past ten years, it’s gone from being exotic and new, to being an everyday part of life.
* Using Pegasus Mail over a Netware network for email, and Netscape Navigator 2 for the web