Now that I’ve been accepted, and I’m actually going through with it to get back to school, I was pondering the things that have changed since I was last in school. And there are a lot of things! Like email, the internet, cell phones, all kinds of crazy stuff that I take for granted now. I mean wow, things were totally different back then! I look back on the computer science course I took my freshman year, for instance, and that’s just crazy.
When I started at Bowling Green back in 1993, there was no internet or anything to really speak of. I mean there was, but boy was it different. We had a couple of computer labs that I recall. I believe we must have been using Unix back then. I’m not completely sure, but I remember typing commands to do anything. I was in one of the first groups of students to get email. Now for the first couple years, they didn’t just give you an email address. You had to apply, explain why you needed one, etc. I got my first email address…. I can’t completely remember it now, but I remember it was andy. something @ andy . something. I don’t recall if it was dot com, dot edu, etc. It wasn’t until my senior year that everyone got the now normal bgsu dot edu emails.
I can also remember the extent of the internet that I knew about. Chat room type things. I can recall the two places I hung around on the web. A place called foothills, and another place called surfers. It was just big chat rooms. But it was kind of like one of those old text adventure games, like Planet of the Robots or Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. You were able to make your own little rooms with text descriptions. They were connected to the main gathering room. Your rooms could be private or public. And you walked around through peoples rooms, or hung out in the main area, and chatted. That was it.
And the internet for school work? Non-existent. There was no reason to try to find anything useful on the net, all you would find was porn. I even get excited about registering for classes. I can do that on the internet. When I first got to BGSU, you registered by phone. I don’t know how many phone lines they had reserved for this, but when 17000 people would try to register it was chaos. It would take at least 4 hours to connect to the system. My first year, I had to do this manually. We got smart my second year. My roommate had a computer in the room. We could connect the modem in and have it do auto redial. Turn up the volume on the modem and let it go. When you finally heard the system connect you would run over and grab the phone and be good to go!
I also recall writing my papers. Before the computer labs got useful (more than 8 computers) I had an old Brother word processor. It was a fancy one, it had a spreadsheet program too. And it could save to disk, do spellcheck, etc. But I would type my entire paper on this thing (some were 25-50 pages) and then have to print it. There was no paper feed or anything. And it was just a typewriter style printer. So I would have to sit there and wait for the typewriter to print each page, and drop in the next blank page. And I got maybe 100 pages out of one printer ribbon, so I constantly had to replace those, and they were expensive!
So yeah, in the end, I’m pretty excited. I mean from going to school where the internet didn’t exist, to going to school on the internet! This is going to be interesting. I won’t even know the extent of how different ot will be until I’m doing it though!