Online Experiences

Before AOL there were a few network providers such as Prodigy and Compuserve. I subscribed to one or two of these services but also discovered all the individual Bulletin Board systems that grew and died like a game of Life. I had gotten my first Apple II in 1977 and one of the early additions I made to it was a 300 baud modem—it was state of the art at the time. I was so pleased I even started my own BBS which ran for some time, one user at a time, 300 baud, all text. Eventually the IBM PC was introduced and I had a brief fling with that architecture. The only outcome was that I decided I had to port my BBS over to the newer architecture, got frustrated, and gave up the BBS completely in a fit of piqué.

Well, as the years went on, the computers (now all Apple Macintosh) got bigger and faster, and my communications devices got faster and more versatile. I went from 300 Baud to 1200 Baud and then up the scale to 56 KBPS and eventually ISDN, DSL, and a cable connection to what was growing as the World Wide Web. Today I believe I am running a 150 MB connection over the cable network. My first browsers were strictly text but commercial uses of the network were restricted and there was no need for flashy full-color advertisements … there wasn’t even any Internet Porn!

In the mid-1990s Local Area Networking became common and I wired my home much like I had wired my office. I should say that by this time I was managing or directing a significant data communications world at TPC so I was gaining vast experience in the commercial world which I could easily translate into my personal world. One technology that we couldn’t use at work because of possible RFI interference with the switching equipment was wireless; needless to say, I was right on top of wireless for home use and have maintained a wireless LAN connection to a high-speed WAN over cable networking since the 1990s when the technologies first became available.

Today my wireless world is expanding constantly and with the imaginative ideas and technologies constantly being introduced by Apple, I expect it to grow further. Today in my little house I have three Macintosh computers, two printers, an iPod, an iPad, three Internet radios and alarm clocks, a Blue Ray with significant storage, and at least six terabytes of secondary storage, all accessible on a wireless network and much of it accessible remotely from other WIFI sites. Now I have added the iPhone 6 Plus and I literally have access to my data and online servers wherever I go. It makes phone calls too. All this and I live alone … go figure.

Times have changed. I now live in two rooms of my daughter’s house in Florida, no TV but a very fast internet connection. Although I still have several of the old MacBooks and iPads, I’ve simplified and am now fairly up-to-date with a fast and sleek 27″ Mac, a nice iPad Pro, and a workhorse iPhone 11 Plus. I did away with the internet radios, using the iPhone to lull me to sleep at night and the iPad with its keyboard easily replaced the aging MacBooks. The only other technology I own is two Amazon Echos; but truthfully, although occasionally convenient, I seldom use them.

When I first moved in to my daughter’s house I envisioned fully automating my retired-man cave. Thus the original Echo. But the reality is that I only have one lamp which stays on 24/7 for safety (I wobble) so I don’t even need The Clapper. Also, I haven’t worn a watch since 2001 so no Apple Watch on my wrist. I do, however, insist on a fine Swiss espresso maker to keep my caffeine in balance.

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