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Old 09-26-2008, 09:02 PM   #1
ElyseC
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Default CIS, 1st of its kind, "born" 24 Sept. 1979

I happened to glance at one of those "this date in history" features in a newspaper from two days back and one of the items was that September 24, 1979 was when Compuserve began, the first online information service.

I don't think I have ever before known a specific date for it, just the year.

Just thought I'd mention it since if it wasn't for that grandaddy of all online services we wouldn't be here today.

   
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Old 09-26-2008, 10:30 PM   #2
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I happened to glance at one of those "this date in history" features in a newspaper from two days back and one of the items was that September 24, 1979 was when Compuserve began, the first online information service.

I don't think I have ever before known a specific date for it, just the year.

Just thought I'd mention it since if it wasn't for that grandaddy of all online services we wouldn't be here today.
I was a latecomer - didn't join until 1987!

   
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Old 09-27-2008, 07:25 AM   #3
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That is interesting.

I was thinking that CompuServe was second, after the Source (which I joined first), but it too claims to have been founded in 1979, so wasn’t much earlier, if at all. (And CIS bought it in 1989.)

I joined the Source in early 1982 and CIS shortly thereafter, mainly because all my pals in the Apple II user group were on CIS — and I needed lots of help with using a modem at that point. Even though CIS was basically a TRS-80 service in those days, Apple users huddled there as well. At one point the Apple group became MAUG (not sure exactly when, but definitely pre-Mac). I used a 300-baud external modem and paid $6/hour, with no offline reader. CIS had a really basic ASCII text editor (LIRCH? some ugly name like that). And the file management system from hell. Those were the days!

I also thought that the WELL predated CompuServe, but apparently not — it is now owned by Salon (!!), which dates its beginning in 1985. I joined that too, maybe in 1986 — it was founded by people from The Whole Earth Catalog, focusing on the arts (visual and verbal).

I guess GEnie came later; that was a real dog, but I joined it for a while in 1986 (think it began the year before). There was also the precursor to AOL, owned by Apple for Mac users.

And Delphi, launched in 1982, probably the only online service I never belonged to. It has transmogrified into Prospero, which is the service that current CompuServe is based on.

There was one other that I semi-remember as being associated with Scientific American; I cannot remember its name (it was techie-sounding).

Interesting to realize that Usenet also began in 1979. Busy year for online services. (In fact, I don’t think that local bulletin board services were developed much before then. Now those were hard to use. Our club tried to set one up, and I remember the teeth-gnashing and foul language that engendered!

Interesting resource for checking dates and reminiscing: Computer Hope timeline. Go to Home for other features; very interesting site.

   
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Old 09-27-2008, 08:12 AM   #4
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I think you forgot one - Prodigy (I think that was the name).
I was a member of Prodigy for some time in the 1980s. It had one of the first all graphic interfaces. Real chunky based on old VGA graphics, I think.

   
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Old 09-27-2008, 09:43 AM   #5
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I was a latecomer - didn't join until 1987!
And the two of us even later, November 24, 1989.

Posted my first question in the Mac hardware forum and had an answer by the next morning from Lofty Becker. I was thrilled.

   
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Old 09-27-2008, 09:49 AM   #6
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There was also the precursor to AOL, owned by Apple for Mac users.
AppleLink started out for Apple employees and sales associates and became AOL. There was also eWorld that Apple had for consumers, but it didn't last very long -- think it got absorbed into AOL.

   
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Old 09-27-2008, 09:58 AM   #7
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AppleLink started out for Apple employees and sales associates and became AOL. There was also eWorld that Apple had for consumers, but it didn't last very long -- think it got absorbed into AOL.
Ah — eWorld is what I was thinking of. It became AOL, I am pretty sure. AppleLink remained for employees for a while.

Pretty sure of that, though not positive.

   
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Old 09-27-2008, 10:01 AM   #8
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Ah — eWorld is what I was thinking of. It became AOL, I am pretty sure. AppleLink remained for employees for a while.

Pretty sure of that, though not positive.
I don't have anything to say so, but I'm pretty sure I remember talking with Apple employees who told me it went the other way -- AppleLink was the foundation for AOL, but eWorld came out about the same time. Hey, you know who would know? Binky.

   
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Old 09-27-2008, 10:04 AM   #9
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>> There was one other that I semi-remember as being associated with Scientific American; I cannot remember its name (it was techie-sounding).

I never heard of that one but was a regular on BIX (Byte Information eXchange, sponsored by Byte Magazine) for years and still keep up with a few people I met online there.

   
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Old 09-27-2008, 10:11 AM   #10
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I think you forgot one - Prodigy (I think that was the name).
I was a member of Prodigy for some time in the 1980s. It had one of the first all graphic interfaces. Real chunky based on old VGA graphics, I think.
Yeah, I dimly remember that. Wikipedia says it started out in the 80s as a videotex-TV top service called Trintex, then became a national online service around 1990 (after regional trials). It actually had a lot of subscribers, once it worked out what it was trying to be.

Remember when videotex was hot? I used to go to graphics trade shows, and remember, though only dimly, exhibitors showing videotex systems. Even then it seemed pretty ugly. Like early computer games, for that matter.

   
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