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Janet atard, 30 years ago, the network did not exist.
But that's true for online services.
On a warm summer night, I sat in front of the computer and waited more anxiously than usual for the modem to end its screaming and let me go online.
This is the August 8-8, 1988/88-a date, which is only once in a century.
That's how I used Sysop (forum leader)
Home Office and small business roundtable for GE Genie services.
It marks my entry into the online world as a small business information provider.
This is an auspicious moment for me. My little, one-
Home home business has signed a contract with a big company.
In fact, this contract has turned my free writing business into a small commercial publisher, a moderator of the message board (
Message boards are called bulletin boards on Elves)
Host of online chat (
Calling RTCs on GEnie).
RTCs often have guests and run a bit like a radio talk show.
Instead of calling the station, people dial in to the online service and enter questions or comments they want to ask into the online chat room.
I was my own 'guest' on the first night, where I introduced myself and the new round table to ELF users. (
Play Video to view images of early computer devices and online services)
I am in awe that I am now able to reach the national audience.
I also realize that there is a 'small' problem: there are very few 'national audiences.
At 1988, few people know what an online service is.
There is still less concern.
Trying to explain what I have done usually creates confusing expressions.
The usual response is polite if I can surround anyone for long enough to demonstrate, 'that's fine, but who will use it?
'The vast majority of consumers don't have a home computer and can't imagine why someone wants a home computer.
Most small businesses don't have computers either.
Computers are expensive and it is difficult to learn how to use them.
Small business owners do not see the need to buy a computer, nor do they waste time learning how to do very good things with pencils or electric typewriters and several file cabinets.
Then the cost.
In 1988, the price of a PC with 1 MB of RAM was about $3500. (
Yes, it's 1 MB, not 1 gigabyte. )
Use the GEnie online service for $35 per hour during weekdays and $5 per hour for evenings and weekends.
To get to it, you connect your computer to the modem, which is connected to the telephone line.
The cost of your phone connection is higher than the cost of using the online service, which can be considerable without a local phone number to access the online service.
The reason I had a computer at the time was because I was a bad typist.
As a freelance writer, I wasted a lot of time reprinting the article with erasable bond paper to make the finished copy look neat enough to be sent to the editor.
I know the computer can easily make changes on the page before the page is printed.
So I purchased aSanyo CP/Mcomputer in 1983.
Museum of Old Computers
The price of a computer is $3000 (
Equivalent to about $6400 today)
Because it comes with WordStar, report star, DataStar, and Calcstar, this is a set of programming for word processing, databases, and spreadsheets provided by MicroPro.
This computer has a 4 MHz processor and 64 KB of RAM.
There's a 5-
1/4 floppy drive, no hard disk.
It has a display that shows dotty-
Green type on black background.
To use it, I have to put the floppy disk that contains the software into the computer, let the software load, then take out the floppy disk, replace it with a blank disk, record and save what I am writing.
The floppy disk holds only about 360 KB of data.
But that's enough.
I wrote a few short articles on that computer.
Purchase books for mail order publishing companies.
The computer is connected to a chrysanthemum wheel printer.
The name comes from the fact that the print head is shaped like a chrysanthemum, but it has a lot of petals.
The end of each 'petal' is a letter or other character.
It is quite difficult to learn how to set up and use a computer. The manual -
Tell me to turn the on/off switch on/off.
I learned how to use most of the computer functions I originally needed by following the instructions in the WordStar word processing manual.
So, when I launched my first online small business forum in 1988, what brought me to that night?
medical abstract company in my freelance career began to transfer work to a company that printed materials using a VAX computer system.
They told their writers that they would either have to send their work through a modem or come to their office and input the work they completed into the VAX system.
I bought a modem.
I don't know-
Until I get my modem home.
I have to take the computer apart and find some kind of tiny switch (
Called dip switch)
And change the settings on it so that the computer works with the modem.
I also have to find the software to have the computer send and receive data via a modem.
local computer user group I joined helped me find the right program.
In addition to having me transfer my work to a medical abstract company, that Modem also let me dial in to the local bulletin board system I 've heard of through the user group.
These bulletin boards, usually from the basement of computer enthusiasts, are the only affordable way to communicate online.
At that time, many people entered all the capital letters. The reason?
Some computers do not have a lower case option.
The modem I bought is packed with coupons to try Sprite and CompuServe--
At that time, the two largest commercial online service companies.
I was addicted as soon as I tried.
Technology allows me to communicate with people all over the country.
I do freelance copywriting at a software company and I found a forum where people in the industry discussed the issues they were facing.
These discussions helped me understand the industry's hot vocabulary and improved the company's response rate on emails.
I also found some people online who can help me when I encounter computer problems that I can't solve myself.
I remember thinking, 'it will be really big one day,' and I want to get into the industry on the first floor.
I also want to use an online service in a way that doesn't have to pay that much.
You see, Sysops got a free account for the online service.
So I received a proposal for a small business forum that was ready to be submitted to GEnie, and when the service announced the launch of a small business area, I was about to send it in.
I hid the proposal and checked out the new forum.
I contribute as much as possible on the bulletin board.
Almost a year later, sysop from that Forum told me he was leaving.
So, I dug out my suggestion and added a note that said the contribution I had made online and sent it in.
On 1988, when I was waiting to connect to my first RTC, that's why I got to that moment.
SYSOP is the abbreviation of the system operator.
What sysop of business online services does is create and/or aggregate resources for people with a common interest, such as computers with a specific brand or running small businesses, being a writer, or playing games online.
Every sysop has its own forum (
Special interest zone-
They are called the elf round table. )
It is usually carried out by the download area (
Called a file Library)
, Message board, chat room (
Calling RTCs on GEnie).
few weeks after the first night went live, I ran my first guest RTC.
I had to use some text commands to run the RTC chat, although I don't remember what the command was or who the first guest was, one thing I remember very well
When I focused on text commands and questions to the guests, someone opened our back door and let our cat in.
But they did not notice the 'gift' in the cat's mouth '.
The cat walked down the hall into my office and lost the gift --a mouse -at my feet.
It turns out that the mouse is not dead.
There is a cat and mouse playing 'cat and mouse' around my feet '.
I remember when I yelled at someone to take the cat and mouse out of my office, I was thinking, 'Thank God, the computer doesn't have a camera and sound '.
My home office and small business roundtable did a good job on GEnie and grew slowly.
There are lawyers, accountants, computer programmers and all types of businesses that participate on a regular basis to discuss questions related to them, answer each other's questions, and help the Round Table to succeed.
Somewhere along the way, GEnie lets sysops be able to send emails to anyone who has visited their Roundtable, and I start using this feature to send emails once a month to let visitors know that the discussion is going on, when we have guest RTCs, there is something new in our download library.
year or two later, we added a second round table.
Focus on round tables in the workplace.
Soon after I got the contract to run the elf Forum, I bought a new computer
One of the reasons I bought the Macintosh was because I wanted to use it for desktop publishing.
So far, early laser printers have made it possible for anyone with the right computer, software, and some sort of sense of page layout to create and print documents similar to professionally printed documents.
You can also make graphics if you have any artistic ability.
I couldn't afford a laser printer at first, so I bought an imagwriter II point matrix printer.
As you can see, this early Macintosh Mouse is very useful!
The software at that time also came with manuals and printed manuals.
Adobe Illustrator 88-
Even then, the program was already very powerful.
The RTC command is not the only text command --
Based on the 80 s.
This is the whole Elf service.
You can walk around by selecting numbers on the screen, or, if you have experience, go directly to the service section you want to reach by typing the command.
Other companies are also developing online services.
At the end of 1989, an online service company called Quantum Computer Services sent a letter to Macintosh owners announcing what they called the 'Macintosh telecom research project' of AOL '.
Their price is only $4 per hour at night and on weekends, and if you sign up, you become a chartered member with the right to a 20% discount for all future expenses.
Later in 1990, Bill Louden, founder and general manager of GEnie, introduced Ping-
Late Hour pricing. For $4.
95 months, you can use many features on the Genie for free after six o'clock P. M. and on weekends.
The price is very popular
GEnie was not able to handle the load initially, which is too popular.
The entire elf system crashed within hours of the $4 launch. 95/hour rate.
few years later, when AOL turned to tablets, history repeated itself.
Pricing and attracting more users than it can serve in the first few days.
After a few years of my work with GEnie, the Air Force small business office decided to open up a service area to keep small businesses informed about purchasing opportunities.
When they wanted to help build the area, the elf staff introduced me to the assistant director of the office.
Shortly after, I was called to ask him how to hold the elf round table.
The gentleman who called had a lot of questions and it took me about an hour to call him and explain what had to be done.
In fact, I 've been on the phone long enough and I'm starting to feel like I'm offering free advice.
I didn't realize at the time that sharing my knowledge would lead my company to win a series of subcontracts and contracts to run an online promotion for the Air Force small business office, first on the elves and later on the Web.