From my perspective as geek and guru I have been busy in recent weeks working on GeekHistory.com. As my personal outlet to educate and share ideas on the history of technology I hope to draw attention to the many forgotten geeks that have contributed to the evolution of technology.
It concerns me that so many myths and legends are becoming accepted as facts on the internet. I hate the mentality that Google and Wikipedia have all the answers. Google filters the results based on what Google thinks. What you see on Wikipedia can be biased in ways you are not aware of. People often answer questions from their perspective, from their world. They don't consider they are looking at the quesion strictly from their eyes.
I've been involved in technology all my life, and I am fascinated with the history of technology. Sometimes when answering a question, and looking at other answers, I realize that the perspective of people outside the US is very different from mine. Even living on the East Coast of the US, where there is a lot of technology, the perspective of things can be very different from someone in a rural area in the midwest, where they don't have the best internet connection or cell phone service.
I've been hanging out on various online communities since the internet went commercial back in the mid 1990s. Back in the days of Compuserve they called them SIGs, Special Interest Groups. I've been through the evolution of special interest groups, to bullentin boards, and online communities. Sometimes answering a question helps me to rethink things for myself, gets me to see things in ways I have not seen them before. I've never physically left North America, been to Canada and Mexico, but not beyond that. Thanks to the internet I have people who I consider a friend all over the world. That's pretty cool. I keep in touch via social media with many people I have connected with online over the years.
Working on my research for the geek history website as well as looking to add some additional information to ComputerGuru.net I discovered a 1979 ARPANET Information Brochure. You are probably not as excited as I am to look over the brochure, but it does put the growth of the internet into perspective.
In 1979 the Tandy Radio Shack TRS-80 Micro Computer System was the first signs of desktop computers in the average American home. The Commodore VIC-20 was still a year away, it was released in 1980. If you remember the TRS-80 or the VIC-20, you are not only a geek, but an older geek! Then again, maybe you are a younger geek who loves to explore geek history!
I am older geek, who remembers first hand the TRS-80 and the VIC-20. But I also love to explore geek history. In 1979 I was using computers, but did not have the chance to interact with the ARPANET, the forefather of the modern Internet. The 1979 docent describes how new users, in this case we are talking about large institutions not individual homes, can get access to this new network called the ARPANET. The internet of today with commercial online internet service providers did not take off until the 1990s.
Take a look at the map attached to this article, those dots represent the places that had access to the ARPANET in 1979. That's right, just a small handful of locations had access to the ARPANET. It was not cheap, or easy, to connect to the ARPANET. It cost thousands of dollars for the interface to connect, and hundreds of dollars a month to access the ARPANET at speeds so slow they are hard to comprehend by today's standards,and in 1979 all we had were monochrome monitors looking at text files. Looking at the prices for getting connected, and thinking about the technology required to make the connection, it really puts the evolution of computers and the internet into perspective for me, a lot that has happened in my lifetime.