I guess 25 years ago isn't that far back in truth. Back in 1995 I
was working in an office filled with Windows based machines, all
running Windows for Workgroups. There was no discussion in the
office of any other platform than Windows. The machines were all
going to be upgraded with CD-ROM drives and Pentium 90s. Most of
the guys had PCs at home and they were really keen to get Win95
and start surfing the net.
My poor Amiga 1200 was never going to be able to surf like a PC
and I was struggling to work out how to fit a CD-ROM. I couldn't
even afford a ZIP drive in those days.
The following year I switched jobs and with my surplus income I
could just about stretch to a loan for a new computer. Sadly the
influence of others and lack of any news on the Amiga front meant
that I purchased a Pentium 120 Windows 95 machine with a CD-Drive.
I then purchased CompuServe's package with modem and introductory
subscription and I started my era of being on the net. Nothing
would ever be the same.
CompuServe was quite fascinating cus it had interactive groups that
you could join and receive messages from. It was like Windows for
Workgroups but with the world as your domain.
It wasn't easy getting online in those days and you had to log
into local server stations. Downloads were so slow. Everything was
on dial-up and phone calls were not cheap. After a short while I
just had to dump CompuServe and then tried out pretty much all
the main suppliers. Whilst AOL was tempting I eventually tried
out Pipex who I stayed with right up until 2016 for domain
management. They really were the best for me though not cheap.
For a few years before the launch of broadband literally everybody
and their dog were giving out free CDs tempting you with free
internet dial-up accounts. On the Amiga I used FreeUK which was
very good. Still had to pay for the phone calls though.
Magazines were a plenty giving advice on the use of the internet
and there were some quite useful programs given away on CD, one
of which I am still using to this very day. ThumbsPlus. It was
a very interesting time and whilst there were virus issues there
wasn't the malware or advertising problems that you get today.
Sites in many instances didn't really carry many adverts. It
was all pretty innocent and safe, albeit you still had to watch
out for scams.
The magazine that I think sticks out most in my mind was the 'net'.
It kinda best summed up the whole internet experience. I did buy
it quite regularly and loved reading through the content and
trying out the goodies on the CD. I don't think I was troubled
by Win 95. I stayed with it till 2000 and she was still active
as my main machine as the clocks chimed in the new millennium. She
still works, I had her on today.
1996 to 2000 were generally a happy time on the computer. I had
the PC for surfing, the Amiga 1200 for everything else and the
PlayStation for my gaming. It all was really very simple in
those days. I saved everything to ZIP cus there was no USB or
CD writers as such. All that was to follow. The dial-up modem
was OK for what I needed and all in all a most enjoyable and
rewarding time. To imagine what it was like you have to take
away everything you currently know about modern systems, and
reflect on a time when you paid by the minute to be online, and
downloads were so slow and videos were limited to a very small
rectangle, in the middle of your screen.
Still fun though, glad I switched to the PC. I needed to have
the full on experience as it happened.
The Amiga was never forgotten and I did smile with some joy at
the sight of a Directory Opus 6 CD being given out free with one
of the PC magazines of the day. I recall making a comment in the
office at the day. Sadly hollow words as nobody even knew what
an Amiga was by that time. How quick the memories fade.