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Flashback Friday: CompuServe

by Sean P. Aune | July 30, 2010July 30, 2010 2:00 pm PDT

Ah, the good old days of CompuServe where it took you 20 attempts with a 9600 baud modem to connect, long distance in my case, and pay $.10 a minute to read forum posts or talk on the “CB” channels.

I joined CompuServe in Aug. 1986, and drove my family nuts with late night modem sounds as my Commodore 64 would attempt to connect.  After logging in (member # 71211,2513), I’d cruise around the text-only service, being amazed at what a modem could do for you.  When I was interviewed for an article about a year ago, someone asked me what the Internet looked like back then, and my reply was, “Green … lots and lots of green.”  I was of course referring to the fact it was all green text in a terminal mode.

This commercial implies that the “electronic mall” showed you pictures … it didn’t.  It implies the games featured graphics … they didn’t.  It also fails to tell you that unless you lived in a major city, you get the pleasure of paying long distance phone bills to call in to them … my phone bill the first month was over $500.  Yeah, I almost left after that.

Did you belong to any of the early services such as CompuServe, America Online, Prodigy and so on?

Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...