Still here? So am I.
I was first introduced to the Internet in 1994, when one of my seniors with a minor gambling addiction showed me the world's first few popular, commercial porn sites. In the middle of the night or rather early morning.
We broke into the computer room to play Gemfire, Uncharted Horizons, Gorilla, Karateka and other assorted exciting games. A few of us were surfing the 'Net.
I remember he showed me a pixelated early jpg picture of an '80s beauty, with frazzled hair, greasy make up and pink nipples on the screen of one of two computers that had colour monitors. The others had green or grey monochrome screens, on which we typed Logo or BASIC - programming languages that are good to us for next to nothing but draw circles and calculate simple math.
The senior then proceeded to print the naked woman using a 'revolutionary' new technology - the bubble-jet printer.
Or I think it was. Because the woman was in colour, so he had to use an inkjet. The dot-matrix was too loud anyway, and would have alerted the guards.
Two years later, my father bought a PC. It had a Pentium-S CPU, running at an overclocked Pentium processor, maxing it at 133MHz. It had 16MB EDO RAM. And it came with it, a 14.4kbps modem. Dial-up.
I have used my brother's 486 before and my primary school and secondary school's 386, so I was astounded with the speed of this new machine. Surfing the Internet, though, was a Herculean task.
Downloading porn, from those days, was like being in Dante's hell, except you're in Dante's hell, with dial-up.
In order for me to get a 13 second clip, I had to wait four hours, all the time praying that the connection would hold. I prayed to the Abrahamic God, the Gods of the Internet, the Gods of the Bloody 14.4kbps Modem, and whatever deity within earshot, to hold the line.
When I was in college, I chose Computer Science and had access to the computer labs. One of my seniors - a different one - showed me how he as illegally using the resources of some of the computers' CPU to help some scientists at SETI to calculate some complex algorithms. Though I must admit, he might have helped some producers animate 3D porn, for all we knew.
The communities that existed at the time are actually very much the same as today, with more crude tools. The people who lived on the Internet at the time, were sharing news stories.
At least, the Westerners were. Malaysians were just there to fight. And fuck. That is all Malaysians ever do on the Internet. It is our tradition.
But mostly, people shared news. Information. There was alt.news.org, chatrooms, forums, and then, when I got really bored, Project Guttenberg and LiteraryClassics.com.
And if I must admit, MelayuBoleh and the Elf Sternberg Erotic Mind Control Story Archive. Both popular and niche porn sites, respectively. Oh, and Free-thought.com, where I first saw a porn parody of Doraemon, Dragonball and Neon Genesis Evangelion.
What do we do today? With our Internet? We share news stories on social media platforms. We download and watch porn.
And Malaysians still fight - and fuck - online. Tradition!
Most Malaysian 'h4xx0rz' back then were not really hackers. They merely downloaded scripts and tools from some Scandinavian site and used it to attack people. Sure, going into chatrooms, I also armed myself with shit my brother downloaded, to protect the family PC, you see. There are or perhaps were ports on your PC that are/were unguarded.
I was not interested in proving who knows more about computers and programming, because my penis is strong and bulbous, needing no surrogate. My attention, was cast on the interaction between people online and the communities that dwell there.
Things grow. Or at least they used to. It would take five years for a forum to be of a sizeable group, and even then, there had to be constant participation from its members. And online, it's all about tapping into the id and the ego. Animalistic and raw.
Ah, I am adequately bored, and I hope you are as well. Cheers!