And so it begins, I get to discover the internet. How did we get online back in 1999? Well, with AOL of course! Here’s how it began…
We got the computer setup a few days later, everything working, it turned on and was glorious. There wasn’t much to do though. My Windows 98 machine didn’t come with any pre-loaded games like Space Cadet Pinball or even Solitaire. So, I was left to my own devices of just fooling around with Notepad and exploring the C:\ drive. I’ll admit, that got fairly boring very quickly.
Since I was only 9 years old at the time, I had to go everywhere with my parents. I wasn’t allowed to stay home alone yet. I’m pretty sure that’s illegal at that age in some places anyway. We needed some last minute things for dinner on New Years Day, so we went to the local drug store, conveniently named Discount Drug Mart. We got what we needed, and left.
On our way out, I spotted a display with free CD-ROM’s on it. They were AOL Online cd’s! Obviously, it being free, I took one home. I showed it to my mother and father when we got home. They may have thought I stole it, but they saw free on the packaging after inspecting it and all was fine.
I ran upstairs to my play room and threw the disc in the drive! This was it, something called The Internet. I’d never heard of it. Immediately I ran the CD and installed everything on it. It did come with a free game or two, but at this point, I can’t remember what they were.
After running the installer and trying to run the AOL Internet Browser to get online, we realized something was missing in between… the phone line. We didn’t have internet since it wasn’t connected to a phone cable! We called a friend, they explained it and we got it setup!
Ahh, the sound of the 56k dial up internet connecting sound. We were officially connected to the internet, greeted by a screen about registering an account with AOL and selecting a plan for each month to pay for. My father helped me setup my first email. I wanted email@example.com… alas that was taken, so we added a d at the beginning. Dcomicboy. D for David (me), and comicboy because at the time, I wrote comic books with friends at school and loved it.
Once the email was setup, and everything was ready and on an auto-pay cycle, we were ready! We have reached the internet!