I was going through old files tonight and stumbled on something I hadn't thought of in awhile. I'd pretty much forgotten this article in Wired back in 1994 (above). 1994. That's the effective 'birth year' of the commercial internet as we know it today. This article was written about a hobby of mine that I did outside of work called OneNet (the OneNet Member Network). I started it in my garage and when I finally moved on I had about 15 computers and 24 phone lines running into that thing and there was somewhere around a 800K to a million people using it around the world.
What's interesting about this is the time that's passed. 13 years.
Now think about that a little. The cutting edge/state of the art online systems of the times were being run by guys like me out of their garages (big numbers considering these were run on Mac SE's, granted, but really they were primarily hobbies on steroids).
13 years ago. That's not really that much time. Look at where the internet is today compared to Mac's running BBS software with store and forward protocols for conferences and email.
What's really interesting is that OneNet was about mostly one thing: Community. In particular, creating online community that transcended geography. Today we take it for granted and we make up new phrases for it (like social networking) but it's all the same stuff with more advanced technology (and richer media).
What's old is new yet again.