I began my digital communications life almost 20 years ago (1998, with a MacII (all 2 mbs of beast)). Initially the conversation consisted of a slightly one-way peer-to-peer telecoms connection with various type-bureaus, who eagerly awaited the sheer metre’s of dtp’d “galley-text” that would eventually send them the way of the dodo (and sure, the ‘ease’ of several hours of sometimes unreliable telecoms vs. a bike courier at times was tested – however I could always phone after-hours and the delivery was possible despite no-one onsite and the doors locked; and without the fear of the material falling of the back of the bike on the Westway).
Next, I marvelled at the ease of access provided by a 7200 baud modem to a (then West London) Bulletin Board, to find as much information on Blue Boxes or anarchist handbooks and pipe bombs as one could ever want.
Other events stand-out: sitting over very short espresso’s in a late-night Italian Café, discussing the merits and practicalities of Tim Berners-Lee’s Hypertext; or getting my hands on an (I’ll admit illicit) copy of Photoshop 1.0 (all 256 levels of wonder). Eventually, after one yet another late-night perusal of Tower Records (Piccadilly) magazine rack I bought my first copy of (either) Wired or Mondo (here memory fails) and read about the new thing called the Web, and I haven’t looked back. Other historic moments standout: the theoretical day that the Web numbered over 3 million users, then over 1 million sites… etc.
I never had a “brick” but my first FirstMobile phone used to weigh down my pockets like nothing else. Trying to train my Apple Palmtop, but never quite managing to tame the beast within… despite the firmware upgrade. And I don’t think were even up to 1994 yet! ISDN had its moment (and still has adherents in a nicely enclosed community), but I think I was more enamoured of the 4-speed CD ‘toaster’, that ripped my CDs so well.