(This is a response to our first sound-off topic, posted here.)

Wow, I wish that were my first memory of the internet! Frankly, I’m jealous. (Also, for the record: I did not already want to be an astronaut then. I think that was still during the days when I aspired to work at a zoo.)

I honestly don’t know what my first memorable experience with the internet was. I know my first time using a computer was learning to play solitaire and Minesweeper in my dad’s office. But actually using the internet? Hmm. Since I can’t remember that, I’ll at least share with you another, later memory of the internet.

In middle school, I spent countless dial-up hours downloading X-Files videos. This was much to the chagrin of my parents who, as a result, were frequently unable to use the telephone. This was also during the days when I dyed my hair with Manic Panic and wore HotTopic shirts.

Have things really changed all that much? You decide.

Gothically yours,
Zena Cardman

* * *

(This is a response to our first sound-off topic, posted here.)

Although I’m sure I used the internet before that time, my first actual memory associated with the internet is incredibly vivid. After a quick fact check on wikipedia, I can even tell you the exact date. It was July 4, 1997. I was just barely 9 years old, and it was on that day that the the Sojourner, a Mars exploration rover, safely touched down and began beaming back pictures from that lonely little red planet.
I remember sitting in my mother’s office with my entire family gathered around the computer as we waited for the pictures to load. And waited…and waited…then got some milk and came back to keep waiting. And eventually we got a full image. It was beautiful, it was powerful, and though it didn’t inspire me to become an astronaut as it may have Zena, the gravity of what was going on was not lost on me.
From a home computer anybody in the world could see what it is actually like Mars. How truly, truly incredible.

It was still quite a while before I actually believed that the internet would have a real place in our lives. At some point during junior high a hurricane was headed for North Carolina and my family was trying gather some information. I bet my dad that I could get a radar image more quickly by switching on the TV than he could be going to the Internet. At that point I was right. But my how we’ve grown since then…

Andrew Kindman