I got my first internet access account in 1992 when I lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Believe it or not, the internet has changed somewhat in the past 17 years.
These days everyone and their grandmother, literally, has internet access. Getting online is as easy as turning on your smartphone or plugging your computer into your cable modem. In 1992 it wasn't quite so easy.
My first account was from a company called Studio X. It was a SLIP account and gave me access to all kinds of great search engines running on university servers. These search engines weren't quite like gooogle. WAIS, Archie and Veronica used Gopher to search FTP sites, mailing lists, and more all over the world.
My SLIP account was text based and required me to set up a painful little application called Winsock. Back then, Windows (which I no longer use as a Desktop platform) did not have a TCP/IP stack. In other words, Windows didn't know how to get onto the internet like it does now. Installing the cumbersome and buggy Winsock fixed this problem.
Once I was on the internet (back then it was capitalized: Internet) I found tons of interesting documents to read. I began to learn about various subjects the knowledge of which would later provide me the income I depend on to survive. The Internet was amazing. The internet is amazing.
One Wilshire Meet-Me-Room
Last year I took a tour of One Wilshire for a Wired.com gallery I shot. One Wilshire is an amazing place that has always fascinated me. Here is how I described it:
In the bowels of the world's most densely populated Meet-Me room -- a room where over 260 ISPs connect their networks to each other -- a phalanx of cabling spills out of its containers and silently pumps the world's information to your computer screen. One tends to think of the internet as a redundant system of remote carriers peppered throughout the world, but in order for the net to function the carriers have to physically connect somewhere. For the Pacific Rim, the main connection point is the One Wilshire building in downtown Los Angeles.
If this facility went down, most of California and parts of the rest of the world would not be able to connect to the internet. Tour one of the web's largest nerve centers, hidden in an otherwise nondescript office building.
I'm slowly going through my archives of Wired.com shoots and posting them on my blog/flickr in full resolution for your viewing pleasure. Here are a few selections from the shoot:
A giant twisting mass of cables spills out of an over-stuffed cable tray in the Meet-Me-Room at One Wilshire.
The roof of One Wilshire is covered with antennas of various sizes and shapes.
A technician works to untangle the mess in the Meet-Me-Room at One Wilshire in this shot from 2008.
Click here to view the other 21 photos from my One Wilshire Tour. Stay tuned for more cool photos from my Wired adventures.