July 8: What's Jen Clicking on Between Newscasts?

Just after 12:30 today it will be 12:34:56 on 7/8/9. Geeky, yes.

Numbers games always kind of perk me up, because as a word person, numbers hold a certain mystique.  So do computers and all things technology, which is why I kind of love them.  I don't have a clue about how any of it works.

I was on board with the Sudoku thing a few years back and swore off them after being 100% sure there was a printing error in a certain diabolical puzzle -- only to see the solution the next day and realize that no, it was my mistake.  So much for that 100% certainty.  Numbers again, my foil.

When I heard the thing about 12:34:56 7/8/9 being today, I thought, hmm ... that's next week; too late to get married or have a baby or something monumental on that date and make it my own.  Likely, I'll be having lunch with friends in Pasadena about then.  I thought, OOOooh my friend Joyce is having twins on Tuesday, maybe she can reschedule for the next day?  Nope on that, too.

 What a huge disappointment.  This type of numerical date only happens every hundred years, they say, and this particular one (starting with 1) well, will THAT ever happen again? 

As I click around and think about what a geek I am, I got a tweet from my friend @frankcatalano (oh man and I'm falling into the Twitter vernacular too!) that said "CompuServe, RIP; the classic online service is officially history http://bit.ly/DwBWg."

Compuserve had a long, long life in terms of the technology world.  Just watch this YouTube video to get the significance of this particular business.  Remember when Compuserve was that thing you heard about but didn't quite understand what it did?


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"Compuserve can turn your computer into a limitless source of information and resources, that will simplify your work; enrich your life.

"It combines the power of your computer with the convenience of your telephone, to bring you hundreds of online services. Like a reference library! And international news wires!"

 How about this: do you remember when you had Mosaic on your computer, and you were billed by the minute?  I love this website "Are You a Geek Enough to Remember When:"

Check out the Ad in Creative Computing's July, 1980 issue. 

It says,"A 300-baud modem is all your personal computer or terminal needs to access all the services available via local phone calls in more than 175 North American cities from 6pm to 5am weekdays, weekends and most holidays.  And the basic charge is only $5.00 an hour, billed in minute increments, to your charge card.  Want more information?  Write."

Followed by a SNAIL MAIL ADDRESS!! hahaha!

If you think that's hilarious (and did you catch the business hours?  Pretty much just overnight, so you can get recaps at the end of the day) check out the one on the same website that is shilling memory.  "32k ram for only $475."

The website says "let's see, at that rate my current 378 meg would cost $5,610,937."

None of this was even that long ago!  Okay, so that was 1980.  In 1995, according to Techworld.com, Compuserve had 3 million subscribers and was the largest internet service provider.  Here's more on the origin of the modern day ISP:

CompuServe (or CIS) was originally founded way back in 1969 as Compu-Serv Network in Columbus, Ohio as a subsidiary of Golden United Life Insurance.

According to Wikipedia, its original remit was to provide in-house computer processing support to Golden United Life Insurance; and to develop as an independent business in the computer time-sharing industry, by renting time on its PDP-10 mid-range computers during business hours. It was spun off as a separate company in 1975.

Thirty years old, and in the world of technology it's a dinosaur.  I would argue that the Grandparent of all Internet Service Providers did more to shape our world than the King of Pop -- but you won't see any of the fanfare we got yesterday at Staples and around the world.

And likely none of us will shed a tear, either.

Editor's Note: Remember 1981? This KRON report shows us the latest in home computers, rotary phones and a lucky man who happens to own both. 

See what else Jen is clicking on...

PS Congrats to Jan and Joyce, on the birth of their twins Ashley(l) and Christopher(r) the day BEFORE 7/8/9!

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