An essay on computer communications

Essay by ShamrockHigh School, 11th grade April 1996

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Communications. I could barely spell the word, much less comprehend its meaning. Yet when

Mrs. Rubin made the announcement about the new club she was starting at the junior high school, it triggered something in

my mind.

Two weeks later, during the last month of my eighth grade year, I figured it out. I was rummaging through the basement, and

I ran across the little blue box that my dad had brought home from work a year earlier. Could this be a modem?

I asked Mrs. Rubin about it the next day at school, and when she verified my expectations, I became the first member of

Teleport 2000, the only organization in the city dedicated to introducing students to the information highway.

This was when 2400-baud was considered state-of-the-art, and telecommunications was still distant from everyday life. But

as I incessantly logged onto Cleveland Freenet that summer, sending e-mail and posting usenet news messages until my

fingers bled, I began to notice the little things.

Electronic mail addresses started popping up on business cards. Those

otherwise-incomprehensible computer magazines that my dad brought home from work ran monthly stories on

communications-program this, and Internet-system that. Cleveland Freenet's Freeport software began appearing on systems

all over the world, in places as far away as Finland and Germany - with free telnet access!

I didn't live life as a normal twelve-year-old kid that summer. I sat in front of the monitor twenty-four hours a day, eating my meals from a plate set next to the

keyboard, stopping only to sleep. When I went back to school in the fall, I was elected the first president of Teleport 2000, partially because I was the only student

in-the school with a freenet account, but mostly because my enthusiasm for this new, exciting world was contagious.