________ ________ ________
2019-02-04 / \/ \/ / \
/ __/ /_ _/
Ten thousand years ago, when I was in / _/ / /
high school, the personal computer was still \_______/_\___/____/\___/____/_
a reasonably new thing and our school's / \/ \/ / \
network was almost all MS-DOS machines, / _/ /_ _/
there was a Macintosh in the graphics /- / _/ /
department and later a couple of Windows 95 \________/\________/\___/____/
"multimedia" machines in the Library but the
bulk of them, and certainly every machine in the computer lab were MS-DOS.
The idea of "IT education" was fairly new too and still finding its feet,
padding out the curriculum with stuff like touch-typing and word processing.
We did do some BASIC lessons and whatnot but mostly "IT" was just training you
up for office busywork.
In my youth I wasn't much unlike I am now, about 50% smart and 50%
smartass, and even with only a little computer knowledge it wasn't hard to run
rings around the teacher. The work was very easy and very boring so I'd get up
to mischief pretty regularly. One thing that I remember pretty vividly was a
couple of running text files set up by a friend and I (actually I think they
might have been originally WPS files) on the server, README and X-FILES.
README was a crude running chat or message log and X-FILES was a repository
for jokes and gags. You'd just fire up the file in MS Works or EDIT or
whatever and add lines to the bottom, of course there was nothing preventing
you deleting or editing other people's additions or anything like that, it was
literally just a shared file.
Me being me and being extremely triggered by data loss, I never delete
anything so I still have some fragments of these two files some 23+ years
later. X-FILES is complete as far as I know, but README is missing a large
chunk in the middle where it was deleted either by a teacher or another
student. I won't go into the contents of the files but suffice it to say it
was typical 90s teenage boy crap; bad grammar, worse spelling, lots of angst,
lots of butting heads and lots of casual slurs that would get you straight up
lynched these days hahaha.
So why am I bringing all this up?
Well crash cut to today and I'm dinking with MS-DOS and Windows for
Workgroups 3.11 on a virtual machine, got it online and punched out to
baud.baby for laughs, then hit up circumlunar.space because I know they have a
few super-simple chat clients on there. I dropped into schat and then it
all clicked; I'd come full circle. From appending text files in my youth, to
IRC to social media, to video chat, back to social media and back further to
IRC and finally, right back to appended text files.
It made me grin.