Come Internet With Me is a web show with a gentle premise: Browsing the web together.
In Episode 1, Speculative fiction writer and sustainability researcher Andrew Dana Hudson joins me for an hour of Internet.
We begin by searching “German Hanging Train”. Make our way though the history of monorails, check out the 1885 Dynamite Ballon, get side tracked by the Battle of Fleurus (1794), and look up the history and science of steel production, amongst other things.
This is the pilot episode! It will get better!
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Find out more about ADH: https://andrewdanahudson.com/
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My first unsupervised Internet was in a public library in the mid 90’s with my friend Dan. We would sit down and experience the Internet super highway together. Saturday morning tennis club had given way to a psychedelic assemblage of science fiction web rings, Lycos web chat rooms, Sonic the Hedgehog pages and Jurassic Park fandom.
For our allotted two hours. We would sit at the hearing aid beige 286 computer and share the experience together. One of us would drive the mouse, the other work the keyboard. Very soon after we had begun to experience the web as readers we wanted to publish our own site too.
We were already making and creating zines for our friends and ourselves. My first ever zine was made around the same time in ’95 when we were 10. We had a typewriter, pens, and the abuse of my friend Ben’s dad’s workplace photocopier. (An important lesson about how all zines get made). It ran for 3 issues. So making our own webpage was only natural.
Dan and I would sit for hours curating or creating our Star Trek and Star Wars Geocities fan site. My memories are vague and hazy now. But I recall animated star-field backgrounds with bright yellow text on black backgrounds. Grainy 256-color bitmaps and lots of shonky tables and frames hand coded in Notepad. Dan would make what would now be called pixel art in MS paint and I would sit and watch. I learnt HTML from a beginners book plucked from the library shelves behind us and he would follow along.
Eventually, our families saved up enough to make the considerable investment required to get computers at home. Our library visits came to an end. Later came Dial-up Internet. Dial-up gave way to Broadband, then Wireless Modems, and in turn came the Smart Phone era.
Browsing the web today is largely a solitary and private experience. The entirety of the worlds hopes and dreams, and best and worst of humanity, can be accessed at any time. Summoned at our fingertips from dark glass for our personal consumption. Yet, our understanding of the devices complexities and operation is shallow at best.
CIWM is my attempt to recapture surfing the Interwebs as a communal experience. 25 years on from the first time I waded into its choppy waters.