Jeff Pack, Brown University '99 (English 112, 1996)

During my sophomore year in high school, my 80386 received a 2400 baud modem to add to its store of peripherals. I spent a lot of time connected to various bulletin board systems (BBS's) after that, to download games, participate in discussions, chat, or whatever. (The first month I started using a modem, our family's phone bill increased by an obscene amount, rivalled only by our first America On-Line bill.)

BBS's made computing social: I became exposed to a subculture I'd never before known, as teenagers from all over the sprawling Southern Californian suburbia left their marks on various local systems, or on more widespread nets like FidoNet. It wasn't an information superhighway, but it was a step above interacting with a nonintelligent machine.

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