Flashback Friday Moment of The Week: 7/28/2017

by Just Juan

So Mercedes and I have been in our new digs for a couple of weeks and the move over from Xfinity to Verizon has paid immediate dividends. The Fios Internet is much better than the Xfinity Internet we had at the apartment a couple of miles away. It’s almost like we were once operating at 56k and now we’re operating at 56 million…kinda like when I was introduced to high-speed Internet for the first time. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: the AOL days.

How I first came across this moment? I first came across America Online when we would get the CDs in the mail. Not long after I acquired my first computer in October 2000, I used one of the CDs. It offered Internet at $7.95 a month but it came with 500 hours free for 30 days. I signed up using my mother’s house phone and just like that I was plugged into the Internet.

What it meant to me then? Before the combination of the America Online promotional CDs and the Compaq Presario 1200, the only Internet access I had was either at the library at Parker High or the Birmingham Public Library—in particular, the Linn-Henley Research Library. Being able to have Internet access at home, even through the telephone line, was a huge boon for me…even if I had to sneak to register. It allowed me to get my first unfiltered taste of the Internet, which may or may not have included sites I’m not particularly proud of.

What it means to me now? It’s been nearly 17 years since I first put the AOL CD into my computer and introduced myself to the world of Internet at home. Though I never paid for a subscription, I damn sure used a lot of the promo CDs. And for that, I’m forever grateful to America Online for being my first exposure to Internet at home.

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