August 23 is celebrated as “Internaut Day” (from ‘internet’ and ‘astronaut’), marking the anniversary of that date in 1991 when Tim Berners-Lee opened the World Wide Web to all who wished to access it.
I remember browsing the Internet for the first time in 1995 in a multimedia laboratory in Technische Hochschule Nürnberg on a NEXT machine. The laboratory had a “Gib Gates Keine Chance” sticker on the front door. I came back to Romania with 5 boxes of 1.2′ floppy disks filled with Windows 3.1 and pictures of Claudia Schiffer saved from Lycos and Altavista.
When I got home I could not stop thinking about how cool Internet was and I wanted to explore more. I found a book on Internet and then got a free dial-up connection from Pcnet. They were giving free connections and UUCP emails to students.
I was using some email bot that accepted email commands and it was sending me web pages I requested as email attachment. I joined all the local mailing lists and Bulletin Board Systems (BBS). I even had my own BBS at some point but it was never very successful. I went to meetings (Romantic List) and was enjoying this new universe that I just discovered.
My first Internet nickname was Mycroft. Everybody said it comes from Microsoft but a selected few knew the real origins – Mycroft was Sherlock Holmes’s brother from Arthur Conan Doyle books that I was enjoying at that age. Mycroft evolved to Webmyc which in my head was an acronym for my future web development business: WEB Me+You=Create. I still use it on Twitter. Follow me! 🙂
In high-school, my physics teacher, Teodoru Gugoiu, translated a couple of books on HTML and I was fascinated that his son who was only 7-9 years old was already “developing” web sites using Microsoft Power Point and Save as HTML option.
I had my first website on Geocities and it had a dark background and a lot of animated GIFs. I was creating websites in the first WYSIWYG html editor – Netscape Composer. I then discovered Coffee Cup and after my trial expired wrote them an email saying that I was just learning to create websites and I loved their editor but cannot afford the full version and asked them to extend my trial. They gave me a life-time license and I was the happiest kid on the block.
Then Dreamweaver happened and I had my first jobs as a Web Designer and later a Web Developer. One of my first freelance portfolios is still online.
I’ve been dealing with online projects and teams ever since and have no regrets. After 21 years I am back to being a freelancer and I kept the same excitement that I always had right after hitting the return key after typing a URL.