The recent death of CompuServe Classic disturbed me greatly, partly because I had no idea it was still alive through half of 2009, and partly because when I first read the article, I couldn’t remember my old account numbers.
I first signed onto CIS (CompuServe Information Service, which nobody wanted to type all the way out in those days) back in 1985, using my trusty Commodore 64 at a startling 300 bps. At the time, I was 72030,117. I dropped the service after a few years, but returned in the 1990s as 73142,1451, this time with an actual MS-DOS machine. Lots of acquaintances over the years, and one actual friend: Dawn Eden, whom I met in one of the service’s music forums circa 1995. We lost touch shortly thereafter, but reconnected, thanks to this screwy blog stuff, several years later.
I don’t have a whole lot of memorabilia from those days: I’m pretty sure I no longer have my copy of CIM (I put off switching to WinCIM as long as I could, but then I put off Windows as long as I could, which explains this) in the Big Box O’ Defunct Software. I did turn up in my archives the text of a couple of emails from Roger Ebert we had some brief discussion of Bad Movies and, from ’94, what purported to be CIS addresses for Penn and Teller. (I was a major Penn fan in those days, since he’d been doing a column for PC/Computing magazine, which was usually about computers and/or Uma Thurman.)
Of course, anyone who remembers CIS also remembers the alternate version: CI$. At six bucks an hour, the tab piled up quickly. Worse, in the Eighties, they charged you according to your modem speed; those hotheads with 1200-bps modems paid twice as much as the plodders like me with 300.
If you’ve wandered by here and wondered “Why the hell is this guy on the Internet?” you’ve just read one of the reasons.