“I see you have your computer linked to the telephone line, can you tell us how you did that?”
Those are the words of a Thames TV host back in 1984 explaining the first steps needed to send an email before most people even knew what email was. Even for long-time Internet users, the imagery in the video is pretty amazing.
The video, posted just a couple of weeks ago, shows a bespectacled early Paleolithic era nerd firing up massive modem (a Minor Miracles WS2000) to connect his microcomputer computer to the Prestel network. But first, he has to get a phone connection going using, what else, a huge rotary telephone.
Yes, kiddies, that’s what super geeks had to through to send email back in the olden days of the Internet in the ’80s.
After the connection is made, the user logs into a service called Micronet 800, which provided tech-related news and information, software downloads, as well as other services like bulletin boards and early versions of the personal homepage.
Soon after, another user demonstrates how to send an email, which the host receives and then, quaintly, explains how the message can also be printed out.
Watching the first user labor to dial the seven digits to make the connection should make us all grateful that nowadays you can initiate a link to the Internet via something as simple as a voice command when querying Siri or Alexa.