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Discussion on: Tell me about your first email address

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Enno Rehling (恩諾)

I started my comp sci degree in 1993, so I must have been 20 years old at that time. I knew about "The Internet" through a friend whose father taught at UBC, and knew that I wanted an account on the university's system, and during the freshman orientation, I asked the guy showing us around campus about that. As new students, we weren't going to get an account in the computer science department's system for another two years, but the university had a pool of VT100 terminals connected to some Linux PCs that were able to get online, and that's where I got my first account and email address: q09960@pbhrzx.uni-paderborn.de - that's got part of my student id and the name of one of the Linux PCs in there. That finally let me get in touch my Canadian friend through his dad's UBC address. Email software choices at the time were pine and elm, just like your browser choices were gopher and gopher.

A year later I had a student job writing code for a PhD candidate, and got a "proper" account in the computer department, working on Sun workstations instead of the old VT100 terminals. NCSA mosaic had caused gopher to be replaced with HTTP, and there was even an upstart company named Netscape that made a browser with email functionality. Never looked back at pine and elm.