The evolution of chat

Back in 1982 (or maybe 1983?) when I got my first computer — a Toshiba laptop with 3M of memory — I didn’t really know what to do with it. The battery lasted an hour and the machine itself weighed seven pounds. Hauling it and my schoolbooks to class was less than productive. It sat on a folding card table in my bedroom for the better part of year before I discovered the purpose of the modem.

None of my friends at the time, computer scientists as they were, didn’t even use e-mail. Somehow or another, I found my way to internet relay chat (IRC) boards where I encountered people (mostly men) with exotic technical skills and crafty names such as MAC, Orpheus, Spelunker, and Driftwood.

As productive as it was to sit and chat all night, the fancy technology inspired me to travel and put a face to a name.

More recent events have cast these and other experiences in a whole new light.

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