Modern Internet Users Have It Easy

I’ve been helping make computers easy for people for about 16 years now as a professional, but have been an avid computer user for well over a quarter century at this point. There are a lot of people who think computers are hard to use, and need my help to make heads or tails of them. It’s not your fault if you feel this way, but I wanted to give you a quick “computer history” lesson to help you understand that computers are in most ways *much* easier than when I started using them, and to help you understand they’re only getting easier as time goes by. I also wanted to share a website with you that lets you look into the Internet of the past to see what it was like before the days of the World Wide Web – what I used to use back in the day before most people had even heard of email. When I got my first computer back in the 1980s, it didn’t come with a modem. I had to spend hundreds of dollars to buy a dialup modem which ran at “1200 bps” – that number may not mean anything to you, but in relative terms compared to a modern cable or DSL modem it was like walking compared to driving a fast car at top speed. VERY slow! Not only was it slow, it was a “dumb modem” which meant that every single time I used it I had to manually configure it to work properly, something I had to do by memorizing and typing in a string of letters and numbers that would look like gibberish to most people. Once I was connected to the Internet I didn’t have bookmarks or search engines to find things, I had to know the exact address of a site I wanted to connect to, then type another special command to connect to it. Everything was done by typing commands and you often needed to have a great deal of knowledge about exactly how your computer worked “under the hood” to know the correct commands to type, and if you typed one letter or number wrong it just wouldn’t work! A far cry from today where you can grab a mouse and double-click on an icon and then from there click a link or a button to get where you want, or at most type in what you’re looking for in a search engine. If you want to get an idea of what it used to look like back in the day, there’s a website which simulates the Internet as it was about 20 years ago before the Web came along, when just about the only people using the Internet were complete computer geeks like myself. Go to: and you’ll see what it was like. You have to type commands to get around (a list of commands is shown when you arrive) followed by the Enter or Return key to “send” the command. I’m just sharing this with you for fun, and to give you a little perspective on how things have changed. The good news is, things are generally getting easier as time goes by. On the down side, of course, we do face a lot more potential threats and risks to our privacy and security on the modern Internet than was around back then. In my next email I’ll tell you about one type of threat that can put you at risk no matter what kind of computer you use (yes, including Apple Macs). Fortunately, this particular threat is one that can be defeated by knowledge, and I’ll share a new lesson to give you that knowledge so you can stay safe. So keep an eye out for that lesson – I’ll be posting it in the next few days.