The early years…†

The first time I logged on the “World Wide Web” was back in autumn of 1998, roughly about 2 or 3 years after I bought my first laptop ever. I remember buying that laptop, with a 256Mb hard disk, in Flaggler Street, Downtown Miami. It was a Toshiba Sattelite Pro. The main reason why I bought it, was because an engineering friend had bought one and it looked cool, but once I brought it on board and into my cabin, it got kept under my bunk till the day I signed off. You couldn’t really do much with it, apart from writing documents. There was no games, perhaps only Solitaire, and there was nothing called Internet yet. And, now, there was no Facebook! And this first computer was massively expensive!†

At the time, I was a Safety Officer and my friend was the typewriter in the Safety Office, together with the copy machine in the hallway. Everything was typed on the typewriter with blank spaces where we wrote in times for the meetings with pen, and copied them on the copy machine. Pretty primitive by today’s standard.

Makes me feel so OLD. Makes me feel like a dinosaur.†

Anyway… I remember how much computers became a part of my daily life some time after my resignation from NCL in 1999. But then, I didn’t have a computer at home - nor did I feel the need to have one. I lived in Phuket that time, and later moved to Bangkok…. and the Internet (world wide web was now more commonly known as Internet) Cafes were not yet easy to find. In Bangkok, there were 2 or 3 computers on a small table all the way back in a place called “Coffee World” at Silom Street. I spent so many hours there - hundreds at least. It was exiting. It was new.†

I visited some very basic websites filled with GIF animations and logged on to IRC channels to access chat rooms. Chat rooms was a cool way to meet other beginning geeks, even though I don’t remember the word geek back then. Then, as time passed by, chat rooms were replaced by messengers programs: the biggest in Thailand that time was perhaps Microsft Messenger / MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger. They had “smilies” and then, a little later on, we could also chat to friends via webcam to webcam! PS, computers didn’t have integrated webcams that time, so they were attached as an external unit.†

Last week, I came across an article about the death of one of these channels… MSN Messenger is currently being phased out at a time when I really thought there were nobody still using the program. They became 15 years old, having been launched back in 1999. If you now update your latest version of Messenger now, SKYPE gets installed instead (Microsoft bought Skype back in 2011).†They were in the final years known as Windows Live Messenger, but the fate was sealed when Microsoft took over.†

Anyhow, I raise my glass and shout out for the last time: Bye Bye Messenger! Thank you for the hours of fun. You made it a lot longer than I thought. I haven’t used you for the past 10 years I think, but still, it’s the end of an era.†

Bye Bye Messenger.†

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