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The First Website (That I Ever Visited)

Posted on January 28, 2015 by Christopher Rhines

iumaIt’s a dreary, rainy day here in RVA…. a perfect day to reminisce a bit….

The setting was a buddy’s college dorm room, spring of 1995. It was just like any other evening, and on this particular evening, we happened to be watching CNET Central. Better than studying, right? On this particular episode, there was a segment about something called the Internet Underground Music Archive (or IUMA for short). IUMA was a website that enabled unsigned music artists and groups to create an account, upload sound files, and interact with fans. As a music geek, this all seemed very interesting to me. The only problem – what the heck is a website?

Now, I had definitely been online before…. but in a very different manner than how folks get online these days. In the late-80s and early-90s, using my trusty old dirty beige Commodore 64, I was heavy into the “BBS (bulletin board system) scene”. Using a 300 baud modem originally, then a 1200, and finally a 2400 baud modem, I would routinely use my C64 to phone and connect to other computers that were running BBS software. We would trade files, play online games, and chat. It was a one-to-one connection, meaning that if my computer was connected to a BBS, anybody else wanting to connect would get a busy signal. If you’ve ever seen the movie, WarGames, that’s pretty much what I did…. except for almost accidentally starting a global thermonuclear war, of course…. but I digress….

Back to 1995…. I asked my buddy if he’s ever heard of these “websites”. He said that he did, and that his computer has access to something called The Internet. I said, “SHOW ME!” He loaded up a program called Mosaic, and without too much trouble, we were able to view the IUMA website. I clicked around on these things called “links”, which enabled me to jump from page to page, from band to band, learning about and listening to all of this undiscovered music. My friend eventually kicked me out around 3am when it became apparent I wasn’t going to leave of my own free will.

I was back the very next day, and this time, I wondered aloud, “What other types of websites are out there?” It didn’t take very long at all to make the connection that browsing and interacting on websites was very similar to my old Commodore 64 BBS days…. but now without that simplistic one-to-one connection between two computers. The World Wide Web made it possible for many-to-one connections to be made, which would of course completely alter the way in which content is published and consumed. I was hooked.

And THEN I realized that I could design and develop websites of MY OWN…. I’ve been doing that for almost 20 years now. Thanks, IUMA!

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About the author:

Christopher Rhines

Partner, Director of Development

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Christopher is the Director of Development and one of the partners at Torx. In addition to keeping Torx's Richmond office firing on all cylinders, he can often be found deep in the trenches, building custom content management systems and WordPress-powered websites. He still remembers how to write Basic computer programs on Apple IIs and Commodore 64s.