Prodigy at 11 Years Old

Whenever I tell people my family started using the internet in 1994 they think I'm a lying. The truth is my best friends Kevin and Jason McEwen moved from Iowa to Baltimore the summer after fourth grade and I figured that was the end. I didn't have the patience to write a letter and my family at that point had not vacationed once on the east coast. So I figured I'd never hear from them or see them again. Then my dad hooked our PC into a 1200 bps modem and fired up Prodigy and Compuserve.

The only thing I remember about Compuserve is it looked like a giant chat room, and for all I know that is what it was. I think I logged into it once and left it alone. Prodigy was where the real action was. My Dad told me I could write my friends digital letters, send it off, and hear back from them in minutes, the only catch was I could only send 30 emails a month. I guess 31 emails would melt their servers or something.

It was awesome. The McEwens and I emailed back and forth a couple times a week and I got to keep my best friends in my life. During that same time I started to notice all the other stuff Prodigy offered. There were links to news, sports headlines, and a bunch of other goodies I've forgotten. Being 11 my favorite part of Prodigy was the games; specifically the madlibs rip off game. My buddies would come over and we'd play that game over and over. I probably burnt down half a rain forest one winter because of all the madlibs I printed off (God I wish I still had those).

Prodigy was the true beginning. After that came AOL (I still remember seeing a guy wearing an AOL 2.7 shirt and being super jealous my family only had AOL 2), then AIM, DSL, then I went off to college and the internet exploded. Peer to peer Forums, mp3s, Halo over the internet... If only I had spent more time learning how to build things for the internet instead of just using it, maybe I'd be living a little higher on the hog these days. The fact is my addiction to the digital world started early. Some people start smoking as a tween, I started surfing the internet.

Today I'm probably not much different than you. I have a Facebook account, a Twitter account, Whrrl, Brightkite, etc. I also work for a news outlet where I shoot and edit video for broadcast and the web, I run our stations website, and I'm still obsessed with the next revolutionary digital wave headed our way. I have a lot of interests and spread my digital work all over the map so I figured, why not document it? That's the idea behind Fire-Wired Life. If I do something cyberspace, tech, or digitally related I'll try and take a beat and talk about I'm geeked about it here. See you around.


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