Back in 1994 or 95 when the first computer arrived in the highrise, well, it was low rise then, I knew absolutely nothing about them except that there was an email facility. You could write some words and send them electronically to another person who had email, but not many did have it back then.
The computer came with three months free internet access. The company should have paid us for such a beastly service that took forever to connect to.
I did not adapt to the new world immediately, and so I would write urls down on paper, along with email addresses.
In my struggle to understand this fangled new machine, I had a variety of sources to help. Our friend in Japan gave me some advice I recall, and showed me amazon.com. I have never bought anything from Amazon though. My Sydney friend lived in Melbourne back then, and he showed me how to make folders to put stuffs in, a few good sites, and how to structure the Windows Explorer tree to work for me. Aside from these two people, I learnt pretty much everything else myself, along with eagerly listening to experienced people on the radio, including the venerable Charles Wright.
I used to buy PC User magazine mostly for the programs from the attached CD. However, there was one source that helped me a great deal. It helped me understand the bigger picture of the world wide web, commerce and the internet and best of all, a help column and tips and tricks.
I speak of The Age Information and Technology supplement in every Tuesday's edition. My excercise book not only had hand written urls and email addresses in it, it also had page after page of tips and tricks and problem solving snipped from the paper and pasted in. Most of these quickly became redundant as things evolved, but I recall using some of them. I still have the exercise book. It is a laugh to flick through.
Over time the IT section of The Age has become smaller and smaller and earlier this year it was given its burial. I recognise that its time has come and that there are new ways to access information. But I can't help but being a bit saddened by its passing.
So, for all who used to write for The Age IT section and you all you idiots who kept asking stupid questions, the answers which I found so useful, I thank you.