when the scene discovered the internet... (article from 1995)

category: general [glöplog]
while doing some scene excavations i discovered this fascinating article from RAW #7 (an amiga diskmag by spaceballs), published in 1995 and written by astro/movement. usually i don't just go and share random diskmag articles in a forum, but in this case i'm making an exception because i think it's really worth it. it's so cool to read the how the scene felt about things that are part of our everyday lives far beyond the scene now. and we often forget that the scene is older than the internet and we were among the early adopters. it's a particularly fascinating moment in scene history that many still vividly remember, myself included.

Scene goes Internet?
Written by Astro/Movement & CnCd

The Internet. Nowadays known as one of the biggest computer networks around the globe with millions of users worldwide, internet has much to offer. VERY MUCH!

Apart from being able to send messages (e-mail) to your friends abroad there are almost UNLIMITED other ways to use the net. I know Macno / Abnormalia already wrote an article in RAW #3 about the Internet, but the only aspect he wrote about was IRC. (Read the special chapter about this). In this article I'll try to cover the most interesting aspects of the net for the common amiga-scener.

Apart from being able to get your demos from the (Pirate) boards in your country (or other countries than yours if you have lots of cash or callingcards ) or via snailmail, there is a different way to get them : through the Internet. The internet has a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) which is a utility that can transfer files to and from Internetworked computers. Using FTP you can access directories and files on a remote computer and upload/download as many files as you want. Now ,you may think, how the hell can I find a computer which has Amigademos on its Harddisk ?  Easy!  For this we have Aminet.  Aminet is a linked group of computers (accessable using Internet) who offer thousands of Amiga-Programs and related files (INCLUDING demos, intros etc.) , available 24 hours a day. Although Aminet is not the place to be if you're really looking for the very latest demos released, but it has a really large amount of older scene-related productions.

If you want the very latest demos there is only one way to get them through the net : IRC. More about this later on.
All in all Aminet is an easy and especially CHEAP way to get the  demos, magazines,etc. you missed because, believe me, Aminet has everything. And if they haven't got the file you are looking for : just make a request in the Amigademos-Newsgroup and it's on Aminet within a day. Superb! This brings us to the next interesting aspect of the net ..

Newsgroups are a kind of public forum where LOADS of people from all over the world participate in all possible discussions about all different kinds of subjects. From sex to  Amigamusic ; It's all there. Just read the previous messages in a specific newsgroup and then decide what you'll do. You can add to the discusssions, ask questions etc. etc. and you can expect an answer within a few minutes/hours already, depending on how many people take a look at the discussion you added or asked something in. Ofcourse also the Amigascene (more focused on the legal side than on the Piratescene) has it's own newsgroup with people talking about all aspects of the Demoscene. (group is called 'alt.sys.amiga.demos')

Everybody who has ever called a board knows that chatting 'live' with either the sysop or, if the board has more than one node, other users on the system really is GREAT fun. On common amigaboards it's kind of special if you get to chat with about 4 or 5 people at the same time but that's almost the best you can get. Afterall, the board has to have eg. 5 nodes in order to chat with 5 people at the same time. Most Internet-Hosts provide access to a chat-system that lets you enjoy live chats with people from all around the world.

This chat-system is called IRC (Internet Relay Chat). After entering in IRC, you can join in existing public group chats (channels) or even set up your own. Just type something on your computer and it's instantly echoed around the world to whoever happens to be on the same channel with you. If you know a friend is also on the IRC at the same time, (it doesn't matter in what country that person lives in) just invite him/her to your own created channel and have a nice chat. Maybe the best aspect of IRC is that, unlike most amiga pirate boards, you are not limited to the number of nodes of a system in order to chat with a specific number of people. You can have chats with as many people as you like and so chat-'conferences' with at least 30 people are very common in the world of IRC.

There are basically three main amiga-channels on IRC. They are #amiga, #amigascene and #amiga!. The first two are accessable for everyone and #amiga! is an invite-only channel, since it is more into games and illegal-scene activities. I talked earlier about getting the latest demos through IRC. It's quite simple : Join the channel #amigascne and look if the bot 'papa' is around. This looks like a normal user in the channel but it is not. A bot is basically a program which can do all sorts of things in the channel in which it's operative and in this case the bot also holds a large filebase. Just type this: '/msg papa help' and the bot will give you all intructions to get all the latest demos from it. Please notice that you MUST have access to the IRC-command '/dcc' in order to be able to get the demos from 'papa'.

Ofcourse all this is great fun, but it would get even better if you could 'meet' people on the Internet who have the same hobbies and interests as you have, wouldn't it ? Like I said before, the newsgroup alt.sys.amiga.demos deals with, as the name already reveals, all kinds of discussions about Amigademos. Perhaps the best way to meet other sceners is to join the IRC and join #amigascne and then talk to the addicts hanging around there (*grin*) and ask them for further possibilities on the net regarding the scene. The best time to join the IRC-channel is in the afternoon as lots of studying sceners will sit behind a school-terminal after lessons to chat a bit. Also in the middle of the night you have a good chance of chatting with the real addicts :) I was quite surprised about the number of scenepeople hanging around on Internet. Let's mention just a few people who are more or less active on Internet: Slammer/Rednex, Flame/Pygmy Projects, Dr.Skull/Virtual Dreams, Dweezil, Perplex/Offence, Reward/Complex (True addict no.1), Stelios/Cncd, Jugi/Complex (True addict no.2), Macno/Abnormalia, Dr.Jekyll/Andromeda and even your beloved maineditor Lord Helmet and Kingpin! Another point in which RAW is far ahead of it's opponents ... ;)

There are mainly two ways of becoming a user of Internet. First : If you're studying on a university or school which has an internet-connection. If, in that case, you don't already have an account you should gently ask the system administrator for an account. If he's a nice guy he'll let you have one and if not, you better tell him RAW sent you. You'll get one instantly :)

Second : Almost every country nowadays has a kind of company or service which offers internet accounts for a (most of the time) reasonable price. Just ask around if your country also has a service like that. Then you pay on a monthly for a year an amount of money and you'll have a full internet account! Easy huh?\XX
added on the 2019-08-24 23:31:44 by dipswitch dipswitch
Nice dig, Dip. =)

Reminds me many nice "hours" spent behind the screen back in those early NET days.
I wish it had such a great liberty nowadays as it had back then... It was like a breath of a fresh, FREE air, and not spyware and money as it is now... even if not the Net is "free" when back, it was not (or it REALLY was, in fact)!
added on the 2019-08-24 23:44:58 by sim sim
added on the 2019-08-24 23:46:58 by wullon wullon
@sim, hehe, my first net experience was the complete contrary. around late 1996 - early 1997, at a pc terminal in our city library. where you not only paid for the time you spent surfing, but also had to buy 3,5" disks if you wanted to download something, and then the librarian would unlock the disk drive with a real key. i started searching for some demoscene stuff and was totally disappointed, particularly about the razor 1911 demosection page, if i remember correctly - all the demos and intros i could download, i already had from boards! what a waste of time and money... so i went back to calling boards. only in 1998 i began hanging out on irc through a bbs - a (still) good friend of mine ran a board on daydream with a telnet node, and let me use his linux shell to go onto irc through the bbs. my first email address i also had through a different bbs. around 1999-2000 i began using some AOL cds to go online, and only in 2000 i could finally afford an own internet connection. but shortly before that, i still assumed i could go completely without it, and boards were enough...
added on the 2019-08-25 00:06:00 by dipswitch dipswitch
the future is now!
Great story dude with not such a great experience library =). Back - the real pain, now, a pure laught @ a bottle of a good beer ;).

In opposite to you, BBS'ing was horrendously expensive for my pocket.

At the univeristy I discovered a NEW GREAT WORLD... Suddenly I was in DE and then in JP, then UK, PL, SE, DK, FR, PL again... I was sooo HAPPY.
Since then I was sticked to the C64 sites (SID, gfx), some Amiga ones (demos). But not too much.
I could not get the email account in order to use PINE and communicate... The admins were really tuff. Thus I had problems with beta-testing reports of SidPlay, supporting my brand-new HVSC RIPs and corrections nad support other sites... =/...
I try to find other "ways" to communicate but...
What was nice thou, nothing was forbidden, blocked and etc on the Net...
We had to have our own discs, thou ;).

Personally, I was (as I discovered years later - it was only temporary) outta computer scene back then. You know, A500 was the only machine for me (dying), and the PC was for studying and, ehem, business. So I was more down with Graffiti (thru a mighty portal - art crimes to name jsut one) and a new born back then - the Arcade scene (the VERY first releases of MAME, other dedicated emus, rom dumping and etc...).

Ahh good daze ^^.
added on the 2019-08-25 00:27:38 by sim sim
BBS days were nice too... for my dad the phone costs were partially job/tax deductible so I happily made use of that ;)
Darn lucky you were, Maali! Good job =).
added on the 2019-08-25 01:02:48 by sim sim
I obtained Internet access in 1997 when I was 14 years old. I had read about demoscene-related IRC channels in a diskmag. When I joined one of these channels one of the first nicknames I spotted was "pascal". I asked: "Are you the guy who programmed Cubic Player?" and he said yes. I was amazed that the Internet enabled me to meet such a famous person and talk to him directly.

On the other hand I made the experience that many people have no inhibitions being rude and saying negative things about others on the Internet. When you attend a demoparty the other visitors are usually polite and friendly. Those who, for whatever reason, dislike you simply do not talk to you. On the Internet however you must always expect to get flamed.

I created a website for Hugi soon after obtaining Internet access but still I rarely used the world wide web. I mostly communicated via email and IRC. This changed in the mid-2000s when Wikipedia went online. During my days as a university student I often stayed awake until 3 am, then slept three hours, got up again at 6 am and continued reading Wikipedia until 3 am on the next day. Later I became an excessive user of Facebook.
added on the 2019-08-25 14:11:50 by Adok Adok
One great takeaway from this article is how insignificant a role the WWW played in the early days. You got your news from newsgroups, you discussed it on IRC, and you got/sent demos through FTP (or DCC on IRC). I also can't forget the value of email lists, e.g. DemoNews. In 1995, web content was basically "hey, our group has a homepage on the web!" or "here's my personal homepage, I like these demos". But it wasn't the first place to go.
added on the 2019-08-26 17:54:16 by phoenix phoenix
I remember when I first got on IRC around '94/95 I found it to be very lame since you couldnt see the other person type in realtime like you would in a BBS chat.
added on the 2019-08-26 18:15:31 by wysiwtf wysiwtf