I _suspect_ you’ve got me “beat” on the lower bound. First 300 bps modem and “real” computer was either xmas ’88 or xmas ’89 (probably ’89 tho’ I swore ’88 for years) – and I got online right away because I felt like I was missing out.
PC-Link first, then learned about BBS’s in early 1990 and both became as habitual as Facebook is today.
Then Sept 1990, BITNET / Usenet / internet.
Its from CB Radio + one of my early screen names. All the other wolf names were taken. White Wolf, Black Wolf, Red Wolf, Bad Wolf…. so why not Steppenwolf.
We’d trade audio files to hear what each other sounded like.
I remember checking these kinds of things out. Saw potential but it wasn’t until Minecraft multiplayer that I saw a smooth usable virtual world that wasn’t goal oriented.
A lot of us had this computer. See the front ports? One was a microphone jack. Since the online service was wrapped around this family of computer, they supported their form of WAV file and thousands of sound clips from all over showed up. I was sad when AOL wiped their servers in 2007 — lots of ancient online history lost.
My only mainframe was VAX/VMS from ’90-91 along with a little Unix. I had one job on an IBM mainframe for data entry but I never got the hang of them.
A few months back I ran an emulator and went through ALL the sound files I could find and played them one after another. Sounds from me, my friends, random downloads, all from 1990-1995 (1993) – lots of stupid shit (they were a few yrs younger than me).
I hate lost data and even if no one else on the planet ever needs it, at least I feel good that ancient digital data isn’t lost.