Wikipedia: AOL

I know, I know. To say anything positive about AOL is like praising Barry Bonds as an upstanding fine example of an honest ballplayer. Or to cheer for Bill Belichick’s sportsmanship. Or to give a thumbs-up to Britney Spears for responsible parenting.
But the fact is that I have a soft spot in my heart for the beleaguered corporation.
I signed up with AOL back in 1994. It was my first online experience after BBS’s. For you young whipper-snappers, BBS’s were file sharing and live chatting environments that you dial;ied into via your 2400 baud modems.
But when i connected to AOL for the first time, I discovered a huge community (I was around the two millionth customer) that teemed with clubs and groups for every interest. I also got my first email account. It was a real rush.

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MASH FAQ: Episode Guide

Usenet is something that has largely fallen by the wayside.
In the early days of connecting to the net, say about 1993, Usenet was one of the most useful places to share information. The text-only protocol played nice with 1200 baud modems, and there was a gentlemanly air about the place. Newbies were expected to learn the protocol of posting messages before doing so. Email addresses were freely posted. Spam was unheard of.
Alas, the end was near, so close the the beginning. In April of 1994, two Phoenix lawyers named Canter and Siegel put the term spam on the map. They put an advertising message on every single newsgroup (message board) on Usenet. There were several thousand such newsgroups, and each one got the ad.

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