Wow, here’s something I totally missed: CompuServe closed down on July 1. I thought it had shuttered service long ago, but it had not. I’m talking about the ‘classic’ service, not CompuServe 2000, which will go on. Frankly, I am amazed that either service has lived on, but they did. Apparently, the acquisition by AOL did not kill them after all. At least, not right away.
My memories of CompuServe are few, I was never a subscriber for any length of time. I have had access, at various times, but never actually spent my own dime. My father subscribed for a time in the late 1980’s and I worked for a company that had an account. Briefly, in the mid 1990’s, I had a freebie account, though I don’t recall why it was free. Beta tester, maybe, for it’s ‘new’ client perhaps. At any rate, I don’t have glowing gushing memories of the service. I was an AOL person and always disliked the ‘air’ of supremacy that CompuServe members seemed to have. Kind of silly now, but it was not then. I only recently, in fact, discontinued that AOL account. Last year, I believe. From 1992 to 2008 I paid AOL for slow dial up service. It was my primary means of on line access of any kind until around 1996 when I had Bell Atlantic dial up. Then, around 99 or 2000 I went to Comcast have been there since. AOL had dial up numbers everywhere-like CompuServe-and I could always count on them for that.
CompuServe was one of those mythical beasts, I always thought, where lots of people talked about it, but few actually saw. For many years, I’d hear people talking about ‘going on CompuServe’ but they, themselves, did not subscribe. You’d see CompuServe forums listed in magazines (the geeky ones) and you’d see these long numbers in relation to downloads on CompuServe. However, unlike today, those downloads were measured in ‘thousands of bytes’ and not in mega or gigabytes. Programs were small then.
The few times I remember using the service on my father’s ID, were on an old CP/M or DOS machine. First, the CP/M machine and then that fancy 80186 computer my Dad built. I think the CP/M machine was better…there were lots more stuff to be found than for that ‘x86’ thing. Good times.
There is no doubt that CompuServe was a pioneer. That it lived thirty years is remarkable. For a more glowing remembrance of the service, read this post.