Plinky wanted me to recall when I first started using the Internet regularly. Well, it's got to be 1996. You've probably been online long before that, but keep in mind, it's Indonesia I'm talking about. I signed up for an Internet account after a field trip to an Internet provider for a class in University. I have to admit, it took me awhile to figure out how to hook up the computer to the Internet. Stupid TCP/IP! But when I did, I was instantly hooked! So many things to read!
Like many other bored kids on the Internet, I had countless free GeoCities and Tripod accounts. I'd always preferred GeoCities to Tripod. GeoCities was okay until Yahoo! bought it and introduced pop-up ads. Ick! My first webmail account was with Rocketmail before Yahoo! bought the service in 1997 and transferred all Rocketmail accounts to Yahoo! Mail, which was lame. Yahoo! seemed to ruin everything that was good back then. The only good thing about Yahoo! was, if your site got listed on the Yahoo! directory, you could brag about it and it actually brought you quite a few hits.
Some Indonesian guy once sent me an email upon seeing my pictures on one of my GeoCities sites and asked me to remove them because he was concerned that people from outside Indonesia would think that all Indonesian girls are as ugly as me. Nice! Sadly, that site is no longer up. I didn't take it down. Yahoo! did, apparently. I met a bunch of Internet assholes along the way, but mostly on IRC. Remember a/s/l?
I have a site at Angelfire from 1997 that's still up but you have to beg me for the link (it's that embarrassing). I kept some kind of a blog on that site. I posted wacky news articles from Indonesia, copied straight from a local English language newspaper by hand. No fancy cut-and-paste! See? I've always been a hardcore blogger. Heh.
I found Usenet very entertaining. I would download news from random servers using my email client just to see what kind of crap they had for me to read.
I learned how to use stylesheet/CSS in 1998. I loved it and still do. I practiced my CSS-Fu a lot while online-journalling (that's what blogging was called back then) over at Diaryland between 1998 and 1999. I discovered Blogger in early 2000 when it was still owned by Pyra instead of Google, before Blogspot was conceived. Made quite a few friends from the world over. And the rest, as they say, is history.