By Zak Muscovitch.

For me, it was probably the year 1994. While in law school, I was working as a waiter at the now defunct Movenpick restaurant in Toronto’s fashionable Yorkville neighbourhood. A German pastry chef named, Peter, asked me, “Zak, what do you think of the Internet”. I responded, “What’s the Internet?” I was immediately curious and got online over the next couple days. From that point on, I was hooked.

Not long afterwards in 1994, I was sitting at Jet Fuel, a hip urban coffee shop which was popular with bike couriers. It offered a massive coffee drink called a “latte” for $1.00. This drink was to become very popular in the future. A fellow was sitting around near me and looked like a bike courier. I heard him mention something about the Internet and we got to talking. He introduced himself as a “Technology Evangelist” and produced a business card. That was the first time that I had ever heard of this term, and found it and its implications, just fascinating.

By this time in 1994, I was using Tucows like crazy. I am not of course talking about Tucows, the domain name registrar, but Tucows, the ORIGINAL app store, long before it became known as a domain name registrar, which offered a  website which had all kinds of cool new software for free download, like Powwow, an innovative chat program, created by a guy named John McAffee.

By 1995, I was playing a game called Command and Conquer  with friends that I had to call up on the phone to schedule a gaming appointment with. We used a cool  app called, Kali,  to connect our computers over the phone lines. I remember sending $20 in cash by mail to Jay Cotton, the developer, to get the software license to use it.

The coolest thing ever though, was using the Internet to call and leave a voice message for a guy in New York City on his answering machine. He had somehow set it up so that people could do that via his web site.  I must have done it 15 times because it was so cool.

Also on June 22, 1995, I was delighted to see a feature article on the “World Wide Web” in the Toronto Star newspaper.

This article said that “the Internet is hottest new communications medium on the planet”, with an estimated 30 to 50 million people already “wired”.

In late 1996, I wrote a ground-breaking article called, “Taxation of Internet Commerce”. It was one of the first articles ever published on the topic, and it got me my first “A” in law school. It also became a very widely cited paper on the topic. At the time, I do not recall there being any “hits” when searching for this title using the preferred search engine at the time, WebCrawler.

I think that It was probably not until 2002 that I registered my first domain name. Did they still cost $75 then? This seems rather late to me so I have my doubts that it may have been earlier. I think my first domain name was RobotHunting.com. I felt that with the pace of technology, “robot hunting” and “robot fishing” would certainly be just around the corner. I subsequently let the name drop of course.

Since then, a whole lot of the mystique and mystery of the Internet has been long gone. But once in a while I hear about new Internet related technology that is exciting and it reminds me of the old glory days when the Internet was young.

When did you first hear of the Internet?