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The tension rose as you heard the modem dial for the first time. A few beeps and a little static later, your whole perspective on the world had changed. It's amazing how fast you can feel your connection is when all you have to compare it to is the speed of your own stubby young fingers typing. It's incredible how free you can feel when for the first time your computer is no longer limited by the speed of your little Apple tape drive whirring away in its little nook above the keyboard, below the monitor. That little beige box between your computer and the wall was like the moongates in Ultima, a little portal into the unknown. You discover you can talk to other people, just by typing to them. Then, you find out you can download text files to read, and programs other people have written in BASIC. If you're feeling adventurous, you could try to download a binary file; hopefully the transfer would work properly the first time, as it could take over an hour to get that 20kb file you wanted. The tape drive would store it as faithfully as it received it, but the line noise could really foul up that text you saw flowing up the screen. It looked like gibberish, but those characters were really magic symbols which let you put brand new things on your computer without having to go down to Radio Shack and buy them.

Your paradigm shifted forever. Freedom. Pure bliss.

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