Starling’s love letter to the Internet

24th August 2016

by:

Dear Internet, I am particularly thankful for your existence because you have been instrumentally formative in my life. Without discovering you when I did I am sure I would have had an entirely different career, and life.

I built my first PC out of spares and leftovers from friends in the computer science department in 1998 while studying music at the University of London. It wasn’t connected to you.

To access you, usually to make use of my first ever email account, I had to visit special computers in special rooms and often queue for you.

Then I built a PC for my parents, who had a modem. We were barely connected to you. My folks would frequently pick up the (fully-corded) phone to be met with the ‘awful screeching’ which was always followed by a groan from the other room along the lines, ‘Mum, not agaaaaain!’

Then there was ISDN. Getting better. We could use you for multiplayer first-person gaming. Fun.

When I left university – a reasonable pianist, an impatient piano teacher, an unoriginal composer with a head packed full of music history and analysis techniques – I took a year to consider my career direction.

‘What is this Internet thing anyway’, I had time to ask myself. ‘And how do they make those pages and send those emails…?’

Enter ‘HTML for Dummies’. Yes, my first ‘technical’ book was HTML for Dummies. HTML 4.01 to be precise. Cue lots of center-aligned, blinking, scrolling text and an ‘under construction’ banner hosted on Geocities. These were dark times.

A year later I’d earned a reasonable living building websites for local associations and businesses and I’d made new friends all over the world on ICQ. This year living, working and playing with and through you converted me. I enrolled in a MSc Computer Science course…

Now here we are building a brand new bank which, like so many things, couldn’t exist without you and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs ought to place access to you, preferably wirelessly, ahead of our need for food, water warmth and rest!

Love, Dan

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