Nostalgia Moment #1,320,966: I used to run BBS's using RedRyderHost. I could build a BBS from scratch in about two hours. Kinda like those guys who can build a fully customized WordPress site in about as much time.
So each RRH BBS I'd set up, would become part of the network of them. And they all had to share each other's numbers, and transfer each other's email. It was a part of my deal. I didn't ask for payment. I just built the site, put it on a floppy, and told the person how to get it up and running. They'd go home, read my laser-printed directions, and suddenly a new BBS would appear.
Watching the modems connect, watching the email files move across, reading new posts as they came through - real-time - at 300 baud...
It was kinda amazing.
Here were all these people who had never met. Talking. Sharing stories. Ideas. Helping each other out.
I eventually brought home a 14.4k modem (some brand with "robot" in it, or something) that was bigger than a laptop computer is today... then I was able to read ALL the usenet groups I wanted (rec.moto, rec.pyro, were two of my regular haunts), get all the cool shit from The WELL.
Then I started testing Apple's eWorld. That's how I made the connection to NASA, and eventually got a job there.
Flame wars. Heh. Look at the internet nowadays.... sheesh.