Thursday, April 19, 2007

9th Anniversary

Nine years ago today, Matt Varas walked up to me with a small stack of floppy diskettes, and in usual Varas fashion, thrust them at me.

"What's this?"
"It's an mp3."
"What is that?"

He explained that it was just a way of making a sound file small. On four disks (remember this was 1998, before CD burners were common), he told me to use Microsoft Backup/Restore to combine them all.

Not really sure what that was, I went home, spent two hours downloading Winamp, and used that obscure program to combine the diskettes into my very first MP3: Bone Thugs N Harmony's "Tha Crossroads."

And that's what got me started. From there I got mIRC. Downloading files from mIRC was a pain. One had to

-Search for a file
-Find someone who had it
-Type a command just to enter their queue, and, usually
-Wait for them to become available, then
-Spend an hour downloading a song.

But I kept at it as the times kept changing. From mIRC to Napster. From Napster to Morpheus, and from Morpheus to KaZaa and onto KaZaa Lite, iTunes, eMusic, and the legally ambiguous And along the way I tried my share of programs: Abe's mp3 finder, gnutella, iMesh, limewire, BearShare, AIMster, grokster, audiogalaxy, Direct Connect, eDonkey, eMule, launchcast, winmx, shoutcast, soulseek...

My point? I kindled the nascent technology and watched it blossom into its current form, along for the entire ride. More than 5,900 songs later (that's 1.8 a day for 9 years), it's shaped me into the copyright-infringing music pirate RIAA-abiding fan of music that I am today. Nine full years in the making.

And thank you, Bone Thugs, for shining your light for others to follow!

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