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Posted on Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Dave!This morning I needed to dig out a software manual from storage (remember when software came with printed manuals?) and had a small blue pressboard binder fall on my head. It looked familiar, but I didn't know why.

Remember when I was lamenting that I couldn't remember my CompuServe ID Number? Well, yeah, the small blue pressboard binder had all my CompuServe stuff in it... including my ID...

My CompuServe ID No.

Now that I see it... 70717,3107... I can't imagine how I ever forgot it. Those digits flow through my mind like my own name, because it was my name for a number of years. When I typed it just then, I didn't even need to take a second look, my fingers automatically keyed it in. Just like old times.

Somehow, I feel more complete than I did yesterday.

ALSO in the small blue pressboard binder... COMPUSERVE INFORMATION SERVICE RATES: 1984!"

CompuServe Rates 1984

A few things...

  • $2.00 per hour evening rates in 1984 is $4.52 per hour in 2014.
  • $10.00 per hour daytime rates in 1984 is $22.60 per hour in 2014.
  • Can you imagine paying $4.52 per hour for internet? $22.60 an hour in the daytime?
  • If you lived in Alaska, Compu$serve was $33.90 per hour... $31.64 per hour in Hawaii.
  • In 1984 I would have been a senior in High School working 18 hours a week (evenings and weekends) at a local shop... at $3.85 an hour, or $69.30 a week before taxes. Adjusted for inflation, that's $156.60 per week before taxes.
  • And I think CompuServe charged extra to access the internet through their gateway.
  • My access speed at the time was probably 1,200 baud. Just to put that in perspective, a typical 2.2 MB photo would take me 4 hours and 15 minutes to download. Not that digital imagery at the time was anywhere near that for consumer photography.
  • You can probably guess where every cent I had in disposable income went in 1984.


All told, I'm currently on the internet for one thing or another at least 5 hours a day. That's minimum 35 hours a week... probably much more. Putting two hours of that in the daytime and three hours of that in the evening, in 2014 dollars I'd be spending $58.76 per day... $411.32 per week... just to get online.

And "being online" then sure ain't what it is now.

How in the hell did we ever make it out of the dark ages of technology?

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Categories: Internets 2014Click To It: Permalink


  1. Wow! That’s some changes in the last 30 years!

    I think I was mostly using BBS services at the time. Maybe I had an account and used it just when I had to? I certainly don’t remember paying rates like that that time, but that was a few years ago. I know were had at my first computer job (1980), but after that I don’t recall having it at work..

    At that time they didn’t even have an internet gateway, that was too early for that (probably another decade?).

    4 hours and 15 minutes! Well the floppies on my Atari were only 90KB (0.09 MB) and I think Apple II’s were 140KB, so 2.2MB would have been HUGE!

    I miss the good ol’ days!

  2. Kathy S. says:

    Ha! Not only do I remember when software came with paper manuals, I remember getting paid to write them. Ah, the good old days, when writers still got paid. And then spent all their money on the internet.

  3. claire says:

    It’s funny, your post reminds me of dial-up. I had a boss who told me if I switched to a cable modem, I’d never be able to go back. He was right.

    There was a brief time after I switched and was on the road when dial up was all that was available and it was. so. painful.

    Hooray for technological advancements! If only things like equal rights and tolerance caught on and evolved so quickly.

  4. J.P. says:

    I jumped onto the CompuServe bandwagon a little later, in 1990 and the price had come down considerably. Prior to that I belonged to a service called GEnie, which used a similar pricing scheme to the one you described for CompuServe. I think these services ran on the mainframes, VAXclusters and other timeshare services of large corporations, hence the really big charge during traditional business hours but much “cheaper” costs during the off-hours. I remember the chatrooms being described as “CB channels”. It was rather awesome.

  5. kapgar says:

    Geez. Even when I started web use in 1994, it was either free using my university’s connection or $19.99/month using AOHell dial-up. I think rates like yours would’ve scared me from ever wanting to use the internet.

  6. Ren says:

    Hmm… 1984. I don’t think I got a modem until 1987, and then I only connected to free BBSes until I was able to dial in to the University network and access the Internet (mostly just Usenet).

    While reading threads on Usenet and waiting for the next page of text to load, I developed a habit of blinking slowly to allow the page update to happen while my eyes were closed. To this day, if something is loading slowly, I catch myself closing my eyes for a second or two.

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