My first computer was a Sinclair ZX-80, but it had no connectivity. I mostly just built loops and other useless apps in Basic. Network connectivity for me came in 1983 with an Atari 800 and a 300 baud modem. Would log into the National Weather Service, NOAA etc. Then joined TheSource, and upgraded to a 1200 baud Hayes smartmodem and an Atari 1200XL. Also had an Apple IIc and a TRS-80. Played Defender until my palms would literally bleed. Never failed to set the high score in numerous arcades around the country.
By 1984 I was using a Fortune Systems 32:16 (still have it!). Played games, logged into various government sites, and ‘chatted’ with others when I wasn’t building rudimentary accounting software (a checkbook balancer and order-entry system) and unix shells for small office environments. Joined Compuserve, read news from The Columbus Dispatch (lived an hour down the road) and various other sources.
During this time I earned my Computer Science degree initially using a Honeywell system (punch cards!); later, a PDP-11. Had ’email’ starting in 1983. Suffered through Fortran, LISP, some Cobol, and Assembler. Have done no programming since 1986, though I did teach myself html and built several websites in the mid-1990’s.