My reply to another post got me thinking. Did anyone else on here ever run a BBS? I had one back in the early 80's. Remember FIDOnet? Compuserve?
Myself and a few other folks hacked our way onto the internet through an open modem bank at Michigan State University. Of course back then there wasn't much to see. Just a lot of ftp servers and a text-based browser (I forget the name. Lynx maybe?). HTTP hadn't been invented yet as far as I know. The only search tools were called Archie and Veronica.
[EDIT] I just looked it up and Lynx wasn't around yet. All we had was a shell account and the command line tools. Even my memory is not what it used to be.
"The good news about computers is that they do what you tell them to do. The bad news is that they do what you tell them to do." -- Ted Nelson
Maybe the text-based browser you're remembering was for the Gopher protocol?
While I didn't run a BSS, I certainly used a few.
My favorite memory is the concept of a mail/FTP gateway. My internet connection (through university) only supported email, no other client or protocol. So if you wanted to download something via FTP (and I wanted to download a lot), you had to send the FTP commands via mail to a mail/FTP gateway, which would schedule the commands in a queue for execution. Then you'd get the results back via email some 24-72 hours later. Better hope you didn't mistype anything... And the files would get back UU-encoded in 32KB chunks, so if you downloaded a 1MB file, then you probably got 30 emails from which you had to extract the UU content, paste it together into one file, and then run it through a UU decoder. Fun stuff :-)