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.
"There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home" ~ Ken Olson, Co-founder of DEC, 1977
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 :-)