Back in 1990 when I started using the Internet, it was all about Usenet. I got my start online back in the late 1980's with BBS (Bulletin-Board Systems) which is kind of like a predecessor to email list servers. You could download packets of topics and comments, add your own, then upload a packet and the conversation would be updated. Using off-line readers was much easier at the very slow speeds than trying to research and type a complicated comment online, so I became a huge fan of BBS off-line message readers.
CompuServe was my first foray into on-line communities, and for those of you who remember what that was like, it was pretty cool for its time. From there, we graduated to direct Internet Service Providers, and Gopher and WAIS. Soon, the World Wide Web was created from the bones of Gopher and the web browser gradually became the rage. Marc Andreesen, who worked on the first graphical browser known as Mosaic at the University of Illinois would go on to found Netscape in 1994, and introduce Netscape Navigator. The explosion of Netscape's popularity would give rise to what we now know as the World Wide Web.
Fast forward to 2010. We now have much more than text and picture delivery over the Internet. We have video, and very decent video at that, even if it still lags well behind the quality of what is available over cable and broadcast. Miss that Wildcats game? You can always go back and watch it on ESPN3, or other providers of games. Even some schools provide game replays online for a nominal charge, or for free.
How has this changed the experience of Kentucky sports? Amazingly, in my view. I can go back now and often look at plays that I never realized were significant, and see where calls may have been missed, or properly made. We can catch glimpses of high school players from far-away places or order past historic UK games on DVD.
As technology races ahead, we see the line between the Internet and video delivery blurring more and more every day. We see people watching movies on their mobile phones, or even holding video calls where the callers can see each other. In my day, that was the stuff of Dick Tracy - Star Trek communicators did not even include video.
Nowadays, we get to see our sports how and where we need to. I know we have several members who watch most of UK's games online, through one delivery method or another. It has transformed what it means to be a sports fan, and put games within the reach of millions of people who were formerly forced to ask for a recording from a relative or friend able to get it.
What could possibly be next?