Recollections by Richard Bleil
At my age, when I was in college, my first computer experience was writing a Basic language program on a VAX mainframe in a computer lab on campus. Although our programs were stored in the mainframe memory, in the lab was an old-fashioned “card reader”, a storage system using literal thin cardboard cards with holes punched in them. Our VAX mainframe ran on a Unix operating system, which was the model for Linux and Linux “flavored” operating systems today. It was connected to the internet to allow for communicating with other mainframes and collaboration including email, chat, file transfer and more, and it was before the Web had been created.
In graduate school, computer scientists (like my friend Nagi) were working on perfecting a graphical interface for navigating the internet called the “World Wide Web”. This new approach to the internet was embraced by Apple and Microsoft. At this point, there are no social media platforms, no MMO games, and aside from Unix and Unix flavored operating systems, it’s still predating email and chat engines.
The first online email service was Hotmail, so named because it was the first HTML (web language) based email service (HoTMaiL). Eventually chat engines like AOL (America On-Line), MS Messenger and Yahoo! came to be, but still no social media pages. If you wanted an online presence, it meant purchasing a domain name and creating a website.
In those desolate, dirty and dusty days of Cowboys and HTML programmers, search engines emerged as well. The web was expanding by leaps and bounds to the point where the military and scientific community began to fear a collapse due to the number of “surfers” on the web. The fear was so great that a second web, which they hoped to get people to migrate to (WWW2) was created, which I believe is still active but never really took off. This was circa 1997 when I was at my first teaching gig.
I actually purchased my first computer, an IBM PC, back around 1986. It was so old that although it didn’t come with one, it had a jack for an old tape-recorder tape drive. I had used on as an undergraduate, and they were so much fun to watch, but incredibly slow. So back to the mid- to late- nineties, one day, just for fun, I thought, hey, what would happen if I did a web search for my name, “Bleil”?
The Bleil family name is even today not very common. As odd as it sounds, there’s actually a “nest” of Bleil’s here near me today, but in the US there are only a few thousand Bleil households. My distant relative in Texas is kind of the family historian and has tracked all of us and our relationships with one another. As it turns out, we all originated from Erligheim, Germany, which is now on my list of destinations.
So, I hopped onto Yahoo! and typed in “Bleil”. What I found in the early settler days of the Web were a wealth of impressive Bleil’s. Yes, I was there, but I’m talking about the impressive ones. One name that came up consistently was an artist that worked with beads. She apparently was quite prolific in her art and very well renowned. I found an anthropologist named Bleil. He was highly published and apparently quite the scholar, although I think he may have been based in Germany. Well, it is the “World Wide” Web, after all.
We had an attorney Bleil online, and a judge. I suspect the two may have been the same person, as his career simply evolved. And in sports, we had a football player named Bleil. If he made pro, I don’t think he was one of the better-known players, and we also had a football coach Bleil. Again, very likely the same person. And we had a web page owner, and clearly an author who named the page “why I like big tits”.
Okay, well, there has to be one in every family, and no, it wasn’t my page. After finding so many impressive (and intimidating) Bleil’s on the web, I have to admit that I had to laugh when I saw this one. If you look up Bleil today you’ll find “Bilateral lower extremity inflammatory lymphedema”, which may become a pseudonym for me. And a chiropractor who I actually met; he’s one of the Bleil’s near me. And you’ll find a dink who writes blogs (bleilbanter.blog), who I think might be the same idiot who does photography (bleilphotography.picfair.com) and puts out YouTube videos (@richardbleil4656). Still, quite an auspicious family name, don’t you think? Even if you don’t particularly care for big tits?