The internet really started to take off in a big way in late 1994. Indeed that was when Richard Postlethwaite's Barrow AFC web pages became the first non-League site on the WorldWideWeb. It took us nearly another six years to get our act together and get this web site out here (and then another year before its first update). Anyway, these are our reasons for not going online way back, as we first explained in our edition of May 1995...

NOT in the NET YET

by Arthur Ascii

Unless you've spent the last nine months on an expedition to the outer reaches of darkest Egremont you can't fail to have noticed the explosion of publicity about the Internet, a sort of electronic bulletin board, debating chamber, mail service that exists, er... out there somewhere and that can be accessed through a computer connected up to the phone lines. If all the hype is to be believed then you can get information on any subject under the sun, from Art to Zoology even taking in a bit of porn or politics along the way. And judging by an article in the Christmas edition of the Morecambe fanzine Corpus Christie, it seems football fans too are getting in on the act to exchange news, views... and insults along the network.

Netsurfing (apparently that's the term these 'cyberfreaks' use) through the vast web of the system, one of the Corpus Christie lads came across a page set up by a Hull City fanzine (he doesn't say which one), but more pertinently he also discovered a message from someone who said he was into the non-League game. So he replied saying he was a Morecambe supporter, only to find the reply to his reply was 'I hate ƒ*¢#¡>¿ pathetic skinny Shrimpy ß@$*@®$!' 'Yes, you've guessed,' he wrote, 'a Barrow fan!' (probably Vinnie. Ed.)

So the net seems to have come a long way from its old image of a load of nerds and dweebs debating the finer points of Star Trek and on the face of it, would appear ideal for a fanzine like Give 'Em Beans! But before any of you technopunks out there get too excited the whole point of this article is to tell you that we're not going on the net and we have four perfectly good reasons why not...

  • We don't understand it. The only way I can picture all this information being stored is in some big computer at the end of a phone line, but I guess that can't be right. So where is this Internet, anyway? When you download stuff, where does it go? And when you call it up, where does it come from? Who erases stuff that's out of date, or does it just sort of hang around for ever?
  • We can't afford it. With the initial outlay for the modem just to get connected and the additional phone bills, I would imagine the cost of being on-line soon mounts up. Presumably there's also some sort of subscription rate for the net itself. I can't afford all that from my household budget and with our extra costs of late, there's no way I would expect Beans! to shell out for it.
  • We don't know anyone who is connected up to it. There may well be millions of subscribers worldwide, but how many of you either have or have access to a computer that's wired up to the net? Exactly! Since Give 'Em Beans! is aimed primarily at Barrow supporters, it would defeat the whole object of the exercise if we were to divert some of our attention into a medium that most of you don't have the means to access.
  • It probably wouldn't work on our machine anyway. The Beans! computer is a cranky old slow secondhand Mac SE with 1Mb RAM and a 20Mb hard disk. With specs like those we're lucky to run even the rudimentary graphics you see from time to time in Beans! The early Macs are famously unfriendly with anything but other Macs and though it is still the machine for DTP and graphics, all the real stuff seems to happen in the PC compatible world of DOS and Windows.

So, unless there's any lucky lottery winner out there who would like to donate a gleaming new 486 to us and each of our three hundred or so readers, explain to us all how to connect it up and pay our telephone bills in perpetuity, then for the foreseeable future at least, for us e-mail will still be an abbreviation for that thing that comes out six nights a week and fills its pages with loads of tosh about the rugby and the net will still be what bulges following an Andy Whittaker penalty. But isn't that the way it should be?

Issue 022 - May 1995