thinking back

In 1986, Case Western Reserve created Cleveland Free-Net, the nation's first open-access community computer system. The upcoming 30th anniversary is a reminder that changing technology is a study in anthropology, defining a place in time and way of life on and off campus. In the 1970s, students living on campus could only receive phone calls from 8 a.m. to midnight—and only on the "house" phone near their rooms. Outgoing calls had to be made on the floor pay phone. Term papers were banged out on typewriters and fixed with Wite Out, and music from vinyl records and taped recordings blared through speakers as large as podiums. One constant has been the university's leadership role in advancing technology: Three years after creating Cleveland Free-Net, the university launched CWRUnet, the first all-fiber-optic communications network on a university campus. Perhaps these photos through the decades, courtesy of University Archives, will trigger memories of the technology from your place and time here. Write and let us know. (And, by the way, vinyl is back.)