My first experience with online brewing conversations was on rec.crafts.brewing, which was a USENET group. That was when I first started to brew. I am almost absolutely certain that James Liddil was almost single-handedly responsible for introducing the magnetic stir plate to the homebrewing community, but he was dealing with difficult to culture microflora. Jim was the first person I know of who attempted to rescue wild yeast and bugs from bottles of Lambic. Brewers today have no idea as to how primitive things were during the first big growth spurt of the hobby.
To answer BrewBama's question as to how I feel about dry yeast, all I can say is that the dry yeast that is being produced today is light years better than what was available when I entered the hobby in early 1993. However, I rarely used dry yeast before I took my latest hiatus because yeast culturing was always a big part of the hobby for me. What started out as a necessity due to the fact Wyeast smack packs were difficult to get on the East Cost turned into a companion hobby. We have to remember that White labs did not exist in 1993. I started by culturing BRY-96 from a bottle of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. I started the dregs from a bottle in a small amount of 1.020 wort. I then plated the starter after it started for "singles." The healthiest well-isolated colonies were transferred to slant. I was able to successfully culture a few other brewery yeast strains before I encountered a BrewTek advertisement in Brewing Techniques. BrewTek was a fantastic resource for the yeast culturing brewer. What a lot of people do not know is that Wyeast 1450 was originally a BrewTek culture known as CL-50 California Pub Brewery Ale. Denny managed to keep the culture alive until Wyeast picked it up. That is why the yeast culture is known as "Denny's Favorite 50." The "50" is for CL-50. I maintained a handful BrewTek cultures for a decade before I took my first hiatus from brewing. What I am led to believe is that the early BrewTek cultures came from the Maltose Falcon's yeast bank. Maribeth Raines, the scientist behind BrewTek, was a Falcon. The source of CL-50 has never been disclosed, but my bet is on it being North Coast's house strain, which Mark Ruedrich acquired from UC Davis.