Image by Andrew Newbury from an original drawing by Ben

…but also the most rewarding, the most “fun”. Where you create from nothing, where there are boundless possibilities.

And restarting, starting again, continuing in a new form, that’s rewarding too!

I’ve been online since 1988 when I ran Arcadia Opus, a free and dedicated 24×7 dial-up Bulletin Board System in FidoNet, focussed on the C and x86 assembly programming languages, I was also a beta tester and distributor for the free Opus CBCS software. Back then I ran MS DOS with DESQview and in 1995 I moved over to a dedicated Windows NT 3.51 config running Internet Information Services which provided primitive but usable FTP, HTTP and Gopher (!) services which I utilised together with the Australian Public Access Network Association (APANA) to provide Internet access initially via the dial-up Werple system then later through later subsumed into Pacific Internet then Pacnet Australia. I’ll never forget experimentally hosting my old BBS archive files via FTP with IIS. Prior to that it was a complex activity connecting online, modems abounded and point to point systems were de rigueur and in fact the only way to connect back then. Telix and other dial-up terminal programs were our saviours and if you were serious you had two telephone lines in your home. Affordable and ubiquitous Internet access changed the landscape dramatically together with the rise of free software and native TCP/IP networking stacks moving away from SLIP to PPP and then to dedicated cable modems and finally ADSL modems.

Multiplexing a connection with TCP/IP was a game changer too, being able to do more than one thing at a time over a connection: instead of agonizingly waiting for a Zmodem transfer to complete you could browse the world wide web at the same time as downloading a file. I remember first hearing about TCP/IP around the time I was buying replacement FIFO UARTS from David Nugent when Joaquim Homrighausen (JoHo) came over from the USA to build the next versions of FrontDoor. Damn it was hard work desoldering those old 40 pin UARTs!

Fast forward to October 1999 when I registered my first domain name with Network Solutions – I still have the paperwork granting that first domain name, from memory it all had to be done by snail mail too!

…to be continued…