Discussion:
"green screen war stories"
(too old to reply)
vallor
2017-02-03 13:01:00 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
// snip
If there is an app I need and it is not available on Linux, that's
not down time. If you think it is you have deeper issues than I
thought. I have a calculator on my desk. I can calculate without it.
It's just damn convenient to use the calculator. Is that downtime
according to you? If your answer is yes, then thanks for cluing me
in as to just how retarded your mind truly is.
I dual-boot to Windows 10 to play games. The only other reason to
use Windows is to update my Garmin. Otherwise, I'm in Linux doing
everything I need or want to do. Currently running Linux Mint 18.
I've been using Linux since 1992 though, installing the Manchester
Computing Center boot/root floppies. Hell, we didn't even have
TCP/IP in the beginning, had to run a Linux port of KA9Q NOS to be
able to log in to the thing remotely. Didn't have ethernet either,
had to use SLIP.
("And had walk to the campus barefoot in the snow, uphill, both
ways..." ;)
I swear that as I was reading this I was thinking about the barefoot
in the snow, uphill.... both ways. And then I read you wrote that and
it is even more funny. :)
let's see... 1992.... I believe at that time I had an Amiga 3000 which
had a 14.4k modem connected to a UNIX box which I subscribed to and I
was using the korn shell. Not well, either. I didn't know jack-shit
about the shell. But it was a shell account non the less.
In 1994 I got my hands on real UNIX for the first time from Novell. I
had UNIXWare which was UNIX System V release 4.2. It was merely part
of my NetWare training and so I paid enough attention to it to pass
but it was not the focus of the study; Netware was. NetWare 3.12 as a
matter of fact. Which was all text at that time.
Well, I went to work at the local 2-year college campus as a student
worker in 1991, and immediately got immersed in our NetWare
environment. And it was right about then that the campus got its
Internet connection through CSUNet.
After a few semesters of college prep courses, I decided I was tired of
being "poor", so applied for a full-time position in Computing
Services, and got the job. Worked there until 1995.
As a student worker, I had actually had one semester that was 4 units
of work experience, and 3 units of "special studies in computer
science", for a total of 7 units, which counted as "full time". The
"special studies" was developing a student-access Linux server, so that
students could have shell access to the Net, email and (later) web
pages.
In 1993 my biz partner and I used our knowledge gained with this
process to start developing a local business, and in 1994, opened our
doors as a public-access Unix host. We were originally going to be a
"freenet", but it turned out cwru wanted something like $20K to license
the software and the name, so we called ourselves a "pa-net" (pay-net).
Our company's first Net connection was a 56K ADN frame relay
connection. We were getting our USENET via C-band satellite though,
which was an amazing service for that time.
While we were still a shell hosting provider, "The Internet Adapter"
came about. This was a program that could be run on a shell host that
would provide TCP/IP to the person dialed up, so they could run Trumpet
Winsock and run their Internet apps, such as a web browser. A lot of
people were using TIA, so we bought a site license and made it part of
our service. Then we bought a Livingston Portmaster to serve PPP to
customers, and that's when we became a modern ISP.
By that time we had a T1, and had moved out of the residence we were
running the service out of into an office downtown. Not much longer
after that, we got fiber pulled into the building from the CO (a few
blocks down the street), and our Net connection became SMDS over T3.
I know someone with a similar background. For a second there I thought I
might know you, but there are slight differences in what he did and what
you did. I was about to say, are your initials AB? or TB?
Sorry I was so terse earlier, didn't have much time to write...

Yeah, it is SD, so I'm not the droid you're looking for. ;)
Yeah, I had a friend who started a hosting business back then. Very
similar to what you did. He used BSDI and also rented space downtown in
San Francisco which was hooked up with a T1. He wasn't an ISP though. He
was a registrar and a host. I was very proud of him for following
through. He was always kind of a fuck-up, but he followed through on
this and gave it an honest go.
That was an interesting era. I had an account with slip.net and I
remember having a Netcom.com account. Was all happy to get an ISDN line
and sync up lotus notes at 10k. My friends were WOW'ed by that.
The 90's were an amazing time for the Internet's development. It was
quite a gold rush, a "boom".

Some technologies from the time were ahead of their time, such as some
protocols used for Project Athena. (Zephr comes to mind.) It was also a
time of "coopitition" between many ISP's, because there was so much
untapped market that a lot of times you could help the next guy to
succeed, without it impacting your own sales.

For that T3 we had, we had had to bring in the fiber by paying for
special construction. But once that building was lit, the building
filled up with Internet companies, all of them trying to make it in the
"gold rush boom". Some succeeded, others failed. We were running 10-
Base-T connections to customers, which doesn't sound like a lot today,
but at the time that was scads of bandwidth.
Things were so basic back then and now the expectations are so high.
I remember when we got our USR X2 modem gear for 56kbit dialup. Then we
started selling ISDN service, then DSL. Scott Adams (creator of
"Dilbert") worked in the SBC ISDN labs, and I think I once read a lament
of his that they sat on the technology for too long.

You are probably familiar with ISDN "B" channels, two of which could be
ganged together for a 128Kbit connection -- but did you know that ISDN
also had a "D" channel for slower-rate data services? I don't think
anybody ended up using it, but it was an unmetered (and unbilled) 16kbit
channel that could be used to send packets to other ISDN subscribers. I
wonder if ISDN had been marketed earlier, what kinds of services would
have popped up on the "D" channels.

Of course, bandwidth is so cheap and plentiful nowadays that people are
getting 4K video from services over the Net. Back at the campus in the
early 90's, we were happy to be getting a weekly broadcast in the form of
a Sun .au file -- Internet Talk Radio Geek of the Week. And indeed, they
are still up on the net:

http://town.hall.org/radio/Geek/

Today, grabbing one of those files is barely a blip on the radar, but at
the time, it took several minutes to download a fresh show. There were
other folks on-campus interested in listening, but who didn't have sound
on their computers -- so we wired up a multimedia computer in the machine
room to the phone system, so that we could conference in anyone who
wanted to listen, and play the files at a set time.

Wiring the campus for Internet was its own challenge. We ran fiber to a
lot of buildings, but a lot of that was initially for Netware services.
Getting folks to sign off on putting drivers that would enable TCP/IP was
harder than it might sound at first, because lab directors were quite
interested in ensuring their systems were stable. If I'm not mistaken,
we ended up using a particular Crynwr packet driver that would interface
with ODI. I'm sure you remember the fun we had getting the right network
stack drivers loaded on DOS machines, requiring entries in CONFIG.SYS and
AUTOEXEC.BAT. (This was even more of a problem on our campus, because
some users had to be able to talk to the campus HP3000 mainframe, which
_didn't_ use TCP/IP for their purposes. They used a terminal program
called "Reflection".)

In fact, that got to be a problem later, when we wanted real-time access
to the class schedule to be on the Net. The way we worked around that
was this: the web server ran on a Linux box, which connected to the
library's HP9000, which had the capability to connect to the campus
mainframe (an HP3000) through its own peculiar terminal services. It
would make that connection, log in to the HP3000, then run a program to
spit out the data for the sections which was then html-entabulated by the
cgi-bin running on the Linux box. Talk about "middleware"!

Anyway, that's my "green screen war stories" for now. I'm adding
ba.internet to the newsgroups line because I think the old timers there
would get a kick out of talking about Internet before the dot.bomb crash
of 2001...
--
-v
Marek Novotny
2017-02-03 16:26:59 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by vallor
// snip
If there is an app I need and it is not available on Linux, that's
not down time. If you think it is you have deeper issues than I
thought. I have a calculator on my desk. I can calculate without it.
It's just damn convenient to use the calculator. Is that downtime
according to you? If your answer is yes, then thanks for cluing me
in as to just how retarded your mind truly is.
I dual-boot to Windows 10 to play games. The only other reason to
use Windows is to update my Garmin. Otherwise, I'm in Linux doing
everything I need or want to do. Currently running Linux Mint 18.
I've been using Linux since 1992 though, installing the Manchester
Computing Center boot/root floppies. Hell, we didn't even have
TCP/IP in the beginning, had to run a Linux port of KA9Q NOS to be
able to log in to the thing remotely. Didn't have ethernet either,
had to use SLIP.
("And had walk to the campus barefoot in the snow, uphill, both
ways..." ;)
I swear that as I was reading this I was thinking about the barefoot
in the snow, uphill.... both ways. And then I read you wrote that and
it is even more funny. :)
let's see... 1992.... I believe at that time I had an Amiga 3000 which
had a 14.4k modem connected to a UNIX box which I subscribed to and I
was using the korn shell. Not well, either. I didn't know jack-shit
about the shell. But it was a shell account non the less.
In 1994 I got my hands on real UNIX for the first time from Novell. I
had UNIXWare which was UNIX System V release 4.2. It was merely part
of my NetWare training and so I paid enough attention to it to pass
but it was not the focus of the study; Netware was. NetWare 3.12 as a
matter of fact. Which was all text at that time.
Well, I went to work at the local 2-year college campus as a student
worker in 1991, and immediately got immersed in our NetWare
environment. And it was right about then that the campus got its
Internet connection through CSUNet.
After a few semesters of college prep courses, I decided I was tired of
being "poor", so applied for a full-time position in Computing
Services, and got the job. Worked there until 1995.
As a student worker, I had actually had one semester that was 4 units
of work experience, and 3 units of "special studies in computer
science", for a total of 7 units, which counted as "full time". The
"special studies" was developing a student-access Linux server, so that
students could have shell access to the Net, email and (later) web
pages.
In 1993 my biz partner and I used our knowledge gained with this
process to start developing a local business, and in 1994, opened our
doors as a public-access Unix host. We were originally going to be a
"freenet", but it turned out cwru wanted something like $20K to license
the software and the name, so we called ourselves a "pa-net" (pay-net).
Our company's first Net connection was a 56K ADN frame relay
connection. We were getting our USENET via C-band satellite though,
which was an amazing service for that time.
While we were still a shell hosting provider, "The Internet Adapter"
came about. This was a program that could be run on a shell host that
would provide TCP/IP to the person dialed up, so they could run Trumpet
Winsock and run their Internet apps, such as a web browser. A lot of
people were using TIA, so we bought a site license and made it part of
our service. Then we bought a Livingston Portmaster to serve PPP to
customers, and that's when we became a modern ISP.
By that time we had a T1, and had moved out of the residence we were
running the service out of into an office downtown. Not much longer
after that, we got fiber pulled into the building from the CO (a few
blocks down the street), and our Net connection became SMDS over T3.
I know someone with a similar background. For a second there I thought I
might know you, but there are slight differences in what he did and what
you did. I was about to say, are your initials AB? or TB?
Sorry I was so terse earlier, didn't have much time to write...
Yeah, it is SD, so I'm not the droid you're looking for. ;)
lol yeah no worries.
Post by vallor
Yeah, I had a friend who started a hosting business back then. Very
similar to what you did. He used BSDI and also rented space downtown in
San Francisco which was hooked up with a T1. He wasn't an ISP though. He
was a registrar and a host. I was very proud of him for following
through. He was always kind of a fuck-up, but he followed through on
this and gave it an honest go.
That was an interesting era. I had an account with slip.net and I
remember having a Netcom.com account. Was all happy to get an ISDN line
and sync up lotus notes at 10k. My friends were WOW'ed by that.
The 90's were an amazing time for the Internet's development. It was
quite a gold rush, a "boom".
It was. I wish I would have done something more back in that area. I was
just getting started in networking. Had I been into a few years earlier,
who knows...
Post by vallor
Some technologies from the time were ahead of their time, such as some
protocols used for Project Athena. (Zephr comes to mind.) It was also a
time of "coopitition" between many ISP's, because there was so much
untapped market that a lot of times you could help the next guy to
succeed, without it impacting your own sales.
For that T3 we had, we had had to bring in the fiber by paying for
special construction. But once that building was lit, the building
filled up with Internet companies, all of them trying to make it in the
"gold rush boom". Some succeeded, others failed. We were running 10-
Base-T connections to customers, which doesn't sound like a lot today,
but at the time that was scads of bandwidth.
It was so exciting to see an ISDN or T1 being installed back then. DSL
later felt a little on the cheap side. I had one of the first gen
Alacatel 1000 modems. Big and very light... Kind of like an Atari 2600.
A whole lot of *box*.
Post by vallor
Things were so basic back then and now the expectations are so high.
I remember when we got our USR X2 modem gear for 56kbit dialup. Then we
started selling ISDN service, then DSL. Scott Adams (creator of
"Dilbert") worked in the SBC ISDN labs, and I think I once read a lament
of his that they sat on the technology for too long.
You are probably familiar with ISDN "B" channels, two of which could be
ganged together for a 128Kbit connection -- but did you know that ISDN
also had a "D" channel for slower-rate data services? I don't think
anybody ended up using it, but it was an unmetered (and unbilled) 16kbit
channel that could be used to send packets to other ISDN subscribers. I
wonder if ISDN had been marketed earlier, what kinds of services would
have popped up on the "D" channels.
Yeah, exactly right. I had the two B channels bonded for 128k and it was
typical for me to sync Notes over it at around 10k, which was about 3x
faster than the fastest modem at the time. Trying to remember it. It was
pretty brief. I went to DSL pretty soon after.
Post by vallor
Of course, bandwidth is so cheap and plentiful nowadays that people are
getting 4K video from services over the Net. Back at the campus in the
early 90's, we were happy to be getting a weekly broadcast in the form of
a Sun .au file -- Internet Talk Radio Geek of the Week. And indeed, they
http://town.hall.org/radio/Geek/
I had forgotten all about those .au files until you mentioned it. I
remember being completely dumbfounded the first time I saw one. What the
heck is this? Coming from the Amiga, the Mac and the DOS I wasn't aware
of it at the time.
Post by vallor
Today, grabbing one of those files is barely a blip on the radar, but at
the time, it took several minutes to download a fresh show. There were
other folks on-campus interested in listening, but who didn't have sound
on their computers -- so we wired up a multimedia computer in the machine
room to the phone system, so that we could conference in anyone who
wanted to listen, and play the files at a set time.
Yeah, actually a friend of mine got DSL first and I wasn't a big
believer in it. I felt like my ISDN was so awesome. I go to his house
and he's playing MP3s. No big deal, except then he tells me he's doing
it over the internet and each time he chooses a song it instantly starts
to play as if it were local. That is what did it for me. I remember
being so impressed with it that day.

The thing is, I have always liked the concept of channels and with a T1
and ISDN you have that. There is a quality of service you get. And even
now, a T1 is synchronous and the DSL is not. You got the nice fast
download, with about the speed of a T1 but the upload sucked. I've
always hated that and still do to this day.

I just upgraded my link. I have a business line in my apartment and got
a great deal with a 2-year contract. I am now getting 275 / 20 for about
a $160 a month with my provisioned IP addresses. Wouldn't it be nice if
that was 275 / 275 though...
Post by vallor
Wiring the campus for Internet was its own challenge. We ran fiber to a
lot of buildings, but a lot of that was initially for Netware services.
Getting folks to sign off on putting drivers that would enable TCP/IP was
harder than it might sound at first, because lab directors were quite
interested in ensuring their systems were stable. If I'm not mistaken,
we ended up using a particular Crynwr packet driver that would interface
with ODI. I'm sure you remember the fun we had getting the right network
stack drivers loaded on DOS machines, requiring entries in CONFIG.SYS and
AUTOEXEC.BAT. (This was even more of a problem on our campus, because
some users had to be able to talk to the campus HP3000 mainframe, which
_didn't_ use TCP/IP for their purposes. They used a terminal program
called "Reflection".)
Me remember that stuff??? You mean like FIRSTDRIVE=F and LASTDRIVE=Z and
himem.sys...

lsl.com
xxxODI
IPXODI
VLM

Nope. Don't remember a damn thing.... ;)

Hang on, got to load LONGNAME.NLM and then run over to SYSCON and
configure some storage... :) hehehehe
Post by vallor
In fact, that got to be a problem later, when we wanted real-time access
to the class schedule to be on the Net. The way we worked around that
was this: the web server ran on a Linux box, which connected to the
library's HP9000, which had the capability to connect to the campus
mainframe (an HP3000) through its own peculiar terminal services. It
would make that connection, log in to the HP3000, then run a program to
spit out the data for the sections which was then html-entabulated by the
cgi-bin running on the Linux box. Talk about "middleware"!
I remember CGI-BIN and PERL which actually still come into play now, but
not as much. I have a backup app and if I want to run the web version I
have to load up CGI-PERL to use it. I remember older forums before php
took it all over were in CGI and they took much more system resources to
use. So the early hosts back then would really get on your case if you
ran even a modestly popular forum running on CGI.

You have way more hands on than I did on this stuff. I had worked for
WinStar for a while. They had bought the company I worked for and got me
that way. They wanted us because they were using the 33 GHz and 38 GHz
spectrum along with a Digital Microwave coffee can sized unit that would
sit on CLASS-A and B building and form a hub and spoke topology. So you
got that last mile without digging up the streets to lay fiber like you
had to do. And the building could be linked with about OC192 I'd say.
The thing was they were selling phone services which was about 7k per
phone. So they had a lot of bandwidth capacity and no one to utilize it.

So they bought us, and they started to buy up long haul dark fiber. I
think they bought Goodnet and Packnet at one point and we started to
think about selling high capacity data services into these buildings.

Anyway, ad the time I had options granted me by WinStar with a strike of
about $15 and the stock was peaking around $74. We had some deal with
Lucent and Microsoft. I was there for a few years and my options were at
one point valued at around $600,000. But like phone companies on the
build out they heavily relied on monies coming in from deals with Lucent
and Microsoft to make payments on their build out. Essentially buying
roof rights and lighting up buildings from the property portfolio
owners. Funding was pulled at one point and the whole thing just crashed
overnight. The $74 options went to just $4 over night, well below the
strike price. I got a good lesson I'll never forget that day. I lost
$600,000 over night. Shit happens.
Post by vallor
Anyway, that's my "green screen war stories" for now. I'm adding
ba.internet to the newsgroups line because I think the old timers there
would get a kick out of talking about Internet before the dot.bomb crash
of 2001...
Yeah, when I think about all of the people I knew. One of the really
good sales guys I knew in the era was bragging about how much CISCO he
had when they were trading in the $80s. And I got really upset with Sun
at one point and had hoped to see them feel some pain at the hands of
Linux. I would not have guessed that all that happened would have
happened. I lost money on WebVan. I believed they would be rescued and
no one could change my mind. I bought thousands of shares even when
they were down to twenty-five cents a share. I honestly believed that
stock along would make me a millionaire many times over. I was wrong.
:). Shit happens.

Amazon I didn't have an opinion on. I also didn't invest. Same thing
with NetFlix. I wanted to many times but never felt good about and so I
stayed away. I saw those F5 switches get super popular. I watched them
virtually take over in the datacenter. Watched ebay and hotmail grow
like crazy. ebay was weird. Really didn't have an opinion on it. Paypal
was a no-brainer. What an interesting time. Just amazon to watch it all
happen.

I met the Google guys before they became wealthy. Had dinner with both
of them and never saw it coming. And I saw Google. Just never thought of
it as what it is now. They had not yet "discovered" the whole small ad
word auctioning at that time. AOL used to have key words which would
sell for tens of millions of dollars. Remember Steve Case?? You don't
hear that name anymore.
--
Marek Novotny
https://github.com/marek-novotny
vallor
2017-02-06 06:16:26 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Marek Novotny
Post by vallor
// snip
If there is an app I need and it is not available on Linux, that's
not down time. If you think it is you have deeper issues than I
thought. I have a calculator on my desk. I can calculate without it.
It's just damn convenient to use the calculator. Is that downtime
according to you? If your answer is yes, then thanks for cluing me
in as to just how retarded your mind truly is.
I dual-boot to Windows 10 to play games. The only other reason to
use Windows is to update my Garmin. Otherwise, I'm in Linux doing
everything I need or want to do. Currently running Linux Mint 18.
I've been using Linux since 1992 though, installing the Manchester
Computing Center boot/root floppies. Hell, we didn't even have
TCP/IP in the beginning, had to run a Linux port of KA9Q NOS to be
able to log in to the thing remotely. Didn't have ethernet either,
had to use SLIP.
("And had walk to the campus barefoot in the snow, uphill, both
ways..." ;)
I swear that as I was reading this I was thinking about the barefoot
in the snow, uphill.... both ways. And then I read you wrote that
and it is even more funny. :)
let's see... 1992.... I believe at that time I had an Amiga 3000
which had a 14.4k modem connected to a UNIX box which I subscribed
to and I was using the korn shell. Not well, either. I didn't know
jack-shit about the shell. But it was a shell account non the less.
In 1994 I got my hands on real UNIX for the first time from Novell.
I had UNIXWare which was UNIX System V release 4.2. It was merely
part of my NetWare training and so I paid enough attention to it to
pass but it was not the focus of the study; Netware was. NetWare
3.12 as a matter of fact. Which was all text at that time.
Well, I went to work at the local 2-year college campus as a student
worker in 1991, and immediately got immersed in our NetWare
environment. And it was right about then that the campus got its
Internet connection through CSUNet.
After a few semesters of college prep courses, I decided I was tired
of being "poor", so applied for a full-time position in Computing
Services, and got the job. Worked there until 1995.
As a student worker, I had actually had one semester that was 4 units
of work experience, and 3 units of "special studies in computer
science", for a total of 7 units, which counted as "full time". The
"special studies" was developing a student-access Linux server, so
that students could have shell access to the Net, email and (later)
web pages.
In 1993 my biz partner and I used our knowledge gained with this
process to start developing a local business, and in 1994, opened our
doors as a public-access Unix host. We were originally going to be a
"freenet", but it turned out cwru wanted something like $20K to
license the software and the name, so we called ourselves a "pa-net"
(pay-net).
Our company's first Net connection was a 56K ADN frame relay
connection. We were getting our USENET via C-band satellite though,
which was an amazing service for that time.
While we were still a shell hosting provider, "The Internet Adapter"
came about. This was a program that could be run on a shell host
that would provide TCP/IP to the person dialed up, so they could run
Trumpet Winsock and run their Internet apps, such as a web browser.
A lot of people were using TIA, so we bought a site license and made
it part of our service. Then we bought a Livingston Portmaster to
serve PPP to customers, and that's when we became a modern ISP.
By that time we had a T1, and had moved out of the residence we were
running the service out of into an office downtown. Not much longer
after that, we got fiber pulled into the building from the CO (a few
blocks down the street), and our Net connection became SMDS over T3.
I know someone with a similar background. For a second there I thought
I might know you, but there are slight differences in what he did and
what you did. I was about to say, are your initials AB? or TB?
Sorry I was so terse earlier, didn't have much time to write...
Yeah, it is SD, so I'm not the droid you're looking for. ;)
lol yeah no worries.
Post by vallor
Yeah, I had a friend who started a hosting business back then. Very
similar to what you did. He used BSDI and also rented space downtown
in San Francisco which was hooked up with a T1. He wasn't an ISP
though. He was a registrar and a host. I was very proud of him for
following through. He was always kind of a fuck-up, but he followed
through on this and gave it an honest go.
That was an interesting era. I had an account with slip.net and I
remember having a Netcom.com account. Was all happy to get an ISDN
line and sync up lotus notes at 10k. My friends were WOW'ed by that.
The 90's were an amazing time for the Internet's development. It was
quite a gold rush, a "boom".
It was. I wish I would have done something more back in that area. I was
just getting started in networking. Had I been into a few years earlier,
who knows...
Well, I worked long, long hours getting our startup off the ground, and
did it for over 4 years. Took a toll on my health, like I was a stock
exchange worker or something, trading health for wealth, if you will.
Post by Marek Novotny
Post by vallor
Some technologies from the time were ahead of their time, such as some
protocols used for Project Athena. (Zephr comes to mind.) It was also
a time of "coopitition" between many ISP's, because there was so much
untapped market that a lot of times you could help the next guy to
succeed, without it impacting your own sales.
For that T3 we had, we had had to bring in the fiber by paying for
special construction. But once that building was lit, the building
filled up with Internet companies, all of them trying to make it in the
"gold rush boom". Some succeeded, others failed. We were running 10-
Base-T connections to customers, which doesn't sound like a lot today,
but at the time that was scads of bandwidth.
It was so exciting to see an ISDN or T1 being installed back then. DSL
later felt a little on the cheap side. I had one of the first gen
Alacatel 1000 modems. Big and very light... Kind of like an Atari 2600.
A whole lot of *box*.
Post by vallor
Things were so basic back then and now the expectations are so high.
I remember when we got our USR X2 modem gear for 56kbit dialup. Then
we started selling ISDN service, then DSL. Scott Adams (creator of
"Dilbert") worked in the SBC ISDN labs, and I think I once read a
lament of his that they sat on the technology for too long.
You are probably familiar with ISDN "B" channels, two of which could be
ganged together for a 128Kbit connection -- but did you know that ISDN
also had a "D" channel for slower-rate data services? I don't think
anybody ended up using it, but it was an unmetered (and unbilled)
16kbit channel that could be used to send packets to other ISDN
subscribers. I wonder if ISDN had been marketed earlier, what kinds of
services would have popped up on the "D" channels.
Yeah, exactly right. I had the two B channels bonded for 128k and it was
typical for me to sync Notes over it at around 10k, which was about 3x
faster than the fastest modem at the time. Trying to remember it. It was
pretty brief. I went to DSL pretty soon after.
Post by vallor
Of course, bandwidth is so cheap and plentiful nowadays that people are
getting 4K video from services over the Net. Back at the campus in the
early 90's, we were happy to be getting a weekly broadcast in the form
of a Sun .au file -- Internet Talk Radio Geek of the Week. And indeed,
http://town.hall.org/radio/Geek/
I had forgotten all about those .au files until you mentioned it. I
remember being completely dumbfounded the first time I saw one. What the
heck is this? Coming from the Amiga, the Mac and the DOS I wasn't aware
of it at the time.
Well, if you find yourself playing the .au files from that site, I
recommend _not_ using vlc -- for some reason, mulaw audio on vlc sounds
pretty cruddy. (mplayer is good though -- or just play the mp3's).
Post by Marek Novotny
Post by vallor
Today, grabbing one of those files is barely a blip on the radar, but
at the time, it took several minutes to download a fresh show. There
were other folks on-campus interested in listening, but who didn't have
sound on their computers -- so we wired up a multimedia computer in the
machine room to the phone system, so that we could conference in anyone
who wanted to listen, and play the files at a set time.
Yeah, actually a friend of mine got DSL first and I wasn't a big
believer in it. I felt like my ISDN was so awesome. I go to his house
and he's playing MP3s. No big deal, except then he tells me he's doing
it over the internet and each time he chooses a song it instantly starts
to play as if it were local. That is what did it for me. I remember
being so impressed with it that day.
The thing is, I have always liked the concept of channels and with a T1
and ISDN you have that. There is a quality of service you get. And even
now, a T1 is synchronous and the DSL is not. You got the nice fast
download, with about the speed of a T1 but the upload sucked. I've
always hated that and still do to this day.
A T1 is actually pretty slow by today's standards: 1.544 megabit.
Doesn't even count as broadband nowadays.
Post by Marek Novotny
I just upgraded my link. I have a business line in my apartment and got
a great deal with a 2-year contract. I am now getting 275 / 20 for about
a $160 a month with my provisioned IP addresses. Wouldn't it be nice if
that was 275 / 275 though...
So your download is 178 times the speed of a T1, and your upload is about
13 times the speed. It may not be symmetric, but it's a goodly amount of
bandwidth that blows the T1 away!
Post by Marek Novotny
Post by vallor
Wiring the campus for Internet was its own challenge. We ran fiber to
a lot of buildings, but a lot of that was initially for Netware
services. Getting folks to sign off on putting drivers that would
enable TCP/IP was harder than it might sound at first, because lab
directors were quite interested in ensuring their systems were stable.
If I'm not mistaken, we ended up using a particular Crynwr packet
driver that would interface with ODI. I'm sure you remember the fun we
had getting the right network stack drivers loaded on DOS machines,
requiring entries in CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT. (This was even more
of a problem on our campus, because some users had to be able to talk
to the campus HP3000 mainframe, which _didn't_ use TCP/IP for their
purposes. They used a terminal program called "Reflection".)
Me remember that stuff??? You mean like FIRSTDRIVE=F and LASTDRIVE=Z and
himem.sys...
lsl.com xxxODI IPXODI VLM
Nope. Don't remember a damn thing.... ;)
Hang on, got to load LONGNAME.NLM and then run over to SYSCON and
configure some storage... :) hehehehe
Yeah, you've lived through the pain, hehe.

Did you ever try to shim in drivers to get IP working on a predominantly
IPX network?

[snip of stuff that was important, but to which I don't have much to say,
except...]

Yeah, regarding stock investments -- I didn't own any in the 90's except
for the stock from ownership in our company.
Post by Marek Novotny
I met the Google guys before they became wealthy. Had dinner with both
of them and never saw it coming. And I saw Google. Just never thought of
it as what it is now. They had not yet "discovered" the whole small ad
word auctioning at that time. AOL used to have key words which would
sell for tens of millions of dollars. Remember Steve Case?? You don't
hear that name anymore.
Steve Case, AOL, and the September that never ended...

There was a long period where folks around here would want to get on the
Net, so they'd start up with AOL -- and ran into their busy signal
issues. Then they'd look around and find us, where we maintained good
modem ratios to prevent busy signals. A lot of word-of-mouth advertising
back then.
--
-v
Marek Novotny
2017-02-06 15:29:12 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by vallor
Post by Marek Novotny
Post by vallor
// snip
If there is an app I need and it is not available on Linux, that's
not down time. If you think it is you have deeper issues than I
thought. I have a calculator on my desk. I can calculate without it.
It's just damn convenient to use the calculator. Is that downtime
according to you? If your answer is yes, then thanks for cluing me
in as to just how retarded your mind truly is.
I dual-boot to Windows 10 to play games. The only other reason to
use Windows is to update my Garmin. Otherwise, I'm in Linux doing
everything I need or want to do. Currently running Linux Mint 18.
I've been using Linux since 1992 though, installing the Manchester
Computing Center boot/root floppies. Hell, we didn't even have
TCP/IP in the beginning, had to run a Linux port of KA9Q NOS to be
able to log in to the thing remotely. Didn't have ethernet either,
had to use SLIP.
("And had walk to the campus barefoot in the snow, uphill, both
ways..." ;)
I swear that as I was reading this I was thinking about the barefoot
in the snow, uphill.... both ways. And then I read you wrote that
and it is even more funny. :)
let's see... 1992.... I believe at that time I had an Amiga 3000
which had a 14.4k modem connected to a UNIX box which I subscribed
to and I was using the korn shell. Not well, either. I didn't know
jack-shit about the shell. But it was a shell account non the less.
In 1994 I got my hands on real UNIX for the first time from Novell.
I had UNIXWare which was UNIX System V release 4.2. It was merely
part of my NetWare training and so I paid enough attention to it to
pass but it was not the focus of the study; Netware was. NetWare
3.12 as a matter of fact. Which was all text at that time.
Well, I went to work at the local 2-year college campus as a student
worker in 1991, and immediately got immersed in our NetWare
environment. And it was right about then that the campus got its
Internet connection through CSUNet.
After a few semesters of college prep courses, I decided I was tired
of being "poor", so applied for a full-time position in Computing
Services, and got the job. Worked there until 1995.
As a student worker, I had actually had one semester that was 4 units
of work experience, and 3 units of "special studies in computer
science", for a total of 7 units, which counted as "full time". The
"special studies" was developing a student-access Linux server, so
that students could have shell access to the Net, email and (later)
web pages.
In 1993 my biz partner and I used our knowledge gained with this
process to start developing a local business, and in 1994, opened our
doors as a public-access Unix host. We were originally going to be a
"freenet", but it turned out cwru wanted something like $20K to
license the software and the name, so we called ourselves a "pa-net"
(pay-net).
Our company's first Net connection was a 56K ADN frame relay
connection. We were getting our USENET via C-band satellite though,
which was an amazing service for that time.
While we were still a shell hosting provider, "The Internet Adapter"
came about. This was a program that could be run on a shell host
that would provide TCP/IP to the person dialed up, so they could run
Trumpet Winsock and run their Internet apps, such as a web browser.
A lot of people were using TIA, so we bought a site license and made
it part of our service. Then we bought a Livingston Portmaster to
serve PPP to customers, and that's when we became a modern ISP.
By that time we had a T1, and had moved out of the residence we were
running the service out of into an office downtown. Not much longer
after that, we got fiber pulled into the building from the CO (a few
blocks down the street), and our Net connection became SMDS over T3.
I know someone with a similar background. For a second there I thought
I might know you, but there are slight differences in what he did and
what you did. I was about to say, are your initials AB? or TB?
Sorry I was so terse earlier, didn't have much time to write...
Yeah, it is SD, so I'm not the droid you're looking for. ;)
lol yeah no worries.
Post by vallor
Yeah, I had a friend who started a hosting business back then. Very
similar to what you did. He used BSDI and also rented space downtown
in San Francisco which was hooked up with a T1. He wasn't an ISP
though. He was a registrar and a host. I was very proud of him for
following through. He was always kind of a fuck-up, but he followed
through on this and gave it an honest go.
That was an interesting era. I had an account with slip.net and I
remember having a Netcom.com account. Was all happy to get an ISDN
line and sync up lotus notes at 10k. My friends were WOW'ed by that.
The 90's were an amazing time for the Internet's development. It was
quite a gold rush, a "boom".
It was. I wish I would have done something more back in that area. I was
just getting started in networking. Had I been into a few years earlier,
who knows...
Well, I worked long, long hours getting our startup off the ground, and
did it for over 4 years. Took a toll on my health, like I was a stock
exchange worker or something, trading health for wealth, if you will.
I did that. I had a venture which didn't take off. The idea was grand
and require quite an investment. I won't go into the gory details but I
did work on it for about 2 years. I worked all day and then I worked on
my venture, sometimes until 4:00AM. I used to work all the time. Pretty
much every waking hour of every day. Weekends were a distant memory. At
the time I will tell you I didn't mind it at all. I was grateful
actually. I felt like I knew all the right people and it was happening.
It was a good effort. I met quite a few venture capitalist at that time.
I got free lawyers because they wanted a warrant to buy 1% or 2% at
first round prices. Both Sun and Oracle were eager to give me free
hardware and software for a tiny piece of what it might be. It was an
interesting time. Since I also worked for the largest VAR in the
country, other the hardware makers wanted face time with me and I got a
good inside track as to where the markets were going. I could call HP
and say, I need to borrow some ProCurves for a while. I want to show
them off. And they would ask, where do I ship them. It was like being in
an elite club. I had the time of life back then. Hard work, but also a
lot of a fun and a strong sense of being on the inside.
Post by vallor
Post by Marek Novotny
Post by vallor
Some technologies from the time were ahead of their time, such as some
protocols used for Project Athena. (Zephr comes to mind.) It was also
a time of "coopitition" between many ISP's, because there was so much
untapped market that a lot of times you could help the next guy to
succeed, without it impacting your own sales.
For that T3 we had, we had had to bring in the fiber by paying for
special construction. But once that building was lit, the building
filled up with Internet companies, all of them trying to make it in the
"gold rush boom". Some succeeded, others failed. We were running 10-
Base-T connections to customers, which doesn't sound like a lot today,
but at the time that was scads of bandwidth.
It was so exciting to see an ISDN or T1 being installed back then. DSL
later felt a little on the cheap side. I had one of the first gen
Alacatel 1000 modems. Big and very light... Kind of like an Atari 2600.
A whole lot of *box*.
Post by vallor
Things were so basic back then and now the expectations are so high.
I remember when we got our USR X2 modem gear for 56kbit dialup. Then
we started selling ISDN service, then DSL. Scott Adams (creator of
"Dilbert") worked in the SBC ISDN labs, and I think I once read a
lament of his that they sat on the technology for too long.
You are probably familiar with ISDN "B" channels, two of which could be
ganged together for a 128Kbit connection -- but did you know that ISDN
also had a "D" channel for slower-rate data services? I don't think
anybody ended up using it, but it was an unmetered (and unbilled)
16kbit channel that could be used to send packets to other ISDN
subscribers. I wonder if ISDN had been marketed earlier, what kinds of
services would have popped up on the "D" channels.
Yeah, exactly right. I had the two B channels bonded for 128k and it was
typical for me to sync Notes over it at around 10k, which was about 3x
faster than the fastest modem at the time. Trying to remember it. It was
pretty brief. I went to DSL pretty soon after.
Post by vallor
Of course, bandwidth is so cheap and plentiful nowadays that people are
getting 4K video from services over the Net. Back at the campus in the
early 90's, we were happy to be getting a weekly broadcast in the form
of a Sun .au file -- Internet Talk Radio Geek of the Week. And indeed,
http://town.hall.org/radio/Geek/
I had forgotten all about those .au files until you mentioned it. I
remember being completely dumbfounded the first time I saw one. What the
heck is this? Coming from the Amiga, the Mac and the DOS I wasn't aware
of it at the time.
Well, if you find yourself playing the .au files from that site, I
recommend _not_ using vlc -- for some reason, mulaw audio on vlc sounds
pretty cruddy. (mplayer is good though -- or just play the mp3's).
I often want to buy an Ultra Sparc just because. But I don't know what
I'd do with it. Linux does everything I want and works in the modern
world. Sometimes I need to remind myself that it isn't the late 90s
anymore. But then I look on ebay and see dream machines for $350 and I
want them. They are tearing apart e5k machines on YouTube to get the
gold off the processors. They're garbage now. In 1999 I would have loved
to work on an e10k. Now my laptop has similar specs to an e5k if we go
by core count and memory. That's tech. In 20 years this will all seem
silly.
Post by vallor
Post by Marek Novotny
Post by vallor
Today, grabbing one of those files is barely a blip on the radar, but
at the time, it took several minutes to download a fresh show. There
were other folks on-campus interested in listening, but who didn't have
sound on their computers -- so we wired up a multimedia computer in the
machine room to the phone system, so that we could conference in anyone
who wanted to listen, and play the files at a set time.
Yeah, actually a friend of mine got DSL first and I wasn't a big
believer in it. I felt like my ISDN was so awesome. I go to his house
and he's playing MP3s. No big deal, except then he tells me he's doing
it over the internet and each time he chooses a song it instantly starts
to play as if it were local. That is what did it for me. I remember
being so impressed with it that day.
The thing is, I have always liked the concept of channels and with a T1
and ISDN you have that. There is a quality of service you get. And even
now, a T1 is synchronous and the DSL is not. You got the nice fast
download, with about the speed of a T1 but the upload sucked. I've
always hated that and still do to this day.
A T1 is actually pretty slow by today's standards: 1.544 megabit.
Doesn't even count as broadband nowadays.
Yup, it is. But it is reliable and had a quality. You could section
channels for voice and the rest for data and it was so reliable. Even
with my ultra fast cable, once in a while YouTube pauses because the
bandwidth isn't there. If I had the option for a real T3 vs my 275 / 20
I think I'd go for the T3. I'd get twice the upload and about 6x less
download, but it should be very reliable. Cable's not too bad. I wish
they had fiber where I live, I'd jump on that.
Post by vallor
Post by Marek Novotny
I just upgraded my link. I have a business line in my apartment and got
a great deal with a 2-year contract. I am now getting 275 / 20 for about
a $160 a month with my provisioned IP addresses. Wouldn't it be nice if
that was 275 / 275 though...
So your download is 178 times the speed of a T1, and your upload is about
13 times the speed. It may not be symmetric, but it's a goodly amount of
bandwidth that blows the T1 away!
Yeah, my first DSL was roughly the same speed as T1. I was close enough
to the phone company that I got their best speed. And then the RCN
called me one day and made me an offer I couldn't refuse. :)
Post by vallor
Post by Marek Novotny
Post by vallor
Wiring the campus for Internet was its own challenge. We ran fiber to
a lot of buildings, but a lot of that was initially for Netware
services. Getting folks to sign off on putting drivers that would
enable TCP/IP was harder than it might sound at first, because lab
directors were quite interested in ensuring their systems were stable.
If I'm not mistaken, we ended up using a particular Crynwr packet
driver that would interface with ODI. I'm sure you remember the fun we
had getting the right network stack drivers loaded on DOS machines,
requiring entries in CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT. (This was even more
of a problem on our campus, because some users had to be able to talk
to the campus HP3000 mainframe, which _didn't_ use TCP/IP for their
purposes. They used a terminal program called "Reflection".)
Me remember that stuff??? You mean like FIRSTDRIVE=F and LASTDRIVE=Z and
himem.sys...
lsl.com xxxODI IPXODI VLM
Nope. Don't remember a damn thing.... ;)
Hang on, got to load LONGNAME.NLM and then run over to SYSCON and
configure some storage... :) hehehehe
Yeah, you've lived through the pain, hehe.
Did you ever try to shim in drivers to get IP working on a predominantly
IPX network?
Yeah, we all had to do that. We had to install UNIXWare and get that
integrated into our Netware network. There are 6 or 7 courses you have
to pass. The first one gets you the CNA and the other 5 or 6 combined,
assuming you test out on all of them, get you the CNE. And then I taught
one course, just once though I didn't go for the Master CNE. I was
already offered a job right out of the school which paid 4x more than I
was currently making at the time. I had spent about $10,000 on the
course and another $10,000 on making a lab to learn it all on. At the
time, that was slightly more than I made in a year. So it was a big
gamble. But it paid off so well. One of the best investments I ever made
if we go by percentage returned.
Post by vallor
[snip of stuff that was important, but to which I don't have much to say,
except...]
Yeah, regarding stock investments -- I didn't own any in the 90's except
for the stock from ownership in our company.
I traded AAPL a lot all through the 90s and still even now. I manage my
self directed IRA and I am an active investor. I trade often enough to
be labeled as a day trader. And with that they loan me roughly 4x my
value to trade with on a daily basis but I have to return the money by
the close. I also have a margin account and I can trade options. Though
I don't trade options that much these days. I used to trade them often.
Post by vallor
Post by Marek Novotny
I met the Google guys before they became wealthy. Had dinner with both
of them and never saw it coming. And I saw Google. Just never thought of
it as what it is now. They had not yet "discovered" the whole small ad
word auctioning at that time. AOL used to have key words which would
sell for tens of millions of dollars. Remember Steve Case?? You don't
hear that name anymore.
Steve Case, AOL, and the September that never ended...
There was a long period where folks around here would want to get on the
Net, so they'd start up with AOL -- and ran into their busy signal
issues. Then they'd look around and find us, where we maintained good
modem ratios to prevent busy signals. A lot of word-of-mouth advertising
back then.
I was on AOL for a while. Likely peaked around 1996 I'd guess and mostly
because I was in the MacorPC chat room all the time. It was like this
place. Took a while to let that place go.
--
Marek Novotny
https://github.com/marek-novotny
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