Thoughts on Systems

Emil Sit

Feb 2, 2006 - 2 minute read - Personal

Online memories

This morning I’ve been thinking a bit about my early online antics. It’s been fun finding out what’s on the Internet about my old haunts.

I started out using a nice US Robotics modem that my dad had borrowed from work and dialing into local bulletin board systems using Telix for DOS. Mmm. I don’t remember the names of most of them but I found an abandonded looking website for the Relaynet, a BBS version of Usenet and the first set of discussion forums I participated in. I would dialup each day to the Running Board (a BBS run by Howard Belasco), and download packets of messages (in QWK archives) and read them with a specialized offline reader (the Silly Little Mail Reader). There was a whole class of these programs and little add-ons for managing signatures (called taglines, if memory serves). I think I was a big fan of discussion of current events (perhaps conference #7) and Star Trek (perhaps conference #45).

Later on by the time I was in high school, I started to learn about Unix, in part through a SunOS computer my dad had at school and an AIX workstation my high school had won as part of some super computing contest. That contest also came with a Class B address block, though we were later downsized. You can also find old posts from me on Usenet from that time when I was trying to figure out AIX.

A friend at school introduced me to MUDs: we were trying to implement a virtual version of our high school and I remember spending two hours a day on the computer in the library one summer hacking on Merc code. I think that’s how I learned C. A (perhaps unfortunate) side effect of this was that I spent a lot of time playing a MUD called HiddenWorlds. Later I would advance to socializing on IRC, but that perhaps is a story for another day.

Good times.