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Online San Diego

From the March 28, 1997 ComputorEdge (Issue 1513)

By Jim Trageser

The recent column on sdnet had some pretty gaping holes in it – admittedly so, as in it I asked for info on the early years of the USENET, which is the conversation area of the Internet.

Brian Kantor, manager of Network Infrastructure and Services at UCSD, single-handedly filled in almost all of the blanks in that column:

"USENET is generally considered to have started about 1982, and was originally transported over dial-up 'uucp' connections. Later it began to use Arpanet/Milnet transport, now the Internet. It has been doubling in size every year it has been in existence; a full feed of all newsgroups would today consist of nearly 3 gigabytes a day of new articles each day.

"I generally am the person who winds up creating new sdnet newsgroups; this is historical in that they were originally UCSD newsgroups, which later moved out into the community. (There are now separate UCSD groups which do not leave the campus.)"

Brian also wrote that he's never heard of USENET newsgroups referred to as "subs," and wondered where I had gotten that term from. Most of the BBSs in the late '80s and early '90s referred to any conversation group as a "sub," whether it was a local conversation group, netted through Fidonet (or other, more obscure non-Internet networks), or part of the USENET. But Brian's observation points out that within the larger online community, there are subcultures with their own jargon and terminology.

I must be out of my mind in all my years of doing this column, not once have I actually jumped into the fray. I never ran a bulletin board setting up the dial-in option on my Atari ST's terminal program, Stalker, so friends could download files was as close as I got to running my own BBS (although, now that I think about it, I did the same thing with Procomm Plus on my XT). And for a while, I was Atari co-sysop on the ComputorEdge and San Diego Computer Society BBSs – but all I did there was virus-check Atari files and post them in the public download areas.

Somehow, though, it doesn't seem right to be critiquing other people's online efforts each week and yet never put my own butt on the line. So I've hacked out my own Web page not much, mind you, I'm trying to keep my expenses in line and large-scale file transfers impact negatively on my monthly Internet bill. It is, at best, a modest site.

So here's the deal: You all visit this experiment gone wrong, and send in e-mail with your reviews of my site. Good, bad or indifferent (or, heck, even retaliatory for one of my reviews), I'll use the first three reviews that come in via e-mail (I'll add an e-mail link to the site before this runs).

And after all this, I'll also explain for beginners the rudiments of putting together a very basic Web page on the cheap using shareware, freeware and public domain tools.