I truly miss the extended electronic community which sprang up around Williams and Tripod in the mid-90s, and which was just as abruptly cut short by the decision to terminate alumni accounts.

In those days, I could sit in Berkeley or Paris, and communicate with Williams friends and students, just as I often did while on campus. I’ll have to tell you about that later.

Another tale from that era emerged as I was chiding an young sysadmin who took an hour out of my day today:

Mail (POP) and web were offline for about 45 seconds, but ky.net was pingable the whole time.

Some images on ky.net did not load the first time when back up, and gac.ky.net came up in the wrong fonts…

Being inside your own network can be a real pain when troubleshooting. Back in ’94 for or so, someone hacked the SUMEX-AIM archive at Stanford (then the largest ‘shareware’ archive) and uploaded a folder called “KIDDIEPORN” with just that inside.

Whoever did this was also bright enough to manipulate the servers so that, from inside the stanford.edu domain, you would see the original content of the site.

Stanford’s on-duty sysadmin was one embarrassed puppy when I called him up to let him know, and then reported the incident to CERT, with the footnote “Berkeley 1, Stanford 0.”

If I get a chance, I’ll put up some monitors around Cinergy, BellSouth and Insight to try to get an idea of what’s happening.

I can’t remember if it was Bob Galloway ’96, Kate Krolicki ’95, Melanie Stowell or… who in that crowd I was chatting with at the time, and who made me aware of the events above.

Mind you, I was then a part of the “beta” group for dial-up internet access at Berkeley, which numbered less than fifty. Without that, none of the conversations above could have taken place. If I had gone to Berkeley a year earlier… well, perhaps I still would have fooled with PPP tunnels on the Sun 3/60s entrusted to me, or perhaps that would have never happened, and my life would be entirely different. Perhaps I would have a Ph.D. in Rhetoric, and be a professor now, and not in the office at quarter to ten on a Friday night.

And mind you, I like to think that some of the connections above not only brought me value– and the sense that I able to be a daily part of Williams for many years– but brought something of what was going on at Berkeley and Stanford back to Williams, and Tripod, for that matter.

I hollered pretty loud when Williams cut off alum access to computer systems, as it pretty much ended my ability to have such a close connection. Perhaps it is time to start hollering again.

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