20 years of Internet

I realized last night that I’ve been using the Internet for about 21 years. I had access to it through work before it was publicly accessible anywhere in Canada. We were among the first people to sign up with NBTel when they offered dial up service to their customers. We had almost a month’s worth of free service because they gave out accounts before they had the usage tracking systems in place. Initially, the rate was $.16/minute ($9.60/hour), but within 2 or 3 months it dropped to $.10/minute and the basic service fee included 30 hours of usage.

To mark the occasion, I thought I’d list a few memorable highlights of the last 20 years:

  • 1992 – Obtained Internet access in January, bought our first computer (486DX33, 4MB RAM, 32MB HD, 1024×768 XVGA monitor). Later in the year Meaghan was born.
  • 1993 – I started working with Ultrix (Digital Equipment Unix variant) & SCO Unix at work.
  • 1994 – Upgraded to a 56K modem, I left my full time contract with the provincial government.
  • 1995 – Incorporated my consulting business, signed on with Digital Equipment as an OpenVMS Systems Specialist.
  • 1996 – Diversified my business – Andrea also had a business which needed funding. My business bought hers. That was the beginning of us being business partners as well as life partners.
  • 1997 – Signed on with StarChoice Television (now Shaw Direct TV) to be the IT lead through the startup phase. This turned out to last much longer than initially anticipated. I remained involved in the enterprise until they hit about 400,000 subscribers.
  • 1998 – Another diversification year – we had 3 part time employees each doing different jobs.
  • 1999 – Pretty well all the year was spent on Y2K projects. For that year most of my clients had their normal spending restriction removed if the purchase order had Y2K in the description of what was being purchased. A busy year for me.
  • 2000 – I did a lot of Y2K followup work, late in the year Emma was born.
  • 2001 – We moved to Miramichi & bought our first old house.
  • 2002 – I started a programming instructor position at NBCC Miramichi.
  • 2003 – I bought my second motorcycle (Yamaha 535 Virago).
  • 2004 – DSL service (1.5 Mbps) came to our neighbourhood and we promptly upgraded (from 56K).
  • 2005 – My position at the college came to an end.
  • 2006 – I took a job here. Initially, I was hired to work on an business optimization project involving the Hungarian Algorithm.
  • 2007 – After a year of unsuccessful searching for a decent rental with 4 bedrooms, we bought this house, got our first taste of satellite Internet which was the only option other than dialup.
  • 2008 – Sold the house in Miramichi, left the position that we had moved here for, started working with Andrea again.
  • 2009 – Merge of WordPress and WordPress MU was announced, we shifted our business plans accordingly.
  • 2010 – I worked extensively on the merge, switched from Satellite Internet to fixed wireless, our first grandchild Izzy was born.
  • 2011 – Andrea & I started working with and later joined Copyblogger Media.

I’m looking forward to what the next 10-20 years has to offer 🙂

SOPA & PIPA Blackout

I wanted to give a brief non-technical explanation of why we participated in the Internet blackout in protest of SOPA & PIPA. To start, here is a great TED talk:

Under current law (DMCA), you & I are allowed to incorporate existing content into our own works so long as it falls within “fair use”. Fair use means you can use short clips from movies, short music clips from other artists, quotes from other written works, etc. without it being copyright infringement. SOPA & PIPA eliminate fair use.

Further to that, the proposed laws also make linking to web sites that contain copyright infringement (under the new definition) illegal (on the grounds of aiding and abetting copyright infringement). What that means in practical terms if SOPA & PIPA pass into law is that most existing blogs both foreign and domestic would fall into the definition of a copyright infringing website and/or intellectual property theft.

A person who has a site offering free yoga videos and instruction is technically taking revenue away from the traditional entertainment and broadcasting industry. However, most like the person running that site is making money from advertising and/or creating a customer base for one on one consultation. From an economic standpoint, the site may be eliminating a job at News Corp or one of the other media conglomerates but it is not costing the economy a job.

The media conglomerates cannot get legislators to shutdown the distribution infrastructure (the Internet), so they drafted legislation that targets the content producers (ie. you & I). If you have not already done so, I encourage you to contact your representatives to let them know that you do not want the Internet to be censored.

Quick Move

Yesterday, I was planning on starting migrating Homeschool Journal over to a new server. That had already been delayed by a couple weeks due to our quest to replace our defunct 10 year old Ford Focus. For moving sites from one server to another I always use SSH which gives me command line access on the server. With SSH you don’t have to download and upload content, backups, etc. You can do direct server to server transfers.

The original plan was that I would make some backups, start the transfer process and break for lunch while the transfer was running. But, when I went to connect to the old server, it wasn’t there. Due to long standing & recurring issues with the billing system (and company) for the old server, the outstanding credit in our account was not applied to our bill and the server had been shut down due to non payment.

Enough was enough. Whatever else I had in mind for yesterday, I had no intention of going to bed before Homeschool Journal was moved off the server & running on the new server. I already had a test account set up on the new server, so the main hurdles were getting the old server re-instated and waiting for the DNS to propagate.

Last night and today, Andrea & I put a few hours into cleaning up dead blogs (ones that had never really been used) and deactivating the themes that were unused or unpopular. Even though the priority of the migration & cleanup was cranked up by a hosting company that’s gone downhill over the last couple years, Andrea & I we glad to be finally getting to the tweaking, cleanup, etc. I’m going to try to set aside an hour a day for the next few weeks to see how much we can have done by the time Thanksgiving (the Canadian one) rolls around.

Upgrade update

The upgrade went fairly well. There were 2 issues that I was expecting I would have to work around/fix. For both of them I already had a plugin that I have used on a handful of client sites. There were 2 other issues that cropped up that I was not expecting. In the end, the 4 issues accounted for about 4/5 of the time that went into the upgrade.

Once those issues were resolved Andrea & I started working on a revamp of the HSJ home page. If you haven’t seen it yet. Pop on over and have a look. There are still a few outstanding items that are on my list. But things are coming together. Before the end of the summer, we may move the site to a new dedicated server. I have to test some of the things we are using on HSJ on the new server to ensure that everything will function properly before we plan/schedule the move.


Tomorrow I’ll be working through a long overdue upgrade of homeschool journal. Andrea & I have a long list of tweaks & changes that we want to make. My goal is to work through most of those over the month of July. I think we are finally catching up though.

Looking for blogs on homeschooljournal.net?


Boy I bet you’re as surprised as I am to see the wrong blog here. We are at the end of moving homeschooljournal.net and all member blogs to a new server, and this is one of the glitches. Support is working on it as we speak and I hope to see member blogs back up shortly.

And of course this happens when the comments on *this* blog are inoperable. *sighs* you can contact us at sillyandrea @ gmail . com if you really need anything.

All email is currently down as well.

Thank you so much for your continued patience.