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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

QContinuum started out as an ISP (Internet Service Provider) in 1995. I was working at a research lab in Research Park at the UofU running Digital Micro VAXs. We used terminal servers for serial based terminals, scales, blood analyzers, printers, and just about everything else. When I first got on the Internet in 1994 and realized they were using terminal servers (serial connections) for IP networking I was fascinated. Besides the Internet concept was so cool the idea of sharing everything around the world. Back then the World Wide Web had not taken off and the Internet was for the most part email, newsgroups, and file sharing. Anyway I just had to be a part of it so I started my own ISP.

To start out with I never had formal computer training and did not even play on with computers until I was married. I always kept my day job through the history of QContinuum. Most of my computer experience at the time was programming in Fortran and running VMS on Micro VAXs. I knew about a little about different Unixes but every time I started reading about them the commands seemed at the time confusing and not intuitive. Someone had introduced me to Slackware Linux and I had successfully installed the floppy distro. I got Xwindows running and Mozilla which I was using to browse the Internet. At the time it was much better then Windows 3X running winsock. This may be shocking to the kids but Microsoft was slow getting on the Internet. I took out a loan against my 401K and bought a Cisco 2511, white box PC to use as a server, csu/tsu, and a pile of modems. At first I tried to bring up the ISP using FreeBSD but I could not get TACACS working with the Cisco so I ended up using Linux on the server. With in a few months I had my server all setup for email, DNS, TACACS, web (cern), ftp, shell accounts, and everything else I needed. I had the modems setup to log you into the shell or make the appropriate SLIP or PPP network connection. Many at this time were doing text based Internet access using shell accounts at there ISP. I got a Class C of public IP addresses and registered my domain name and domain server.

For the most part it was my friend doing the accounting and book work and I was doing all the rest including technical support and all of the technical stuff. I did this keeping my day job which help pay for everything. Many of our early clients were employees that worked for AOL in the Ogden Utah area. Even though they got AOL for free they paid me for a real connection to the Internet. I did have other volunteers that helped as we went along. I had a number of clients that were hosting successful websites. Back then instead of Myspace or Facebook you would get web space from your ISP that you could use to create any web site you wanted. There were many personal web sites in the early days of the web that worked like blogs or just sharing information about yourself. I also hosted virtual web sites for some companies that were my clients at the time. This is how I gained contacts that later would lead to a better day job. We never grew very big but it helped launch the careers of a number of us involved with it. Over time big companies started offering services I couldn't match and my friend lost interest in it. For years I maintained the servers that where hosting web sites and other services for a number of people and companies. Overtime everyone moved on but I still maintained the servers for stuff I was doing.

QContinuum for the last 10 years has been a LAN center I run mostly for my kids and friends. For years it was the hangout place for a number of College kids around northern Utah. Over the years most have moved on with there lives getting married and having careers. So now everything seems kind of empty and I guess in a way it is time to move on to something different. I am a big technology nut. I have built many systems that do all kinds of cool stuff with hardware and software. For the most part I am open to almost any kind of technology and I don't understand why people have near religious feelings about software types or hardware and software companies. I have Microsoft computers, Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, Solaris, Apple (iOS, OSX), and Android running on everything from Sparc, Intel, ARM, AMD, and VIA. I have stuff I have built running on everything from normal PCs to devices. I have the Apple iTunes environment with AppleTVs mixed with Mythtv. I even have a Ardurino and a Raspberry Pi. This is all just stuff I have running at my house. I love learning and teaching Technologies.


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