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A life lived on Usenet?

Alan Coopersmith
Senior Principal Software Engineer

A recent blog by Alec Muffet on his Usenet history inspired me (well, gave me an excuse to procrastinate, but close enough) to see what I could find of my own history - the oldest archived post Google Groups seems to be able to find for me is this post to comp.sys.mac.system on Nov. 7, 1990, which would have been my first semester at Berkeley. (Amazingly enough, one of the two e-mail addresses in my .sig will still reach me, though I don't check it very often, since it's almost all spam now. I ended up sysadmin'ing both of the machines in my sig and decommissioning them as well, though the names were recycled.)

I think I may have posted earlier to Berkeley-local groups that aren't in the google archives, but it wouldn't have been much before this I was brave enough to get past the Pnews dire warning that

This program posts news to thousands of machines throughout the entire civilized world. Your message will cost the net hundreds if not thousands of dollars to send everywhere.
Of course, I got over it, and must have cost the net billions by now (though probably a fraction of the costs of spam), as google easily finds over 8,000 posts since then, and I wouldn't be surprised to find out there have been many more.

You could probably find trends of my life via my posting history - my heavy comp.sys.mac.* involvement in the early days, waning off as I got more into Unix, first in comp.sys.apollo as I joined the volunteer student staff running the Apollo workstations of Berkeley's Open Computing Facility, later comp.unix.solaris and the comp.sys.sun newsgroups as the OCF got sparcs and then I got a summer/fall job as a contractor in SunService. You might also see I was heavily involved in comp.infosystems.gopher for a while, as I both ran the OCF gopher server and then contributed to the UMN gopher server code. But eventually gopher waned and I followed the rest of the net into comp.infosystems.www.servers.unix, as I ran several NCSA httpd sites at Berkeley, then became an early adopter of Apache. As I converted to spending more time coding and less time webmastering, I slowly dropped out of those groups, and now my focus is so obvious, the google groups search for my name starts out with a "Related Groups: comp.unix.solaris" link.

I can only wonder what I'll find after 14 more years or if Usenet will have even survived that long...

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