Peter Harrison – Vice President, New Zealand Open Source Society

“My experience started in 1987 before the Internet was actually available in New Zealand. It wasn’t the Internet at that point – we are talking about Bulletin Boards. My first computer was an XT, it had twin-drives and I overwrote some Bulletin Board software on that machine. So basically it had twin-drives, one was for the program, the other one for the data. And they were 360k disks. so we’re not talking about something terribly high-powered. The Bulletin Board was connected to my home phone, which we had to rig up because there were no little adaptors in those days, so you basically had to wire in the thing directly. So we’re not talking about something that was terribly sophisticated. It was quite innovative in a sense. We had slow 300 board modems and transferring a disk-worth of information would take a whole night. Today, to transfer 360k would take maybe a second! So yes, we’ve come some way from the original days of Bulletin Boards where you were communicating typically with a single machine and you had to wait your turn for access to the Bulletin Boards. Today we have got an always-on connection in the region of 10,000 times as fast as those early modems.”


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