A bit OT - Urban Myths?

James James at reftech.co.uk
Mon Jul 7 13:43:23 BST 2003

> Basically, in a speech in 94/95-ish time he outlined his roadmap for the
> original MSN. What you have now when going to MSN, is not what he was
> to try and deliver. This was at a time when connectivity for most people
> meant AOL and Compuserve and BBSes. None of these were connected in any
> to the Internet.

I'd have to go through my message archives, but Compuserve at the time
allowed proxy surfing which was plagued by 'no bootp' responses from the
gateway machine during peak times, and you could 'wrap' mail addresses to be
delivered to internet users.  I was a sysop for a few years.

> It was around this time that AOL and Compuserve were
> starting to snuggle up and were getting links to the Internet...

Only in the same fashion that Iraq and America just had an extended 'love
in'.  What killed Compuserve was the move from streaming text to a binary
format.  The rollout was incompatible with the old text system, needed new
servers and required significant downtime to convert a forum.  The 'test'
forums were in beta for over a year and there were complaints galore in the
sysop only area.  Eventually, when Compuserve announced that AOL were buying
them up, there was a mass migration onto the 'net.  I suspect that
Compuserve was on it's uppers at the time because of the migration and the
new(er) data centre at Hilliard.

Press releases might give the impression that it was a mutual alignment of
values, but I was there at the time and it got ugly.  Real ugly.  Even on
Compuserve AOL was seen as the choice of a lowest common denominator.

Sorry for the drift. ;)

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