Rob Cairns and Mark Westguard from WS Forms talk about the history of technology.
- What is a BBS?
- The history of video games.
- Types of Modems.
- General Tech talk.
Hey, everybody, Rob Cairns here. And today I’m here with my good friend, Mr. Mark Westgard at WS forms. How are you, Mark?
Doing good Rob. Thanks for having me.
Always a pleasure. We could go on for our we we should have, as you said, just recorded the 15 minute conversation for the show and really sad and then we would have. Been done right.
Yeah, let’s not do that again.
And today, we’re not even gonna talk about forms we we’re actually gonna talk about something a little bit fun, I think. And you and I were involved in a conversation. I don’t remember if was it on Twitter or slack. I can’t remember where it happened at this point, but the word BBS came up and we started. You and I going down memory lane. It doesn’t have bring back memories for you.
It brings back a lot of memories. Yeah, a lot of memories.
Yeah, we it was funny. I was. I think I was telling you and I’ll kind of start it with this for the list I started in telecoms when I was like 50. I’m now 57. The first modem I ever had was a 300 BOD haze compatible that I threw into an apple. Two plus, by the way, I still have that machine today as a memory, so kind of kicked and I started dialing all these crazy bulletin boards and then I got. Into stuff like Delphi and CompuServe and realized I didn’t want to go there. They were just kind of expensive to say the least, and it wasn’t the membership charges. It was actually the roaming charges to get to one of the roaming numbers. How did you kind of start with telecoms?
Well, this is going down memory lane and I can’t remember the exact sequence of events, but my my dad used to work for a telecoms company. He he was a telecoms engineer and he worked for a power company called Seaboard Southeastern and South Eastern Electricity Board in in southeastern England. And he used to take me to work now and then, and I would dumpster dive and find all manner of electrical pieces. And ended up dragging home some kind of computer into my bedroom and started pulling that apart and applying 9 Volt batteries to it to get it to work. And eventually my dad taught me about modems, and I too had a huge metal box that was a 300 bow modem. UM, probably about the size of 10 iPhones stacked on top of each other, which goes to show you how far technologies come and and yeah, I. And then I would, I guess eventually I had like a 1200 bow, then a 2400 bode and and in case people don’t know what we’re talking about, that’s basically the speed of this device. Able to send data across the network. So a 300 modem to put it into perspective was able to transmit 30 characters per second, so there was a a start bit eight data bits and a stop bit at the end and you could send 10 characters a second so they could barely keep up with you typing. And yeah, eventually would have the same problem as you now. Now I was a bit younger and for me to get permission to use the phone was, you know, that was that was a big deal. I think it was like probably 1020 pence a minute, which would soon add up when you’re downloading whatever at 240 characters per second. Yeah, and. Yeah. And then my, I lived in Scotland, so I was on the East Coast of Scotland in a little village and my best friend lived up the road from me about 25 minutes away. So in order for us to play multiplayer games, we would have to connect our two modems together. And much to. Our parents this this dislike because we will be running a phone bill up. Playing these two player games so but so the way it worked in the UK is that if you called BS and it this may have been the same in the US I guess, but if you if you called BS, if it was within I think it was within 35 miles that was class as a local call or something. Yeah, but if you went beyond that, it was in a national court and the cost was through the roof. So I used to write software for the Atari St. Back in the day. And used to read a magazine called St. format and they had a cover disc on there and I wrote some software for that called the BBS directory, and you would type in your local area number and it would then scour a database of all the bses that I could find and would find all the ones that were local to you. So you could then use those BBS’s using a local phone number. Thus, reduce your phone bill. It was a lot more difficult back then. Nowadays we just type a web web address in and off we go, but back then it was there was a.
Lot to so. So true. It’s funny. You talk about the directory and in Toronto we had a a free computer, right? Called Toronto computes, which was a newspaper and the the biggest thing that everybody wanted this for was the three or 4 pages in the middle that listed all the local BBS phone numbers. That and then some guy got smart and he. He created what was called Fidonet, which was really just Fidonet was for those who don’t know, it was basically a system that allowed you to transmit messages for free to other BS’s not in your area. I was actually the male mover, what they called it, NEC.
Our network Echo mail coordinator for trial for about 3 years, so I understand the workings of that mess way too much. And it was quite it’s quite interesting and now we just send an e-mail and we don’t even. Think about it.
Right. Yeah. I used to run a BS and not for very long though, because my mother was upset and the phone kept ringing. I was literally just connected to her phone line and she couldn’t receive any incoming. Calls because I was always. Blocking the phone line so but it it was fun times. You know that that was back in the day. When computers were a lot more simple to use.
Yeah, so it was. It was funny. I went in and my first. Year of college. In 1980. Five and my father looked at me and said I’m gonna kill you because that phones always busy, you know.
And you said you need to get your own phone line and pay for it with a part time job. And in those days I take a phone line with no features. So it’s like 25 bucks. But the problem was. In Canada, most phone lines were only why houses were wired for two lines. So in those days, wires were what we call twisted pair, right? And each set of wires had the capacity of running one phone line, and when they built new houses and the house I’m in now is the original house. They only wired them for one side, 1 twisted. Pair of wire. We actually had to bring the phone company in today. And at that time, that was all before deregulation. So they had to do it at their expense. Now they would tell you to suck it up and find an IP suit and and be done with it. And they had to take and put in another set of wires because I needed to get off my parents phone system.
You needed that that connection. Yeah, I remember when I had my first Internet agency and. We were, we were. At our third office, we were growing quite fast just because it was, you know, the dot. Com boom. Yeah, we went from. Three people to 40 people pretty quickly and we. We had a a couple. Of barns in the middle of a field that we converted into offices.
And we had to. Yeah, and that. We didn’t really think about it. We we got there and we thought hang on a minute, we have no telecoms out here in the middle. Of a field. Surrounded by cows. So anything. That we could get there was ISDN lines. I think I think we had two, two bonded ISDN lines to get us any kind of reasonable speed, but again, you know back then file sizes were smaller, images weren’t as detailed as they are now. So we were able to transfer data a lot, a lot easier back then.
You know my it’s funny because I wanna carry the story a little more. When. I went to college. A lot of universities and colleges were on the old bit net network, which was a network that colleges and universities used to communicate, and we had great access until some wonderful student decided to send a bomb threat to Jerusalem. And that’s like the one of the worst places in the world. So that became goodbye student access to Bitnet. Goodbye, communications to the world. Except one thing. I was working part time for the college and the computer lab. So the perks of that was I also had a staff ID. And I I kept that job just so. I could communicate with the world.
Yeah, I think in the UK our system was called Janet, Joint Academic Network, yeah. And that’s what all the colleges and universities were connected with. And I remember using that when I first went to university, I I kind of, I used to be into electronics cause my dad was and I diverged into computing. Was always a bit of a computing there. There was a kid I was coding from the age. Of cover 8 and.
When I went. To university I I started an electronics course and thought hang on a minute. I actually don’t like electronics. I prefer computers, so I jumped onto. Onto a computer degree and. But yeah, yeah. Back then, it was all Janet and there was kind of no. The Internet was was still being born, really. And you know the Internet technologies have been around for years. All the RFC and have been around for years. But it it was still growing back then. But yeah, nowadays my kids just don’t even think about it. The Internet for them is. Just it’s just there so. Maybe they realize how much work’s. Gone into to building that that system.
It’s true. And you were talking about ISDN lines when I worked at Women’s College. So when I got into healthcare, I had worked ohh professionally as a programmer for four years and realized I’m bored and I need to get into support. So I spent time in support and we put the Internet in. And we were running 2 dual ISDN lines, umm, and they’re not anymore, Needless to say, but.
I hope not.
It’s quite interesting and what’s kind of driven this is file sizes, I think, right? And you know people complain about file sizes. And I was thinking I was talking to my mom about this the other day. Hi, mom. And and there was some we were talking about when she got her first digital camera. I remember going out and getting a 512 Meg. So listen, Meg, not gig that flash card. Were for a Christmas gift and what that cost at that time. Now we’re all carrying data around in our pocket, said my smartphones got 128 gigabytes on it and she’s way better pictures, right? Isn’t that interesting how that’s progressed? A little bit.
Yeah. And what interests me is when I think the first digital camera I bought was a Fuji, it was. It was almost like a.
It’s like an old box camera, you know, and when I used to take photos with that.
Yeah, you. I have, yeah.
I used to. Be like wow, these pictures look amazing. And now if I go back through my old photos and. Look back at them, I think. Ohh. These are terrible quality.
But you know, I had a I had an Olympus at one time and it was a A6 megapixel camera and I updated my smartphone. The Pixel probably is like 30 megapixels to give you some idea that. So the for those listening pixels means the more pixels the higher quality the photo right and. Yeah. And the and the thing was with this Olympus, which was really. Cool was I have some shots I took in Niagara Falls that looked like they were on postcards. And it’s not just the megapixels with cameras, it’s also the ability to shoot, right?
Yeah, yeah, absolutely, absolutely. And nowadays, I feel like we’ve got more memory than we need, you know, and and no.
Well, maybe not you, rob.
I’m a bit of a I’m a bit of a data *****. I’m working it beside me. You can’t see it. Believe it or not, a 16 terabyte USB three hard drive. I’m Neal. What?
Have you got in there, Rob? Lots of client work I’m sure.
Yeah. When I started at to give you an idea of what. So when I started at Women’s College with memory, we were buying hard drives that were 420 megabytes, and now we’re buying GB like it’s super what we’re buying. Terabyte hard drive systems.
Yeah. Ohh yeah. Yeah, it’s. And also The thing is though with with the web in in the US, we spoil most of the time with how much bandwidth. We’ve got, but we still need to consider, you know, other places in the world that don’t have that bandwidth, particularly on mobile. I’ve learned a lot of that by. Dealing with customers and you know then telling me, hey, you know this is loading quite slow on a mobile device and I’m like well, I try it on mine, it’s working fine and then you have to realize we’re on a 5G network that can handle you know ridiculous amounts of bandwidth now compared to some areas and and also if I go and visit my family in Scotland, they live in rural areas. And they do not have the bandwidth at. We have and so there are still limitations out there. Nothing like we used to have obviously with modems, but.
There still gotta consider it, yeah.
Yeah, and. And you know, we’re getting to the point where, you know, coffee shops have Internet, hotels have Internet, by the way, which I never use unless I’m watching movies because I don’t like the security aspect of that. So.
Yeah, yeah. Never put your real name or e-mail address in.
I have a I have a 200 GB data plan a month, so I just look to the phone and the way I go.
All we’re talking about tech, and one of the things you and I got into, which was really fun, is we started talking about old video games that I think I shared with you. Most of my viewers don’t know I’m a classic video game collector, so I’ve got I have an old Colecovision.
Believe they’re not the original place that Mario showed up. People forget Mario showed up in Donkey Kong before he ever showed up on. I have an original Nintendo just to play Mario. I’ve got an original Atari 2600. The video that’s the.
With wood, with wood paneling.
Yeah, with wood panels. Now I don’t play the Atari because I bought Atari. We released all the video games on one machine, 50 bucks. So I have one. For those just so I can shoot space invaders.
There you go. Bring back some nostalgia.
And I think I was telling you I have an original space Invaders console game where I’ve had the cabinet redone to the period of 1979 and all the electronics and then are modern and it’s at my other House house in the basement right now. So you know, like there’s a little bit of nostalgia and you’ve got something special. Don’t you?
Yeah, I mean, I’ve, I’ve. Got. I don’t have a huge collection of. Stuff, but I’ve tried to. Bring my childhood back to life in my house, so I’ve I’ve got an old Atari St. that’s been renovated, but I think my my favorite toy is I’ve got a. A twin cab. Daytona USA Arcade Machine from 1990. Four, which has. All the original. Electronics in it. So it’s actually got Sega risk processors in it and. There are. It’s quite interesting the way it’s it’s made. It has. These circuit boards in it that are stacked four or five tall. And each one of the balls does a different bit of the game, so Daytona USA is a racing game I. To I used. To put so much money in this arcade machine.
You might as well.
Buy it or buy it in.
Peach, but I I thought I’ve gotta get one of these so I can get. My money back. And I found a guy in north Atlanta in the US. That, that, that. Had one sitting in his his workshop that his grandchildren used to come and play at the weekends. And he wanted to get rid of it. And I went up there and saw it, and he switched it on and it all worked. And I thought Ohh gotta have this and he sold it for. A great price. And I got a couple of guys and a truck to bring it back. And by the time it come came, it got back in my house. The screens didn’t work. Things started breaking on it. And there’s one guy in the US that still has the schematics for this machine. He’s a he’s an ex saga worker and he was able to repair some of the stuff. And then we had to put new screens in it. But I say new screens I didn’t want. To put flat screens in. I wanted to put original CRT cathode breach tube screens in it, and there’s another guy in Atlanta on the West side of Atlanta who has a warehouse just full of CRT. That’s all he does. He just got this warehouse full of CRT screen. They all weigh a ton and The funny thing is all the screens have the game that was played on them.
Turn into them so he brings one down and he turns it on. And then we look at it to see, you know, oh, this one’s Donkey Kong. Now, I don’t want that one. And then we’ll find another one that’s got a different game. But that one Street Fighter. No, we don’t want that one. He had to try and find one that doesn’t have a game burnt into it. But managed to yeah, get it renovated and it was really fun actually getting the kids to play the game because they are so used to all these modern games, you know, with Playstations and Xboxes. And stuff like that. But when they got on to this game, which? Is it’s still a? Very simple game with relatively simple. Graphics, but it was one of the first ever 3D games racing games that came out. And they love it. They just love the gameplay and they they love playing it cause it’s so simple and I think that’s the great thing about games is you can go back. To that Atari 2600. Play the most simple game and spend hours on it just as you were to gain. Now that costs millions to be produced and you know it it it takes. Yeah, yeah, you can. Just you. Can play the simplest games with with your family and and not need all that that fancy stuff nowadays.
No, I I so appreciate like older games because as you know, I’m a sports fanatic and E sports makes most of the sports games a lot of them are made in Vancouver, Canada, by the Design House number of years ago. Mm-hmm. And these new games, they drive me insane because he guys complicated. All I want to do is. Pick up my controller. Shoot. And you know, I was playing the other day. I was playing classic Doom on Windows on. It’s another one first person shooter. Nothing to it. All I wanted to do is pick up and.
Oh yeah, yeah.
Of course. Yeah, we can do. That and then I was thinking I also have a selection. I don’t know if I should talk about this. But I won’t. Emulator out there called Main and most classic game players have heard it, So what they’ve basically done is gone and cracked the old game ROMs, which is the software. Unloaded in there and I was playing some of that. And I’m like I remember these and it was just it was just quite fun. Like, because I’m OK with shooting stuff, I’m not OK with ohh. I have to move this controller here to make this thing move here and then you. Know the the.
Yeah, well, a lot of these old, you know, these the the Atari ST’s, the spectrums. That we used to have. Of they were mainly developed for the game market and yes, you could do a bit of desktop publishing on the Atari. Or the mega or. Whatever. Or, you know, music. I used to write MIDI software for the Atari, but ultimately they were bought for for gaming. And it’s funny, just playing some of the old games and realizing. How bad some of those games actually? Were that you seem to remember spending a few weekends playing them.
So what what I would say to anybody is, if you’re into classic. You can check out main or the other dirty little secret is go to somewhere like Alibaba and they’ve got all kinds of game machines that have old games on them and buy. Them and save the aggregation.
Yeah, it’s it’s fun. Looking at some of the old stuff. You know.
Yeah, it is.
Like the old Nintendo 64 with gold and Eye was a classic, but you can get some great old, you know, classics from eBay. You’ll find people going through the attic and finding a a box. Game system and if you snap it up for 150 bucks, it can be a lot. Of fun. Yeah. Yeah, I wish. I I wish I have more. There’s a. There’s a few more. Full size arcade machines that I’d like to get. I would eventually I would love to get another double stack, you know dual stack Daytona cause you can actually connect eight of them together. They were one of the first games that were connected together with fibre optic funny. Enough. But yeah, be fun to extend that, but I just don’t have the room for it. This thing weighs a ton, and it’s it’s like an. Elephant in the room.
So I have my eye on a wood. Pinball machine. I have an electronic one. I want a wood one. Yeah, because what wood ones do is you can tilt them a little.
Bit and then. How I can make the ball go? Here and not. Kill my you know what I mean.
I know your tactics.
Rob, I too have spent many 1/4 in an arcade in my lifetime like way to.
Yeah, yeah. It. Yeah. Yeah, I I, I used to live on. I I I used to live close to Brighton on the coast and I would jump on the train, go down to the coast and play in the arcades, much to my. Dad’s horror, but yeah, there’s there’s a lot of old old games from the past that I would I’d love to be able to play again. It’s funny if I if I go into an arcade nowadays, I’m I am still looking around just to see if they’ve got one in the corner somewhere, but most of it’s modern stuff now that spits out a A token or a ticket to. To exchange for some terrible 1 penny prize.
That we don’t need this.
Yeah. It’s so it’s so true. You wrote an article that showed up in a computer mag at one time. I think right.
Yeah, yeah, several. That was, that was it started when I was quite young. I think the first piece of software I wrote I was. I wanna say I was 16, so I wrote some covered ice software and then I would just write stuff, particularly around the Internet industry. When I when I first started my agency, an Internet magazines had just. Come out then. They were hungry for articles about, you know, website development and what you’ve done. I remember doing one for a photo company that sold cameras and stuff and we did a whole like 4 page spread in there about that. So yeah, it was quite, quite active back in the day in the old magazine industry and. Nowadays, most of it’s online blogs and and things like this, but yeah, back back in the day it was magazines and you, you’d have to wait a month for the next edition to.
Come out. It was funny cause I I can remember being an app. Guy Apple had a big fan magazine called Nibble Back in the. Day you might. Have remembered it, and the big advantage of nibble was there was all kinds of programs in there and you had to take the code and put the code in and then when you got 1000 lines in there, it was like. Freak me. Where’s my wars? When you get these stupid programs. To run right.
I think somewhere in this office we have. A quick look.
Ohh yeah, hang on. Yeah, I don’t know if people will just be listening to this or looking at it. But this is. A. A book I found on eBay. Oh yeah, from book of games. And you would spend many, many an hour.
Oh, that’s so.
Typing out games line by line and you you’d end up with a game you know with the line and A and a square on the screen. But I quite like how the. The the images they’ve got in the book showing what the game looks like, the shape of the screen is an old CRT shape. It’s no longer square, it’s not square like it is nowadays. So yeah. But yeah, many many an hour. Typing these in some of these, you would probably spend an afternoon typing this in and then debugging it cause you got one line wrong.
Five days later, OK. Yeah. Yeah. Let’s move on. TV’s just an interesting one. You know, I was sharing a story the other day with a good friend. And I said I’m a baseball fan, and baseball is notoriously slow problem #1. So I can remember going to college and watching World Series games while I was doing homework. Bad Rob, I know. Had to get to work. Done on a 7 inch black and white TV because my parents got fed up and went to one of the big box stores, one in Canada called consumers distributing and said. Here because you can get that crap off the aerial and you don’t need cable cause cable was in its infancy, right? And you can watch TV up here and leave our big TV alone. And at that time it’s like a 29 inch CRT. TV. Do you remember those, right.
Now is expensive to buy back then.
Yeah. And then behind me, I have a 43 inch TV, which is lighter than a feather and you know.
Probably 100 bucks. It’s ridiculous.
And I got this one it. Was closer to three, but yeah, same.
Ohh yeah, it’s it’s crazy. Where where it’s come. I used to have a small. I don’t know how big it was. Probably a 15 inch screen and it had a problem with the. So you know the CRT screen for the for the newer generation would basically be a big gas filled glass. A screen with. Three guns in it that would fire the the the phosphor on the front of the screen and you’d have a red one, the green one, or the blue one. And there was something wrong with my screen where I think the green one was always more powerful than the the other two. So every every picture I had was was bright green. So being the kid I was, I dismantled the TV. Pull the back of it and I would adjust the the guns inside it and often give myself an electric shot. Not advised, but yeah, now nowadays it’s a lot simpler, isn’t. It you can, you can go to. You electronic store and walk out with a screen for 150 bucks. That’s, you know, back in the day would have cost an absolute fortune.
I mean, I’m working at an HP 32 inch flat screen in front of me as we speak. So yeah. And and I remember cause when I started in support, we were still buying CRT. Things were just starting to come in and. The the hardest thing I hated more than anything was a user calling and saying my monitor is dead and I’d have to lug one of these thing. All around because they were heavy.
They were heavy.
Yeah, I I have a funny story about screens. I when I was again running my first Internet agency. So this was around 2000. So we’re going through the Millennium. And I was working with the Millennium Dome in London and Millennium Dome was this huge building. You’ve probably seen it big white tent with big yellow. Things coming out the top of it, holding it up in in London on the east side of London and they built this to do a big show for the Millennium and it ran for about a year. And they had these plasma screens in there which were huge. I mean these. Things were, I mean. Huge. For back then they were probably like 48 inch plasma screens which cost an absolute. Bought you and we were approached by them in Millennium Dome to auction off all the contents of the Dome, so everything from seating to. The shows to the exhibits. I mean, there was like, a giant baby that. Was about I. Don’t know 80 foot tall that we had. To get rid of. So we wrote the website to do that. Auction and it was supposed to be a B to B business to business experience and. About two or three days before this went live, The Sun newspaper in the UK, big Big rag in the UK.
Known for known for her eyes, stantly.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. They were the famous page three newspaper back then.
Who the Toronto Sun modeled their Page 3.
Ohh really? Yeah. Yeah. So, yeah. Glad. Look, they’ve moved on from that. I think not too much. But yeah, still still the sun. But they they got wind of it. And then published in their. Newspaper the web address for this auction that we’ve got on. There and they mentioned hey. They’ve got about, I don’t know, 102 hundred of these plasma screens going cheap, which absolutely crashed our server the day that it went live. So the whole thing was an absolute disaster. So we were expecting, you know. 2300 people to go on it, but no, we have almost the entire UK try and log on and get one of these 48. Each place was great. Yeah, but yeah, yeah.
That’s that’s funny. And and even things like radio has changed like. I said to somebody the other day I was listening to a ball game and I was trying to get some work done. What what else is new? And they said, how are you listening to that book and you don’t own a radio and? I said radio via the Internet. I I I actually have believe it or not, I have a transistor radio for emergencies.
Yeah, me too. Yeah.
It’s it’s a good idea. We all know that in Kenyan US AM radio was subsidized by the government for bandwidth. For emergencies. Right. Yeah, we do. We do know that I have two and I can actually say the name in this room. So I’m. I’m sorry if you have one in your. I have an Alex in the corner, but the wake word’s. Not Alexa, so. One more one and then I’ve got. Couple computers in front of me and it’s like I don’t need a a conventional radio.
That and that all comes through the it’s amazing how reliant we are on the Internet nowadays and we don’t even think about it. It’s all all second nature. Yeah, yeah, it’s all running behind the scenes.
But it it’s funny, there’s an Internet technology out there called Wimax. You’ve probably heard of it. Why Max is a series of antennas that are basically repeaters and where Wimax was planned to be used was in the world designed for. You know, Wimax is showing up in the country in this city.
Yeah, yeah, it’s incredible how much data. We can send across the air. Nowadays I was. In Boston, I think it was and I was sat next to one of their 5G towers and I thought, ohh, I’m just gonna see what? Type of bandwidth. I can get out of this thing.
God and it it was pulling down. I think what it was now, it was just it was absolutely. So I think it was 2 gig down on a cell phone and I was I just couldn’t believe it. The other day I was about to have a conference call with a client and I had a power cut. And so I thought, well, I’ll go to Starbucks and. Do the conference call from there, and I sat in the car and I thought, well, I’ll just try connecting through my through my phone. Yeah. And I got better bandwidth. From my phone than I did from my home Internet.
Connection. I know it it. It’s crazy. I mean, I when I think I was sharing with you before we went to record. I have a phone with a 200 GB GB data plan.
You only have 100 gigs and if you remember last Christmas we had COVID go to our house and I ended up up in Niagara Falls on my own for a couple of days to avoid the whole mess. By the way, I still haven’t gotten it. Everybody around me has. And what I did was I up my data point because we had a major ice storm coming in and the minute the ice storm came in, some of the Internet repeaters and the hotels were gonna go. And I I had work to do, so I and I’ve just left it I I commute a lot. I’m a I’m a commuter and so I take regional buses and stuff and they all have Wi-Fi on them. And frankly I never use it for security reasons.
Yeah, I don’t know. You mean if I’m, if I’m ever in a an airport connecting to their Internet, I still don’t put my right name or. E-mail address in. Try try to keep it private.
Yeah, but going back to this whole thing about how much the Internet drives, I don’t know if you know, but we had a major rail outage in the Greater Toronto Area 2 days ago. And CNN, which is the cane National Railway, yeah, which impacted our commuter trains cause they you see in tracks and you know what?
Just they had an Internet outage. At a repeat.
There you go.
And they did a software upgrade that went bad and goodbye. And we were without train service for five hours.
Yeah. Yeah, it’s amazing. The impact when something with the Internet goes wrong, you know, if if a if a provider has like a DNS issue or something like that. Or, you know, cloud flare now and then have issues as well. And and then you realize, hang on a minute, I’ve got all my eggs in one basket. Should have split this up a little bit, but yeah, it’s it’s a big Achilles heel in some places. Yeah, you know it it is what it is.
This has been like so much fun. I I love reminiscing. With you because despite the browse.
If we could go on for hours.
I have to ask it was there one person figure media that was a big impact into your love of technology?
My dad, I think. Yeah, he was always tinkering with electronics or with a. Computer he was, you know. He he was the the guy that bought the computer into the home and started hitting buttons and I think it probably was a ohh trying to. Think now I. Mean we did have the game systems like you did, but then I think you brought back a Commodore 60. Four. Was it something like that? Yeah. And then a spectrum and then it just kind of grew from there. So he would, he would spend hours and hours tinkering away and coding much to my mother’s chagrin. Yeah, she. Yeah, I think that caused the divorce. But yeah, she would she, he he. He taught me how to program. I I remember the first command I learned. I called my dad at work and I wanted to play a game. It was probably on a spectrum, something like Manic minor or something like that. And I said, dad, how do I load this? And he said press the J key, which made it say load. And then two double quotes and off you go. And that was it that. Was the 1st. Command I ever learned. And and here.
We are my, my. Dad was a CFO for an insurance broker and and he brought back home this apple too.
And the minute he brought home the apple, too, and I swear the screen was like 5 inch green screen green and. White and that kind of the big joke used to be if he wasn’t doing work that game, that computer was robbed because I fell in love with. So I would tell you he was probably the most influenced.
For me, in that space and and he let me go, and then I had a couple of friends of mine that. Or older family friends that were into coding and they used to dump all those old nibble magazines on my desk and. All of that, and you know the the rest is kind of like history and.
That’s it. Yeah, I’m sad. I got rid of a lot of my old computers and I I threw away just hundreds of computer disks with code that I had written and I I wish I could look back and try it and see what I did with it all, but there was just one that I think it was probably when I moved from the UK. To the US. I’m just like. Right, I’m getting rid of all this stuff. And threw it away. And now I regret doing. That I wish I still had it.
Been there. Hey, Mark, it’s always a pleasure. Somebody needs a forms plugin Go buy WS forms. As Andrew Palmer says, it is the best forms product on the Internet. And the one I used to go support park. And if you need Mark or need I say hello reminisce. It’s always fun, right? Thanks, Mike. Have an awesome day my friend.