- Written by dave
- Category: Old Colorado City Communications (1980-2010)
- Hits: 15826
My Computer Communications Company Launched
I started the Enjoy Colorado company based on selling individualized travel information in 1974 just before I got involved for two years with the Centennial-Bicentennial in 1975-1976. I also started working on the Redevelopment of Old Colorado City in 1976 and 1977 - when I moved to the Westside. I agreed to act as director of the West Colorado Springs Commercial Club, for pay, for only 1 year from 1977 to 1978. It was a critical time when the City Council was going either to back the businessmen through the Commercial Club or the CS Urban Renewal Authority - whose staff and Board already showed that they did not understand or care about the way the merchants, and I, wanted Old Colorado City to be redeveloped via small business loans and Historic Preservation.
Here is me using a very early portable computer - Radio Shack Model 100 connected by modem to a cell phone, outside one of famous "Horse Alleys' of Old Colorado City. You can see the black sign that announces Colorado City as a National Historic District. I used my computers for everything, including me applying for National status.
During that year we succeeded - with the support of our Councilman, - black Leon Young - and the City Manager - to oust Urban Renewal from anything to do with Old Colorado City. From then on the redevelopment of the Westside would be run by (1) City Community Development Staff headed by Jim Ringe through his westside director Bob Patoni - applying City HUD funds for Public Works (2) the Old Colorado City Development Company - headed by Wes Colbrunn answering to its Board of Directors made up of Old Town business owners- which reviewed and approved Bloc Grant Loans to new small businesses and (3) the West Colorado Springs Commercial Club run by me for a year as its Director both answerable to its Board, but also (4) the Organization of Westside Neighbors which I helped create in 1978 and got Bob Traer, homeowner, to head up while I was a Board Member.
But of course I continued to just do, invent, back, or explain as a freelance advocate and visionary for the whole project. So I had lots of irons in the fire.
That was about the same time I had bought my first Radio Shack computer and set it up as the City's first Computer Bulletin Board in all Colorado Springs, but especially supporting local Electronic Democracy.
It was clear to me that computer communications with the explosion of small personal computer sales was going to be a core business. So I told the Board of WCSCC that I would stay very much involved with them and the Redevelopment of Old Colorado City but that I wanted to go into business for myself. In fact I would occupy the floor right above the Commercial Club, and the Development Company, and the City's Westside Community planning office. For it had enough modern electrical outlets.
Just about then I was approached by a local man, Louis Jaffe, who had gone through the NYU Interactive Commuunications courses, had some money left to him by his father who published the Norfolk, Virginia newspaper, and wanted to get into the personal computer communications business himself somehow.
So we partnered, and leased the offices 202 and 203 in the historic 3 story Templeton Block Building at 2502 West Colorado Avenue, Colorado Springs right in the middle of the 3 block long Old Colorado City Commercial business district. You can see the antennas on the roof I later needed.
Old Colorado City Communications occupied the 2d floor of this building for 20 years.
The AT&T Miniframe
Our timing was right. For just as we moved in, AT&T, who had developed Main Frame computers based on the Unix Operating System software - large and costly machines - brought out the first 8 Modem-Port 'Miniframe' computer, livening it with powerful Unix, which only AT&T had as a Patented Process. It cost us about $2,000 as I recall. Cheap for what it could do.
Such a machine would not only permit us to have a 8 modem-port machine - that could handle up to 80 normal-use dial up paying customers, but whose operating system and processors were designed from the git go to be a 'multi-tasking, multi-user' process machine permitting at least two persons working on it with terminals and keyboards at the same time all 8 modem ports might be in use. It was a scaled down version of the heavy duty larger machines used in its corporate and government communications business. Affordable to us, yet powerful small business class.
The First Hacker's Conference - 1984
To my surprise, even though I was a 53 year old retired Army Colonel and Colorado West Pointer in Colorado who made no apologies for my fighting in the Vietnam War, my creative uses of my Old Colorado City Electronic Cottage computer Bulletin Board for Electronic Democracy, and my account on the National " Source" and "Compuserve" national services - where I was called 'Sourcevoid Dave' seemed to resonate with the California Silicon Valley Centered Computer Hacker Hippie Crowd. First of all Steve Levy from the East Coast - who did an article on me and my online poetry called "Word Dance' named me "Poet Laureate of the Network Nation" and brought out the book "Hackers" in 1984. It covered the three generations - the mini-computer all night coders at MIT and Stanford in the 60's, the hardware hackers of the Homebrew Computer Club who made the first personal computers in the 70's and those who brought out the first novel software programs like Visicalc and Choplifter.
That inspired Stewart Brand, who had pioneered and backed the publication of the "Whole Earth Catalog" and was launching a Counter-Culture dial up Computer Service in Sausilito, CA, to announce the First Hacker's Conference.
I was invited to attend by Brand, who, somewhat older than the young Silicon Valley crowd, and had served in the Army too, had no problem with inviting me, a well decorated, Vietnam and West Point retired military man, who, nevertheless was pioneering the social uses of connected personal computing.
A whole slew - perhaps 75 - computer 'hackers' - including Wosniak, Steve Jobs partner who built the first Apple II, Dick Stallman of MIT who designed EMACS, John Draper "Capn Crunch" who hacked his way over telephones of the world - without paying for the calls, Art Kleiner, editor of the Whole Earth Review, Lee Felsenstein who designed the CPM based Osborne 1 (which Serial #640 I bought) and put up the 'Community Memory' BBS, Ted Nelson the creator of Xanadu - all assembled at the old decommisioned Fort Cronkhite as a California State Park facility just north of San Fransisco. And even Tom Jennings - designer of Fidonet and other hackers, some who were flat broke - others already millionaires from their computer inventions attended.
I was quoted in Stewart Brand's article about that 1985 Hacker's Conference - (which is still going on in 2015) as below.
Journalist Steve Levy's Kudo's
Here as a readable PDF page is what Steve Levy had to say about me - even seeing a 'theological' thread in my online ravings. Click on Steve Levy's name here -->> SteveLevy
It began to dawn on me that I saw sociatel human communications possibilities 'beyond' mere text and graphics on connected computer screens in these new 'personal communications' technologies. And others seemed to recognize that I had a much further vision than most others did for them. Social and Political change, not just the tech business and a new computer hacker hobby.
So with Old Colorado City Communications equipped with a Unix communications Server connected at the begining to 8 dial in modem phone lines for paying 'customers' a place - office and tech work room - I had the elbow room to both provide services and continue to experiment.
The Super Lively Online 1980s
The 1980s saw an explosion of innovation, commentary, experimentation, with personal computers connected to networks one way or another. As a very early pioneer in the uses of connected personal computers I seemed to be visited, quoted, and photographed endlessly - in publications from the New York Times Magazine, Time Magazine, Washington Post down through the Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News, Gazette Telegraph to Counter Culture publications like the Whole Earth Review, New Age Journal, Hacker's "2.0". And that spread to my appearances on the McNeil-Leherer News Hour, National Public Radio and scores of 'Computer' on air programs.
There were conferences coming out of my ears. "Boardwatch Magazine" founded in Denver and covering 'computer bulletin boards' all over north America had annual large - 1,000 to 1,500 attendees - BBS Conferences, to which I was invited to attend and speak. Always they started the great plenary session by asking everyone to stand up in chronological order of their first 'BBS' use as they ticket off the years from the time the first - Ward Christiansen's BBS - in Chicago in 1979 was launched. Then sit down. I always was the only one who was left standing by the back year 1980. The numbers of attendees who had set up early BBS's didn't start really until 1981.
Then the Source had its face to face conferences, and so did 'BBS-Law" and "Computers Privacy and Freedom" and the 'Hackers Conference' - to all of which I was invited - urged - to attend and contribute.
Foreign publications had begun to pick up on the BBS phenomona, and BBS's were set up in scores of Foreign cities. In fact the first Foreign BBS I ever dialed up was in London! Especially Hacker Tom Jennings Fidonet BBS systems became rapidly popular. It was designed to be set up anywhere on the globe, and with only a dial up phone line connection and a unique Fido number as well as the next ''higher numbered" Fido BBS, all the Fidos would call their closest neighbor at 2AM and in less than 2-3 minutes of the long distance call send out addressed (by the unique Fidonet numbering system) email, and bring in all those addressed to someone on the local BBS. Fido BBSs emulated the same 'hop, hop, hop' technology that Unix UUCP capitalized on for its data communications between main frame corporate and government computers around the world, which had spawned 'news groups' that technical staffs used to talk with other technicians.
There was one amateur Fido BBS in Istanbul, Turkey run by a young hacker Turk - Tolga Uduri . He reached my Fidonet computer in Old Colorado City Communications Offices via hops through Germany asking if I would come there to Turkey and address a communications conference.
I flew in to Istanbul, was hosted and paid by a Turkish non-profit technical association (www.interpro.com.tr) www.interpro.com.trto be the main speaker at one of their communications gatherings. I was quartered at an inn right on the Bosphorous. Which inn was close to a Minaret where I was awakened very early by a Muzzin chanting - over electronically boosted speakers - calls to Muslim Prayer I also was met by young Tolga Uduri and his then tech partner Elyem who were really the inspiration for my trip. Thanks to their Fido BBS with its world wide reach - they got me invited by interpro and compensated for the trip. Which visit included a driving trip across the Bosphorous Bridge - so I could say I had been in two continents) while Tolga drove at a madcap speed of 80khr, which, apparently everyone does)
Below is a picture of me, Tolga (in foreground) and Eleym (Tolga's partner then) with an Istanbul Television crew who interviewed me for an onair program about personal computers.
But Tolga, was determined to get out of Turkey to pursue his technical dreams because it was clear to him that Islamic politics was bound to change the character of the so-far non-sectarian national government. (Which has indeed happened increasingly over the decades since)
So Tolga even travelled to visit me later in Colorado Springs. He wanted to pursue a technical career - as an entrepeneur in net communications - which he did in both Canada and Germany.
Below is a picture of Tolga on the left, with his then girl friend who visited me to learn as much as possible on data telecommunications from me, together with my son Edward on the right and his wife from China, Haning.
He even got involved - politcally at the international relations level, after he installed a UUCP link (which linked institutional main frame systems to the rest of the world) for a State (country) of Georgia observatory and got Press and White House attention via that one UUCP link carrying news about a threatened Russian takeover of Georgia. He even sent it to me asking me to spread news of the threat. When the US government and the UN in New York learned about it - only because of his link after the Russians had blocked all other communications in Georgia - the takeover was averted by US and UN diplomacy.
Which certainly confirmed in my mind the potential global political power of net communications, from linked BBS like Fidonet, and linked via institutional Mainframes by UUCP, and soon to include the greatest global revolution at all - the Internet. Which could be spread by Wireless, not only by wired networks.
I was very much in on the ground floor of the Communications Revolution.
I was then invited to speak in politically agitated Caracas, Venezuela, where BBSs were beginning to sprout up.
I was then invited to be a speaker at a university-centered telecom conference in Budapest, Hungary, which I attended and participated in.
It began to dawn on me that personal global communications between individuals, not just organizations, was becoming a world wide reality. As much from the bottom up, as via larger corporate or government networked mainframe computers.
Many More Pioneering Projects
In the next series of articles I will cover a number of things Louis Jaffe and I got into, and then me alone when he moved to California. For a time, we called our Service 'Chariot Communications.' But soon switched to the more descriptive "Old Colorado City Communication." I was able to use the network to attract new businesses to the Westside of Colorado Springs.
(1) The Well and UUCP Connectvity
(2) Computer Conferencing - beyond BBSingn
(3) Big Sky Telegraph and online Education.
(4) NAPLPS and Word Dance with the Russians.
(5) Changed Partners - Louis gone, Larry Fox arriving.
- Written by dave
- Category: Old Colorado City Communications (1980-2010)
- Hits: 4516
The Silicon Valley Well and Me
Louis Jaffe, my partner in Old Colorado City Communications knew many of the Californians that were involved with Silicon Valley such as Art Kleiner who was the Editor of the Whole Earth Review supported by Stewart Brand.
As I noted before Brand was engaged is setting up a pretty powerful 'computer conferencing' system (BBS on Steroids) that could serve the Bay Area. Louis, having seen how powerful, and standard, our AT&T Unix Miniframe was, urged Brand NOT to buy Digital VAX's which he was looking at. VAX's were powerful machines with their own operating systms but Unix was a far wider deployed standard, which also could be adapted to support a wide variety of functions.
But Stewart went ahead and bought two VAX machines and called the System and Service "The Well." ( several years later he scrapped them and bought Unix machines which are far better for what he and we wanted primarily Computer Conferencing systems - which does what BBSs do, except fully multi-user and with many more features)
Since it was a 'Conferencing System' we could choose to hang out in a 'home' conference, but join any of the other 'public' ones - like the Media conference where mainly reporters hung out. Or like most BBS's scores of other 'local or special interest' conferences - sports, apple computers, politics. I selected the 'Telecom' conference. And later I joined the 'Rocky Mountain' conference, and even created the unique NAPLPS conference.
I was welcomed on there, though the overwhelming number of subscribers were Bay Area and Silicon Valley people. I was about the only person on the Well who had any substantial Military experience or background, while I was in the midst of large numbers of anti-Vietnam War, anti-anything-not-California, I was not online that much. But soon the Well got connected by UUCP and then later full bore TCPIP - two way Internet.
One Well user, Mary Eisenhart, was the editor of a popular and widely distributed California publication - "Microtimes". She - a Grateful Dead devotee - followed my wanderings out in electronic space and reported on me a number of times. She even physically visited my 'Electronic Cottage' and Roger Bar in Old Colrado City. And she first published my Big Sky Telegraph work with Frank Odasz as we taught Indian Artists how to create 'share art' from Indian reservations online and get paid for their works. For two or three years Mary Eisenthart listed me as "One of the 100 most influential technology persons the US."
UUCP -or 'store and forward' communications
Now there always had been (at least since large computer systems appeared in Tech Companies like Hewlett Packard, and Universities in the 60s) a way to send and receive 'email' and even read and post to conference-like 'Newsgroups' using something all Unix system had built in - and VAX's could so with add-on software.
It was called UUCP or Unix-to-Unix-Copy. It still exists on all unix systems, but has been totally superceded by TCPIP Internet Protocols. UUCP was a one-way-at-a-time hop-hop software system. Technically, so long as every computer had a unique ID and name within the network, a user on any of them could address an email to any other user on any other system that had an ID. And if there were data connections between all the computers on the Net, this was good enough to send/receive email, newsgroup postings, or files, on a Hop-hop-hop basis. This was developed first by Computer Engineers in large companies which had at least one Mainframe Unix or Vax system with data connections to others.
Now UUCP supporting what are called 'Newgroups' originally were heavily used by techs and engineers to share technical information with other engineers who did not have to be in the same Company - or even use the same (Unix) operating systems. But they were computer programming - usually technically educated - colleages.
But as networks became more accessed from personal computers, something emerged well beyond technical chit chat. A whole series of less technical-discussion Newsgroups also developed - such as ones called 'soc.culture.irish' or 'soc.culture.welsh' - meaning social discussions online about Welsh culture, or Ireland. (I used soc.culture.welsh newsgroups to plan out a trip to my ancestral home of Wales with my daughter Rebecca in 1998) I was able to get Welsh maps, advice on where to stay and how to get around from those who lived in Wales and accessed newsgroups. In fact that set of contacts led to really amazing series of events, two trips, one paid for by the Welsh government, and finally contact with two distant relatives I would never had found without those first news-group, UUCP contacts before 1998)
Not only was I able to go, over our Unix system in Old Colorado City, hopping by UUCP to local Hewlett Packard plant's main frames, but also to HP California, and from there through many other world networks to (1) the Well, and (2) Welsh Universities.
That was, before TCPIP and full Internet was installed on the Well, and on our Old Colo City Comm system. UUCP offered an unusal way for me to connect up 116 One Room School Houses in Montana. Because one of the Hackers, Tom Jennings, not only created Fidonet - which any Fido BBS could talk to hop hop hop to any other Fido BBS, but with a clever piece of code Jennings wrote called 'UFGate' permitted a Fido BBS across the room from a Unix system to be physically connected by a cable, and UFgate software would take an Addressed Fido BBS message that came in, to hop over to the Unix machine which would UUCP travel over the big university or company networks. And then hop out to a local Fidonet BBS system.
So UUCP was able to move message traffic by telephone lines even before Internet cables were laid between cities or instituions.And THAT became the basis for Big Sky Telegraph, which I will tell about in another section here.
Naplps In the Old Soviet Union
For a while I was working on adapting a Graphic/Telecom method to add graphics and even foreign language fonts - North American Presentation Protocol - to create my own product that would add an entirely new dimension to the online culture. Just then Russian Peristroika burst forth as the Cold War diminished. Naplps was used as the technical basis for Canadian Telidon, and in France because is could support primitive color graphics. It dawned on me I would be able to 'hire' Russian Programmers for a lot less money than it would cost to contract for the same work in Silicon Valley, California.
So with a few introductions via Gordon Cook who knew some key people in Moscow since his doctorate was on Soviet Society, I flew there, stayed at least 10 days with one of his English speaking friends. After we found a number of young programmers I laid out what I wanted done, and struck a deal with programmers who had less 'government' work now, and could sure use some dollars.
Below are some photos I took while there.
Russian Soldiers on guard at the Kremlin, off Red Square
Me in my Stetson Cowboy hat in Red Square
I returned later to review the work, and then approved their programs, paid them, brought the programs home, and produced a program called TROIKA. Which, while it did not burn up the sales charts, had ONE major feature - Foreign Fonts could be used to both create and edit text in foreign languages, and deliver over modems to anyone who had loaded Troika into their computer as a terminal program.
I was able to type in Russian Language lines in Cyrillic fonts. Which I did copying down one of the most famous Russian Poems all Russian School Children learn - The Sail - and send it, with accompanying art graphic of water and a sailing ship, to people with the Troika program as their Terminal program.
That program became the basis of one of my deepest convictions about how the human eye and brain can work to create or copy foreign texts as diverse as American English, Mexican Spanish, Cyrillic Russian, Japanese, and - reading right to left - Arabic.
I called Troika capable of "Word Dance" in which the reader, rather than read a textual page (or screen) by moving the eye over each line, from left to right and then down one line at a time, one could compose with Troika a text in which the eye of the reader stayed focused on one place on the screen, while the text moved at the reader in a digital stream.
And instead of inserting punctuation marks, like commas, periods, the text would pause, or halt temporarily, and expand in size. It was "Visual Speech" which incorporated the rhythms of oral speech, yet as NAPLPS based text.
One shotTelevision advertising segments do that in so many seconds of words enlarging snd/or shrinking, together with images after costly one-time studio programming. But with Troika, any individual could engage in a two way Word Dance dialogue with another distant partner. Word Dance as Visual Speech was very much a door to opening up new forms of one to one, or many. New forms of Poetry could develop. I wrote some.
But soon commercial online dialogue and graphics took over with the World Wide Web, while alas! users comtinued to write and read online in the same old top down fashion that merely replicated the printed page, which scrolled top to bottom, like any printed page. Hardly, in my view an advance in the language arts.
Troika sales went nowhere. And with it the potential new forms of Literary Online Art disappeared.
Then in 1988 the US Space Foundation in Colorado Springs, retained me to set up a Space Educational Server for access by students studying Space. By the time of the 4th National Space Symposium held in Colorado Springs at the Broadmoor complex, I teamed up with Astronaut 'Ox' Van Hofton to demonstrate, real time with students in Nebraska the 'Space Net' system I designed.
- Written by dave
- Category: Old Colorado City Communications (1980-2010)
- Hits: 3412
The Great Electronic Democracy Debate/Discussion
Below you can access a long, but vitally interesting Discussion 1987-88 between at least 27 highly educated and knowledgable people logged into Meta Systems Design Caucus Conferencing system in Maclean, Virginia, about my successful experiences setting up and operating my multi-modem line Computer Bulletin Board System in Colorado in such a way that gave birth to the concept and reality of 'Electronic Democracy'
More than ANY other extended description of my efforts THIS dialogue reveals how Electronic Democracy was launched in Colorado - and rapidly was emulated everywhere, starting locally in Colorado Springs, at city and county government.
Here I proved - by reporting what I was doing as I did it - that Electronic Democracy could be exercised on a low cost, telephone line, personal computer, accessible system. Which became nationally famous as local people, government officials, candidates for local city county, state and some national offices debated local serious political issues. And local state, national and international Press reported onit. It also reveals just how much resistance there was in 1988 to the very idea that Americans could, or should express their political views online.
But as one very perceptive newspaper publisher wrote "Dave Hughes computer bulletin boards is a duplicate of the New England Town Hall meetings, but over an Electronic Back Fence in Colorado."
This happened 4 Years before the World Wide Web even emerged, or full internet connectivity was accessible to much of the public across the nation. And before Wi-Fi and other wireless means to access the net developed.
More than any other description of my pioneering activities, this reveals my greatest technological Legacy.
The text of the debate is in PDF form. It is 407 computer pages long, with 104,000 words, exchanged between 27 people.
If you are careful and mouse 'right click' on any loaded page of the PDF file, you can do a search for ANY word of the over 100,000 online
Click on the link below for The Great Electronic Democracy Debate 1987.pdf
- Written by dave
- Category: Old Colorado City Communications (1980-2010)
- Hits: 6662
Old Colorado City Communications In Several Roles
While Louis Jaffe and I started Old Colorado City Communications in 1978 originally to derive the bulk of its income from subscribers to its email, UUCP, and computer conferencing services, its functions and role changed over time.
Its location on the 2d floor of the Templeton Building, 2502 West Colorado Avenue never changed from the time it first opened until I finally closed it down in 2009 20 years later.
You can see in the photo below, the 20 foot high antenna mast on the roof, with one directional high gain (for 902 mhz frequency hopping signal ) antenna rod pointed through the Michael Garmen building, the trees in Bancroft Park, to the Historical Society attic antenna, serving the society's Web site and email half mile away and through many obstacles. The curved second antenna. with a 2.3 Ghz Wi-Fi signal pointed south a mile and a half to the roof of a company who used it for both general internet service and 24/7 security cameras, which the owner could access from home over his personal computer.
Also, out of sight, on the roof at the same time was a satellite internet dish antenna aimed at a satellite low in the southern sky with a radio receiver down in my office, that also fed, directly, the Internet. It was there for NSF experiments on the cost-effectivness of such a system that only used low orbiting satellites. Reliability, bandwidth, total and monthly cost. It was, as I expected, still too costly to use for anything that required a fast, or many, Internet connections - like graphics, video, voice over IP. Satellite internet was - and may still be - too costly except for needs in the most remote places where there is no ground based alternative. Several years after this photo was taken I was able to use a more cost-effective satellite service high on the slopes of Mount Everest.
I snaked the LMR copper cables from all the devices on the roof carrying the signals down two floors past unused chimneys, that originally served small wood or coal burning stoves in the many offices and apartments in that building in the 1890s, long before central heating was put in the historic building. (the Templeton building shown cost Henry Templeton $15,000 to build in 1891, was bought in 1976 when the westside was declared with slum and blight, for $75,000, and was resold after considerable upgrading, including electrical and telephone and ethernet wiring and the part of the Old Colorado City National Historic District in 1982, for $1.3 million in 2002. My office rent for Old Colorado City Communications went from $120 a month in 1976 when the Redevelopment of Old Colorado City was started to $650 a month by 2004 when the building was sold again.
|OCC Offices were 2d floor, 4th window to the left|
* OCCC's business started out as a dial-up modem subscriber service that was only linked up nationally by UUCP protocol from our Unix System. At one time it handled 20 Robotics modems.
|Old Colo City Comm Network Center in the Templeton Bldg|
* As soon as the TCP-IP protocols began to spread and larger cities and corporations such as Hewlett-Packard and US West put in servers for businesses, school systems, and government agencies, I contracted with US West to provide us a dedicated T-1 (1.5mbps) circuit the three miles to their offices and servers in downtown Colorado Springs. It would take 9 more years - to 2008 before Qwest was able to justify extending DSL - internet over telephone circuits - to Old Colorado City from downtown Colorado Springs 3 miles away.
* In 1980 I persuaded the national Internet authority (before even ARIN existed) to award us a 'Class -C' Internet Block of IP addresses. (A class C block is 255 unique IP addresses. And I registered it with a variation on our Company Name - Old Colorado City Communications - "oldcolo.com". Our numbers assigned then 18.104.22.168/24 or 22.214.171.124 through 126.96.36.199 were, and remain so long as I (or Old Colorado City Communications Company exists - which son David R Hughes will inherit) pays a $100 a year 'Legacy Fee to ARIN - The American Registry For Internet Numbers)
With that assignment which is one of the OLDEST (in the country) Class C licenses for an Internet set of IP's (Class C's are unobtainable now). That gave me the capability of having up to 254 devices - computers, servers, radios - each with a unique IP address. That became important in the 1990's when we offered the ONLY broadband Internet access to Old Colorado City Commercial District business via Wi-Fi and to 10 office-businesses in our building, by ethernet wire connection from their office into our officer where the server was. And that was because it took over 10 years from the time Downtown Colorado Springs had local commercial internet services from either US West (then Qwest) OR Comcast Cable before they 'reached' the OCC Commercial District with its over 75 small businesses. It cost me $450 a month for the T-1 from US West downtown to serve those wireless customers in Old Colorado City with full internet.
|Old Colo City Com office when my Wireless business boomed. The window looks out over Colorado Avenue and the core 100 buildings of Old Colorado City are right below us.|
In fact, when I retired and closed down OCCC in 2010 and switched to bring a Business Class Comcast Internet service into my house both for its family television capability, and its Internet capability, ARIN awarded me their 'legacy' IP numbers - meaning I effectively 'own' those 255 unique IPv4 Block.
* From 1997 until 2010, 13 years I provided the ONLY Internet Service to the Old Colorado City Historical Society - wirelessly, through the equipment grant by the National Science Foundation in 1997. I offered that link pro-bono to the Society.
* After Louis Jafee left the business and Colorado Springs, Larry Fox - a well traveled businessman/entrepreneur, who ran, from his home, a International Supply business which did business in Africa, Latin America needed global telex, wire, communications became a 50% partner in Old Colorado City Communications. His international business experience, buying selling - increasingly higher tech things needed in small quantities in remote areas - import, export licenses, shipping methods and costs, supplemented my technical and telecommunications expertise made for a good partnership.
Increasingly I was contacted by small, and remote foreign enterprises. I was becoming known around the world for my electronic pioneering.
At one time when I was awarded an NSF Grant to provide and set up wireless Internet connectivity in Ulaan Bataar, Mongolia, Larry was able to ship quite a bundle of radios, cables, and antennas there by getting it into the US Diplomatic Pouch, bypassing Chinese customs, prying eyes, and fees. All got there on time for my sub-contractor, Dewayne Hendriks to arrive in Mongolia, get it from the Embassy, and install it all - which worked.
* Because accounting and bookkeeping became a burden, we took on my daughter Rebecca Hughes Clark and each of us, Larry and I, gave 10% of our share - giving her 20%, we each keeping 40% - her fees coming largely from the Administrative overhead of the NSF Grants over 7 years. She became the 'Institutional Representative' of OCCC to the NSF while I remained the Principal Investigator.
* When Larry Fox sickened and died from cancer, I bought out his share of OCCC from his widow, and then adjusted Rebecca's share. So that we went on until I closed down the business in 2009 with me having 60% and she 40%. The primary assets of the Company were at least $50,000 of technical equipment, some of which I sold. Like an original cost $20,000 spectrum analyzer, used, for $5,000. Rebecca was paid $2,000 - 40% I $3,000 - 60%. Storing the remainder.
* OCCC, with Marty Yazlowitz technically helping me out in exchange for some office space for his technical gear and internet connection through me, we served a number of clients, and became resellers of selected advanced radio equipment.
* That office space became a laboratory for much of our development. programming, and fabrication work for radios and devices we deployed in the field for scientists trying to get sensor data reliably from very remote places back to their premises.
One photograph of me in the OCCC office was widely distributed in various scientific publications. Even for established scientists and technical universities, I was in demand teaching them - sometimes in large conferences how to use advanced wireless to solve their perpetual problem of gathering field data efficiently and in a timely manner from very remote locations.
OCCC never really made a lot of money, But for seven years while we carried out a series of National Science Foundation projects, the $1.9 million in grant awards kept the doors open.
And my work with field scientists of all types whose experiments and research in remote places left a legacy of increasing reliance on advanced wireless connected to the Internet by those scientists and institutions, replacing the tedious historical manual methods of data collection and control used for hundreds of years before.
The fact that a research scientist or his Phd doctoral candidate students could connect up from their universities or even from their homes in Colorado, to the temperature readings on a measuring device in a remote woods 30 miles north of Fairbanks Alaska, and even reprogram or change the settings on the device was an accomplishment I greatly contributed to between 1993 and 2000.