It has been an operating systems, data communications and computer networking joy ride. It was an exhilarating experience which has lasted more than ten years.
My first experience of data communications and computer networking was in the early seventies when I helped a civil engineering friend develop some models that were run on a computer in Johannesburg. As we were in Queensburgh (a suburb of Durban), we needed to link our terminal to the machine in Johannesburg. We did that using a 300 bps acoustic coupled modem.
My second experience was in the late eighties with Kermit, a PC and another 300 bps acoustic coupled modem that I used to log into the UNIX server run by the Computer Science department (UNP).
My third experience was around 1991 with a PC, a 2400 bps modem and SNUUPM (sendmail, UUCP and Pegasus Mail) under MS-DOS. This system also supported the Network News. The host was grommit.cs.unp.ac.za and we mostly dialed into unpcs1.cs.unp.ac.za. Around that time I also played with MINIX (Tanenbaum's instructional operating system that inspired Linux).
After a sabbatical in Oz in 1992 and some serious use of email and the UNIX talk utility, I returned to PMB to ditch my Microsoft box and run Linux. The host was amnesiac.cs.unp.ac.za and I could be reached using the email address email@example.com.
amnesiac has been a host on the Internet since those early days. It also sat on my desk and provided me with plenty of opportunities to learn about operating systems, data communications and networking. Here I also need to thank Leonard Els and his colleagues for the assistance they rendered during this time. Such experimentation would not have been possible in another environment.
However over the years as the Internet user-base within the university grew, it became necessary to prescribe and control the use of the resource. This has made experimentation and the business of running your own host on the Internet a lot less fun. In some respects it has become rather frustrating and counter productive. The final straw has been the frustration I have experienced during 2004 as a result of my early adoption of the "cs.ukzn.ac.za" domain name.
I am not sure why, but this domain has been dropped at regular intervals from the routing tables. Each time I would experience failures amongst the systems that I run and would lose email addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org
The net result is that I have given up trying to support this email address and thus email addressed to it (and email@example.com) will have bounced. Please accept my apologies for any inconvenience caused. I can still be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
I would like to end by saying that I appreciate that running a large network is not a trivial task. The efforts of those trying to make it work are appreciated.
Once again, thanks! - The PC journey on the Internet has been great. Right now I am off to buy a 3G cell phone in order to stake my claim in that brave new world. 1984 has come and gone!