HotUnix has been my Internet domain since 1999 and my license plate since 2003. And it means much more...
I (bgk) had always studied materials science and never received education in computer-related studies, except one graduate-level course in Computing Algorithms in the mid eighties in China. However I was thrilled by time-sharing and multi-tasking on PDP-11, for electron microscopic imaging and simulation, when I became its administrator partially as a "reward" after I spent a full month looking and fighting for its missing printer at the Beijing airport and customs and other bureaucracies. I realized this old concept of time-sharing has now turned into Cloud Computing thanks to the Internet.
My fascination with Remote Digital Communications dates back to the early nineties when I went to the US for PhD studies in materials science. I was totally taken by the then evolving Internet and had much fun exploring (sometimes exploiting) the Bitnet, RS/6000, Unix-to-Unix talk, inter-campus NFS, USENET, ... The newsgroups got me addicted, especially the only one in Chinese, alt.chinese.text, as I loved writing once as a child. The addiction, or months of sleep-deprived nights, eventually got me in DEEP health trouble. Thanks to the support from family, doctors and my professor (!...) in particular, I managed to graduate and tried to carry on. But my life had become a roller coaster and my career path changed forever.
I was fortunate enough to be able to pursue what I loved, and to be exposed to or inspired by some early-Internet talents, in addition to the technologies available to me. These people are tfreak, Robert T. Morris, John Sidgmore, and my genius professor who codes for everything, just to name a few. The first ISP I used in Canada was GlobalServe Communications, one of the best at the time. Their shell, uucp and irc services gave me much comfort, and one night at 2am I went to pick up my customer diskettes and saw their servers and racks...soon I became their employee doing tech support.
I learned not only finishing customers fast to their satisfaction on the phone, but also system admin, shell scripting, and CGI (encouraged by tfreak's pal). I created my own converter in shell between hex, decimal and octal (with help from a GE employee on Usenet). I wrote a web chat-room completely in shell, just for the fun. But I dreaded the install of FreeBSD until early 1998 (thanks to Mr. Pastircak) after I quit my first job.
More excitement was awaiting around Canadian Thanksgiving 1998 - I started the dream tech job with UUNET, the world's first ISP providing the Internet backbone, and caught its last golden days during the dotcom boom. I was part of Network Ops and had the unrivaled opportunity to learn all the Internetworking secrets and how-to's...plus the unrepeatable experience with privileged access (# prompt) on the international backbone routers. We set up and operated true Internet VPNs, across countries or continents. Every tool or product was Unix, including the graphic ones! SSH tunneling and port forwarding, and document revision control (co -l and ci -u), were all amazing...
I consider myself an enthusiast converted at the dawn of the commercial Internet, always keen on cyber security either in a playful or professional way... Open-source Unix and tools have benefited me so much in my hobby and career. As a strong believer in human (esp. children) education on the weakest security link, I've recently revamped my blog to help promote Cyber Security Awareness for the Public. Feel free to browse around to see what I am up to. Your comments are always welcome!
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