Warren On The Web with ms-dos
Hello! I'm Nick Leverton, and Warren was my first personal dial-up Internet host. Welcome to this archive of Warren's web pages, a copy of those originally hosted on Demon's server, to give 24 hour access to them even when Warren was off-line.
In late 1991, the Internet was just starting to rise in profile amongst computing and networking professionals. Cliff Stanford of Demon Systems Ltd (suppliers of modems and networks to the gentry) floated the idea on CIX of a group of people clubbing together to buy their own link to the Internet, which as far as the uk was concerned was then the preserve of Academia and of a few large companies with private Transatlantic links.
I was one of the Founder Members of Cliff's "Tenner a Month" service, being one of the 130-odd people who paid a year's subscription in advance to get Britain's first public link to the Internet off the ground. It was a brave venture: at the time of taking the decision to go ahead, Cliff had fewer than half of the commitments he needed to break even.
As it turned out, Warren remained in daily service after the fledgling Demon Internet - hosted on a single Apricot 486 with eight modems and connected via what was then Pipex's transatlantic leased line - answered its first phone calls in June 1992, right up until I changed ISPs around year 2000.
Why "Warren" ? Well, an old friend used to call me "Leveret", and I rather liked the nickname. And I used to live on Warren Avenue, so the lapine connection amused me when I had to choose a demon.co.uk hostname. Unfortunately I'd forgotten at the time that hares actually live in scrapes, not warrens ... but only one person has ever pointed out the error !
- 1992 - Warren the First
- An ICL PWS Model 80 - a 20MHz 386DX with 8Mb of 32-bit memory and two slow 80Mb ST506 disc drives. This machine still exists, and is still configured, albeit it has no permanent modem and only one working drive and indeed is rarely powered up nowadays.
- 1993 - Warren II
- An AST Premium 386 - also a 20MHz 386DX with 8Mb of RAM, but a nice fast 100Mb ESDI disk, which made it much faster than Warren I despite both having the same processor speed. Unfortunately this machine no longer exists as some bastard stole it in an office break-in, so Warren Mk.I was pressed back into service.
- 1994 - Warren III
- An ICL 486SX25, my desktop PC at the site where I was working (I'm a contract programmer). Using this machine I could keep myself up to date with software and hardware developments. I learned a lot of information about the powerful range of Unix utilties and I made a lot of use of them for my job. Withdrawn when I left, naturally, and once again Warren 1st was resuscitated.
- 1995 - Warren IV
- An ICL 486DX2/50. Not much to say about it, it worked, until it was upgraded to ...
- 1996 - Warren v
- a Fujitsu/ICL ErgoPro x Pentium, 75MHz, 16Mb RAM, 519Mb PCI disc, built-in 16-bit sound card and pci-bus ati Mach64 video. All plug-and-play, which seems to work surprisingly well. a nice little machine - if only it was my own ! (And if only I could persuade the boss to pay the very reasonable cost of OS/2 Warp version 4 for it ...)
For most of its life, Warren has been running ms-dos, connecting to the Net via Phil Karn's shareware KA9Q package, as heavily customised for use at Demon. This provides good, fast, reliable Usenet, email, telnet and ftp and is excellent for use on machines of any class or age. I've always run it under Windows, using an old freeware version of wincron to dial automatically and collect news and mail in the small hours, thus minimising phone bills and maximising transfer rates on lightly loaded systems.
Warren Mk.I was also configured for Windows access via winsock, until the drive with Windows on it went west ...
Warren Mk.3 ran OS/2, v2.11, which I found to be an excellent operating system, and which knocks Windows (even Windows 95) into a cocked hat in terms of speed and reliability. OS/2 had all the features of Win95 over two years earlier, yet the computer press is only now raving over their inclusion in Microsoft products. And suddenly everyone who pooh-poohed their utility in OS/2 finds that after all they are useful, even essential, features. Unfortunately W95 users still don't get the stability, the memory management, the object orientation, the built-in Java, the integrated voice recognition or the performance that users of OS/2 Warp are used to. But hey, that's the power of Microsoft marketting for you. Prime candidates for being first against the wall when the revolution comes ...
When I used KA9Q for dial-up Internet access, I wrote a few notes based on my and other people's experience with configuring and running KA9Q.