kfs.org

Some of you may recall that my blog started out at kfs.org… I'm planning to go full circle and in the next month or so move back to kfs.org with WordPress.

In the late '80s I started working with two brothers, John and David Gymer, on a project to build a multiplayer game platform (not an actual game) for the Atari ST. They had a cool name to work under, "Kingfisher Software". Although Kingfisher is one word, I liked the initials "KFS", and with their permission started putting the little shareware tools and odds and ends I wrote under the name KingFisher Software.

As it happens, John Gymer actually published an Atari ST art package (Canvas or CART I believe) and a racing game, Hot Wheels, both under the name of Kingfisher Software.

My involvement with BBSes lead to the beginnings of an organized group of software developers with a common aim of working towards a packet-switched networking protocol for BBSes under the name "KFS International".

When I joined my first ISP, I didn't have a nick name that made for a good account name … Some folks would have known me by the name of my BBS, "The Alien", but I didn't fancy calling myself "alienbbs" or "thealien", or its later-day name of "Code-o-matic" – since nobody seemed to get the 'matic part, and the limit was 8 characters.

So I picked kfs-uk.demon.co.uk as my entrance to the Internet.

Shortly thereafter, I was working at Demon. And within a year, I was taking over the Commercial Networks department (responsible for leased lines, corporate accounts, domain names, etc), and given the role of "Hostmaster" amongst others. To get a feel for the process I was to register my own domains… And my first choice was "kfs.org". It was available:

Domain Name:KFS.ORG 
Created On:14-Jul-1994 04:00:00 UTC 
Last Updated On:23-Sep-2003 10:54:02 UTC 
Expiration Date:13-Jul-2005 04:00:00 UTC 
Registrant Name:KingFisher Software 
Registrant Organization:KingFisher Software

Part of my role was to automate all aspects of the job, which was completely undocumented, so I had to learn everything hands-on first and then write my way out of having to do the actual job (or delegate it to Mandy or Desiree, Mari, Amanda, Helen or Shimrit). So it seemed only apropriate to have my own leased line. That was a little bit expensive. So instead, they set me up with a baseband connection, which is simply a copper wire running from the office to the telephone exchange to my bedroom. I lived a 10 minute walk from the office, and the exchange was between us, which meant the link was very good, allowing me to get a 2Mb connection at a time when a 1.5Mb connection was luxury and "broadband" was unheard of (and eventually cranked it up to 10mb).

I was also needing to learn Unix. So our boss, Cliff, loaned me an old 386 box, an Apricot Xen-II, which had originally served as "post.demon.co.uk", and I installed Slackware 2.0on it. Simultaneously I had an more moden Apricot 486 from work, running Windows, and an Amiga A1200, which I started writing my own IP stack for (but gave up in favor of AmiTCP) and PPP driver (which I gave up in favor of one of our customer's SLIP drivers).

Suddenly I had a network and a permanent, "secure" site.

By now I was regularly communicating with technicians at other ISPs as part of my day-to-day work, and KFS was a marvellous tool – I could offer give folks like my peers at Pipexan account on the Demon side of peering arrangements to check connections. And in the case of network-savvy customers that I might want to bookmark as possible future hires I could provide them with a little lure in the guise of a tool to help them check networking issues that might be specific to their local network setup.

In short order we had quite a membershipa fair membership (thats just the ones who created web pages).

Meanwhile Jake Diashad also been providing ISPs with a neutral ground at the IBMPCUG, and although Jake and I exchanged accounts, when I dropped out of the hostmaster role and back into a more programming related role, the ISP constituents of kfs.org largely evaporated.

For a time, KFS.org had a policy that if you could find a name for your site with the acronym "KFS", you could have a front-page link.

KFS.org has hosted a number of different communities and sites; it was for a long time the web-home of the "rec.kites" "Kite Fliers Society", who periodically still generate some newbie bitching at me for "stealing" their domain; it was home to one of the first, free, online-game fan-sites to provide services like email aliasing, squad mailing lists, web redirection etc: WarBirds.org; and for a time I provided a web-by-mail service, which was of particular value to Deaf/Blind web-users, but unfortunately found itself trying to serve as a web-gateway for Chinese college kids trying to surf porn and I wound up spending an inordinate amount of time writing filters, queueing systems, etc, and was using far too much of my free bandwidth.

When I finally left the ISP business, I still had a large number of users. These folks didn't want to lose their home-on-the-net, so they got together and formed OurShack.com, a sort of Internet time-share; we club together to pay the hosting, bandwidth and running costs, we have various degrees of access.

Today most domains are measured by their websites, which earn kfs.org close to a zero, but the domain, email addresses and a number of services are still in use by old kfs.org users.

More to the point, it's now been my domain for over 12 years.

No, I don't want to sell the domain… You'd need to be thinking five figures minimum to even engage my interest.

2 Comments

Umm isn’t $100.00 five figures? ;P

the spice girls…isn’t that five “figures”

good to see your still at it KFSone

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