I use to maintain a computer called snoopy.apana.org.au. This computer has a long history. Initially I run a Bulletin Board System (BBS), for a local computer club.

Internet was almost unheard of then, so we used Fidonet instead. Connecting to a remote computer meant looking up the telephone number in a database, and dialing the number on a modem. As such, was Fidonet world wide network like the Internet, only it cost more for long distance connections. As such it was best suited for sending email. Each computer in turn would forward email to the next computer in turn until it reached its destination. Private email was unheard of. There was a private message type, but you expected system administrators (SYSOPS) to read your private mail regardless. Unfortunately, with increased use of the Internet, Fidonet isn’t nearly as popular as it once was, and I no longer connect to it.

At one time it use to have a permanent connection to APANA. APANA was good because at the time it was the only feasible (ie. afforable) method of connecting to the Internet. As an extra bonus, they supported permanent connections. I use to allow people to dial into my computer to access the Internet via a text mode Linux interface in return for a small donation. Unfortunately, the increased competition from ADSL meant I could get a cheaper connection that was faster, and I made the change to Westnet. At the same time, APANA lost numerous members for similar reasons, and Ross House (where the central hub for Melbourne was located) suddenly decided we were a “for profit” organisation, and increased our rent. We could not afford the old rates, let alone the new rates. The bottom line is that the HUB is no closed, and APANA in Melbourne only exists as DNS entries and IP addresses.

Now, I still maintain all the servers that use be be on snoopy, however now I use virtual guests running on a virtual host instead of snoopy.