My introduction to the online world came with the purchase of my first modem in 1993. I was in my second year of a science degree at the Australian National University in Canberra and had recently bought a new desktop computer, a 386SX33 PC. Around me academics and fellow students were getting student email addresses and using the same protocols as the Internet to connect and use the Unix systems. Wanting to be part of the action and log into the university from home I resolved to buy a modem.
I spent Easter with my Uncle and Aunt in Sydney, searching the classifieds for the cheapest deal on a modem. Eventually I found a 2400 baud modem on offer for $270 and headed off to West Ryde to take a look. The Maxi-M 2400 bps (9600bps fax) was not Austel approved (naughty me!), but it was much cheaper then the competition. I parted with the cash and brought it back to Canberra.
To install the ISA card meant fiddling with the COM port jumpers, remember that only two of the four were available at any one time. The modem came with BitFax for DOS, which was my first real introduction to the world of faxing. However, faxing was of secondary interest to me, what I really wanted was access to the Internet!
I heard from a friend about the existence of free accounts on cairo.anu.edu.au. Some of Australia’s Internet pioneers had accounts on this machine, a Sun Unix box.
Following my friend’s advice, I wandered down to the sysadmin’s office in the Coombs building. He was the classical image of a sysadmin, big and hairy! The application process was simple: a username and password. The username got me for a bit. I wanted a unique online identity, something witty, maybe derived from my name but not just an abbreviation. Not too nerdy and not pretentiously tough or cool. Something positive, preferably.
The first attempt was: allwright. Too long
Okay, how about allrite?
And so the allrite was born.