Re: 2011/11/24 - 20th Anniversary of Internet in South Africa
On Sun 2011-11-20 (08:54), Mike Lawrie wrote:
> Make no mistake, this approach led to headaches, but for sure it generated
> a set of computer-competent graduates (and dropouts). I recall being asked
I suspect that I am a product of the environment Mike created. As such, I
have some recollections of being a student at Rhodes, albeit a couple of
years after Mike left.
IRC was one of the few things that was categorically banned in labs. We
used it anyway, and frequently got in trouble for doing so. Nevertheless, I
met a lot of interesting people that way, all of whom were also feeling
their way around the Internet and around new open-source projects. It was a
great way to share ideas and learn, much as I guess e-mail was a few years
RUCUS, the student computer users' society, was well tolerated which gave
students a reasonably controlled environment to play around. I suspect that
from the computing centre's point of view, it was self policing and kept us
from playing with more important computers.
There were unwritten rules about what was okay to experiment and play with,
and what was not. The rules were passed around by word of mouth, mostly
from people who'd been caught trying to do things that were not and who'd
received a stern talking to for their efforts. This pool of collective
knowledge was part of the geek culture that existed, and probably played a
significant role in keeping things from getting out of hand.
Which brings me to when I first met Jacot as an undergrad. I was invited by
means of a post-it note on a PC I'd annexed in the CS honours lab. It