The New Stelex Sector BBS, Toronto Canada. For comments or enquiries please send e-mail.

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Latest BBS News
By Roman Kowalczuk, T.N.S.S. Operator.  Last minor updates 19/09/2016.

*Note:* this file may not be complete. If you find you are having trouble accessing something, please send e-mail. The main BBS was still down in late 2016.

The strange weather of the 2011-2013 period is continuing with many flooding incidents (eg. Calgary) and in Toronto there is ongonig damage to the tree canopy... the fires in Alberta were another nasty omen... earlier I noted how the provincial Environment ministry changed its name to include the words climate change.


I just finished reading "The Martian" by Andy Weir. Very nicely done! I read it in an electronic format, which I have mixed feelings about. Looking forward to watching the movie. The most-recent actual book that's on order here at Stelex is Ray Bradury's "S Is For Space"... I've been looking for that one for a good 40 years... funny thing, I visited the official Ray Bradbury web page and this title isn't listed! Go figure. Then again the web site seems to have something to do with Harper Collins and IMO those guys aren't on top of their game in the e-publishing department... I recently went through e-versions of several of the Bernard Samson and "Faith, Hope and Charity" titles by Len Deighton and there were a lot of mistakes and weird editing esp. with German footnotes - on my screen these seemed to show up in every which way: vertical, tic-tac-toe, you name it. The new paperback re-issues of the Deightons are very nice but none of that design translates over to the e-format - although all of the typos were dutifully carried over from print, go figure. I know this because I checked! So when the contact information on the Bradbury web page is a Harper Collins e-mail address, that doesn't sound like good news for readers.

Ahoy mate! CAST OFF already! Arf arf

Anyway welcome back to what's left of the BBS. I think we are up to 5 terabytes of disk space at H.Q. but the web servers probably max out at about 250 Mb. Not to much in the way of new posts in recent years; earlier there were a couple of links following the death of Jack Tramiel: http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidthier/2012/04/09/computer-legend-and-gaming-pioneer-jack-tramiel-dies-at-age-83/ and http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrymagid/2012/04/17/an-acquisition-a-death-signal-ascendancy-of-smartphone-over-pc/

I wanted to mention the passing of illustrator Will Davies, who was a huge influence. It's been many years since I saw Mr. Davies at a cafe in Yorkville; he was sitting on the patio with Tom Bjarnason... the last thing he said to me was a standing invitation for me to come his studio. I never did go. I guess I'll take a few minutes later to post a copy of the obituary that appeared in the Toronto Star newspaper over the weekend.

Earlier I pointed out a rare mention (late 2012) of Vannevar Bush and the Memex by a woman who was interested in bring old web information "back up to the surface" so to speak - http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/30/opinion/global/maria-popova-evgeny-morozov-susan-greenfield-are-we-becoming-cyborgs.html


Around 2013 I wrote that pundit Evgeny Morozov (his surname means "frosty") had a striking resemblance to Steve Punter!

Earlier (prior to 2012) there wasn't much to report... Lots of thunderstorms in the summer of 2008, and, it seems, extreme weather events which continued (again) right through into 2011 and 2012. The webhome server was also down for several days... it began to look as though the only way to keep a system up was to have geographically-distributed hot sites.

We are still searching for BBS software and solutions... you may recall the BBS boots fine in local mode which is maddening. A new server was been brought forward, and we were trying to go on-line with a USR Courier 9600 modem; unfortunately other projects have took precedence. The old BBS number was also in limbo.


Here is a strange web page that was posted several years ago by that BBS documentary guy. He was attempting to put together a sort of BBS "history" and he has a list where people have added historical comments - http://bbslist.textfiles.com/comments.html


In Toronto the transit authority reaped great publicity in 2007 approx., over their apparent $21 million-dollar-plus plan to install... unspecified... cameras on the subways and busses. City councillor Joe Mihevc seemed to feel this stuff was "vital to the security" of the TTC. Read Privacy International's take on this one.

A summer 2007 item in Adbusters, "Rise of the Internet Police State", mentioned Echelon. This and other links may now be broken.

See also www.guardian.co.uk and also Wired's coverage of Privacy International's 2003 Big Brother Awards

That YaBB ("Yet Another Bulletin Board") setup we tried is no longer up. Their web site has changed now (late 2014) so it looks like they've made some changes.

Total Information Awareness

WIRED... had a good item up a few years back re: John Pointdexter and the Total Information Awareness project (see Dec. 2, 2002 WIRED item). The Toronto Star covered this item on November 14, 2002... as well a NYT piece about this mentioned Ray Ozzie and Lotus Notes.

From all reports there seemed to be a vigourous debate going on about this [war on terror] south of the border. Even the librarians were wading into the fray. One of the WIRED items... dealt with the congressional backlash over TIA.

See also this Defense Dept. briefing.

See also this item on total "travel information awareness".

We've seen at least one mention in early 2007 of TIA continuing, under the rader as it were, under various different names and funding schemes. For more background on TIA research, see also "Pentagon spy database moves forward", a Feb. 28, 2003 item by Declan McCullagh at zdnet.com.com/2100-1105-990497.html.

(Flashback to a few years ago, now) There were big noises from the federal privacy commissioner in November 2002; Radwanski was urging the nation not to go overboard in the war on terror. The previous link should still contain the privacy comissioner's official statement from a couple of years ago.  (Other links we had up have since expired.)

From all reports, Big Brother was flexing his political muscle in Ottawa and Washington long before the Vic Toews affair (as of early 2014 Toews was long gone, and the entire Harper government would soon follow) and the more recent (2013-2014) Edward Snobolen and NSA fracas. Besides the flap over the national I.D. card, the Cdn Justice dept. put forward a proposal to require system administrators to keep tabs on customers and there was a call for comments on this plan. The story made the front page of the newspapers in 2002... see also this 2003 Guardian item on the snoopers charter.

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