2012-01-09 02:46 EST
I keep this mostly for the nostalgia of remembering what the FreeNet was like
Many of the links are broken or wrong.
All the important stuff on this page has been or will be moved to http://www.idallen.com/
Ian! D. Allen email@example.com
Last updated: 2003-06-16 21:50
Hello, I'm Ian Allen, Ian D. Allen, and often Ian! Allen or Ian! D. Allen too.
(all those combinations are for the search engines.) I was born in
Ottawa [Canada] and have lived in Deep River
[Ontario], Pointe Claire [Quebec], St.Lucia [West Indies], Toronto [Ontario],
Hillsburgh (Everdale Place) [Ontario], and Waterloo [Ontario].
This [was] my one true personal home page http://www.ncf.carleton.ca/~aa610/ and my
global e-mail address [was] firstname.lastname@example.org on the National Capital FreeNet
(NCF) here in Ottawa, Ontario,
[Use email@example.com now.]
I log in using NCF userids "aa610" and "xx610",
but you can use "idallen" for email. I'm also idallen
at various other email services around the planet; but, I forward all that mail
to the FreeNet (where possible).
I'm a Professor of Computer Studies at Algonquin College in Ottawa and
I have an Academic Home Page
there; but, I forward mail from there (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Here's an index of things I've posted to Usenet News Groups over the past
search: ~a email@example.com
Opinions on this page are my own; I do not represent anyone or anything else
on these pages.
Index to this page
Pictures of me:
Pictures of other people:
My wife Jan Teevan (Jan
Teevan) has a sister Kim Teevan with a nice family.
Then again, our family is nice too and we live in
a nice house with a trampoline
in the back yard. Using a hand scanner with retouching software I built a
stylish Christmas Family Portrait with Santa
Clause. You can also see one of his Elves...
Sometimes I let you into one of my home machines and you might find some pictures there, or even a
Many other pictures are on my home
People I Know
- Jan Teevan, my spouse (as of June 21, 1996)
- Sierra Bellows, step-daughter (as of June 21, 1996)
- Savannah Bellows, step-daughter (as of June 21, 1996)
- Peter G. Allen, my brother
(as of March 27, 1957)
- Peter Allen's Home Renovation
- Michael Anderson and
his Mountain Theme
- Lynne Rowe & Maeve Rowe
- Robert Allison
what Robert looks like
- John Sprague
- Andrej Brodnik
- John M. Sellens and
- Brad S. Templeton
- Louis Radakir (old)
- Louis Radakir (new)
- André Vellino
- Andrew P. Welch
- Rosaleen Dickson
- Chris Dobbin
- Prabhakar L. Ragde
- J.Howard Johnson
- Archelon is where you'll find
Preston Gurd and Heather Gurd
- Kelly S. Booth
- David R. Forsey and Lyn Bartram
- Thinkage Ltd. is where you'll
find pages for Anita Kilgour, Jim Gardner, Linda Carson, Keith Dorken, Ken
Dykes, Peter Fraser, Alan Bowler, Kevin Martin, etc.
- Bob Bossin, formerly of
"Stringband" in the 1970's.
- Carol Calder
- Steve Hull
Places I Know
These are places and organizations with which I've had some connection over
the years, in somewhat reverse chronological order.
- Algonquin Community College is
where I am a Professor in the Computer Studies Programme.
- TeleCommunities Canada is where I
volunteer as one of the Directors.
- The National Capital FreeNet (NCF) is host to this home
page. I'm a technical volunteer on NCF.
- Just Dance! is
Ottawa's own free-style barefoot dance/movement community. No smoke, no
alcohol, no shoes, just dance!
- The Barefoot Dance Page points to Dance
New England's roster of barefoot, cooperatively run, free-style dances.
- Re-evaluation Co-counselling keeps me
sane and has a strong local Ottawa community. There is no
official local Ottawa web site.
- Context Associated puts on
excellent classes on life skills, conflict resolution, and just plain being
happier with life.
- Software Engineering Lab is at the
National Research Council, where I spent 6 months in 1993.
- UW Computer Graphics Lab is
where I was Lab Manager 1989-1992.
- UW Math Faculty Computing
Facility had me as Head of User Services (Student Consulting) 1983-1989.
- Thinkage Ltd. is where most of
the MFCF people with whom I worked in 1978-79 went.
- Kitchener Waterloo Little Theatre is
where I did acting/directing after leaving UW.
- University of Waterloo is where I
studied for my BA (Honours Psychology) during 1974-1980, and my MMath
(Computer Science) during 1980-1985.
- UW FASS Theatre Company
is where I learned to be a theatre person: actor, writer, editor, director,
calligrapher, soundman, etc. 1975-1984
- I spent ages 5-13 in Pointe Claire, Quebec.
My Other Home Pages
NCF Usage Statistics
The Statistics Page is at a new location: NCF
Articles on Online Community
"Whether the Internet is increasing or decreasing social involvement
could have enormous consequences for society and for people's personal
well-being. In an influential article, Putnam (1995) documented a broad
decline in civic engagement and social participation in the United States
over the past 35 years. Citizens vote less, go to church less, discuss
government with their neighbors less, are members of fewer voluntary
organizations, have fewer dinner parties, and generally get together less
for civic and social purposes. Putnam argued that this social disengagement
is having major consequences for the social fabric and for individual lives.
At the societal level, social disengagement is associated with more corrupt,
less efficient government and more crime. When citizens are involved in
civic life, their schools run better, their politicians are more responsive,
and their streets are safer. At the individual level, social disengagement
is associated with poor quality of life and diminished physical and
psychological health. When people have more social contact, they are happier
and healthier, both physically and mentally [...]." http://www.salonmagazine.com/21st/rose/1998/09/03straight.html
Soros: The Capitalist Threat:
"[...] When people are firmly rooted in their community, they must pay
attention to what the community thinks of them; but when they can easily
pull up stakes, they only need to look out for themselves. [...] there is
something wrong with making the survival of the fittest the guiding
principle of a civilized society. [...] success is an inadequate basis for
holding a belief because being successful is not identical with being right.
[...] Conflicting views and interests will produce an open society only if
there are institutions dedicated to the common good, allowing people with
different views and interests to live together in peace. [...]
- CyberSpace InnKeeping
"... assigning the mantle of "community" to one's enterprise
before the fact as a marketing hook just serves to cheapen the term.
Because, it can only really be true if the people who are actively involved
in it, declare for themselves that it is true: we are a community."
CyberSpace InnKeeping (1992 version)
"John Coate was for six years the marketing director and conference
manager for the WELL. During that time he was at the center of the social
millieu that formed over time into what many call the "online
community." The following essay is a distillation of his experience
there and the basic principles he learned that made it work."
Freedoms and New Technologies: The Evolution of Community Networking, by
Jay Weston, co-founder of the National Capital FreeNet:
"Finally, and most importantly, the part-time, short-term stewards of
the community networks, usually called the 'board', must understand that the
public terrain is not their institution, and not their moral preserve. The
construction of Public Sphere, Inc. is a betrayal of the promise community
networks have for becoming a public terrain. As community networks develop
and mature, they are becoming more exclusionary, more restrictive, more like
any other organization. They begin to see themselves as providing something
for the community, rather than as caretakers of a space created by the
community. This needs to be reversed. A commitment to defending and
expanding this public ground will determine whether community networks will
survive more than a few more year and, what is more, whether their survival
will be a matter of importance."
- Robert Theobald - "Some people
attempt to escape from these moral dilemmas by arguing that there are no
absolute standards of morality. While I agree that the West has all too
often aimed to impose its own beliefs on the rest of the world with
disastrous results, I do not accept that we cannot define standards which
transcend national boundaries. The challenge is to recognize our
commonalities and to extend them as our levels of consciousness and
commitment grow. Survival in the twenty-first century will require that we
move forward, not backward, in our commitment to each other and to the
- "I decided, let's try and build something new to replace what was
lost. Part of what I wanted was to make another hacker community with
the same virtue as the previous one, and that virtue, to me, was the freedom
to cooperate. [...] The reason I care especially, is that there is a
philosophy associated with the GNU project, and this philosophy is actually
the reason why there is a system -- and that is that free software is not
just convenient and not just reliable ... More important than convenience
and reliability is freedom -- the freedom to cooperate." - Richard
"Unkempt and off-kilter though he may be, Stallman embodies the fervor
and the faith that make free software worth embracing. If the pragmatists of
the open source cause sacrifice him to make free software safe for business,
it seems to me, they risk losing their movement's soul." - Andrew
Leonard, Salon Magazine
- "Citizens of the Net may declare independence and secede from
meddlesome governments only to find themselves in a world dominated by vast
corporations and hostile tribes. For either of these groups, the Net ideal
of free expression is at best an irritation and at worst an anathema. What
mujahadeen would hesitate to ban alt.binaries.pictures.erotica? What
multinational would mind if information were a little less free?" - Scott
Rosenberg, Salon Magazine
- Poem: When you know a fellow...
Is Ian! Online?
That's not easy to answer.
I have a direct connection to the Internet and my computers stay online and
connected all day. So, even when I appear to be logged in to NCF or visible
using ICQ, I may not actually be sitting in front of any of my
computers. I have an ICQ number: 8313669; but, again, my
ICQ status tells you little about whether or not I'm actually using any of my
To see if I'm signed on to NCF and visible (I may or may not actually be
active), you can finger me under my Systems Admin account finger
firstname.lastname@example.org, or (less often) my regular account finger
If you want to see a list of everyone currently online here at NCF, try The NCF Online
User list. I should probably set up a form that lets you query the user
database of names and userids. You can use Internet "finger" to do it,
if you try something like "finger email@example.com",
where "text" is the string to look for. Be warned, though -- we have
over 100,000 userids in that database and nonspecific queries may return a lot of
On exclamation marks (or not)
From: Lee J. Dickey
Date: Monday, 29 April 1991 17:08:52 EDT
The exclamation mark comes from a time when manuscripts were just that,
scripts done by hand, and some scribe, reading and copying, might come across a
passage that he enjoyed and wishing to convey his happiness to subsequent
readers, would write in the latin word for "joy". The latin word is
"Io", clearly a cognate of "Joy", as will be recognized by
anyone named Ian, who knows that his name is a variant of "Jan". Now,
after a while, this Io or Joy, came into common usage, and was widely known,
sometimes it was desired to squeeze it into a smaller space, and so the letter I
would be written above the letter "o", and hence the origin of the
The way your write your name made me think of that.
From: Justin Bur
Subject: exclamation marks
Date: Fri, 6 Jan 2012 17:22:13 -0500
Having been directed to your site, more particularly your old NCF pages, I came across the section on your NCF home page "On exclamation marks". Alas, essentially nothing stated there is reliable.
joy comes from French joie, which is derived from Latin gaudia (= joy) as part of the fonds primitif (basic unborrowed vocabulary).
the orthographic resemblance between io and joy is coincidental, not causal.
does not *mean* joy; it is an *expression* of joy, a joyous interjection.
the story of the exclamation mark deriving from io written vertically was proposed by 18th-century Dutch poet Willem Bilderdijk, but he did not apparently have any particular evidence to back it up. I came across the following debunking, which is itself not exempt from exotic supposition, but comes up with a somewhat more plausible origin of the exclamation mark as a variant on the colon (but see further below).
The American Bookmaker
There is more discussion on
which suggests checking M. B. Parkes,
Pause and Effect.
Parkes traces it back to 14th-century humanists, among whom one Iacopo Alpoleio da Urbisaglia claims to have invented it. It is used in a manuscript of 1399 in a form with two dots.
The following article (L'Express, 2009-07-30) covers the argument in lovely French journalistic style.
I stop there, as this highly interesting thread of research could go on longer than I wish to explore it!
On Unix and Programming
- "I learned with power-greedy pleasure that you could kill a system
right out from under yourself with a single command. [...] UNIX always
presumes you know what you're doing. You're the human being, after all, and
it is a mere operating system. Maybe you want to kill off your system. [...]
For now everything on the system would be something put there by me, and in
the end the system itself would be cleaner, clearer, more knowable --
everything I associate with the idea of "intelligent." [...]
The mere impulse toward Linux had led me into an act of desktop archaeology.
And down under all those piles of stuff, the secret was written: We build
our computers the way we build our cities -- over time, without a plan, on
top of ruins. [...] My Computer. This is the face offered to the
world by the other machines in the office. My Computer. I've always hated
this icon -- its insulting, infantilizing tone. Even if you change the name,
the damage is done: It's how you've been encouraged to think of the system.
My Computer. My Documents. Baby names. My world, mine, mine, mine. Network
Neighborhood, just like Mister Rogers'. " - Ellen
Ullman, Salon Magazine
- "Programmers go into meetings and they hate meetings. If someone
meanders around and doesn't get to the point, they'll say, what's your
point!?! I think the more time you spend around computers, the more you get
impatient with other people, impatient with their errors, you get impatient
with your own errors." - Ellen
Ullman, Salon Magazine
- "There is something different about UNIX people, isn't there? [...]
...there seemed to be a suspicious overrepresentation of polyglots and
liberal-arts folks in UNIX shops. [...] The common thread was wordsmithing;
a suspiciously high proportion of my UNIX colleagues had already developed,
in some prior career, a comfort and fluency with text and printed words.
They were adept readers and writers, and UNIX played handily to those
strengths. UNIX was, in some sense, literature to them. Suddenly the
overrepresentation of polyglots, liberal-arts types, and voracious readers
in the UNIX community didn't seem so mysterious, and pointed the way to a
deeper issue: in a world increasingly dominated by image culture (TV,
movies, .jpg files), UNIX remains rooted in the culture of the word. [...]
Mastery of UNIX, like mastery of language, offers real freedom. The price of
freedom is always dear, but there's no substitute." - Thomas Scoville, The
Elements Of Style: UNIX As Literature
- The Hacker's Dictionary. http://www.tuxedo.org/jargon
- A superb comic for Unix wizards
2012-01-09 02:46 EST