Wednesday, 29 March 2023 — The New Dark Age
I’m afraid I’ve been rather tardy of late in updating the site and I suppose I should apologise to regular visitors but I’m kinda burned out and preoccupied with other concerns and frankly, feeling rather lazy, I have after all, been doing this for 40 years, having started my first online publishing venture in the year 1983, when I lived in Brooklyn, NY, with New York Online, first on my Commodore 64, then an Apple ][e and then finally, a Macintosh, in 1984, when it came out. Back then, before the advent of WWW, NYOL ran on Fidonet, an amazing distributed network out of New Jersey I think. It worked by ‘piggybacking’ on what were called in those days, AT&T’s Long Lines, before the advent of broadband and the software used was called Red Ryder Host, an incredibly flexible piece of software. Of course it was slow, incredibly slow, initially 30 characters a second, at best, over a modem connection that increased (in theory anyway) to 960 characters per second but rarely achieved that rate. There were no standards, so connections were hit-and-miss, sending data intercontinentally often required multiple attempts before ‘success’
In 1987, I established probably the very first, non-corporate networked news publication called Southscan, a Bulletin of Southern African Affairs, published and mostly written by South African ex-pat David Coetzee, in its day probably the most authoritative publication on Southern Africa. The journal started life in London where David was based as a weekly print publication and after meeting David in London, we agreed to try and publish a US edition. David would email me the copy (or try to) and I’d lay it out in PageMaker and print it on a Xerox Copier/Binder and mail it out to our US subscribers. I also produced 2 or 3 electronic editions simultaneously. This lasted from 1987 until 1991, with a spinoff on a weekly TV programme, South Africa Now, produced by Danny Schecter.
Enough of reminisces, I’ll no doubt feel too guilty not to resume covering events on The New Dark Age.