I am mostly a lurker to USENET now. My favourite group (rec.travel.air) was taken over by politics a long time ago. I was involved in USENET a long time ago. I was a newsgroup moderator and news admin. I have since gone in a different way. I salute Pat in maintaining the Telecom Digest and the link to USENET. He has a lot more patience than I ever had.
Dennis[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Well, Dennis, that is why they used to call me the 'Moderator who doesn't give a shit' or even an iota of a shit for that matter. A long time ago, when there were a grand total of 80-100 newsgroups in total, I used to at least glance through them all every day. I am talking now about 1980-85 or so. Believe me you, in those days there was but _one_ voice-telecom related newsgroup, and that was me doing business as comp.dcom.telecom, period, that was it. Just like AT&T 'got some competition' from 'outsiders' in their business, I got competition also. First there was 'alt.dcom.telecom' which started when some readers got angry at me (as I recall it was the 'caller-ID' debacle that started the hassles or maybe the 'hacker' scandals around 1989-90 which gave birth to both your computer privacy alt.group and the Computer Underground newsgroup of Jim Thomas). But I didn't give a shit ... then there was the fuss in 1993 when comp.dcom.telecom.tech got started. Then came the web in 1994-95 and god only knows how many telecom newsgroups from various directions. When it got to the point I had to put in six to eight hours each day merely to get all the messages out (if I wanted any coherence in the messages, and some standardization to the punctuation, and an archives I could be proud of, etc) I had to give up my full time employment and work on this Digest, which became my full time 'employer'. I still did not give a shit ... like the NPR or CBP models, I experimented with begging to have pennies pitched at me by the audience, only to have a producer and radio host from NPR -- for god's sakes! -- ask me (and the readers here) if I had 'cleared' my proposal of asking for money with the Usenet hierarchy. I didn't give a shit ... just kept on doing my thing.
But when it got to be time to pay the rent and buy cat food for Tarzan and Oliver and hopefully some bologna, peanut butter and bread for myself, while some of the audience was quite generous and helpful (my patrons as I call them), most of the audience (and I am sure NPR and CPB have discovered this also) were not quite willing to be as generous, so I had to switch to a paid advertising basis, like any good .com site. So it is no longer true that I don't give a shit; now I worship at the Divine Google Scorecard Church, when services are held each month about the 25th or so for the proceeding month. The Google Scorecard; that is where things are at these days on the net. With Google Scorecard (Ad Sense) assisted by the Social Security Disability Choir, I _finally_ am able to pay my bills in a more or less timely way each month, feed Missy, Callie and Sassy, and actually (gasp!) go out to our local public house for a beer now and then; and my patrons supplant that income just a little. I must say however that all those commercials on television and the net claiming to make tons of money for a 'couple hours per day at your computer' are just a bunch of _lies_.
So yes, Dennis, I have lots of patience, lots of calluses and other thick skin, and I have actually gotten a wee bit wiser in the past quarter century or so. Thanks for writing to me. PAT]