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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I've been online since 1971 and I like to smoothe the way for everyone else. Among other things I co-founded Sympatico, the world's first easy-to-use Internet service (and Canada's largest).

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Five things that make me part of Toronto's tech community

I’ve been tagged by Sandy Kemsley for five things that make me part of Toronto’s tech community. I’m only part of the info tech community, not biotech or anything else.

1. I’ve been working in technology in Toronto since 1984 (when I moved here). At first I worked for I.P. Sharp Associates (later acquired by Reuters), an online services company which had its own global Internet-like network. (As co-op students there in 1978, Doug Keenan and I developed a code library over email, IM and chat, since he was in Toronto and I was in Montréal; we never once spoke to each other because long-distance phone wasn’t cheap then. IM and chat are not recent concepts! And in 1979 I started tagging my emails; that's not a recent concept either.) Later, in 1989-1990 I worked with the first cellular data network available in Toronto. (It was the Mobitex system developed by Ericsson and operated in Canada by Rogers Wireless; I was an employee of their joint-venture company.) Later still, in 1995 I co-founded Sympatico, probably the world’s first easy-to-use Internet service. And later I was part of the dot-com boom and crash. I’ve done various other things too, but this is getting long and I’m still on Point 1.

2. I’m part of the TorCamp community that supports local info tech ventures.

3. I write this blog which helps in a (very) small way to link the Toronto info tech community with its counterparts elsewhere.

4. I’m always pushing to make technology usable by, and useful to, the masses. One way in which I do that is to build “products” that are easy to use, work reliably and predictably, etc. (I don’t build products for geeks.)

5. “There is no number 5”, which is the kind of joke that some tech people like.

Oh yeah, now I’m supposed to tag five others: Joey deVilla, Jay Goldman, Tom Purves, Matthew Burpee and Mira Jelic.

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