Spectrum website (1996)

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[00:00:00] This program is brought to you by pride in zero.com. [00:00:05] Kevin, could you paint a picture for me of what internet access was like in the mid 90s? In Nelson, [00:00:12] and very scarce, it was dial up through an old company known as tech became known as Tasman solutions. It started off as the planet.org. Instead, Nelson branch and flow they were my ISP, my internet service provider, have been with them. Right from the beginning. September 1995, I was the very first windows 95 customer. [00:00:41] And then they after got it, [00:00:45] I got to know the person that ran it. [00:00:47] And after a couple of months, he asked me, would spectrum be interested in having a presence on the internet? [00:00:55] And just tell me what what does spectrum? [00:00:57] spectrum is the the [00:01:00] social and support [00:01:00] group for gay and bisexual men and Nelson? And when was that established? Now, somewhere around 1990 1991 [00:01:13] is somewhere around there. [00:01:16] So the mid 90s, what kind of internet sites were available for LGBT I rainbow communities? [00:01:22] The ones that I could manufacture wall overseas that basically American? [00:01:27] Yeah. [00:01:28] And then the vast majority of those were actually pulling [00:01:31] based [00:01:32] are really so porn was an early adopter. [00:01:34] Oh, yes. It was the, the. Yeah. And what about New Zealand sites? Very few and far between [00:01:44] the [00:01:45] nz.com [00:01:48] head I through a chi chi had a small get guy section, which basically listed the group's available in the country. And that was it. [00:02:01] We think nowadays in 2018, or very rich media content websites, but back then back 20 years ago in the 1990s, what kind of sites were available in terms of text or images. [00:02:15] And there was full, [00:02:18] even movies and they're on the porn sites, and particularly they were there is everything was there. But you had to go digging for in a thing, if you wanted it, as a lot of it was takes base with photos, or diagrams net, which is basically the same as the spectrum one was in of course, this was pre Google searching very, very much. So it was even be back in the days before. what is now known as back came online with the extra internet service, it goes back even before that. [00:02:55] So how did you find things back then? [00:02:58] And the main ones for us back then were either the Yahoo search engine, or [00:03:06] there was another one I'm just trying to, like costs was another one is there's several rather large search engines which came through they actually came through the troll the website quite regularly. [00:03:19] And in terms of finding LGBT I rainbow content. How what kind of words did you use? [00:03:28] By just usually put on like gay men, usually, and the [00:03:32] came up with screeds of results? [00:03:37] And this is also a time I guess, when bulletin boards was still around, [00:03:43] out very, very active. Yes. Yeah. Very, very active. Can you tell me about the bulletin board? And either there were several, they will usually and the out section, the use groups. [00:04:00] Things like alter is is GM. [00:04:05] itself, same six game in stories and pictures and all sorts of things like that were available through those groups. [00:04:14] And for somebody nowadays, who might not know what a bulletin board was, can you describe what what they were? [00:04:20] And it's basically a place for you [00:04:24] wrote something or had a picture, and you posted it to the person who ran the board, and I posted it on your behalf, and made it available for everyone else to say. [00:04:38] So when you are asked about establishing a web presence for spectrum, what was that? What was the thought behind that? [00:04:46] And probably to give us a bit of support, and you could make your presence felt for any visitors met to Nelson. [00:04:56] And when did the website go live? [00:05:00] I can't remember if it was light 1995 or early 1996 probably going with the early 1996 option the head because I was just becoming you to the internet because back then it was all dial up and 63.6 k modems dial up the just been introduced. So that's how slow things were. And can you describe what dial up was [00:05:25] because I mean, nowadays people are just so kind of internet connected. [00:05:29] And is be basically went through the phone line, you actually had to have a special modem and your computer which converted the digital signal and to from the computer into an analog signal for the telephone system. And then it was converted back at the other end and in the computer system worked as per the internet and then converted it back to you. [00:05:53] So watching something like a movie or even downloading images, I mean, that would have taken quite some time. Very, [00:06:00] very long time. Yes, you get a bob, the 33.6 k speed at the time is 33.6 kilobytes a second, which he take a megabyte of information and that there was several minutes and now you need several megabytes will come down on a fraction of a second. [00:06:29] So in terms of working out what information should go up online about the spectrum group, what were your thoughts? how did how did you gather information. [00:06:37] And a lot of it was taken from my father people suggested and, and also from the newsletters, and various other information that I could lay my hands. [00:06:51] And I kept [00:06:52] it all very, very boutique story I oriented first because of the speed issues. And speed became more and more fast and more what the internet became more common. And I gradually introduce more and more graphics and photos and things. [00:07:12] So do you think the spectrum website was one of the first if not the first, LGBT rainbow website and New Zealand? [00:07:22] I'm not sure if it was or not. [00:07:25] Gabba, the gay Oakland Business Association, they had a big presence to submerge around the same time. [00:07:35] Because they beat us. We're not I couldn't tell you. [00:07:38] But still it was quite It was quite at the forefront. Yep. [00:07:42] Oh, yes. Yes. Still very early on in the piece. I think we might have even been in the AIDS Foundation online, but not [00:07:49] by much. [00:07:50] How did you program the contingency, the website. [00:07:54] And it was all done by manually typing out the HTML code. And then it was all the files roll uploaded individually by secret FTP [00:08:05] program. [00:08:07] And so how did you learn programming? [00:08:08] And a lot of reading on the internet? And [00:08:13] yeah, [00:08:14] I actually found that awesome. ISP was very, very helpful to with giving me information and making suggestions in there. And there's been more than one email I've actually read directly off the server, instead of going through by email account at home. [00:08:30] So why was your ISP so keen on getting kind of an LGBT? I remember prisons? [00:08:36] And another evolution? Sure it was it was very much into sort of helping all sorts of other community groups and that sort of thing. And, in fact, and 1999, I think was when we had the national quote, display and Nelson, he, they actually were one of the main sponsors for today. [00:08:57] What kind of feedback Did you get from people accessing which site was early days, [00:09:01] and we didn't get much direct feedback. [00:09:04] But we what we did get was positive. [00:09:09] We've had, we actually had several visitors from overseas who found us through the website, if we had a weekly drop in center spectrum third, and in the number of people that so came in and said, they found that on the web and everything Yeah, that's good. When you look back [00:09:25] on because the pages are now stored on the Wayback Machine on the web archive. When you look back, what can you reflect on those pages? [00:09:36] Yeah, I can remember my city. So doing my stuff within that, and also in the, with the newsletter, and that would put that up on there as well. The monthly newsletter went out. [00:09:48] And just more broadly, reflecting back. What do you think the Internet has done for LGBT communities in the last 20 years? [00:09:56] made, the presence being there's became much more acceptable or accessible, more than anything, and then acceptable, and sort of taking down a lot of the barriers and that will help take down what are the barriers because back then it was still very much in the days of [00:10:16] you go, we don't want anything to do with your sort of thing. Whereas it's changed so much for the beta now was treating everyone as equals

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