I think it's generally agreed that modems would be a Good Thing ... as I
understand it the major problem is getting the telephone lines. The UTS PABX
has a limited number of data circuits (why it needs data circuits I don't
understand) which may or may not have all been allocated (Glenn is the one who
``knows'' about this). If there are unused data circuits we still have to
convince ITS to ``lend'' them to us. The Union may be able to help us here,
if we could find someone who understands what we're on about and who
is be trying to help us.
(Telecom may actually install lines for us ... but it would probably costs
Assuming we can get telephone lines from someone, we still have to buy modems.
ProgSoc doesn't have an equipment budget yet. In fact, we don't currently
even know how much money we have (it's hopefully being worked on). However,
I'm reasonably sure we could afford a 14.4kbps modem (around $400) or
maybe two 9600bps modems (around $250 each? Anyone with a better idea of
pricing? Rich industrialist parents who work for pig-dog modem
companies?). Incidentally, ProgSoc actually has a rack mount of three or four
2400 baud modems which Cameron Hutchinson, err, donated to us. (At this
point we also start running out of serial ports on ftoomsh).
My feeling is that if we have to buy modems there should be some nominal
charge for access, eg: $20 a year ($40 if you earn more than Sbg, $15 if you're
suffering on Austudy, $10 is your mother is *genuinely* in an iron lung, $5 if
you were left in a kleenex box on the orphanage steps on a cold winters night,
$98 if you post flamage or irrelevant blatherings to the ProgSoc list, etc).
This would help cover some of the costs, ensure we could keep a decent user to
modem ratio (eg: less than 10:1) and to keep freeloading bozos off them
(apologies to any freeloading bozos who might have stumbled onto this mailing
Of course the down side of charging for access is you have to administer it,
collect money etc. Opinions, comments, peanuts?
Incidentally, does anyone know what's happening about the ITD modems?
> And will there be restrictions on login time, or permitted activities while
> on line (such as IRC, FTP, etc).
One would hope not, or at least if there were they are reasonable. Perhaps
something like after some session time out (like 2 hours) you can't log on for
the next 10 minutes to give other people a chance to grab your line.
You can't really police people's activities, so I don't see much
point in trying. Asking people not to use IRC during peak times (14:00-21:00?)
would be nice, but weather they would pay any attention is another matter ...
What's really needed is someone to seriously pursue getting modems and make a
real proposal, ie: talk to ITD, find out the real situation about the data
lines, find out about modem prices (I'm told people like Maestro and Netcomm
do sysop deals), get enough support to justify the expense, and find out how
much people would be prepared to pay (if at all).
One other point. It has been said that the Union will:
a) Buy captial assets on our behalf outright, or
b) Pay for half
providing we present a good enough case to the Union Board. We would have
to convince them that what we're asking for is:
a) For the benefit of lots of Union members,
b) Not something the University should be providing,
c) Nothing at all to do with the Computer Pool (both Heather Anderson
and Chris Perkins have said words to the affect ``but we've already
computers in the Computer Pool!'')
Perhaps we should be thinking along the lines of making a proposal to buy some
sort of 486 with SCSI, Ethernet, discs and modems to run Linux on. In the
interim though, getting ftoomsh working should be our priority.