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LinuxWorld: Scratching That Programming Itch

May 09, 2003, 13:00 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Joe Barr)

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"It's a bad itch. I've had it for years. For a short period, back in 1988 and 1989, I had a fix for it. But that didn't last. Now, thanks to an unlikely pair (Nick Petreley and Whil Hentzen), it's back. Let me explain.

"In the late 1980s, I used to hang out on Portal, which was sort of a step-sister of The Well, a popular online watering hole at the time. Remember, these were the days before easy Internet access from anywhere to anywhere. Our rag-tag band of migrant online addicts used a flat-rate service called PC Pursuit to connect to Portal. It made it affordable to hang out online. In those days, CompuServe and The Source were getting $7 or $8 an hour for connect time. That made the Portal/PC Pursuit arrangement all the more attractive.

"We would gather each evening to chat, argue and play games. The favorite game was Trivia. Ms_Missie would run the game and keep score. The competition was intense. Of course, we had ringers in the game, too, such as the woman who edited the puzzle column for New York Magazine. It was very tough to beat her. One day, as we chatted, a few of us discovered that we had enough bridge players for a table or two. That was the trigger. I had to write an online bridge game..."

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