Interview with Jack Kilday, PC Board Sysop

interview-jack-kilday-sysop-photoOriginally published on September 26, 1995.

Jack Kilday is but a sysop. He is such a wonderful sysop that he has come to the forefront of PCBoard sysops. Jack is well known for his simple, basic approach to attaching PCBoard to the internet. For almost nothing Jack can show you how to do it.

In fact, that’s why we interviewed Jack. Not so much for his technical knowledge, but for his unselfishness of sharing it with everyone. Jack is a true sysop.

PG:  Many people in the world of PCBoard look up to you as a cutting edge sysop. Describe your PCBoard setup. Why did you move your BBS to the internet?

JK: I had no idea that I’d fooled so many!  “Cutting edge”?  Not anywhere near that edge as a half-dozen or more that I could name.

We’ve been providing e-mail and Usenet newsfeeds for over 6 years. I’ve always been interested in the long distance aspects of this communications medium.  Maine is quite backward in this regard, crippled by the non-leadership of its University system, etc., and so when it started becoming feasible to offer interactive Internet connectivity to the public, as well, I just HAD to be the first BBS in Maine to do it.

PG:  No one can just “do computers” all the time. Do you hit the golf course? Play a little ping pong? What?

JK: Boating is my second love.  But the emphasis of late has been on developing our ISP (Internet Service Provider) sideline business.

PG: How did you gain your knowledge of communications on the internet? Trial by fire? Did you make many mistakes?

JK: Yes and YES(!).  It was basically a learn-as-you-go, osmosis-like experience.  There were some people along the way who were generous with their advice, but for the most part I had to dig out specifically needed knowlege myself.   And I feel that I still have a long way to go . . .

PG: Do the words Pearl Jam mean anything to you? What type of music are you in to?

JK: New Age.  Yanni, Manheim Steamroller, and other “elevator music” (says my teen-age daughter).

PG: Where would you like to see the authors of PCBoard take the software product in the future? Better internet connectivity? Graphical front end?

JK: I’d like to see David Terry make provisions for the transition to HTML.  There is no need to build in Internet connectivity.  If you’ve read any of my posts about using standard wide-area networking equipment to hook up BBSs to the net, you may have noted that I advocate against wasting BBS nodes for delivery of Internet services. Far better to use resellable hardware, and standard freely available software to deliver these services.

Also, there is no need to consider porting the better BBSs from DOS to other operating systems.   One major reason, dealing with Internet connectivity, is that I have high hopes for the DOSEMU project associated with the bigger Linux project on the Internet.  The DOS emulation under Linux eventually will be adequate to support multiple nodes of DOS-based BBS packages.  Such will answer all of the needs for multi-tasking AND provision of various Internet services to BBS callers.

PG: Ok. Just like everyone asks a car reviewer or mechanic what kind of car they drive, what is the configuration and type of your primary PC?

JK: On the DOS BBS side, we run a Gateway 2000 486/33 supporting 5 PCBoard nodes under DESQview.  This is null-modem-conneted to our Linux box for transmission of e-mail and Usnet news.  We deliver e-mail and Usenet news in Internet “standard format” to our BBS callers via a QWK-like system of door and reader called ZipNews.

We also run a Linux box for shell accounts, e-mail, news, gopher, lynx, IRC chat, and access to other Internet services.  Our terminal server delivers SLIP and PPP connectivity to dial-up and dedicated (permanently connected) customers.

PG: Does your BBS support you? Do you do it full time? If not, what is your occupation?

JK: Not by a long shot.  It is a sideline that pays me very little other than covering its own expenses and the purchase of new equipment.  I am in data processing, PC and LAN-based systems design at an insurance company.

PG: Define the Information Superhighway in your own words.

JK: A much overused term to describe just about any form of connectivty today.   I don’t feel that it is particularly meaningful, and should be replaced by something more specific wherever it is used.  It’s a lot like ‘cyberspace’.

PG: What is the best part of living in the city you live in?

JK: The people and their work ethic, its summertime beauty, and its proximity to the ocean.

PG: If the Presidential election were held tomorrow between President Clinton and Bob Dole who would you vote for and why?

JK: Bob Dole (although I certainly hope a stronger/younger and more conservative Republican — or Libertarian) could be found. Fat chance.