September 28, 2013
Two weeks ago I told you about the external 3.5 inch disk drive I bought, and the goodies that I discovered in my hoard of old disks. Since then, I’m sorry to report, I have made no more major discoveries on any of the rest of the 3.5 inch disks.
I could be wrong, but I have a feeling that the real treasure lies waiting on the two or three dozen 5.25 inch floppies I have. Disks which I titled 20+ years ago with names like:
Applications Library Disk 2
Email Disk #3
Email Disk #4
Q-Link Message Board Posts
Q-Guide Files 1
QGuide Files 3
QGuide Canned Email
Q-Guide Liason Program
Shift Reports (!)
The titles themselves raise a few obvious questions. Where are Applications Disk 1, Email Disks 1 and 3, Q-Guide Files 2, etc., etc.?
These are all on top-quality 3M-brand double-sided, double-density disks, so I believe there is good reason to hope the data they contain is still intact even after all this time. That data was, of course, all copied to those disks using my Commodore 64 and a Commodore 1541 disk drive.
It just so happens that I have one of each that works, or at least they did when I bought them on eBay a few years ago. I even have an old Curtis Mathes 19” color TV that I have been hanging onto against the day I need to use it as a monitor for the C64 gear.
The big problem, as with life itself, boils down to time and space. I haven’t had the time to dig it all out and hook it all up, nor do I have the space to actually lay it all out right now. I will, eventually, figure something out.
I have sat down with pencil and paper and begun to outline what I want the site to look like when it’s finished. It’s pretty clear that this project is going to take longer than I anticipated when I began back in July. About all I can say to that is, “What else is new?” :-)
They say success is a journey, not a destination. So far, that journey has been a very delightful trip down memory lane. I’m pretty certain the the feeling of delight will only improve as the journey continues.
Part of that delight, and a big part of this site, has always come from seeing other Q-Link refugees discussing their memories of Q. If you have some memories of your time on Q-Link that you would like to share, please send me an email. The address is email@example.com.
Who knows? You may even wind up rekindling an old friendship or two. :-)
Wood Village, Oregon
September 14, 2013
Not a lot to report this time ‘round. However, about the only bad news is I have made no headway yet in adding a new guest book here. On the positive side, I invested $20 in an external 3.5” disk drive so I could explore the boxes of old diskettes that I had tucked away.
Most of the disks that I have looked at so far have contained shareware versions very old PC games that are incompatible with current operating systems.
Shareware. Does it even still exist today? Or has the 900 pound mentally-handicapped gorilla known as DRM killed shareware?
I did strike paydirt with a few of the disks though. One in particular I was thrilled to discover contained photos of 8 or 10 popular ‘Linkers, including Sunriver, SquidAgain, MsMist, and several others. I had completely forgotten that I even had those photos!
Another find that was almost as significant was a disk that contained .GIF versions of all the old Q-Link department splash screens, like the one that now graces the home page and the one to the left.
These are the title images that would appear on your screen while you were being connected to the Q-Link department you had chosen to visit.
I haven’t made up my mind yet how I’ll be making use of them, but you can rest assured that all 32 of them will be here. :-)
In the past week I have had the pleasure of exchanging emails with a fellow Q-Link refugee who, it turns out, is practically a neighbor of mine. The funny thing about that is, we never knew each other when Q was alive. It’s a small world!
To quote from one of her emails:
My online name was, first, LadyS (Suzan)...and it gradually changed to Ellis...L/S (LadyS)...we were so danged clever back then LOL I hung out with friends name Leather, and the much loved WizofAhz (or WizofOz) depending on his mood LOL. I was also a writing instructor on QCollege for about 5 years, teaching creative and tech writing. I’ve been writing professionally now for over 30 years, and nothing was more fun then writing on Qlink.
At this point I would like to repeat my request that if you are a fellow refugee from that simpler age, please take a moment or two and write a few lines about your memories of Q-Link. It will be easier once I get the new guest book up and running, but for now all you have to do is send me an email. Just be sure to put the word Q-Link (or qlink) in the subject line, otherwise your email will be automatically zapped without me ever seeing it.
Wood Village, Oregon
September 2, 2013
We in the US are now well into the Labor Day weekend, signaling the end of summer and (we hope!) the slow transformation of the weather from sunny and warm into clouds, wind and rain.
I have found no more messages from the old guest book, leaving a total of just under 150 messages that will be incorporated in this version of the site when it is finished. Frankly, that is more than I expected, so I am pleased.
I scanned several new items over the weekend, and they will be making their way into the rebuild also.
A while back I mentioned having a copy of an early edition of the official “America Online Tour Guide.” I haven’t found the book itself yet, but I did find a scan of the front cover that I made back in 2001. I’m hoping to find the book because it seems to me that there is an all-too-brief mention of Q-Link in it, as well as a photo of the two Stratus mainframe computers that Q-Link ran on.
You’ll note this is the “PC Edition”. I don’t know how many different versions of the book AOL created. I’ve seen a 7th edition advertised on eBay, so the book apparently sold well back in AOL’s heyday. I’m not sure why I bought it, other than I probably thought it would help during my short career as Guide AE on AOL after the demise of Q-Link.
As of right now, I have not yet begun the actual process of adding content to the site, mainly because I want to wait and see just how much “stuff” I wind up with first. Because of bandwidth constraints, I may be forced to leave out some items. The only financial support this site has is my checkbook, and I am not able to afford to put a lot of money into this for no return. And I have no intention of putting ads on the site.
August 24, 2013
At this point I have recovered 147 entries from my backup copies of the Lycos guestbook that was on the old site, including a handful I managed to scrounge up via the Wayback Machine. These messages were posted between April 2001, when I first added the guestbook, through the end of 2009. The newest message I have found was posted Novermber 14, 2009.
Then there are also the original 19 messages that comprised the “Memories of Q-Link” section, which makes a total of 166 memories. Some are very short, one or two lines, while others are quite extensive.
All 166 messages have now been converted to text files for eventual inclusion on the “Q-Memories” page here.
I’ll keep searching my CD’s, DVD’s, and external hard drive for other backups, but I am afraid it’s likely that anything posted after Novermber 2009 was lost when Lycos deactivated all the guestbooks they hosted last year.
As I have mentioned before, if you were on Q-Link and have any memories of that time you would like to share with your fellow recovering ‘Linkers, please see the Contact Me page. :-)
I have not had time this week to experiment with either of the new guest books I created for this site, so I still don’t know what I did wrong that is keeping either of them from working. Next weekend is a 3 day holiday here in the US, so perhaps with the extra time off I will be able to work on that some more.
Wood Village, Oregon
August 18, 2013
I have now recovered 57 entries from the original Lycos guest book that I had on the old site. I’m not sure how many there are left to convert to text files. I would say at least that many again, if not more. At some point I will be sending emails to everyone who posted even a minimal message to the guest book, if they left an email address in their message. The guest book entries I have seen so far are from 2001-2004, so I am not going to be surprised if most of them bounce. But I will at least try to contact them.
Earlier today I went to the Internet Archive’s “Wayback Machine” to see if I could fill in the gaps and recapture the messages that were lost when Lycos took down all their hosted guestbooks, including mine. Unfortunately, Lycos apparently blocked those pages from being archived. As more ideas occur to me, I will continue my efforts to recover those lost messages, but I fear they may be gone forever.
Incorporating a guest book into this version of the site is proving to be more difficult than I expected. I created an independent guestbook and could not make it work, and I also created one through Doteasy, who hosts this site. It does not want to work either. Since I’m sure that both guest books actually do work when properly installed, there has to be some crucial step that I’m overlooking. With luck, I’ll find it soon!
In the meantime, if you were a Q-Link member and have some fond (or even not-so-fond) memories you would like to share with your fellow Q-Link refugees, please send me an email. I would love to hear from you. I would also be interested in hearing from any folks who were “in-house” staff, people who actually physically worked at AOL/QuantumLink in Vienna, Virgina. So far I have run across messages from a couple of “in-house” people in the guest book entries I have been recovering. It would be wonderful to hear from more of you. :-)
I am thinking of setting aside a page here devoted to the early versions of America Online, specifically the versions that were active prior to Q-Link’s demise. I don’t have a lot of AOL memorabilia, just a few of the millions of AOL disks that they sent out, and somewhere I have a copy of an early edition of the “America Online Tour Book.” Oh, and a few screen shots. Let me know what you think about the idea.
Speaking of AOL, who here remembers “PC-Geos,” later renamed GeoWorks Ensemble? The original AOL software was available in two versions: One ran on just plain MS-DOS; the other ran on “PC-Geos/Ensemble.” It wasn’t until the mid- or late-1990’s that AOL threw their hat into the Windows ring, virtually dooming “Ensemble” to obscurity.
Want to play ‘What If?” What if AOL had continued to support Ensemble instead of abandoning it in favor of Microsoft’s equally fledgling (and not too impressive!) product called “Windows”? Would most of the world’s PC today be running on “Ensemble 10.0”? Just think how different the world would be, how many things would change.
Interesting thought, eh??
Wood Village, Oregon
August 14, 2013
I have just begun what will surely be a long, boring part of this project: Loading the saved pages from the old guest book and copy & pasting each individual message into its own text file. I haven’t made my mind up yet how I’m going to present them here, but I have around 30 pages of messages, with anywhere from three to six messages per page, and I intend for each and every one of them to be a part of this site. As will the even older messages that were already a part of the original site.
Unfortunately, I do not have ALL the messages that were in the old guest book. I thought I was making regular backups of them, but so far the most recent messages I have found copies of are from 2009. The oldest are from 2001, which is when I moved the web site from Lycos to its own domain here on www.qlinklives.org.
If you posted a message containing your memories of Q-Link to the guest book between 2009 and last spring, please contact me. I would love to include your memories in the rebuilt site, if you can rewrite them and send them to me.
Speaking of the guest book, I have found a new guest book that I had hoped to try out, but I’m having trouble integrating it into the NetObjects Fusion Master Border. If I find that I simply can’t make it work with Fusion, I’ll find another. When I have a guest book up and running, it will either appear in the border as a clickable logo where the three stars are now, just below the page title, or it will appear on the menu to the left as “Guest Book”. Whichever it takes to make it work.
If you would like to be notified when the site is complete (or more substantial than it is right now) click the contact me link and send me an email. Be sure to put “QLink” or “qlink” or “Q-Link” in the subject line, or your email will be nuked without me even seeing it.
Several people sent me their email addresses previously, and I was able to recover some of those addresses when my old laptop died. However, to be on the safe side, if you previously submitted your email address, please do so again. I would rather wind up with your address twice and have to delete a duplicate than risk not having it at all.
I am trying to be better about making backups now!
Thanks for visiting, and as always, thanks for your patience.
August 4, 2013
This afternoon I scanned 100+ files, most of which will eventually find their way onto this site. The items scanned include the Quick Connect Guide for the Commodore Modem 1200; the Getting Started With QuantumLink Guide; and the Q-Link Members Guide.
I also scanned something you probably never will see elsewhere!
What do HawkEars, NoWay, and OO0O000O0 have in common?
What did =qgag mean?
Did QGuides really have an “F9” key to bump unruly users offline, as was long rumored?
Why did some QGuides (including yours truly) like to broadcast the song, “Another One Bites The Dust” to members in the People Connection “Lobby” and logged on using SuperQ?
You will find the answers to these and other questions when “Remember Q-Link” is fully restored!
July 31, 2013
As you can see, the site is coming along, albeit more slowly than you or I would prefer. If you saw the previous incarnation of the site, the appearance now is radically different from that. I actually liked “look” of the previous version, but that template is one of the things I have lost over the years. Which is one of the main reason the site sat here so long without any updates at all... I knew that if I was going to change anything, I would have to change everything. Even for a comparatively small site like this, re-doing everything is a big job.
When the site is done, there will be a proper photo gallery, which I never had the time to implement in previous versions. I did not develop the habit of taking screen shots with my 35mm camera until toward the end of the line for Q-Link, but I will include as many of them as I can in the photo gallery.
I am in the process of re-writing my online article “Remember Q-Link” and am updating it as I go. There were a lot of things I left out, intentionally or otherwise, and I’m hoping to make the next version be as complete as possible.
So far I have not received any emails with new memories, and that saddens me. I missed Lycos’ notice that they were doing away with the Guestbook feature that I used for former ‘Linkers to post their memories. Consequently, when Lycos took the site’s Guestbook offline, there were a lot of great messages in there that I did not have backups for.
I have not figured out how I will set this up with a new guest book that is not controlled by outsiders, but I hope to eventually figure out something.
If you submitted a “memory” to the old Guestbook between 2009 and last Spring when it was taken down, please, PLEASE, send it to me again. See the Contact Me page for the simple instructions.
Obviously, this offer is open to anyone who has any memories of Q-Link they would love to share.
July 10, 2013
I have been working on the latest version of the site, and hope to have it up and running soon. I know you’ve heard that before, and I certainly do appreciate your patience.
Over the last couple of months, a series of catastrophic computer issues has wreaked havoc with a number of projects I am involved in, including this one.
For the rundown on my recent adventures in computerland, you can check out all the bloody details on my jazz CD review blog, here. The title of the post will give you an idea of the kind of fun I’ve been having recently: “Computer Treachery, Part 2.”
On the plus side, being forced to reinstall the NetObjects Fusion software on my new laptop seems to have resolved the problems that plagued this project right from the start.
The upshot is, the site will not be “live”€ť tomorrow, but with luck it will be later this summer.
Thanks for your patience.
(aka UNCLE AL, QGUIDE ae, JoeTourist, etc.)