Who the Hell is Jerry Stratton?

  1. Buy This Book or Eat My Dust
  2. Introduction
  3. Outline

I came to the University of San Diego’s Department of Academic Computing in 1991 after doing some computer programming for the revolutionary and hip Newbook Warsaw Project. I came to work at USD as a computer operator: backups boy, coming in at strange hours to transfer the mainframe data from computer to computer tape, so that if an error causes the computer to lose its data, the data can be restored from the ‘backup tapes’. It is an extremely boring and repetitive low-level job, for which I was grateful: I’d been three months out of work when I got it.

The Internet was new to USD then, and the majority of the computer work done was not Internet work, but scientific work by faculty and their students. I’ve seen Academic Computing’s focus move more and more towards providing Internet access to the USD community, and have, I hope, helped push us even further towards that. I ‘took over’ writing chores at the Academic Computing department, because no one else was doing it, and we desperately needed some simple books explaining--for non-computer users--how to use the Internet. Also I was bored shitless doing backups.

The boss, Dr. Jack Pope, had been teaching a “Hands On Beginners’ Internet” course for CERFNet (CERF), and I was tapped to help. This led, in turn, to teaching Internet orientation at USD itself, and various Internet courses at computer conventions from CECC in San Diego to Meckler’s Internet World in San Francisco. I also co-authored Computers, Telecommunications, and Western Culture for the International Networking 1995 conference in Birmingham, England. Bart Thurber and I presented the paper amidst a fanfare of Shakespeare and homebrew. Or will have, by the time you read this.

I now write most of the Internet ‘manuals’ here at USD, for Unix (Huh?) and the Internet, and I’ve taken the responsibility of putting this information ‘on-line’ on the World Wide Web (Don’t bother...) so that students can get to it from any computer on campus and beyond. Because it needs to be done and no one else is doing it.

Outside of the USD community I’m a big comic book fan, and I’m pushing the Internet as a collaborative community in the comic book industry. I maintain two mailing lists: the Gutters (Get your mind out of it...) mailing list, for artists who draw comic books, and Closure, for comic book professionals. I maintain an infobahn service station where comic book artists can come to collaborate, and where comic book fans can get information about their favorite comic books. (Where is it?) As the driving force behind the FireBlade Publications on-line bookstore, I hope to help bring the Internet a little bit closer to being an alternative supply for casual reading, and for publishing itself. I’d have published this book on the net, but you don’t have a computer. (Hm...)

At USD, I’m trying to push individual electronic publishing, in which faculty, staff, and students can run their own ftp, gopher, and web sites from their desktop computers. I’ve written a Macintosh program that allows net-attached Macintoshes to run mailing lists and serve up ftp by electronic mail. Do you know what that means? Read my book. Or eat my dust.

I run finger, whois, ftp, gopher, smtp, and web server software from the Macintosh on my desktop, specializing in Prohibition, Comic Books, and Role-Playing games. (?) Confused? Read the book, homey.

Guns, drugs, and rock ‘n roll. Rebels and revolution live on the infobahn!

Jerry Stratton
Finger/Reply for PGP Public Key
“Bad laws do more harm than good dope.”

  1. California Education and Research Federation Network. But it’s really named after Vince Cerf, one of the ‘founding fathers’ of the Internet Protocol that spawned the Internet itself.
  2. An ‘operating system’ used by many Internet computers. An ‘operating system’ is a way for humans to tell computers what to do. Your stick shift is part of the ‘operating system’ of your car. Unix is like a stick shift made from a bendy straw.
  3. Don’t even think you’re going to get an explanation of that yet. Look in the index.
  4. The gutter is the space between the panels in comic books. You, son, need to read Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics, available at your local bookstore.
  5. This is Cerebus the Gopher. Ask your local Internet Guru to find it at http://www.hoboes.com/
  6. Okay, so I did publish this on the Internet. And I guess you actually are here. But don’t you wish you’d read this first?
  7. Finger or e-mail [e--p] at [hoboes.com] for more information about that.
  1. Buy This Book or Eat My Dust
  2. Introduction
  3. Outline