RMIUG Meeting Minutes - Internet Provider
The September 1995 RMIUG meeting, held
at the NIST auditorium, started at 7:05
with Alek Komarnitsky welcoming the approximately
200 people in the audience with a nearly
black and illegible transparency. :)
Alek noted that there are currently 935
members of the rmiug-discuss mailing list,
of which 537 were from .com domains, 191
from .edu and 167 from .net.
Announcements from the floor included:
- The 2nd annual Aspen International Festival
with the theme "Economic Model of the
Internet" will be held on the 13th, 14th
and 15th of October at the Aspen Institute.
Look for further announcements on local
news groups and mailing lists.
- A free Internet newspaper, "internet
news" is starting up. It will appear every
other Monday with 8,000 copies distributed
to 200 high-traffic locations throughout
Boulder County. Contact email@example.com
or Market2@ix.netcom.com for more
Alek then started the evenings program
by explaining the rules: 5 minutes for each
ISP to introduce their services, no questions
from the floor at that point, ISPs presenting
in alphabetical order. After all the ISPs
have spoken, they will form a panel to take
questions from the floor. Alek noted that
some ISPs had conflicts due to the scheduling
of the annual meeting of the Colorado Internet
Coop which coincided with the RMIUG meeting.
Daryl Watson, ABWAM, explained they were
a full service ISP, now offering ISDN and
focusing on service (not games). He sat
down to applause after 52 seconds!
Steve Durgin, Cento Systems, announced
they were a new ISP focusing on business
connections. They are different in that
they have no dialup services. He explained
Cento was an ATT reseller providing business
turn-key solutions and training.
Guy Cook, SuperNet, explained that SuperNet
is the for-profit organization owned by
the Colorado SuperNet, a non-profit. He
noted that "Buying SuperNet services returns
money to Colorado". He mentioned some joint
technology ventures with the Chinese, Saudi
Arabia and Oman, along with a project with
the Discovery Channel. He stated that the
SuperNet has 16 POPs around Colorado and
has been putting money into infrastructure.
He announced the plan for a 45 Mbit backbone
link due in October. SuperNet has 36 full
time people and some part timers on staff
supporting the largest customer base in
Colorado. He noted that SuperNet is 6th
in the nation in domain registration.
Dwight Prouty, DASH, explained they have
been providing connectivity since 1986.
They will have a 45 Mbit channel in October,
linking the 36 servers that they currently
have on-line. He noted they provide 24 hour
7 day a week support service. He said "Dash
is in for the long run."
Shelli Meyers, Indra's Net, spoke about
their principles of excellent technical
support. She noted they focus on dialup
only, with emphasis on small businesses
and individuals. They provide no dedicated
line access. They provide 7 day a week technical
support and are doing world-wide-web services.
They plan to have a Fort Collins POP within
a few months.
Danny Winokur, Internet Express, explained
they are somewhat different in that they
have a national focus. He listed POPs in
Denver, Pueblo, Colorado Springs and in
several other states. They also have a national
800 service for only $6.25 hour. He stated
they had strong technical support for their
Sun Sparc stations which hosted individual
services. They have 24 hour technical support
and he noted that the longest wait for support
in August was only 1 minute. He explained
they have dedicated support including 56K,
customer ISDN and frame relay services.
They are turning up a network operations
center in Colorado Springs. He noted they
offer WWW services focusing on local content,
e.g. local media.
Andy Nieto, On Ramp Communications, explained
they were a member of the Internet Alliance
with a focus on the health care industry,
point-of-sale applications and small business
access. They also provided excellent technical
Dwight Reifsnyder, Tesser, explained they
were in Boulder and a provider of Pipeline
support, a full functioning, easy-to-install
graphical user interface to the internet.
He noted they have bought into the notion
that "the world changed on August 24th"
and they will be focusing on Microsoft Windows
95 support for "out of the box" internet
While not on the original list, Thomas
Westerman, firstname.lastname@example.org, spoke
briefly about Rocky Mountain Internet. He
noted they are in their third year as a
"small but visionary" ISP. He noted they
have 12% of the Colorado domains. They provide
dialup and dedicated service, with ISDN
in Colorado Springs. They are coming up
with a T3 connection soon.
Alek Komarnitsky then invited the 8 original
speakers to take their place on stage to
accept questions from the floor.
Starting off with the question "What is
the ISP's responsibilities with regard to
hackers?" The answers basically ranged from
we will notify users of hacking attacks
and have users change their passwords" to
"we don't offer any shell service, so we
are very secure". Two ISPs, SuperNet and
Internet Express, recounted their involvement
in the recent Kevin Mitnick incident with
the FBI. All acknowledge a strong concern
about maintaining secure services.
An audience question, "How many have PGP
(Pretty Good Privacy) on their systems"
was met with answers ranging from yes, to
ditto, to no, since they consider it application
code beyond their service, and generally
available on the internet. A related follow-on
question of whether shadow passwords were
used caused all to raise their hands, except
Tesser, whose Pipeline interface obviates
that need since there is no shell access.
(If you access a unix shell and look at
/etc/passwd, the file should have a visible
password of only an asterisk. If not, that
file is open to attack by programs like
Crack, which can be run remotely to break
the password algorithm.)
The question of "How do you determine
when to add modems?" generated a variety
of replies --- with one shared observation,
they all had problems with US West. Various
methods were used, but all said that they
monitor modem usage and add them rapidly
as busy signals begin to increase.
When asked how what modems were supported,
all said they supported 14.400, all support
28.8 on some modems, 3 supported 28.8 on
all modems and one, Tesser, was experimenting
On the question of "pro-active Snooping",
some said they ran Crack on their own passwords
and notified users of poorly selected passwords.
Some ran COPS, some ran SATAN against themselves
and others used their own security testing
Someone in the audience who used several
on-line services asked "Why use an ISP?".
Answers emphasized costs, services provided,
local focus and user specific support. It
was noted that "Grandma should go for AOL"
for ease of use, but beware the slow web
browsers and lack of full access. Another
pointed out that you have to determine if
you are a "producer" or a "consumer" of
A variety of questions relating to USENET
newsgroups received pretty standard answers
from "we have all the groups" to "we will
setup any groups any user request" to "newsgroup
failings often occur because of connectivity
issues with the feed from other sites."
All answered the question that they did
nightly backups, but cautioned that individual
file restoration can only be done if the
service is not abused. Some indicated that
users might have to pay for such retrievals.
When asked about the ISP's connections,
the all had at least one T1, with DASH having
Multiple T1s and SuperNet with 6 T1s. They
all provided virtual domain service for
their web sites, though currently none provided
secure servers, though some are coming.
Alek thanked the ISP's for their support
and participation and welcomed everyone
to come back for the next RMIUG meeting.
"On Tuesday, October 10, information consultants
Susan Brandes, Debra Davis, and Barbara
Wagner will present a program: "How to Use
the Internet to Find Information." Effective
research on the Internet involves basic
knowledge of subject content and some likely
sources --to start with--which the speakers
have utilized in their services to companies
and individuals. These three experts will
focus on techniques for maximizing useful
output (while minimizing costs and time
spent) and finding gems of information on
Email addresses for the panelists are
- Daryl Watson, ABWAM, email@example.com
- Steve Durgin, Cento Systems, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Guy Cook, SuperNet, email@example.com
- Dwight Prouty, DASH, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Shelli Meyers, Indra's Net, email@example.com
- Danny Winokur, Internet Express, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Andy Nieto, On Ramp Communications,
- Dwight Reifsnyder, Tesser, email@example.com
- Thomas Westerman, RMII (spoke, but not
on the panel) firstname.lastname@example.org
The meeting ended at 9.
Respectfully submitted by Art Smoot, RMIUG.