Through the Keyboard was a weekly column about the Internet which I wrote for the Business Pulse section of The Idaho State Journal during 1996. As you will probably figure out should you decide to read a few of these, I was still getting grounded in the technological basics at the time. But what I lacked in knowledge, I think I made up for in enthusiasm. At the time, the newspaper had no presence to speak of on the Web, but I made arrangements with a local Internet Service Provider, NicohNet (now Microserv) to create a Web that essentially reproduced each week’s newspaper column, but with relevant links embedded in the text, and a section for reader comments.
In September of 1996, I left The Journal and moved to New York to attend Columbia University, but continued to write the column on a contract basis until the end of the year when it fell victim to my increasingly hectic academic schedule and I asked to be released from my contract. However I continued to add to the site, and to change it. The two stories from 1997 were the result of reporting I did while a student at Columbia. Some of the material in “Interview With The Hacker” you’ll see re-used in “New York Hackers: The New Generation.” Additionally, as the US Supreme Court was in the process of hearing Reno Vs. ACLU that year, a case which dealt with the right of federal government to restrict the right of free expression on the Internet, I followed the case closely. Once the decision came down, striking down the Communications Decency Act of 1996, I built an interactive map that showed legislation pending or passed in several states meant to restrict or regulate speech on the Internet. The site is unchanged since that map was built during the summer of 1997.