Way back in the early days of home computing two Commodore enthusiasts (William Murphy and Eddy Carroll) both founder members of CUGI (Commodore User Group Ireland) established Europe’s first Amiga based bulletin board as a free service to anyone who was interested. Over the years the BBS which operated under the name Infomatique! became very popular and developed a world wide audience. We used a pre-production Amiga and it never gave us any problems until the day it died and it did last for many years. It is truly a pity that Commodore eventually failed as a commercial enterprise.
Right from the beginning dealing with Telecom Eireann (the local Telco monopoly) was very difficult. They insisted on us using approved modems which they supplied at very inflated prices. It could take up to two years to have an additional line installed which meant that it was impossible for me to move from my apartment where the system was installed. In general the experience was very stressful and exhausting.
Unlike many other Irish based services we were committed to offering a free service but this policy proved to be very expensive and as the Internet gained in popularity the continued operation of a dial up BBS did not make sense so when the Amiga eventually failed we decided to discontinue the bulletin board. William was keen to re-establish Infomatique! as a web based service and investigate all available options. Eddy, who was essential to the operation of the original BBS, decided to pursue other interests and was replaced by John Cashin who had agreed to part finance Infomatique for twelve months (the ! was dropped from the name … if you ever watched the Commitments you will understand why).
William purchased a new apartment in the city centre and installed two servers operating under NT and John paid a fortune for the installation of an analogue lease line. We registered as Infomatique.ie and operated in test mode hosting sites for a number of charities and non-commercial organisations for about nine months. We were delighted with the results. Just when we had everything organised (sponsorship, finance, etc.) our lease line supplier decided to double the annual rental. They also wanted payment in advance and as we could not raise the cash we decided to cancel the re-launch of Infomatique.
We examined a number of options but none of them were practical at the time so Infomatique was put on ice until ADSL became available. It was expected that ADSL would be available within months but as the local telco (now known as Eircom) had not really changed their attitude the wait was much longer than expected. To quote IrelandOffLine "Eircom have been dragged, kicking and screaming, into a position where they were forced to make broadband available, as their well-protected metered revenue from dial-up Internet access was smashed in June 2003 by government intervention. Only then did they move”.
In July 2004 Infomatique (www.infomatique.org and www.infomatique.com) was reborn as a site devoted to technology and related topics. It should be noted that infomatique.org was registered in June 2000 and infomatique.com was registered in May 2002 however I cannot determine when informatique.ie was originally registered but for technical and legal reasons I have never been able to recover control of the domain which I had assigned to a limited company that no longer exists.
In 2009 William decided to devote more of his time to ‘Street Photography’ and established The Streets Of Dublin Project whereby he published a large catalog of photographs [ more than 100,000] through Flickr, The Streetsofdublin and more recently Ipernity. Unfortunately as the hosting service could not accommodate some of the technical requirements for a Photo Blog with very large catalog of photographs all activity at Infomatique was suspended until July 2014.
Infomatique as been re-launched as a testbed for various ideas and hopefully it will once again develop into something worthwhile. I really do hope that you all will visit me on a regular basis.
At present Infomatique could best described as a hobby and is operated and financed by William Murphy who is currently interested in street photography and related topics. Some much needed revenue is generated through advertising which is why you will see some commercial banners and links.
Sadly, John Cashin died early in 2004 and is very much missed by his friends.
I like taking photographs of urban depression, decay and neglect which may be a bit unusual for someone who is never actually depressed but for some reason such the resulting images are inclined to be more interesting.