Article by Doug Frick
Twenty years ago today, the HMAUS-L mailing list began operation!
We had an active HMAUS Telecomm SIG, and the focus was gradually moving from BBSs/AOL/Compuserve to the Internet. I was looking for a good place to post HMAUS announcements on-line. The original idea was to post on the news:hawaii.announce newsgroup and eventually create a news:hawaii.hmaus newsgroup, but by then the news:hawaii.* newsgroups were overflowing with spam and off-topic flame wars. Although a bit more work to manage, a mailing list would hopefully provide a quieter and more focused environment. Baron Fujimoto of LavaNet offered to set up a SmartList mailing list for us.
On Dec. 19, 1995, I sent an e-mail message with subject “CFV for HMAUS mailing list” to HMAUS members Robert Brewer (“I vote for hmaus-l as the name of the list. Put me on it once it is set up, please. :)”, Duncan Dempster (“Count me in as a Yes vote. I’m not a prolific newsgroup participant but sure would cut my teeth on this one.”), Greg Gillenwaters (“Sounds okay to me.”), Bryan Villados (“Count me in, dude!!!!!”) and Eugene Villaluz. The HMAUS-L mailing list was created on Dec. 26, 1995, and the first non-admin message was posted by Robert Brewer on Dec. 27: “Hello all you HMAUSers…”.
The list was open for subscription, but it took a while to get the word out. Jill Morton was the first general subscriber, on Jan. 16, 1996. The charter was discussed and settled during January, and the announcement to HMAUS members went out on Feb. 5, 1996.
The HMAUS-L charter describes the purposes for which the mailing list was formed, and the general areas that are considered on-topic and off-topic. The current HMAUS-L charter is as follows: “The HMAUS-L mailing list is for HMAUS and other Hawaii Apple user group announcements, as well as general discussion related to Apple and its products, including problems, questions and answers. It is not a forum for advertising or for selling hardware or software. Participation in this mailing list is open to the general public.” As a blast from the past, the original charter had “Macintosh, Apple II and Newton” in place of the current “Apple and its products” (and was otherwise identical).
Within a year we had nearly 100 members, and two years later we had about 200. The membership peak was about 250 members in the late 1990s, and we currently have about 150 members. There were few local resources for Apple users in 1995 outside of HMAUS meetings, and while the Internet offered several Apple discussion groups (Info-Mac Digest, comp.sys.mac, etc.), there was little in the way of community. I think HMAUS-L has stood the test of time as both a community and a resource for help, and even though many questions can be answered through judicious Googling, the HMAUS-L membership is always there with the personal touch.
I thank each of you for being a part of HMAUS-L.