Why RW370



Long before the internet was turned into a dorky TV channel, certain customs and norms were observed by those who inhabited it. One such custom was the NIC Handle. I have a NIC handle, even though I have not explicitly used it in many years. My NIC handle is RW370. This alphanumeric sequence identified one as a domain registrar (someone who registered internet domain names such as automedia.com or multimediahotline.com).

NIC handle naming convention also identified something interesting. The sequence is made of the person’s initials (RW for Rob Warmowski) followed by a serial number (370). The rules of NIC handle creation were such that the number part of the handle was in fact a serial number. Meaning that RW370 was the NIC handle of the 370th person of initials RW to appear in the NIC databases.

This means that I am the 370th RW to register domain names on the internet. There have since been tens of thousands of RWs, a statistical necessity of the appearance of millions upon millions of domain registrars. These numbers were, uh, not in evidence at the time; I was way in the front of the line.

Some might say too far in front: I obtained my NIC handle in 1995. That was the year that I first laid eyes on the World Wide Web and almost immediately founded the Automatic Media Group, a web development and online presence consultancy. In that and following years, I would visit business executives and field questions such as “so how will people see this web site?” and “how much does an internet cost?”

A better businessman, given such a position in history, would probably be writing this entry not in a blog but in a manuscript for an autobiography for which he received a seven-figure advance.

Discovering you are a terrible salesman right after you discover you are a seer is not an experience I recommend to anyone interested in paleo-nerd bragging rights: this blog post is about all I got out of the process. Well, almost all. I do have the power to tell boring stories about Gopher, Archie, WAIS, Delphi and BBSes too. Nerdery, while a persistent theme, has been but one dimension to my story. I’ll do what I can to keep you awake.

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rob [at] warmowski [dot] com

@warmowski on Twitter

Rob at Huffington Post

Rob on Chicago White Sox Baseball

Rob on Chicago foibles at True/Slant

Rob’s Bands

Rob Warmowski entry at Chicago Punk Database
1984-89: Defoliants
1991-94: Buzzmuscle
2001-05: San Andreas Fault
2008- : Sirs
2008- : Allende
August 2007
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