The possible missing link of the ebay computers from NABU

Stories, pictures, and artifacts from the O.G. NABU Rockstar, Leo
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LeoBinkowski
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The possible missing link of the ebay computers from NABU

Post by LeoBinkowski »

I got an email from Nick Easton, one of the NABU on a shoestring people that did great things.

Here is a story showing the largesse of John Kelly. Even though it was throwing good money after bad, he made sure a school that had integrated the NABU Computer into it's curriculum kept using the computers and software long after Tribune Cable shut down the cycle in Alexandria, VA:

Hi Leo,

Great to see the fantastic efforts that you guys are putting in to resurrecting the Nabu Network. Terrific project! I missed the YUCoM YUNN incarnation, but I was really transported back in time when I viewed your "Ghost of NABU Past" video. Great synopsis of the NABU epic! I was also blown away when James at pellmill-llc happened upon a stash of the PCs. I suspect they may have come from a Tribune Cable warehouse in Alexandria.

I was with the hardware team at Richmond Road in varying capacities during our wild ride - early on as design authority for the various peripherals including keyboard and floppy drive, later System Integration Manager, Product Manager and ultimately Director Field Services. (See the Gaudy Tie Day photo below - I'm the tall guy at the back between Trevor Pearce and Paul Lancaster.)

Finally, when all was said and done, John kept me on for a couple of months during your "shoestring" phase to help wind down operations at Tribune Cable. An elementary school in Alexandria had set up a computer classroom of NABU PCs, and we had to provide a solution that would allow them to continue operating the lab without the cable network. I think a solution was cobbled together that simulated the head-end, with all the software apps provided on floppies that the teachers could use to download to the NABU PCs. I can't recall the details (or who was involved on the IOS/DOS side - Tevor? Bill?), but I remember flying down to Alexandria with a couple of pieces of hardware and a box full of floppies and setting it up in their classroom. They were immensely grateful.

Anyway, I have a few other anecdotes on the hardware side that I could share but not sure of the best forum. Let me know what you think, and many thanks for your latest efforts in bringing back The NABU Network.

All the best,
- Nick Easton
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I invited Nick to the forums here to share any stories he may have.
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LeoBinkowski
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Re: The possible missing link of the ebay computers from NABU

Post by LeoBinkowski »

Todd MacNaught and I were tasked with making those floppies for Alexandria. I never knew the reason, but they were all the educational software floppies loaded with the cabserve software.
I also have some pages that match this story from John Shortt's Notebook:
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DJ Sures
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Re: The possible missing link of the ebay computers from NABU

Post by DJ Sures »

This is such a great post! I love that the pieces are slowly coming together about the source for these. Hopefully we'll hear more from James in the future when he runs out of shipping nabus haha
MagnumPEI
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Re: The possible missing link of the ebay computers from NABU

Post by MagnumPEI »

So many moustaches. Was that photo taken during "Magnum P.I. Day"? One guy appears to have Hawaiian leis around his neck. Another guy even has rainbow suspenders, like TC wore.
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Re: The possible missing link of the ebay computers from NABU

Post by Nick »

Hey, still sporting the moustache and watching Magnum PI (with new cast, of course)... a bit less hair and a lot more grey though! :)
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Re: The possible missing link of the ebay computers from NABU

Post by LeoBinkowski »

Nick wrote: Sun May 14, 2023 11:21 pm Hey, still sporting the moustache and watching Magnum PI (with new cast, of course)... a bit less hair and a lot more grey though! :)
Hiya Nick, great that you stopped by!
MagnumPEI
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Re: The possible missing link of the ebay computers from NABU

Post by MagnumPEI »

Nick wrote: Sun May 14, 2023 11:21 pm Hey, still sporting the moustache and watching Magnum PI (with new cast, of course)... a bit less hair and a lot more grey though! :)
Hi Nick! Which moustached guy is you?

I've never seen the new Magnum - not enough moustaches... and Higgins is a girl? How times change.
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ernie
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Re: The possible missing link of the ebay computers from NABU

Post by ernie »

Hey all, hope all’s well. I’m a journalist who contributes to Motherboard that’s working on a story about NABU and the eBay computers. I just wanted to let you know that seeing this thread, which DJ pointed out to me, inspired me to make a call this morning to Tom Wheeler, who was the president and CEO of the Alexandria-area NABU arm and later the chairman of the FCC during the Obama administration.

When Wheeler was making his case for net neutrality, he cited his time at NABU in a blog post explaining his stance: https://www.wired.com/2015/02/fcc-chair ... eutrality/

He was amazed to learn about all the work that had been done to revive this machine’s history in the last six months, and he said that NABU had inspired him to embrace technology throughout the rest of his career. (I did ask him whether he knew anything about any machines ending up in a warehouse somewhere, and he said that all the equipment went back to Campeau.) Prior to our call, the only U.S.-based machine that he knew of still in the wild was his personal machine, which ended up in the Cable Center in Denver.

I’m still working on this piece a bit and have already talked to DJ and Leo, and, briefly, James. Still working on more steps to tell this story as best I can. Will keep you all posted.
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Re: The possible missing link of the ebay computers from NABU

Post by LeoBinkowski »

Hi Ernie,

Wow, that's great! I remember Tom Wheeler. He was like the tallest dude in a forest of tall dudes.

The NABU Games and Education developers used the NABU boardroom as our personal playground most nights and weekends. It had a 36" SONY Trinitron TV and both Beta and VHS VCRs, and a NABU PC, naturally.

We would rent a bunch of movies and drift in out out of their boardroom watching, playing, and eating. We made damn sure it was SPOTLESS by any given weekday morning.

I don't know if the NABU executives knew we used the boardroom more than them, but we never heard anything about it, so our activity was likely tolerated.

Anyway, I look forward to seeing your piece published. I'm sure Tom Wheeler can fill in details I never knew anything about.
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ernie
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Re: The possible missing link of the ebay computers from NABU

Post by ernie »

I look forward to publishing it! I think the dynamic you just highlighted (between executives and developers) is so fascinating, and I’m trying my best to get everything I can into the mix.

Thanks for your insights, Leo.
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