Archive for September 2013

Friends, Family and Strangers

September 2, 2013

Friends, Family and Strangers

The following was inspired by seeing Stacy Dean Campbell suggest “The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty” on Bronco Roads. I must mention that I learned about Bronco Roads via Troubadour Tx earlier this year because an episode featured Walt Wilkins.

Eudora Welty’s stories were so loved by Steve Dorner that in 1988 he named his free email software after her.

While working for Schlumberger Laboratory for Computer Science in 1989, one of my favorite colleagues William I. MacGregor discovered Eudora and introduced me to it. Eudora was simple, powerful and remarkable and quickly changed our expectations of email. Schlumberger adopted it as our standard email client on Macs and it quickly gained world-wide use within Schlumberger by several thousand Mac users. In fact some people got a Mac so they could have Eudora and for the early nineties Eudora was at the center of my professional carrier during my favorite years and projects with Schlumberger. Perhaps my very favorite ‘project’ at Schlumberger was when Dave Sims recruited me for a weekend trip to help his band of rebel network admins put the Schlumberger executive NYC offices on the Internet and install Eudora on their Macs (probably about 1990).

In late 1993 my brother Willie invited me to help him start two Internet Service Providers (ISPs), one in Waco and one in Austin. Our first service was simply Internet Email via Eudora on Macs; we called it EasyMail. Our email service introduced each new customer to email via the Internet. Joe Phelps and Jan Chapman were two of my earliest customers. Willie’s company was the very first company in Waco to offer Internet Email to the public. In Austin my company was one of 3-4 early ISPs. All of Willie’s customers and mine used email accounts on a server that sat in my closet on Darwin Cove and Willie’s ISP in Waco reached the Internet through a leased phone line from his house in Waco to Darwin Cove. Before 1993 only a lucky few people at corporations, universities and military scientist had Internet access.

Today after seeing Stacy Dean Campbell suggest “The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty” I found the book on Amazon and started to read the Preface. The very first paragraph inspired me to write this post about a remarkable and important thread in the fabric of my life started by Eudora Welty. In her Preface she wrote about the importance and inspiring love of family, friends and strangers.

Each of the people in this story allowed their passion to inspire their lives.

You are each deeply appreciated gifts.



PS. If my body outlives my abilities I hope family and friends will read to me the words and lyrics of passionate writers and artists.

PPS. Special thanks to my sweet wife and our kids for sharing and encouraging my love of writers and artists. Please trust your passion.


The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty
For Inventor of Eudora, Great Fame, No Fortune – The New York Times‎
Biographical article from the New York Times on Steve Dorner, creator of Eudora. Requires free registration.

William I. MacGregor, ID thought leader, passes

Bronco Roads

Walt Wilkins