At the end of 2013 (January 1, 2014 here in Japan) I shut down a Web server, Personalized Online Electronic Text Services (POETS), at Kyoto Notre Dame University. Now all requests to POETS are redirected to a page on my personal Web site at the university,
POETS Web server retired December 31, 2013.
As I near retirement from full-time service after more than 36 years at the same university and 41 years of working for a living, I’ve become increasingly aware of how professional life exists in a web of associations, obligations, human relations, and even technological relationships. For example, the POETS Web server used databases, texts, and software that had been freely contributed to the online community.
I’ve tried to express my gratitude to people who generously gave away the results of their hard work, but I find it difficult to adequately express my gratitude for having been encouraged, nurtured, mentored, criticized, and occasionally thanked by people who helped me gain expertise in UNIX/BSD/Linux system administration, text processing, and other technical areas. These connections go back to 1971, when I was encouraged to learn BASIC programming on a mainframe terminal, and then around 1980, when I began to program personal computers. In the mid-1980s, as we began to use modems in Japan, I used various dial-up Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) and then joined the global community of UNIX users and administrators on USENET and on BITNET and Internet mailing lists. Developing the original POETS Web server in 1993 enabled me to exercise some skills that I had learned and to express my gratitude by creating a useful and free service.
I hope that young people who are now beginning to discover the joy of making useful software and Web services will receive similar encouragement and then, in turn, encourage others. We cannot adequately express our appreciation directly to all who contribute to our successes, but we can perpetuate their spirit of generosity by passing it on to others.