In 1990 Intel introduced the 33-MHz 486 microprocessor (AT Technology). A reasonably nice computer cost between $1,500 and $2,500 with the average annual household income averaging $26,000. Old technology, the lowly XT, became very inexpensive. With an XT main motherboard costing about $60 you could assemble a single floppy drive computer with monitor, keyboard and modem for about $350. Cheap XT computers, an keen San Francisco sub culture, a thriving coffeehouse scene (pre Starbucks) were the ingredients for a facinating community of cyber-explorers, SF NET.

SFnet was an attempt to use simple communications technology to bring together two very different social milieus. The premise of the idea; Create a network that allowed the well-heeled home user to connect with the young hipster crowd that frequented the smoke filled coffeehouses in the San Francisco Bay Area. To do this we, 1) created a simple coin operated public access terminal and placed 25 of them in the rough and tumble cafe scene throughout the Bay Area, 2) maintained a small geographic foot print so that social interaction was possible 3) focused community energy to a public chat area that used a fast moving text interface that allowed for no visual clues as to who was speaking, 4) charged a nominal fee for cafe use in the hope that the home subscriptions would carry the cost of running the network, 5) allowed for a self-governing community by creating a set of community mechanisms and tools for rewarding positive and engaging communications.

Below is a portion of the attention that SFnet enjoyed thanks to the exciting community that blossomed around this rudimentary technology. See also wikipedia - Internet Cafe
(www.openfence.net)

 

Local Press

           
 
  SF Examiner
August - 1991
Oakland
Montclairian
San Francisco
Noe Valley Voice
Oakland
Tribune
SF Chronicle
January - 1993
           
 
  SF Examiner
April - 1993
SF Examiner
January - 1995
Daily Republic
Solano County, CA
Silicon Valley
News
SF Chronicle
Herb Caen
           
 

National Press

 
  Washington Post
February - 1993
The Economist New York Times
January - 1991
Newsweek
September - 1993
Fortune
October - 1993
           
 
  Entrepreneur Details Spy Magazine Glamour Seventeen
           
 

International Press

 
  focus (German)
April - 1994
Muy Interesante
(Spanish)
Holiday
(German)
Screen (German)
Multimedia
Info PC
(French)
           
 
  Computing USA ID Magazine FX Networks    
           
 

Notable Correspondence

     
  BBC News Show CA Senator Tokyo Talk Radio    
           
 

Industry Publications

       
  Communications Daily
Washington, DC
Boardwatch
May - 1993
     
           
           
           
 

Cafe Promotional Brochures

 
           
           
 

Other Promotional Material

   
  SF Weekly Ad Early Logo SF Weekly Ad TableTop Promo
(adorned)
 
           
           
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