AN EXPERIMENT IN REMOTE PRINTING
The Phone Company (tpc.int) was an
"experiment in remote printing" (a euphemism for "bypass")
that greatly alarmed the
founding fathers of the Internet for it's potential to bring
the net to the attention of the FCC (or worse yet, the telephone company).
Under the direction of the legendary
allowed people to send fax messages for "free" over the Internet.
The fax travelled as email to a server, which designated it's
willingness to place a local call and deliver your fax by
registering the area it served in the DNS.
The system had two hacks that we were fairly proud of.
The first was the reversed phone number hack. A system that was
willing to place calls on your behalf registered
it's service area by using a reversed phone number with a dot
between each number (see
for how we did it and, for amusing contrast,
Our second hack was our "business model," which allowed the
server operator to place an ad on the bottom third of the cover
sheet. These were the first banner ads on the Internet,
though Prodigy did beat us (or more accurately, their long-suffering
user base) to the punch in the not-Internet
RFC 1529 and the discussion of the "Local Newspaper Model" for how we tossed a business model into
the standards process).