IT'S A GAS, GAS, GAS !!

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The History of Gasland

(Below is a short history on how the It's A Gas, Gas, Gas message board got started and where we are now, that is, as of March 2003)

How did Gasland ever get started? That question comes up in emails to me from lurkers and new posters all the time. So I guess it's time that I explain it's beginnings.

Gasx3 has been going strong since it's very first day on the Net back in December of 1998. I started this message board after the original Stones board, which was located at the old StonesWorld site,  was closed down and many of us Stones fans were left out in the cold with nowhere else to go. Yes the Stones newsgroup was out there, and although I myself was a regular of both places, many of the regulars from StonesWorld would never post there,  either they didn't care for the newsgroup, some just could not get newsgroups from their ISPs, or some just plain didn't like the way newsgroups are set up. For the most part, as most of you know, there is a few major differences between all USENET newsgroups and Web based message boards. The biggest difference is that the newsgroups are of the public domain, owned by no one and run by no one. Some newsgroups have rules, but since there are no webmasters, the rules are almost never followed. So in a nutshell, the Stones newsgroup, like the rest of the newsgroups, was (and still is) in utter chaos most of the time. Some fans like that, I do, but only to a point, as too much insanity isn't good for anyone.

So what were the refugees of the StonesWorld board to do?  (BTW, the board there never had an official name, it was just a part of the site, so many just called it the StonesWorld board) Some of the regulars who posted at  that board included myself (my handle there was JumpingJackFlash), Maxlugar, Nankerphelge, Fleabit Peanut Monkey, Sugar, Jaxx, Gerry, Syph, Dandelion, Cockroach, Stonesdoug, Blue, DREW BLOWS, Temple, Honest Man - gosh, there are so many others, but there were a lot of us who became close cyber friends at that place. As that board was slowly falling apart (a very sad thing to witness, it actually took a few months till it was closed), most fans fled the place, as it was getting so out of hand that it was starting to make the Stones newsgroup look like a love-in. During the last few weeks StonesWorld was still around, one of the regulars there, the original Factory Girl, started a board called  Exile From StonesWorld, which at first seemed promising, but soon, as it's webmaster disappeared, it too within a couple of months was falling apart. About this time I was forming keno.org and I had just started to put together the domain's first site, which of course would be a Stones site. I realized there was a need for a new board too, but I knew that to have a board that would be run in a sane matter, would mean having a webmaster who would be willing to give up most of his free time to the place, and to do all of the work for free. Was I that crazy of a Stonesfreak to do such a thing? Well, I was, but still not sure if I would. Yet after about a third of my Stones site was built, I started the search for a web board that had the look and feel of the old StonesWorld board. After a few weeks of searching I found the board to use, Matt's old wwwboard, a freeware program which was built and run on old CGI web programming. Back in the internet's early days (1990s that is), CGI was the only way to run programs like messageboards, forms, polls, etc. HTML, which was used (and still is used) to build your basic web site, was still developing and soon with the help of other newer applications (like ASP, etc), you could soon build a form, or even a message board with HTML. But in '98 this was only just starting to happen and the wwwboard was the board that would be use for the soon to be named It's A Gas, Gas, Gas! Message Board. I named the board after what I considered was the Stones most upbeat song (and my old, now retired handle) - "Jumpin' Jack Flash". After all, not only was the song, and the Stones, a gas, but so was their fans, and since this board was where Stones fans from around the world would unite, well, no other name would do. But it was a long name and within the first month of it's existence, one of the regulars (I cannot recall who) started to call the place Gasx3 for short. Shortly after that I started to call the place Gasland and now our new home had three different names, all of course still connected to that great song. I started to call the regulars who posted in Gasland "Gaslanders", which stuck, but another regular (again, I can't remember who) used the term "Gassers" one day and I liked that tag a bit better, so it stuck too. But I'm jumping ahead here.......

Getting back to the beginning, my Stones web site finally went online in early November of '98. I emailed a few of my old friends in late October of that year to let them know about the new site and that a new message board would more than likely soon follow. I still was not 100% sure at that point if I would do the board or not. But then something happen. Sadly, just days after I sent out those aforementioned emails, one of my closest cyber friends, and a fellow regular at the old StonesWorld board, a kid named Temple, was killed, run over by a drunk driver as he walked down a sidewalk. He was only 19 years old, one of the only young kids who ever posted at that old board. Exile From StonesWorld was in it's last days by this time, with almost no regular posters left. Yet when Temple died (he was one of the last holdouts at Exile), just about every lost regular from the now closed StonesWorld, dropped by to post their condolences for Temple at the Exile board. Yes, I saw the light those next few days, even though no one was really left posting at Exile, many of us were still lurking, just waiting for a place to post at, that was like the old board. Temple's death made me realized how much a new board was needed, so I went from thinking about stating a new board, to searching for that new board. As stated above, it took a few weeks to find, and in the first week of December, 1998, Gasland was born. It even looked like the old StonesWorld board, as I set it up the same way. But like so many other things in life, not everything seems to work out right at first. After being up for about a week, I was forced to take down this new Gasland as my then host, Earthlink, didn't allow CGI run programs, or message boards on their servers. Yes, the Web was still new and things were different then. So I had to find a new host, and did so in a couple of weeks. But it was now Xmas time so I just decided to wait till the new year to restart Gasx3 and started to look into solfware which could run my sites' planned polls.

I cannot recall the very first day, but somewhere around the 10th of January, 1999, Gasland was reborn. The day I placed it online I also emailed about 30 old friends from StonesWorld, and within an hour, besides my initial welcome post, the first few posts from others started to appear, and by the second day just about everybody from the old board was posting, as if none of us ever had stopped. I even got a few of my friends from the newsgroup to come on over to post. Yes, I had brought back the old family, and was happy to do so. But boy did I have a lot to learn! As it was, I had to learn HTML on my own when I started to build my Stones site just a few months earlier. CGI, which the board ran on was a whole different language, a code in HTML did not mean the same thing in CGI. It was not an easy thing to learn on my own and it took time, lots of time. The old CGI board had to be cleaned each month, but at first I only could do this through it's admin page, which limited what I could do. Then along came a guy named Thomas Burton (AKA Tee, no one calls him Thomas) .

I met Tee in early March, of  '99,  not because of Gasx3, but because I was having a hard time with the new polls that I had set up and was running for the Stones site, and also for the new John Lennon site that I had just started. I had two weekly polls going, one for the Stones, one for the Beatles, plus I planned a number of On Going Polls for both sites and also for my new Classic Rock site that was soon to be built. But the polling system I was using was very limited on how I could program them. So through the advise of my then host Mike, I hired Tee to build me my own polling system. Tee lived not too far away from me and we at first tried to work over the phone on how to set up this new poll program. That wasn't so easy to do over the phone, so I asked him if we could get together. So he came over the next day and we became instant friends. Within a week or so he built me one great polling system using new ASP programming (I'm still using that program today!). Then soon after that he started to take a look at Gasland. He sat down with me one day and taught me everything I needed to know about CGI programming and how to work within the board, bypassing the admin page. Gasland by now was overloaded and we were already having problems with the board running properly. Tee, who is ten years younger than me, was into computers as a kid, before it was cool to be into computers, before computers had hard drives, and long before there was an internet. Yet he was blown away on how many hits and page views keno.org was already receiving -  not every day, but every hour. As Tee would say, your killing Mike's server, and I was (Mike owned Datawest, and it was his server where the domain was parked at the time).

With Gasland becoming more and more popular, my workload increased. When Gasx3 first started out there were no banners on top of the board's homepage and up till today, I refused to take any cash donations. So I worked the joint at a loss. It got to where the once a month board clean-up (which was in addition to the normal maintenance that I had to do several times a week, not to mention play baby-sitter to the board, which is a full time job in it's own rite), was taking way too long to do. On the last day of each month (and I never missed a day, other than New Year's Eve) at around 10 PM or so, I would have to take the board off line (this was the only way to clean the board without new posts showing up during the time it took to do this) and start to clean up the board. There were several things involved and since the board's CGI was messed up I had to deal with fixing broken codes over and over and well, in a nutshell I did not go to sleep the night I did the monthly clean-up. I usually got done with the main cleanup somewhere around 6 or 7 AM the next morning and could place the board back on line at that time (I know a bunch of you old Gassers remember when that would happen). Yet I still had about 3 or 4 more hours of work to do after that, but for the most part I did that later the next day. My daughter Jackie, who was living with me along with her two small sons, would tell me I was insane to stay up all night doing all that work for nothing. Of course, I was not doing it for nothing, I was doing it for my Stones family.

Since I had sold my old marketing business before I started keno.org and made a killing in doing so, I didn't have to go to work everyday like most folks and didn't need the money. Looking after my grandsons everyday as Jackie went to work was my main job, and my second job was looking after my cyber family in Gasland, and I didn't mind doing it. But anyway, Tee had been telling me since the day we became friends that I needed to drop the CGI format and go with a ASP run board. He told me there were ASP boards available in freeware and I should check them out. Then one night, after listening to Jackie bitch about all the time I spent cleaning the board, Tee decided to stay over to witness a full night's work of cleanup. He fell asleep about 5AM and around 8 AM I woke him up and told him I was done with my cleanup work. He said to me something like 'yeah your done alright, your going to be switching to ASP before this new month is through.' Next thing I know he has me checking out all these new ASP boards that were out there, as it was the year 2001 and ASP was no longer new. So I found this ASP board that I thought would work just fine for Gasland. It was one of the few that listed both the post and it's thread together, in the way our CGI - wwwboard did. Almost all the other ASP boards didn't (and still don't) list threads in this matter. It was one of the things that made our board different and I didn't want to drop that format, nor did any of the Gassers wanted it dropped either. So on March 1, 2001, the second phase of the Gasland board was born. At first it seem cool, but by the middle of the next month things went south, fast! Gasland was just too busy for this new board, people who used WebTV could not post to it, and we had a major database problem. You see, with the old CGI board, there was no database, but CGI was a server hog and in turn caused a lot of problems. ASP takes up very little server space, but, if a board ain't built correctly  (and this new board wasn't), it will do to a database what CGI does to a server's space, and so Gasland had pretty much the same, yet different loading problems from before. To say at this point that I was frustrated was an understatement. Then to the rescue once again came my now very close friend, Tee.  

Tee would always say to me that he would love to build me a ASP board for Gasland, kinda like in the way he built my domain's polls. But we were friends now and he didn't want to do it for pay and it would take too much of his free time to do, which he didn't have any of, anyway. So there I was, lost! I didn't have a clue as to what to do. I didn't want to go back to the old CGI format,  but had to do something - and do it fast as it was taking up to 10 minutes for the board's front page to load! So Tee, who by this time had started his own hosting service, was thinking of ways to get his new company's name out there. Promoting other people's business was what I specialized in when I owned my old business, Keno Marketing Services, so I gave him some free advise and advertising pointers. He took that advise and out of nowhere decided he could kill two birds with one rolling stone. He would, with my input, build Gasland it's own custom made ASP board for free and in turn, after he was done, this new Gas board would metamorphosis into a new version ASP board that he would give away as freeware from his web site. I was blown away that he would do this, but he was now a Gasland lurker and knew what the place meant to me and everybody who hanged there. .

So we started to build the new Gasland board the very next night. Being a night owl like me, and having a very reasonable wife, Tee came over to my house about 6 PM and we worked till around 7 AM the next morning. I knew very little about ASP programming before this night, but was about to learn it fast. Tee did all of the board's building, I just told him what was needed, how the layout needed to be. By that morning, after more than 12 hours of non stop work, we had a new custom made ASP board. There was still a few days worth of ironing out the rough spots, but within a week we had a beta version of the new board up on Tee's server and was testing it out. I wanted Tee to name his new board the "Burtonboard" but he wasn't keen to that name since there was already a Burton Board out there - nothing to do with any internet boards, but the the snow ski board - and he didn't want a copyright problem. So he called it the Burton Networks Message Board, which in a short time has become a very popular web based board - with over 15,000 downloads to other programmers and webmasters to date!

Our new ASP Gasland board was placed online in June of 2001. My workload was cut in half since this new board automatically starts off fresh on the first of each month. No more all nighters cleaning the board for Keno anymore! Yes, I still have to clean up the place a few times a month and there is still a good amount of other work that I have to do, but it's sure nice having this new board. It still don't load as fast as I would like, but compared to the other two boards, it runs at lighting speed! I can't say thank you enough to Tee for the work that he did for me and my fellow Gaslanders!

Up to this point I've only talked a small bit about the people who make Gasland happen - the Gassers themselves. As pointed out early on here, they are why I run Gasland. No, Gasland is nothing like the Stones newsgroup and up until about 2002, there wasn't any other Stones board like Gasland on the Net. Many of the regulars were becoming not only cyber friends,  but friends in the real world too, as we would start to meet each other off line. In fact this started early on, in '99, when members of Gasland, the Stones newsgroup and the new Rock's Off board held the first get together in Denver. That meeting was followed by other get togethers between the two main boards in NYC and other places, and then when Stonesdoug started Shidoobeeland, all three boards would soon join in. (The last one held between the three boards was on February 1, 2003 in Denver, a true gassy time!) There also was the now famous wild get together of ten Gassers in Cleveland in early 2001. They became know as the C-10 and no, I am not a member, as I could not attend. 

Today, Gasland has also had a few bootlegs made in it's honor, the most well known and sent out all over the world is the double CD The Stones Got The Blues. I should note that none of these boots have ever been sold, but given away for free to fellow Stones fans by the Gassers who produced them.

But still even today,  with three main Stones boards, there is only one Gasland. Yes, a few of the original posters who came over from Stones World have stopped posting, but I know for a fact that they still lurk in Gasland, even if they only show up to post once in a blue moon. We did lose one of our original Gassers, Honest Man, to cancer in 2002.

To this date people still ask me how many hits does Gasland receive a day, or how many people have visited the place since it started out. I never had a counter there, so I can't give any one exact number. But as I write this, my Stones home page,  which does have a counter, has 2,228,579 "hits" from November 15, 1998 to the day that I'm  writing this -  March 9, 2003. But that stat is from only one single page from the domain, my Stones' site home page. Keno.org has had 18 million pages views since the place started, with over a million new views every three months! From studying the domain's logs I can tell you that Gasland receives one third of all the hits that keno.org receives. No question, there are many more lurkers than there are posters in Gasland. That's really the case for most web boards, people like to read 'em but are afraid to post to them. But since Gasx3 does have a good number of regulars who will always post, I can say that if your one of the those lurkers (and if you read this far into it's history, you must be), well, we posters will keep the crazy stories going for you to read, for a long, long time to come! If you do care about the place I ask that you read about the next chapter that Gasland is taking on, because we do need the support of all posters and lurkers, click on here to learn more.

Well, I hope all of you who were not around in our early days got a better idea of how this place came about. To those of you who have been here since the old days of StonesWorld, I'm glad you still call this place your Stones home on the Net!...... But look out cyberworld, It's a Gas, Gas, Gas is still growing!

--Keno 2003

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