How was murdered is dead.

It was murdered, without a shred of mercy, on Monday, September 23, 2002, between 10:12 and 10:17 EDT. No apologies have been offered since.

The last email it successfully received was at 09:04:20 EDT, followed by eternal silence.

May it rest in peace.

[ I can now be reached at ]

The story

Abacom is an Internet Service Provider (ISP) located in Sherbrooke, where I live. Founded in 1995, it was known at the time as the best ISP in town, with good service, competitive prices and enough phone lines for its customers (so that the line was seldom busy). Of course, this is the provider I chose when I got on the Net in 1996.

When I switched to cable in 2000, I still kept an account with Abacom, since my email address had become much too dear to me to let go of. I opted for a pay-as-you-go plan, with 25 hours for 25 Canadian dollars (about 17$USD). Considering that I almost never needed the PPP service (I just wanted the POP3 account), I figured 25 hours would keep me going for quite a while.

In June 2001, Abacom canceled my account because it was deemed inactive, as I hadn't logged in via PPP for months. There was no warning or grace period. I was shut out, and email started bouncing -- I was simply no longer a customer. I tried to talk it over, and was told that the plan I had was no longer available anyway, so I'd need to get a monthly plan starting at 9.50$ CDN per month. (With a minimum of three months, since I was a new customer.)

We finally got to an agreement, since iMars, the people I work with, had a server hosted there. This allows us a few additional email addresses, so we pulled back from the dead.

Then, on Friday, September 20, 2002, we had to pull our server out, due to budget constraints. We had completely forgotten about the matter at this point, but Abacom certainly didn't forget, and shut down the account once more the following Monday. Again, no warning was issued.

This time, there was no other option than forking out 99$ CDN (65$ USD) every year for a PPP account, even though I only needed the POP3 account. I tried proposing that they simply forward my mail somewhere else (which would only require one line in their sendmail config), but no compromise was possible. It was either pay or get out.

I walked away.

The grief

Yes, I'm quite pissed off.

I never really gave a thought about the fact that I could lose my email address up to this point. To me, it had become as real as my given name, as important as my phone number. It was no longer something I had, but something I was.

If you try looking up my real name or my username on Google, you'll see, as if it were my second identity.

Now, I have to go back and erase six years of history as best as I can. How could I remember all the websites I registered on? How many people now have my old address? How many will still have my old address a year from now?

This would all be a little easier to swallow if it weren't for the lack of any sympathy from Abacom. After seven years of patronage, five being a direct customer, and having spent over 800$ CDN (pre-tax) during this time, I would have expected something in response. Instead, it seemed as if they couldn't be bothered to do anything.

The details

Here follows a chronology of

June 1995
Account created on LISPACC, a local BBS that provides email through an ISP. I become for a short while.
September 1995
LISPACC is now dealing with new-born Abacom as its gateway. Plans are initially made for, but I finally end up as
May 1996
Abacom's usenet gateway isn't doing its job; unaware, I keep posting for a month before I'm told. Never again will I trust an ISP's news server.
September 12, 1996
LISPACC closes and migrates its customers to Abacom. Thus is born.
September 18, 1996
First public mention of (hidden in my signature).
November 1996
I find out I have a personal web space on Abacom.
Early 1997 (?)
My online documents are deleted; I wasn't really supposed to have web space, as I'm still officially a LISPACC customer.
June 1997
My paid access with LISPACC expires; I'm now a real customer.
August 2000
Having moved to cable, I have my account switched to a pay-as-you-go plan.
June 7, 2001 is shut down, as I haven't logged on with a modem for months. Dealing through iMars, we manage to reactivate the account a few hours later. Whether I lost some mail or not, I will never know.
September 23, 2002 is shut down without warning. All mail sent to it simply bounces back without any explanation to the sender.
September 25, 2002
Attempts to negotiate a deal with Abacom fail. Regretfully, I declare to be dead.
September 27, 2002
This page (once hosted at is created to document these facts.

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