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Brad Templeton's Home Page

Brad Templeton's Home Page

[Picture of Brad Templeton in front of highway sign]
Me at the now-vanished "Templeton: Next 3 Exits" sign on U.S. 101 (1993)

Welcome to my web home page -- a collection of my various essays on technology topics, comedy, my software, my popular amateur photography sub-site, and of course, an exercise in net.narcissism. Also found here are sites for some of my famous family members, with two books and a comic series.

I also have a Blog called Brad Ideas.

ClariNet

You may know me because I was the founder and software architect of ClariNet Communications Corp., the world's first ever ".com" company (by which I mean a business based on the internet rather than one like uu.net which sold connectivity itself) and which was also the net's first and for a long time largest electronic newspaper. I founded ClariNet in 1989 in Waterloo, Ontario with the crazy idea of trying to make money publishing professional information over the net and to the net audience. It came to take up almost all my time. It became by far the largest paid subscription base on the net, and then In June of 1997, I sold ClariNet to Individual, Inc. which also publishes online news.

I also have short bios for press and conferences.

I left ClariNet in 1998 after Individual merged with Desktop Data to form Newsedge Corporation. Newsedge's strong focus on business news delivery is the right strategy, but I decided to take a new direction. Since then I've done various part-time projects, including a founding role in Topica and investment and advising for a variety of startups. In addition to the nonprofit boards listed here, I'm also on the technical advisory board of BitTorrent Inc., commercializing the most popular large file publishing software on the net. My current commercial project is writing and consulting about robotic cars including advising the team building these at Google. I'm also a frequent conference speaker.

Interviews

There have been lots of interviews with me in various magazines and web sites over the years, but the on-web copies tend to vanish with time, so just do a web search for "brad templeton interview" to find ones still around. You can also read how I was one of the plaintiffs in a suit against Janet Reno to stop the Communications Decency Act. I used to have a page of other press mentions of me, but as noted only a few of the links inside it are alive.

Robocars

In the naughties, I became fascinated with self-driving cars; first because they are a super-cool technology, but later because my research revealed the truly immense numbers around cars that will be changed. I decided they would be one of the largest comptuer-driven disruptions of the near future. I have made a large series of essays about them as well as a robocar blog. I've been giving talks around the world and consulting for Google's team.

Electronic Frontier Foundation

I'm on the the Board of the EFF, the leading foundation protecting liberties and privacy in cyberspace. (I was chairman from 2000 to 2010.) You've probably heard of the EFF, and perhaps think that because of how it was founded that it's funded by rich benefactors. Today it stands on its own and needs the support of members and donors large and small.

(Begin beg break)

If you support what the EFF is doing to protect freedom of expression, privacy and civil rights online, then do something about it. Visit the EFF Web site, and at the very least join. If you can, donate -- funds are urgently needed right now. The past couple of years have been terrible for charity fundraising due to the market and it's hurting us. If, like some high-tech folk, you still have stock with unrealized capital gains, ask about the stock-donation program that can get you up to a double deduction on your taxes.

Please read my letter about supporting the EFF.

(End beg break)

Foresight Nanotech Institute

I am also on the board of the non-profit Foresight Nanotech Institute, the leading advocacy and watchdog group for molecular nanotechnology, founded in 1986 by the field's pioneers. We also focus on futurism and AI.

Singularity University

In 2009, a new school designed to offer a multi-disciplinary graduate program about the coming 5-15 years of exponentially changing technology was created. Founders included Google, Autodesk, Cisco, Genentech, Nokia, Kauffman, Peter Diamandis of the X-Prize and inventor Ray Kurzweil, as well as NASA Ames, where it's hosted.

I chair the program on computing and networking. The summer program is a real trip, with 80 fantastic students from 35 countries, and we also do shorter programs through the year both locally and around the world. It's at SingularityU.org

rec.humor.funny

You may also know me because I started the net's most widely read newsgroup, rec.humor.funny. RHF is a moderated newsgroup devoted to comedy. Each day, what people estimate are a half million readers send in the lastest (and not-so-latest) jokes they have heard. The moderator picks just the very best and sends them back out the newsgroup. I edited it until 1992, and then passed that task on to Maddi Hausmann, who was followed in 1995 by Jim Griffith who ran it until the late 2010s. I maintain it now, though it's in disrepair. A rec.humor.funny home page describes some of my adventures as one of the first people to be banned on the net. RHF articles continue to be the most widely read thing on the internet and USENET today.

For a few years I also did the same thing on the GEnie online service, known as the TeleJoke Round Table. That stopped in 1993.

In its way, rec.humor.funny was also what led to the creation of ClariNet. Due to RHF and other matters, we sued the Justice Dept. to get the Communications Decency act declared unconstitutional, and we won in the supreme court.

I've also published several jokebooks with material from rec.humor.funny. These can still be ordered, and you can find out about them here.

I've also released a new compilation of the very best from those books, plus some more in The Internet Jokebook from Peer-to-Peer publishing.

Science Fiction Publishing

I'm also a science fiction publisher. In 1993, in a venture into electronic books, I published what was (and as far as I know still is) the largest anthology of current fiction even published.
The Hugo and Nebula Anthology 1993 contains the complete contents of all of the nominees for the Hugo award that year, plus all the short fiction nebula nominees. These are SF's top awards. The anthology, which is available on CD-ROM (and was available on the net for a time) contains all the novels, all the art, all the other fiction and fan material, plus author photos and videos and a hypertext annotated edition of one of the Hugo winners, A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge.

Brad Templeton, recently.
(At Lake Yellowstone, '98)

My History, Software & Articles

I'm also still very active on the net, and am one of the few brave souls from the early days to still take an active role, though sometimes I wonder why. I joined my first Arpanet mailing list in 1979, and started reading USENET in the spring of 1981. Later that year, Henry Spencer and I, in two independent efforts, made USENET's first international links, bringing the net into Canada. (I was born near Toronto in 1960 and grew up there, moved to Waterloo, Ontario for 13 years then moved to Silicon Valley in California in the 90s.)

Please note most new essays show up in Brad Ideas, my blog.

I've been working with the net for a long time and have tried to help it grow. I've written a variety of software tools related to the net, including:

Software For Download

Below you will find more about the software I've written and designed.

Law & Online Issues

Usenet and Internet

Satire & Comedy

Futurism

Technical

Other

Photography

Note that I have a full secondary website for my panoramic and general photography, which is my biggest hobby.

Did I originate "dot?"

If I really did it, probably the thing I did that became the most famous was being the first to suggest that internet addresses be in the form site "dot" toplevel-domain, a convention that has now become recognized all around the world.

Software Development

I also proposed and developed the trial newsgroup system for creating newsgroups -- an alternate to "voting" that was approved in 1991, but alas that's when ClariNet took over my life and the work was never followed through on.

In my early days in the microcomputer industry, I started out as the first employee of Personal Software Inc., which you may know by its later name of VisiCorp.

PSI/VisiCorp was the first big applications software company of the microcomputer industry -- bigger than Microsoft for a while. Through them, and through other software publishers, I also wrote the following software products:

  • Time Trek -- one of the first "Star Trek" like games for Commodore Pets,
  • Checker King for the PET, Apple ][ and Atari 400/800,
  • Microchess's graphics engine for the Atari 800,
  • The bulk of VisiPlot for the IBM-PC from Mitch Kapor's design,
  • PAL -- a popular (to some people the reference) assembler for the Commdore Pet and Commodore 64, and
  • Power and Power 64 -- a popular utility package for the Pet and 64
  • The earliest arpa address to UUCP path mail alias forwarder,

From 1983 to 1996 I was also president of Looking Glass Software Limited, a canadian software development and publishing company. There I was sole or primary developer on several products, one main one being the ALICE Pascal syntax directed programming environment -- which I've now made freeware for DO It's still the best environment for teaching programming that I've seen -- if I do say so myself. LGS and I Developed:

  • Alice Pascal for the Cemcorp/Burroughs Icon, IBM PC, Unix and Atari St
  • Alice Basic for the Cemcorp/Burroughs Icon,
  • 3-2-1 Blastoff, a spreadsheet compiler add-in for Lotus 1-2-3 (Chosen as one of the top software products of 1988 by PC World)
  • 3-2-1 Gosub, an @function development add-in for Lotus 1-2-3
  • The primary compressor in Stuffit, the most popular compression software -- actually the most popular non-Apple program of any kind -- on the Apple Macintosh.

Interests and Conferences

In my spare time outside the net, I'm involved in photography, writing, acting and singing in amateur theatre. I graduated from the University of Waterloo, and was for 12 years an active member of the FASS Theatre Company there.

I'm also active in Science Fiction Fandom, attend tons of conferences regularly including USENIX, The World Science Fiction Convention, Asilomar Microcomputer Workshop, Hackers, Kinnernet, DLD, Computers Freedom and Privacy, Foresight Nanotechnology conference and various others. (I have lots of frequent flyer memberships.)

Other interests include music, astronomy, cryonics, film, government, philosophy and politics, bicycling, debate and hiking. I even got to have dinner "with" the President of the United States once.

Personal Data: Born in 1960 to Charles Templeton (1915-2001) and Sylvia Murphy. Family: Tax law expert Mike Templeton, comic book artist Ty Templeton and TV producer/host Deborah Burgess. [Unique Family Portrait].

Contact Me

But not about certain topics, I'm afraid. So please:
  • I don't have time to answer all the copyright questions people send, so if you send one you will get no reply. I feel bad about it but that's how it has to be. Yes, this really means you.
  • No, I don't "trade" links, or sell them. I will accept sponsorships not done for SEO.
  • I'm at btm@templetons.com

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