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Kangaroo_Xing.gif (1591 bytes)Kangaroo Koncepts, Inc??  Where did that come from?Kangaroo_Xing.gif (1591 bytes)

Ok, the short answer is that Kangaroo Koncepts, Inc is the name of the company I usually do business under when providing consulting services, or selling software that I've developed privately.  See my projects page for more information on the things I've done under this banner.  How it got it's name is a bit of a twisted path and takes a bit of explaining.

Back in the early days, around 1975, when the Internet was still a government only club (it was called ARPANET then) the Control Data Company (CDC) did a grand experiment called PLATO.  If you've never heard of it, it's worth looking up as it was a system that was way ahead of it's time.  It was designed to be a computer aided instruction system and had a huge library of courseware that taught just about everything under the sun from math, to language, to forensics.  The system was built to allow courseware to be easily built by people who weren't programmers (like most college professors at the time) and was amazingly well designed and easy to use.  It even had terminals with high-res 512x512 graphics, built in slide projectors and connections back to the host computers that were much faster than anything else available at the time.  As a side effect of being a great system for education, it also happened to be very easy to write multiplayer games on, and was one of the places where the first really detailed multiplayer games were born.  Long before home computers became popular, people on Plato already had dozens of multiplayer on-line graphics games to choose from, everything from multiplayer Star-Trek games to multiplayer Dungeons & Dragons.  Another thing that Plato did every well was something called "notesfiles" or just "notes".  The Plato notes system was the forerunner of virtually all BBS, Forum and online discussion groups you see today.  They had a very well designed and easy to use system which many people copied, including myself with my Unix BBS software called "The Connection".  I may talk more about Plato in a later addition to my web page, but for now, let's get back to where Kangaroo Koncepts came from.

One of the systems based on Plato Notes sprung up at Indiana University and was on a system that was easily accessible to a variety of people from local high-school kids on up to IU professors and staff.  The community that sprung up around this incarnation of Notes was really amazing.  Instead of being a tech-talk board, this system was pretty much dedicated to creating science fiction stories of various kinds.  Every person on the board had created a small group of characters that had an amazing level of detail.   This included such things as a space pirate that traveled the galaxy in a starship that looked like a four masted schooner, a "Dr. Who" style character that traveled in a Tardis that was stuck in the shape of a coke machine, and WEM the unknown, who was good friends with a race of six-foot tall intelligent penguins who lived in a secret base underneath Chicago.  These characters were shared back and forth by all the writers, and a great deal of high quality collaborative fiction was written based on them.  It was a combination of a fun way to chat and a great way to get experience writing.

So what does all this have to do with Kangaroo Koncepts?  Ok, just a bit more detail.  It happened that my character in this science fiction universe ended up as a passenger on a otherwise totally disserted 30 mile long starship with a self-aware computer named Melissa.  While rambling around the universe, the ship happened to run across a planet populated by highly evolved Kangaroos and took on a crew of several hundred of them.  They took part in many adventures with the rest of the characters other people had developed over time.

Ok, so you're probably starting to see where this is headed...  When it came time to create a company I tried several fairly pedestrian names and every time I tried to register them they always came back denied because they were already in use.  So I finally got frustrated and came up with Kangaroo Koncepts, Inc. figuring nobody would have tried something like that yet.  I was right, it got accepted without a single other company name even coming close.  After the fact we came up with a lot of good tie-ins including giving away Australian pennies (with Kangaroos on them), referring to our products as "one jump ahead" and lots of other stuff.  The name has served me well over the years, and frequently has made it much easier to get "in the door" at big companies because there's always someone who just has to call you back to find out what a company with a name like that is up to.  But in the end, the source of the name was from some creative fiction written in the late 70's about traveling the galaxy in a 30 mile long spaceship crewed largely by kangaroos.  It may be a little weird, but that's my story and I'm sticking with it!

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