It was obvious that we needed a local repository for information about forming a cooperative community network. Within a couple of days, some friends and I put together a simple web site and mailing list. But what to call it?
While sitting on the couch in the living room, logging in to check on something at work, my login fortune struck me as particularly funny, so I read it aloud to my friend Cat:
You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat. -Albert Einstein
Cat quickly replied, "That's what you should call this thing: No Cat." I immediately checked whois and saw that nocat.net was free. That settled it.
NoCat became the central repository for several wireless projects that Schuyler Erle (Perl programmer extraordinaire and wireless sympathizer from O'Reilly), myself, and others had been working on. We put together WRP, a wireless router-on-a-floppy to make setting up a wireless gateway quick and painless. We also started work on the NoCatAuth project, a method for authenticating users to a cooperative network without using any of the built-in (and limited) authentication methods available in the 802.11b specification. We also set up a mailing list for locals interested in wireless. Now that we had a web presence and some information available, we needed a way to connect with people in the local community.