Memory Lane


ADSTONE was our original name. That company was created by a man named Edward Val of Farmingdale, NY in 1978. The business involved placing advertisements over urinals - "Guaranteed to be Seen" was the company logo. Ed discovered an early the problem of vandalism and sought out a tougher material for his advertisements. He decided to look around the monument trade and folks who dealt with granites - especially diorite (Black granite.) He met me, Joe Auricchio, Jr. in 1979.

I was working at a retail store named Holy Family Monuments - my dad's store. I worked with dad selling monuments a couple days each week. I also had a small shop and did cemetery inscriptions work the remainder of the week. But my passion was designing and a new fangled thing called computers. In 1979, computer aficionados used their computers to network. The ancient systems were hardly 64K and had no real storage. I, along with my brother Frank, early in 1977 created a BBS (Bulletin Board Service) called Stone Guys BBS.  It had 2 modems and ran at under 10 baud.

Ed sold me on the idea of urinal advertising and ADSTONE was born. AD for advertising and STONE for Stone Guys BBS. But sales were thin and eventually Ed dropped the project. My brother agreed with Ed and ADSTONE would had vanished had not I decided to use the name for a separate BBS by that name. ADSTONE BBS became a FTP site for my new found love; that of drawing monuments on a computer and storing them on the newest inventions - tape drives.

ADSTONE BBS caught the attention of other memorial designers and a few artists. With new CAD programs coming into being - KeyCAD, AutoCAD and VersaCAD in particular, and the invention of the PC things got really interesting. There was a need for a designer's FTP site - awkward as dial-up at 6 baud was. ADSTONE BBS soon swallowed up Stone Guys BBS and ADSTONE became a public dial-in service. Perhaps the very first to permit members to dial-in and jump over to the GTE net and what was known at the time as the DOD ARPnet. A joint military and Ma Bell invention that later would be called the Internet. Public dial-up was invented. And ADSTONE started to take on volunteers who later became employees. It is worth mentioning here that all this was more a hobby than a business. We have kept that non-profit model ever since.

When in 1981, I took ADSTONE from a file transfer service to a full scale Internet presence. Those were wild days, to be sure. It took us (and everyone else in networking) years to grasp the meanings and methods of what we were doing. The old BBS style of systems communication died very hard. For years we were an unregistered dot com simply because we didn't understand that the Internet had a central processing station that handed out domains and domain names. This was the Internet, we figured, who are they to tell us or give us or SELL us a piece of  cyberspace? Essentially, through the 1980's we remained a call in BBS. After all, it was just a hobby we all shared.

Eventually, my staff and I needed to begin dividing up our services. We felt that we had lots of time but we knew one day ADSTONE could not justify being the World's Stone Network if it also was the monument trade's network, a local dial-up, a game presence, an e-trade firm and so many other things we eventually grew into. We needed to take our first love - memorialization - and break it free from ADSTONE. But what were we to call it? Finally in 1994, when we did actually make the break, I told the story of Gem Rock to my staff and offered the new service to be named in memory of the "revolution." ADSTONE BBS became The rest is, as they say, history also.

But, of course, there's always more. During the turn of the century, a whole other trade began to recognize the value of obtaining vector designs - fabricators especially saw the value. Add that to cabinet makers, glass and garden stone designers and graphic artists. My how we have grown! One (nameless) fabricator did not like the implication of the name gemROCK involved with the "electric" Internet. And he hounded me about it for over a year. I was completely deaf to his arguments until he offered to the archive over one million drawings. It took about 5 seconds for me to change our public name to during May of 2001.
At least I don't come cheap!

Our name changed to MyDrawingBoard when all the dust cleared.  GemRock is fossilized now, it no longer exists.  ADSTONE also.  MyDrawingBoard is now fully a non-profit archive.  A memory of transition, pioneering and fancy. Whatever tomorrow holds is up to you.

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Copyright 2001 MyDrawingBoard