Although not a WebTV user himself, Anthony is in every sense a WebTV Hero in his own way. But what is the story behind the Star Boulevard Transloader? Well you're about to find out!
Anthony, as he is commonly known around the Internet, is the programming genius behind the popular Transloader. His real name is Pai-tung Chu. He lives in the capital of Taiwan, Taipei City. He was born in 1963, which makes him 36. He is also a Pisces.
Anthony works for Tatung Co. as a senior programmer, "One of my major jobs is implementing various software programs for Tatung's computer product lines." he states. Two years ago there was a project in Tatung to design a Network Computer very much like the WebTV Terminals we use today. In order to understand the system of these types of machines (Network Computers) he tried to find something similar to what they were working on finding WebTV.
WebTV Networks do not sell their settop terminals in Taiwan. Even if Anthony were to buy a WebTV from the United States or Japan, he would have to dial international long distance to use it as the service is not even available there.
Although unable to have a hands-on interaction with an actual WebTV Internet Terminal, he did, however, exchange email with many employees including WebTV System Engineer, Andrew Levin.
Josh Allen, former editor-in-chief for Club WebTV, talked with Anthony in April of 1998 for an announcement in Club WebTV, thus officially announcing the Transloader to the WebTV Community. WebTV is still involved with the workings of the Transloader as he was contacted by Clarrisa and Anthony from WNI.
I asked Anthony if he was awarded any compensation for his work, but all he said he got was a "Thank You' note from WebTV Networks-not even a product from the WebTV store, such as a jacket or shirt.
While the Transloader was at GeoCities, many challenges arose, including a change to CGI, which the Transloader uses to work its magic. Amazingly, GeoCities also turned turned down Anthony for a Community Leader position, even though the TGAs (Transloader Guardian Angels) were formed at GeoCities and even had their own message board there.
The Transloader is used between 50,000 to 60,000 times a day, moving files from 10KB to 30KB to even occasionally into the megabytes. The Busy signal which occurs at some points in the day is the Transloader processing many sessions at once, at which point the system will block requests of new sessions.
If you think that this will not be a free service at some point, you are wrong. The free-service policy will stay files up to 30 KB. However, a new subscription-based release of the Transloader is now available called the TL/2 (Transloader 2), with added features which include unrestricted transfers, multiple FTP transfers and one of my favorites, unzipping. There is a current subscription special running for $25 for one year. Regular price will be $50 a year.
I asked Anthony if there is anything the WebTV community can do for him. "That is a good question. I really don't need any reward from it," he replied. "However, the transload service is owned by Tatung, not me. This means if the Transloader keeps losing money as it did for the past year, the project will eventually come to an end," Anthony says. Which is why he implemented the TL/2 service to at least cover some of the costs of the Transloader.
If there are any transloader-specific problems, he can be reached via email as well as through his message board. Please note that Anthony is a very busy man and may not be able to respond much to email that is sent to him. If you need to reach him do it through the message board.