About Us

Pacifier Online and Infinity Internet have been serving your online needs since 1987 when Doug Palin first launched a local BBS. Since then the company has been through many changes and we are now back to our roots so to speak.

In September 2021 after being on the sidelines Doug again acquired the legacy business of Atmosera which included many names that you know. Pacifier, Infinity Internet, Northwest link, TSTOnramp, Proaxis and Easystreet along with a few others.

The Reacquisition of Pacifier

As many of you know Infinity Internet & Easystreet were combined in late 2012, Christmas Eve to be exact was when it officially happened but it was several weeks later before the transactions were announced. The two companies were purchased in independent but concurrent transactions by Seaport Capital, the Columbian newspaper in Vancouver wrote an article about this which you can read here.

The combined company was initially but briefly rebranded as Easystreet and later as Atmosera, there was not another sale contrary to what many people believe. Atmosera was named as such to have a focus on the Cloud services business and continues to do so today.

In September of 2021 Doug Palin the original founder of Pacifier Online acquired the legacy portion of the business from Atmosera. If you ask him he will give you a short and simple answer, “I wanted the pacifier.com domain back, I have email on it, my wife has email on it and so do many family members and friends that I have known for decades. I already get support questions at  the golf course, social events didn’t want to hear the good natured jabs so to speak when the domains are sold off to the highest bidder”.

This acquisition followed casual discussions with Atmosera about the legacy business, Doug was one of a few people that really understood how intertwined the various Infinity acquisitions were. Unlike Easystreet, Infinity had acquired several other companies, some directly and others were acquisitions of acquisition in total there were 21 transactions of various sizes between 1998 and 2012. The Infinity customers had services that crossed into different domains and types of services, splitting things apart would be messy at best. There was several months of consideration that went into doing this by Doug and several discussions with family and friends, many times he was asked why would you do this again to which he repeated his prior statement.

There were several other people that asked are you going to build this up and sell it again, that was not the motivation with this time around. Will we take on new business, well yes in some fashion but our primary focus is migration at the time this article was written. We wanted people to be able to keep their email addresses, many of which have been in place for decades. We know full well what the disruption would be to change an email address and the amount of time it would take. Consider this business like the Bulletin Boards of days past (80’s & 90’s), we are trying to have fun, not trying to get rich from this but help people. This is not meant to sound sentimental just give you an idea of who we are and what we are about.

With the above in mind we are a really small Vancouver, WA based company. We don’t have a large call center staff, we try to keep week day hours, all the calls are sent to voice mail but we strive to call people back as quickly as we possibly can. We have been known to respond after hours both to calls and emails. In return we ask that you leave one voice mail not several or send one email with questions not war dial or email us like crazy, this honestly is counter productive. We will call or respond as quickly as possible. We do monitor the various systems and know likely before you do if there are issues and will address them as quickly as possible.

The Pacifier Online Story

This loose timeline is from the perspective of the starting of Pacifier Online Data Service which started as the Pacifier BBS (Bulletin Board Service) and latter renamed to PODS (Pacifier Online Data Service). This article is being written in January 2022 after a very chaotic few months of server moves, consolidations, upgrades  and of course a billing system deployment.  There is a separate article explaining why Doug Palin came off the bench so to speak to get back in this business after almost nine years after selling Infinity Internet to Seaport Capital in December 2012.

When talking to customers over the last months many have told us they are our oldest customer, we appreciate that and wanted to explain the full history as much of it is complicated and gets lost. While there are some gaps in the timeline given that some of the over 20 companies that were combined acquisitions of acquisitions, some were very small quick integrations that ultimately rolled up to become Infinity Internet and later the combination of Infinity / Easystreet.

May 1987 -

Pacifier starts as a dialup BBS in the Palin family kitchen, this was done solely as a hobby at the time where you could exchange emails both with other local users, the focus was a combination of Commodore 64 programs and MS-DOS programs along with of course emails and Fido Net message boards (Echo Mail to you old timers). The BBS over the following few years ended up adding a few phone lines, initially a second one for the local Vancouver PC Users Group for the exclusive use of the members. It was all free in those days with occasional requests for donations for some new shiny object, faster modems or more disk space. Doug at the time had a small but thriving PC hardware business (they call it IT these days) that in reality supported the BBS and having a young family extra spending cash, his day job was a bench technician for ADP Dealer Services.

The first day the BBS came live Doug’s (very patient) wife sees that the computer is left on when he went to work and well turned it off. The first person he told about the BBS at work tried to call in and well couldn’t. They still joke today about “why do you need that thing on” or “why did you need to buy those floppy disks”.

Late 1980’s and early 1990’s -

The PC Hardware business continued to grow as a side business for Doug and the need came to get more dialup phone lines, while the exact count is hazy it was approximately 4-5 in 1991

The BBS specs at this stage of it’s evolution were something along these lines.

  • CPU: 286 16Mhz
  • RAM: 8MB
  • Disk: 1.6G – The wife started getting fussy when a hole was cut in the wall to run the SCSI cable to the hard disk enclosure with the six 5.25″ full height hard disks on the floor of the garage.

This was in a house near Evergreen Highschool. Eventually a small room was built in the garage to house the growing BBS and hardware sales/service business.

Summer 1990 -

Doug and family move to a new house off Burton Rd in Vancouver, Doug proceeds to take over the basement and Garage for “The Business”. The BBS is very popular, it was up to 5 phone lines and a very expensive phone bill each night making calls at 9600 baud to send/receive email. Ongoing discussions were happening with a friend in Portland and a 9600 baud lease line is installed using two copper pairs from what in those days was PNW Bell (Later US West). This gives us 5 dialup lines and a 9600 baud connection to a friend, this was one of the very first TCP/IP Connections in the Vancouver area. People could dialup to the BBS or Unix system and download files, email, usenet news. This was prior to the World Wide Web coming on the scene and largely still text based.  Shortly after this point a new Graphical BBS software was on the Unix systems call CocoNet, this was an alternative to the AOL/Prodigy which were popular at the time.

Fall 1991 -

Doug is asked to setup a BBS as a consulting project in Kuwait, at this point he is still working for ADP but agrees to go over there for a week and work with them on the project and deploys a BBS over the week he is there. This was an interesting experience five months after the first Gulf War for a young technician from Vancouver.

Summer 1992 -

Doug no longer working for ADP returns to Kuwait for a month and expands their BBS substantially, at the time they had 24 phone lines. Many of the features deployed during this month were implemented, a very easy to use graphical interface.

The Pacifier BBS continues to grow in popularity over the next year and adds a rate for more usage time per day. It quickly becomes obvious there is a growing need for more dialup lines. The BBS and much of the associated systems roughly 4-5 computers are moved to an office space upstairs in a building at Evergreen Blvd and U Street in what used to be a gas station. Not a lot of people knew it was there at the time but the local phone company was there some what frequently adding phone lines.

Fall 1992 -

The World Wide Web hits the scene, Pacifier the BBS is growing adding phone lines but people are asking for dialup SLIP & PPP connections. Doug works on a way to offer both connection types using terminal servers from Livingston, users to the BBS would select option 1 on their screen to go to the BBS, 2 to go to the unix shell. More phone lines are added.

Fall 1994 -

Pacifier is moved to a new location at McLoughlin at F St, the hardware is in the basement of this building in what becomes our offices for several years. This was largely an unmanned remotely managed location, very few people actually came to this location.

Expansion continues adding phone lines and requests to go to other areas that have no providers or limited choices. Some expansion areas were well served but were done for strategic reasons:

  • Portland
  • Astoria
  • Longview
  • Bend
  • Tillamook
  • Salem
  • Seattle
  • Olympia
  • Tacoma

There were times in the coming years that we were adding phone lines or wanting too much faster then the local phone companies were able to keep up. This included Electric Lightwave, Time Warner and several others.  The Vancouver building had at one point over 2,000 phone lines, Astoria close to 600, Portland 500-600 other areas while lesser amounts were all growing quicker then both us the phone companies could keep up which was a common problem with ISP’s at the time. Old timers will remember fast busy signals, this meant in simple terms that the phone companies were congested, they could not complete the calls to our equipment. Ironically guess who got the voice calls to our support number.

Summer 1998 -

US West announces DSL deployment in Oregon and Washington and much like the cables companies excludes the ISP’s from being able to sell customers access over the DSL networks. A group of six local ISP’s also competitors jointly hire an attorney to essentially protest this with the Oregon and Washington utilities commission. The group includes Pacifier, Teleport, Europa, RainNet, Transport Logic & Easystreet. All the ISP’s started adding DSL (Broadband) customers and saw continued growth.

Summer/Fall 1999 -

Doug starts to receive offers to purchase Pacifier from multiple sources, the roll up was starting and all the ISP’s were getting calls during this time as were many other companies in the technology space.

Ultimately Pacifier is sold to Millennium Digital Media at the beginning of 2000 with Doug eventually running the “Western Region” which in reality was Washington, Oregon and Southern CA.

Early 2000 -

Pacifier is now part of MDM iNet which later was eventually rebranded as USNet. At this point the company consisted of several ISP’s to be integrated:

  • NWlink, S.O.S, Snovalley, Europa
  • E-Z.net – acquired by MDM in late 1999, based in Vancouver
  • Summer 2000 – Proaxis is acquired and joins the growing company

In the Eastern region were:

  • US.net
  • One Net Communications

Fall 2000 -

  • TST Onramp in Pomona, CA is acquired and joins the growing company, TST on it’s own had done acquisitions.
  • Infinity Internet (iinet.com in Temecula, CA), prior to iinet.com being started the domain was owned by Jim Maxey but likely was let expire.
  • Jovanet
  • Greenheart

Summer 2001 -

Doug leaves, largely this was to take some time off and figure out what was next. Still a young family with two kids in middle school and two toddlers running around, still the patient wife at home he is given a honey do list which is wrapped up in short order. The patient wife confused tells him he does not have to do it all at once, having had a pace that was always on the go this was a foreign concept lots of golf was a distraction for a while.

Spring 2002 -

Doug acquires back his old company and most of the rest of the region he managed. The company never was fully integrated into a single  platform so to speak, efforts are started to combine multiple billing systems and server platforms for the various “brands”. This included moving several offices.

Spring 2003 -

The new company in the process of branding itself as Infinity Internet, we have been asked why. Well we had the domain and it seemed like a good idea at the time to use one name.

Infinity acquires or really takes over the lease for a Data Center in downtown Portland, almost 11,000 sqft of space. This allowed us to expand and grow our co-location and managed service business.

The data center, managed servers continue to grow very rapidly through 2008. We were adding customers to the data center in various flavors weekly or more often. Not quite as crazy as the dialup days but instead of phone lines being our commodity power and cool take their place.

2008/2009 -

The economy essentially crashes and all the small startups essentially went away. Ironically the data center business continued to grow through the next  several years but at a much slower pace. A building was purchased to be the next data center location near the Portland airport, some work was strategically done on this building to prepare it for an anchor customer and be operational inside of 6 months when needed.

2012 -

After ongoing discussions with Seaport Capital both Infinity and Easystreet were acquired by Seaport, the transactions were independent of each other but happened minutes apart. Doug leaves again after doing some network design and contract negotiating to play golf and do some consulting.

2013/2014 -

Easystreet and Infinity are initially rebranded as Easystreet and later Atmosera and begin to focus on the data center and Cloud business.

2020 -

Atmosera ends support for it’s DSL customers and converts most of the accounts to email only. The only remaining access service is dialup, yes we really still have dialup customers.

2021 -

Atmosera sells it’s data centers to Digital Fortress at the beginning of 2021.

September 2021 -

Following casual joking by Doug with Atmosera Management over a few years he purchases the remaining legacy business and a series of planned migrations begin to upgrade and modernize the infrastructure which largely has not been touched in 10-15 years, the 2002/2003 design worked well with only minor upgrades. It still resides in the same data center and has been reduced to a couple of cabinets with more planned efforts already under way.

The rest has yet to be written, we are much smaller then we were in the early 2000’s, there are just a few of us at this point. This history or timeline was written to provide some details, we frequently hear from customers that have become friends over the years and we enjoy catching up. We are here to help and know you have been around since the beginning. Occasionally we hear from the BBS users or those that came to the Giant Computer Garage Sales we had in the garage, it seems like so long ago but it has been a really fun ride to this point. Time will tell what the next chapter holds.

This article was written from the perspective of what I was involved in through the years, I have made many great friends over that time some I am still in touch with and others I hear from on occasion and others who I have lost touch with. If any of the 25 or so ISP’s that were combined over time to become Infinity have details you want to share I welcome them. I plan create a separate page on the various brands at some point.