Pat Drummond

Pat Drummond

Hi, net-pals! I'm from Saskatchewan, land of big skies, friendly people and cold you can chew. I grew up (no coughs please) in Rosetown, Saskatchewan and moved to Saskatoon to study mathematics at U of S. I got involved in student government by getting elected to represent the College of Arts & Sciences. I mananged to graduated with a B.A. Magna cum laude to the astonishment of all my pals at The Sheaf.

I moved to Ottawa for my first job at the National Research Council. I was known as the "blond mathematician" until I switched to computer programming. This was shortly after electricity was invented. :} The first computer program I wrote was for a PDP-8S (S for slow), the "first minicomputer under $10k". It had 4 KB of memory (RAM) and an old teletype with a paper tape reader for input/output. Really. Every time the folks next door plugged in their coffee kettle, the computer lost it's "memory" and I'd have to reload all the software for about 30 minutes - and start over! I worked for the Communications Security Establishment, part of National Defence, before it was famous. A highlight for me was a trip to Alert, Nunavut, the most northerly inhabited place on earth! In November there is a red glow on the "southern" horizon at noon. I was one of the first women sent to work on the base, even if only for a week. I became a member of the "Order of the Arctic Hare" for having seen one - in the dark.

After some years as a civil servant, I decided to leave and take a different road. I organized a national conference, then got involved in a boat sales and rental management company. During that time, I pursured an interest in photography and had several cover photos published in a national magazine. I also wrote a few short articles about knot-tying and food for a boating magazine - hope I didn't poison anyone!

Boating, sailing, rowing, paddling...

After discovering the Rideau Canal and the Thousand Islands, I took courses in seamanship, piloting, navigation, and weather. The skipper and I have owned a power boat, sailboat, kayak, canoe, and assorted dinghies. We went on a Carribean cruise and charted sailboats in the Virgin Islands and Bahamas. Once the cruising bug bit, we acquired an Aloha sailboat so we could cruise south (aka snowbird cruise). After thousands of miles we returned, and friends were surprised when we said, "Ever good to be back". It was the first time in a year we had seen flat calm water! Even "Skipper" our boat cat stopped falling in after using up 7 of his 9 lives! A few years after returning to shore, I started a boating website - a labour of love which has made me friends around the world.

"Pat's Boating in Canada"

In 1996, I created a Web site called Pat's Boating in Canada. At the time, CPS was not interested in promoting their courses on the web, so I just jumped in with both feet. It's still helping Canadian boaters find the information they need to go boating.

My name in the title ensured that no one mistook it for a government website (they didn't get any boating regulations online until years later!). I immediately started getting email from people across Canada and around the world! The site was featured in Sympatico's Net Life magazine July/Aug 1999. The site and I were also the first "monthly feature" of Ottawa Webgrrls, which morphed into Ottawa Digital Eve.

Online at the National Capital Freenet

In 1993, NCF set up a new Internet service. All you needed was a computer with a 2400 bps modem connected to a phone line and you were connected to an entire community of people. Eureka! My ID was ad995. After years away from computers, I had discovered a new use for them. I emailed for the first time, talked to people in interest-based discussion groups, and searched online databases using "Archie" and "Veronica". The text-based Lynx web browser was all we had to visit websites. You could also connect (Telnet) to other freenets and universities. NCF became one of the world's largest community networks, and was voted Canada's best. By 1996, NCF set up a Web server so members could use graphical browsers Mozaic and Netscape. I coordinated testing and documentation for the new services. (1997 - 2003) "Text" connections and the Lynx browser are unknown to most people today, but both are still available at NCF.CA.

I wrote several chapters of The NCF Survival Guide published for sale in 1994, and gave many seminars to help Ottawans "get connected" to the Internet for the first time. NCF Diary In 1996, I created Pat's Boating in Canada. (Even online, I never get very far from water!)

"The Ice Storm of 1998" forced me to organize the "NCF Home Page Contest" using a borrowed laptop running on a generator in my very cold home! I even arranged for Jim Carroll (author of the 'Canadian Internet Handbook') to be one of the judges. We were without power at home for 9 days in January. (Read my Ice Storm Diary) I coined the phrase "net-slave" around that time.

In it's second decade, NCF became a full-service ISP, so by 2008, former "freenuts" had moved over to Facebook!

Be who you are and say what you feel -- because those who mind, don't matter, and those who matter, don't mind!

PDQ Web Design

I had designed computer graphics on contract and started designing websites quite by accident. I named the new service PDQ Web Design, and learned the wonders of marketing, advertising, taxes, and networking. A background in online communication, small business, computer programming, plus art and photography courses gave me a good start. I often communicated with clients entirely by email and telephone. In my home office, Pepper (boat cat v2 below) sorted everything that landed on the floor! She provided lots of the smiles.


I was a member of the professional associations International Webmasters Association and the HTML Writers Guild, as well as local business groups Osgoode Business Association, Manotick Women's Business Network (MWBN), Rural Womens' Business Network, and Rideau Chamber of Commerce.

Over eight years, with clients from Ontario to B.C., from small clubs to large corporations, I met lots of great people and made new friends. I'm now retired, but the PDQ Library is still around as a references.

The MWBN spurred me to buy a domain for Manotick village, which became the Manotick Directory. By 2000, I had to decide how this venture would pay for itself, and decided I had to charge fees for business listing and ads.

And now...

Business, Web design, computer consulting, and programming, writing, teaching, community networking, and sailing are in the past. I'm retired but continue to do photography, volunteer work, travel, garden, and maintain 2 websites. And I think variety really is the spice of life.