The National Steamboat Monument
outside Great American Ball Park
Cincinnati, Ohio.

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Although one might think as such, "Dentar" actually has nothing to do with anything dental, despite the fact that caring for our dentist clients is one of our specialties.

Many (non-dentist) people have asked me, "What the heck does 'Dentar' mean?" Here is the story, told by Tom, of a cruel hoax pulled on him during school. Enjoy!

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I went to college. (To me, a long time ago was 1985.)

The Hangout

I spent quite a bit of time in the computer lab at school. These were just big rooms with rows of metal computer tables with dumb terminals on them. These dumb terminals were hooked to a pair of mainframe style systems from a company called Prime. These systems ran an operating system called "Primos" or "PR1MOS" as Prime liked to spell it. These machines were fast for "back then."

The small Prime ran at about .7 MIPS (Millions of Instructions Per Second) and the big one ran at about 1 MIPS. By comparison, an old 50MHz 486 PC with 32MB RAM and 1GB hard disk, is more powerful than these machines were, with maybe 1 Meg RAM and 300MB hard disk. This was in 1985 and these particular Prime machines were built in 1979. Still, at the time, they were considered big, powerful systems. All interfaces to the Prime were dumb terminals with no graphics or windows of any sort. All I had in the dorm room was a TRS-80 Color Computer (or a "CoCo"), so I was fascinated by this "huge" multi-user machine that could have many users at one time. Most of my spare time was spent in the computer lab learning what I could about it.

Who I Met

One day I bought a small reference guide to Prime's BASIC interpreter so I could try to write some cool programs. BASIC was my only language at the time. Some guy sitting next to me saw what I was looking at and said he had several of them for other languages and they were pretty handy. This guy would become one of my best friends after a while, but not yet. He was sort of a schmuck at first. Keep reading...

This guy's name was Jim. Jim was a sophomore and hung out in the computer lab. He had a beer and a bagel every morning for breakfast. He listened to the Dead Kennedys, Devo, the Beatles, Supertramp, Frank Zappa, Lou Reed, Windam Hill records, and a "Mr. Rogers" album he had since he was a kid. I haven't figured the Mr. Rogers thing out yet.

He drove a 1969 Rambler, usually forward. Sometimes, though, he would put it in reverse and drive backwards all the way across campus. Our "favorite" trigger-happy campus security guard, whom we called "Sargeant Slaughter," didn't appreciate Jim's shenanigans very much. Sarge also didn't appreciate the time Jim called campus security to report that someone had broken into his dorm room and stolen all his beer from the fridge.

Jim wore an old white lab coat and ripped-up jeans. Sometimes he would put on this old military surplus gas mask and walk to class wearing it. At other times, he would buy a whole vending machine's worth of bouncy rubber balls and hand them out to unsuspecting passerby as "Polish New Year's" gifts. He also liked to read science fiction, and one of his favorite books was Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Jim of course is still a friend of mine and lives in the Ashland KY area.

He had a little friend named Bob, who still looks just the same in 2005 as he did in 1985. Bob is very high in the list of "nerdiest" of all my friends. Bob loved to take things apart, and he always carried a backpack full of tools. We used to say "Take it apart, Bob! Take it apart!" Now, as for putting things back together, that's a different story. Bob was also rather fanatical about science fiction books, and he also went around shouting the Hitchhiker's cheer, "42!" Bob is still a friend of mine today, and lives in the Cincinnati area.

Jim had a third friend named Mike, who was a senior at the time. Mike hung out in the computer lab too. He was into soccer, role playing games, and the like. Mike is still a friend of mine, and lives in Cincinnati.

More about the "Hangout"

The computer room was a popular place for us geeks to hang out. The Prime computer had networking, instant messaging, ACLs, and email, long before this concept caught on with the general public. This was 20 years ago! Each student who needed computer access had an account on the computer named after them using the first four letters of their last name, then their first and middle initials. For example, Thomas S. Glascock became GLASTS, and James M. Reneau became RENEJM. To get a computer account at the school, a student merely needed to fill out a request form and turn it in to the computing services office. About a week later, you'd have an account with the name you requested, with the last four digits of your SSN as the password.

The instant messaging facility on the Prime made it a popular pasttime for nerds and regular people alike. One person could message someone on the other end of campus, if they were logged into the system. Some people even wrote their own instant messaging programs to facilitiate carrying on a conversation with other people with less effort.

The Evil Plot

One day I received a message from an account named DENTAR. Me being the curious sort, sent a message back to this strange account. DENTAR told me her name was Amanda Dent, and she had been watching me, and thought I was cute. This message was intriguing, but suspicious. So, here, we have someone who supposedly likes me, but, I've always been told if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. In spite of that, she messaged me and I kept talking to her. I never did see her. I was never able to convince her successfully to meet with me somewhere. She was always in a different room at the time, but she had been watching me before.

I actually went in search of this person, because I wanted to meet her. Hey, anyone who thinks I'm cute is worth searching for, because when I look in the mirror, I realize that this sort of thing is only going to happen maybe once every three decades or so. Well, all searches turned up bone dry. Nothing, nada, zip, zilch, bupkis... There was nobody with the last name "Dent" anywhere in town.

The "Cover-Up"

Well, later on, this "Amanda Dent" told me that she could not meet me because, well, she had a boyfriend, and he was the jealous, ex-military, escaped from prison, drug dealer, child molester, mother raping, father raping, mouth breathing, long haired commie, terrorist type and would surely rip my arms off and eat them like shish-kebobs. Well, jeepers, that wasn't very nice of her, to not tell me she had a boyfriend. Why do women always pick losers like that?

Well, by this time, I'm sure you have figured out that Amanda Dent is a figment of someone's twisted and deranged imagination. Who was behind this awful deed? Well, you get three guesses, and all three would be correct! The jealous boyfriend ploy came along when they realized how reprehensible and atrocious their despicable prank had become. This was their feeble attempt to back out of it without fessing up.

...BUT... they didn't get away with it!

The Epiphany

One day I was flipping through a computer magazine dedicated to the TRS-80 Color Computer, when I stumbled across an ad for a computer game called "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." Interesting. My friends Jim and Bob are into that. I normally don't read ads, but I'll check this one out. The ad said, "Suddenly, you're Arthur Dent.." That's peculiar. Someone named Dent, Arthur Dent. Arthur R. Dent... DENT, Arthur R. Hmm. Oh well. Hey... HEY! Arthur Dent!

I then decided what to do...

So, I moseyed on over to Jim's dorm room and invited him and little Bob to go out to the local pizza joint with the porch swings for seats. After we got seated and ordered, I said, "Ok, just WHO is Arthur R. Dent? Hmm?" It floored them. The satisfaction of the bust adorned me like the nice warm sunny breeze adorns a little kitten sleeping beneath the open window in the early autumn. The slimeholes gave me a full confession, including how they pulled off getting the accounts. It was simple at the time. They just filled out a form or two. They filled one out for Arthur R. Dent, and Edward R. Hackenstead, which should have turned out as HACKER, but came back as HACKEN. They used their illegitimate account to pull this dastardly deed on yours truly, who was but a simple naive boy at the time.

FAIRNESS NOTE: To this VERY DAY, Jim maintains that he approached me to confess his deeds unto me.

So, what about Dentar, Inc?

So, how the heck did the business get named after it? Well, it wasn't named directly after it. It was sort of a chain reaction. After the malicious three had pulled their ignoble and depraved shenanigans, I decided to have fun with them (i.e. mess with their feeble brains) a few years later by creating a computer account called "dentar" and sending them messages from it. Naturally, they thought it was funny. The name sort of stuck and I had a habit of using dentar as a computer name. When internet domain names became popular fare, I created I have had since early 1999, and I really enjoy having my own domain, as I have total control of my email and internet presence.

In May 2002, since I already had the domain and had control of it, I used Dentar, Inc. as a name for my consulting and support business.

Interesting Note

Very vew dentists have asked what "Dentar" means. This is likely because they assume that the name has something to do with Dentrix support.

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