What is a Holobyte?

The short answer, a password.

Back in 2002, I registered a company called Holobyte Pty Ltd so that I could directly contract IT services. I used it for this purpose for about ten years, and now continue to maintain it for my personal use.

But why the name Holobyte? A bit of a long story…

Back in the 80’s, my father was working with a group of entrepreneurs on a number of projects in Western Australia. They named the group WA High Technology Ventures (WAHTV).

Their primary venture was to develop an electronic document management system based on microfiche, liquid toner and high-definition electronic film. This might sound like an odd thing to do but at the time, floppy disks and early hard drives had very limited storage and were not suited for high resolution images. One of the members of the group held many patents covering the technology they were going to use (a guy named Harry Spence-Bate). I was told the technology was originally developed for the US Space Lab project to assist with photographing Russia’s military establishments from orbit. The company they formed (Vital Technology Ltd), listed on the Australian stock exchange in 1985. WAHTV was involved in many other ventures with Rothwells (original venture capital provider) and at one point they were introduced to a company in Iowa, USA who were developing an optical computer for high-speed machine vision. They were using the fourier-transform at the mid-point of an imaging lens and lasers to find defects in three dimensional objects. That company was called Global Holonetics Corporation (GHC). WAHTV acquired a controlling interest in GHC shortly after. I was only a teenager at this time, just out of school and very interested in all things computing. All this talk of lasers, robots, holograms, satellites and computer vision was all very intriguing to me. What GHC was doing at the time seemed like science-fiction to me.

Sadly, all of these projects came to an end shortly after the Black Monday stock-market crash in 1987 and the subsequent collapse of Rothwells.

In 1986, I’d started studying at Curtin University and for the first time in my life, I needed to choose a computer password for an account so that I could log into the Vax mainframe for my first general computing unit. I don’t remember if it had to be exactly 8 characters or just a minimum of eight. I wanted to use the word holonetics but it was longer than it needed to be so I decided on “holobyte”, a mashup of holonetics and kilobyte. Back then, there were no controls forcing a regular password change, or a requirement to include special characters to make a password complex. Holobyte was my one and only password for every system I used for well over ten years.

Having committed that word to memory for so long, it was a no-brainer to use it as a company name as it didn’t exist in the dictionary, it wasn’t registered as a business and the domain was available.

It’s use as a password is long gone given the current complexity requirements in play everywhere (and for good reason, of course).