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30 January 1974|
|Employer||Tasman District Council|
|Known for||Creator of Vorb.org.nz|
2007 Cycling Champion of the Year
Vorb website awards
NetGuide People’s Choice Awards 2007, 2008 and 2009;
Most Popular Sports - Cycling Website Hitwise Awards, 2005 and 2006
Easton was born in Christchurch on 30 January 1974. Early on in his life, his family moved to Sussex, Great Britain, for long enough for him "to pick up enough of an English accent to get singled out when [he] returned to New Zealand".
In 1981 his family came back to New Zealand and settled in Wellington. Easton attended Clifton Terrace Model School from 1981 to 1986, followed by Wellington High School, from which he graduated in 1991. In 1992 and 1993, he studied at Victoria University towards degrees in Sociology and Education, which he did not finish.
In 1981, Easton got his first computer, a ZX81 with 1 kB of RAM. As he was not able to afford the $16.95 needed to buy tapes of games for the computer, he developed his own games. This started his interest in computers and technology. Easton was online in either 1989 or even 1988 at a speed of 2.4 kbit/s long before many others had heard of the internet.
In the book The Art of Videogames, which explores how philosophy of the arts theories developed to address traditional art works can also be applied to videogames, the author acknowledges Easton as an "invaluable source of gaming discussion".
Easton got into mountain biking in 1993 while living in Halfway Bush, Dunedin. A serious hobby developed out of this, and he saw himself flatting with like-minded people. Having a "tendency to break parts of the bike", he took up employment at the Wellington mountain bike shop 'Mud Cycles', where he stayed until 1999.
In July 2000, Easton set up an email list called “Vaguely Organised – Ride Bikes” to better coordinate social rides with friends. In November 2000, he bought the domain name “www.vorb.org.nz” and set up a small static website hosting some stories and photos of their trips on a dozen pages. It was supposed to be a private site for a circle of friends. Based on feedback and encouragement, Easton transformed the site to a public forum during 2001. In 2004, the site was a finalist in the 2004 NetGuide Web Awards and was receiving 13,000 unique browsers a month.
Easton quit his day job and started working on Vorb full-time at the beginning of 2005. By June 2008, Vorb received 74,000 unique browsers a month.
Vorb has been available for mobile phone browsing since August 2005.
Easton announced his retirement from Vorb in August 2009.
Vorb has an excellent reputation. One commentator, criticising a commercial website built for a government agency, referred to Vorb as the prime example of how to set up an internet forum in a way the target community will embrace it.
Some quotes from the Vorb forum give further insight about the website's reputation, and that the website's reputation is intrinsically interlinked with Easton's reputation:
|“||Tama, what You've done for mountain biking on the web in my opinion is the best thing since oil dampened suspension.||”|
|“||The magic thing about Vorb is that it is a virtual embodiment of an actual community. Most 'online' communities and social networks exist regardless of the technology.
Although Vorb has long had the critical mass so that anybody in NZ who googles a cycling related topic gets a vorb link on the first page, it was a very much a functioning community long before that.
Folks who spend a ferrit stuffed full of cash and just expect a userbase to come along always (I hope) get their just desserts [sic].
The fact that the Cycling community is a little tough to package up and sell to the man has its good and bad points. I think that Vorb has progressed at just the right pace to be something pretty unique in online communities.
Cheers to Tama
- http://www.tdc.govt.nz/pdfs/Newsline-18-Dec-09-web.pdf Tasman District Council newsletter - Easton employed as webmaster, page 4; accessed 10 January 2010
- http://www.vorb.org.nz/the-history-vorb-tama-t81540.html Tama Easton's autobiography on Vorb; accessed 6 January 2010
- "Schooling". Old friends. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
- Tavinor, Grant (January 2009). The Art of Videogames. Wiley. pp. Acknowledgement section (no page number). ISBN 978-1-4051-8789-3.
- http://www.nzsbdirectory.co.nz/NZSB_Sports_Fitness_Equipment.html New Zealand small business directory and travel guide website; accessed 6 January 2010
- http://www.vorb.org.nz/vorb-mobile-launched-t26335.html Vorb mobile launched - article on Vorb website; accessed 9 January 2010
- http://www.vorb.org.nz/tama-retires-from-vorb-t99482.html Tama Easton announces retirement on Vorb; accessed 6 January 2010
- http://www.itamer.com/vorb-mobile-launched/162/ Quoted as an 'excellent site for NZ MTBers'; accessed 9 January 2010
- http://www.mountainbike.orconhosting.net.nz/stuff.htm Vorb presented as a 'very popular NZ MTB site'; accessed 9 January 2010
- http://www.straightstocks.com/current-market-news/the-money-pit-that-is-the-mission-on-website/ Vorb held up as a successful internet forum; accessed 6 January 2010
- http://www.vorb.org.nz/the-history-vorb-tama-t81540-60.html#p1792397 Vorb user quote on Tama Easton; accessed 9 January 2010
- http://www.vorb.org.nz/the-history-vorb-tama-t81540-60.html#p1792370 Vorb user quote on Tama Easton; accessed 9 January 2010
- http://www.vorb.org.nz/official-vorb-the-number-cycling-website-t20276.html 2004 Hitwise award, accessed 9 January 2010
- http://www.vorb.org.nz/vorb-finalist-for-netguide-awards-wins-hitwise-awards-t38039.html 2005 and 2006 Hitwise award, accessed 9 January 2010
- http://www.transfund.govt.nz/publications/land-transport-news/issue-34.pdf Land Transport NZ newsletter, issue 34, page 2; accessed 6 January 2010
- "SPARC Cycle-Friendly Awards Winners Announced". Scoop. 2 November 2007. Retrieved 22 January 2010.
- http://www.vorb.org.nz/which-new-zealand-city-full-homicidal-nutjobs-t100424.html#p2165608 Easton's home town; accessed 10 January 2010
- http://www.tdc.govt.nz/pdfs/Newsline-18-Dec-09-web.pdf; accessed 10 January 2010