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Thread: Remember Bulletin Board Systems?

  1. #1
    Global Moderator Polemarch's Avatar
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    Remember Bulletin Board Systems?

    I do.

    I was about 13, and didn't have very many friends. But, my dad was a PC power user in a time when most people weren't, so I had been exposed to computers from a very early age. Every time that dial-up modem would beep and beep, then the loud static sound, then more beeping....I'd hold my breath waiting for the loud, long static sound. Then a few lines on my screen. Then more... ... I'm logged in!

    Spoiler: Listen To That Beautiful Sound


    The BBS was basically the precursor of a forum, so it's not shocking that I'm on a forum today. But back in those lonely years before I figured out how to be an extravert and stuff, the BBS was my link to people and worlds, it was my escape from my house.

    Things I did because of a BBS:

    • Made friends, socialized, went places
    • Got a broken heart: a girl I talked to everyday on the BBS chat; I was totally in like with her. We met up a few times IRL, and she wasn't dtf. And by dtf, I think I mean feelings and stuff.
    • Made a good friend. I'd ride the buses to the light rail, and take that all the way downtown (25 miles away). It's a wonder I was allowed to do that by myself at age 14, parents today would never allow that. Met up with my friend and fucked around near the State Capitol at the big outdoor mall, and Old Sacramento.
    • Had self worth

    Do you guys remember BBS's? Are you old enough to?
    We didn't land on Plymouth Rock. Plymouth Rock landed on us.

  2. #2
    Now we know... Asteroids Champion ACow's Avatar
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  3. #3
    Tawaci ki a Gnaska ki Osito Polar's Avatar
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    Yup. I was a BBS sysop for a couple years when I was in high school. I used to be a regular on a bunch of BBSs when I was in college too. 203 and 716.
    "I don't have psychological problems." --Madrigal

    "When you write about shooting Polemarch in the head, that's more like a first-person view, like you're there looking down the sight of the gun." --Utisz

    David Wong, regarding Chicago
    Six centuries ago, the pre-Colombian natives who settled here named this region with a word which in their language means "the Mouth of Shadow". Later, the Iroquois who showed up and inexplicably slaughtered every man, woman and child renamed it "Seriously, Fuck that Place". When French explorer Jacques Marquette passed through the area he marked his map with a drawing of a brownish blob emerging from between the Devil's buttocks.

  4. #4
    fhtagn Rhu's Avatar
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  5. #5
    Sysop Ptah's Avatar
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    I grew up in a home that was host to a 2nd tier Commodore 64/128 pirate board, during the mid eighties to late nineties, so I'm no stranger to BBSs. We had something like 7 or 8 Commodore 64 and 128 machines running on a bank of 5 or so modems (yes, we had that many phone lines coming into our house, distinct from the voice line), all daisy-chained into two 20MB HDDs (which was the shit back then, make no mistake), taking calls (into a queue!) 24/7, for over a decade. My mother was a software pirate and online socialite, my father was an electronics engineer with a penchant for wiring up custom hardware for such things. They were both active in the BBS scene of the time, and friends with many of the area user groups, other sysops and otherwise.

    So, I couldn't have avoided BBSs if I wanted to.

    Not that I wanted to. It was an awesome way to apply and develop the computer/programming skills I'd been developing from earlier in childhood. I remember working with some of the BBS software authors to implement what could best be described as a HTML-like "tagging" system, etc. I remember writing and publishing CBM-DOS and CPM utilties and whatnot to the scene. I remember attending these big meetups which were basically big grill-out warez parties of the day; access to all the software I could ever want, and a scene into which to publish my own. It was golden.

    I met a few people back then who are still friends today. Although I wasn't really in it for the social aspect per se, I had some good times with great people back then.

    ...

    It just clicked the other day that here I am now basically running what amounts to a modern BBS, so I switched my user title to "sysop" in recognition of the influence that time had on my development in life overall.

  6. #6
    Sysop Ptah's Avatar
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    Whoa, shaking out some other memories here...

    It cannot be overstated how much of an imaginatively inspirational movie this was to me, a child at the time:



    Which, later translated (in the early PC era) into me doing pretty much the thing depicted in another scene: hacking into the school system to change grades.



    Oh god, the bliss ... the nostalgia.

    edit: found it


  7. #7
    asl? ;] JollyBard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ptah View Post
    Which, later translated (in the early PC era) into me doing pretty much the thing depicted in another scene: hacking into the school system to change grades.
    Wait, what? How?

  8. #8
    Tawaci ki a Gnaska ki Osito Polar's Avatar
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    I ran a hacked up version of Telegard on my BBS. I started out with a 2400 baud modem, then got a 9600 and a 14.4. After that I had a 56k modem in college after which they basically became obsolete. I used to hang out with other nerds at 2600 magazine meetups which in our area doubled as local BBS meetups. During the Sega Genesis/SNES era we had a local video game store that used to be our hangout spot. The owner had a bad ass Neo-Geo cabinet machine that we all loved to play.
    "I don't have psychological problems." --Madrigal

    "When you write about shooting Polemarch in the head, that's more like a first-person view, like you're there looking down the sight of the gun." --Utisz

    David Wong, regarding Chicago
    Six centuries ago, the pre-Colombian natives who settled here named this region with a word which in their language means "the Mouth of Shadow". Later, the Iroquois who showed up and inexplicably slaughtered every man, woman and child renamed it "Seriously, Fuck that Place". When French explorer Jacques Marquette passed through the area he marked his map with a drawing of a brownish blob emerging from between the Devil's buttocks.

  9. #9
    Now we know... Asteroids Champion ACow's Avatar
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    Sysop
    Which reminds me of the old Bastard Operator from Hell stories....

  10. #10
    Well I'll be. I ran a BBS out of Carlsbad, NM back in the 90's with a 2nd phone line, never imagined there would be others out there. Same as Osito, went right up the modem tech upgrade path until the whole thing became obsolete. I remember everyone's favorite game was a prostitute management game, but I can't remember the name of it.

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