This month’s episode is going to be late. Indeed, there is a chance it won’t appear for a while. I encountered an opportunity to start a class that has consumed a lot of my free time. As such, we’ve not been able to pull a show together. This is my first podcast and, well, it seems to take a lot more effort than I would have thought.
I think the show needs to be re-tooled if I expect to continue doing it. I have a few ideas in mind that I think will work but I need time to pull that together.
We’ve received amazingly positive feedback about the show and I am both heartbroken and embarrassed that it’s in jeopardy. However, I do sometimes over-commit myself and this is one of those times.
What always excited me (Mike) was when BBSs got a mention anywhere in the mainstream media. It really didn’t matter. To me, more callers meant more conversations and more fun.
Computer Chronicles, a pretty famous show on PBS (in the US) about computers and technology, seemed to air sporadically on WYES in New Orleans. I never saw very many episodes of it because I never really figured out the schedule.
As such, I never saw the linked episode below until pretty recently. You can see a slight sense of wonder on the hosts faces, like this idea of BBSs and how people have become so attached to them is just a little wild. Of course, we know how powerful BBSs are but not everyone did back then.
This is an interview-only episode of Electric Dreams. Today’s guest is Ken Gagne, prolific blogger, podcaster, and dedicated fan of the Apple II and Apple II community. Join us as we reminiscence about calling and running BBSs.
Special thanks to Kasatochi who has some awesome chiptune remakes of popular songs! Go there!
New England SysOp Association
32 Beaver Street
Salem, MA 01970
Well, I began my BBS’ing before I even owned a computer by leeching off of my friends, oh about a dozen years ago, maybe more. Well back then we were calling BBS’ with 300 baud, 2 floppies, 6 message bases, and a scant few files to download. This was great, back then. Oh the times have changed drastically in just one short decade. I believe technology always makes jumps and leaps, then idles for a while. We are in one of those idle times right now I think, but we are about due for another leap. Well, until that leap comes, and we prepare ourselves for a whole new world of BBS’ing we still need something solid for a BBS program.
I have seen, used, called, set-up, and ran, dozens and dozens of different BBS programs. They have always intrigued me. Even when I did not have a BBS program up and running I would set them up and see how they looked. Well I can safely say I have never found one that did everything I wanted it to do, the way I wanted it to do it. Well, that’s what brings me to writing this file. I have asked many sysop’s and users about BBS’s, what they think is better, what they think is best, and what they want to see. Here is an overview of what I have learned through my own adventures, and through the eyes and ears of other people.
-Messages should be available to read right at logon, just the new ones though.
-Not enough BBS’ let you scan for new MAIL/MESSAGES at logon.
-Not enough BBS’ have a full screen editor.
-Most full screen editors are too &%@*#$ up!
-A lot of BBS’ keep 100’s of messages stored, which is a bummer for NEW USERS.
-More BBS’ should use OFF-LINE message readers and repliers. Blue Wave is cool.
*To date “MAJOR BBS” has the best MESSAGE HANDLING I have seen. It is simple, quick, and very configurable. (it does not, however, give you the option of scanning for new messages at logon)
-File X-fers HAVE to be simple, but effective or I won’t bother calling.
-File areas should have a (D)ownload New Files Option at logon.
-Too many BBS’ collect crappy files just to make their file area(s) bigger.
-A lot of BBS’ s use KEY-WORD searching, but noone ever puts in KEY-WORDS!
-A file system should allow for (F)lagging downloads while you are scanning the files.
-They should decide on one standard protocol to use, and use it.
*To date the best file transfer system I have used in on a PC-Board (I don’t know if this was the standard file section for PC-Board or not)
-Door’s should be written so that ANY BBS can run them, regardless of what BBS it is.
-Too many 3rd party developers. Why don’t the BBS AUTHOR’s write some DOORS!
-Not enough people write for compatibility these days!
-Flash games are AWESOME! I’ll pay for those!
-We need more FLASH GAMES!
-Some of the SMALLER BBS programs need to support FLASH GAMES also!
-They need to decide on ONE STANDARD DOOR INFORMATION FILE like “DOOR.SYS”
*I agree with all of the above here.
Well that’s about it. I hope this helps you in some small way, with a decision or something along those lines. It is always better to ask a large number of people questions, choose the best answers, and go with the flow.
It turns out that Jeff was recently rummaging through a box that contained the contents of an old desk drawer from way back in 1995. Inside that box, along with an 8-bit ISA SCSI and 8-bit ISA 10-Base-2 Ethernet card, was a clipping from an April 1994 issue of Computer Shopper magazine. The clipping contains a Computer Shopper columnist’s review of the Animation Station BBS.
Some minor details are incorrect, like the misspelling of the owner’s name, and are not worth mentioning. Attached to this post is a JPG scan of the actual article. Just click on the image to load a full size version of it.
Animation Station BBS Review from the April 1994 Computer Shopper magazine
I just got back from a long weekend trying to call BBSs on as many 8-bit machines as we could. We had some successes, one partial success and one outright failure. The dream is to document all of this to make it really simple for anyone to get their vintage hardware ready to call telnet hosted BBSs.
I’ll list the machines we tried under their final result. We’re not done. This is just the beginning. I’ll detail more in our next episode.
Apple IIGS (technically a 16-bit!)
Apple IIc Plus
Mike listens to a lot of podcasts. He is, therefore, influenced by so many that a lot of the “ideas” he used in Electric Dreams are in-use or are pioneered in other podcasts. Episode 0 has one homage. Can you pick it out?
And since this is usually the follow-up question, here are the podcasts that Mike listens to regularly. (Note: All links go to a podcast’s feed for easy subscribing!)