Well, I would be surprised if anyone had not heard of a BBS… Bulliten Board Systems were the internet before there really was a public internet. And had a relatively long life span (Over 20 years). And in the very late 80’s and early 90’s I operated my own three line Chat BBS system, running on BBS software from Oracomm. Great software, totally flexible and inexpensive. The BBS I ran, had two phone lines, and a console line, where I could get onto the BBS and do my system operator work, we were called SysOps, and there were ASysOps as well, Assistant System Operators. Pretty much all done for free, and the BBS operator usually covered the phone line costs. Unless the people on the BBS were kind enough to donate to the cause.
The name of my BBS was “BorderTown” BBS (ORA182), located in Sunny San Diego, just next to the border of the USA and Mexico. But I really named my BBS after a book series that I liked – BorderTown
After a while it got to be too much hassle to operate, We had over 2000 people who had signed up for an account, and I was paying it out of my rather meager salary at the time. I felt unappreciated… what I got tired of was people demanding stuff for free beyond what I was providing. Plus for me it was a hobby, not some money making venture. So I pulled the modems from the wall, and turned the system off. It had become no fun.
I have found a documentary about BBSes and the pre-internet hobbyists. Who wound up influencing the internet we now have.
It’s in 8 parts, I’m watching the first as I write this blog.
Part 1 of 8: BAUD
Part 2 of 8: SysOps and Users
Part 3 of 8: Make it Pay
Part 4 of 8: FidoNet (not a dog network)
Part 5 of 8: Artscene
Part 6 of 8: HPAC
Part 7 of 8: No Carrier
Part 8 of 8: Compression
I think the history of computing is important to understand where we may be going with computing in the future.