Saturday, November 13, 2010

Diving for vintage...

Didn't take much diving to find this piece of networking history.  Before the www. came into existence, there were BBS's.  BBS stands for 'Bulletin Board Systems.

It is hard to describe to those who had not seen one and especially those who have only experienced the internet as we know it. The following link gives you an example of the simplicity of a BBS.  It is actually a BBS still running.  Amiga and Commodore users called "Lemoners" are dedicated to Retro Tech!

We didn't have browsers.  It was our modem software that would get us to the BBS login page via the phone number of the BBS.  If you liked to get around farther, you had to pay the long distance charges. You could uploaded and download files.  You could play text games. There were message bases (forums).

I was all for this new technology and owned a PC in 1985-1992 was very actively sharing all sorts of data between home users.  This was done via dial up modems that went from speeds starting at 300 bits per second (bps) or also called 300 baud then 1200, 2400 and with a quick jump in the 90's to 28.8Kbps and 56Kbps. We are now going by the Mbps and mine is pretty good at 10 Mbps. The data you would see was virtually text, however character/code formats existed to create pics and therefore giving a page the artistic look.

Ascii art is like the primart of computing!

I ran a couple of BBS's back in the day.  You had to use your home phone and preferably have two lines.  Users would call your number and log into your computer. I lived in Las Vegas and became a hobbyist in networking (my husband was gone a lot USAF Stealth Squadron) and my handle was Princess PMS.  I used the handle because of a text game I played called Space Empire Elite [wiki here].  When players would log on they could see their game news and find out that "Princess PMS had conquered their planet".
All you needed to run a BBS was your PC and the software program.  Users would call your number and interact with your computer program. They could upload or download files. 
I also enjoyed message based Dungeons and Dragons.  It allowed you a medium to write your moves as like 'email' and then wait for responses.  It is a lot like fan fiction, but was interactive.
 BBS was the origin of the Forum.  Discussions of many topics went on.  It was the beginning.  I remember having a question in my mind and thinking "let me post that into the Forums and see what advise I get".  BBS's fathered the Forum tech which also gave birth to CHATSPEAK AND EMOTICONS. Mr. Smiley reborn in perpetual text forever times infinity on the internet. 

Much of the "Shareware" movement was started via user distribution of software through BBSes. A notable example was Phil Katz's PKARC (and later PKZIP, using the same ".zip" algorithm that WinZip and other popular archivers now use); also other concepts of software distribution like freeware, postcardware like JPEGview and donationware like Red Ryder for the Macintosh first appeared on BBS sites. Doom from id Software and many Apogee games were distributed as shareware.

[Click to Doom 1 free download site]
It was not hard to envision the internet as it is today. There were modem to modem graphic games. F-16 After Burner was the starting point of MMORPG .  Make your modem dial up your friend and play from your computers!  I was a member of a computer club locally for a small while.  I had started with Atari because of the video games and the success of the Japanese with Nissan and Toyota made me think they would be around for a while. NOT!

Boulderdash was one of my favorites.  I had once found a comparable download, but the one they have now, seems to be too slow I won't even lead you there. You can purchase the real one for only 10 bucks it is easy to find on the Internet.
If you have I-pod or I phone...oh yeah they have apps now.
[Download Boulder Dash for I-phone]
there are also apps for smart phones. Make sure you get the right one. The only one is the one with Rockford.

[Click here to the Classic Arcade Games Website]
[Click here to play Sierra Adventure Games Online]
[Click here for 10 vintage games you can play online]

Recipe for geekdom...

The days of Big Gulps, Big Bites and Arcade Games.

is the nostalgia blog I got the pics from and quite the dumpster dive!

Thank you for viewing my blog!
Bluezy (Susan)


Tim Chaney said...

Way KooL retro. Our local paper actually has a section for random acts of kindness, just not enough people respond. I know there has to be a lot more stories never to be told.

Then again a true random act of kindness needs no recognition, however it is nice to know that it does happen.

Robert Yogurt said...

I don't know whether you'd be interested in this, but I hope so. I've just written a web app that allows you to play a Space Empire Elite-like game online. It's in early stages, but I'd be happy for the feedback. Here it is: