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Hundreds of Hours of BBS Documentary Interviews 215

Posted by Hemos
from the come-look-at-your-stuff dept.
Jason Scott writes "Hi, this is Jason Scott, director of the BBS Documentary, a 4 year project to tell the story of the dial-up bulletin board systems of the 70s, 80s and 90s. The documentary's out, for sale, and is completely Creative Commons licensed. But like most documentaries, there's tons of stuff left on the cutting room floor. And that just won't do. I'm happy to announce that I have partnered with archive.org to present what will be hundreds of hours of interviews online. The BBS Documentary Interview Collection will be extended edits of the 205 interviews I conducted, presented as video and audio files, along with ZIP archives of all the photos and supporting materials for that interview. And of course, every minute is Creative Commons licensed as well. It's going to take me upwards of half a year to edit and upload the half-terabyte of files; I hope people watch a few hours here and there to get an even deeper knowledge of the history of the BBS, or maybe even make a documentary of their own."
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Hundreds of Hours of BBS Documentary Interviews

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  • by bigwavejas (678602) * on Monday August 15, 2005 @11:46AM (#13321763) Journal
    The irony is... Back in the day (when BBS were most popular), one interview would have taken weeks to download. The comp geeks were runnin on Amiga's or Vic-20's with a 300baud Hayes modem.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      But even they knew you don't use apostrophes to make plurals. The savings from not transmitting all those apostrophes alone made up for the 300 baud modem. Also, I didn't know a single person with a 300 baud when the Amiga was in full swing.
  • Hey Baby... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15, 2005 @11:46AM (#13321764)
    Wanna come back to my place and check out a BBS documentary?
  • by eggoeater (704775) on Monday August 15, 2005 @11:47AM (#13321774) Journal
    Congratulations to Jason Scott for this amazing accomplishment. There is a lot of history and nostalgia in his documentary that would have been lost otherwise.
    • Damn straight! Jason's been the ONE PERSON to take on documenting a very important, but largely unpreserved, portion of our computing past. BBS culture was k-rad.
    • Support Jason's work by buying the DVD. I was absolutely delighted with the way it turned out after hearing about the interviews he was doing at H2K2. Seeing the WILDCAT! bbs screens and ANSI graphics brought back fond memories of being a latecomer to the scene, waiting over an hour for a 4 color GIF of what may or may not have been a vagina to download over my l33t 2400 baud modem my old IBM-PC boat anchor.

      The Fidonet and artscene interviews alone are well worth the price of the discs.
  • by supraanimo (904976) on Monday August 15, 2005 @11:48AM (#13321781)
    You're not uploading them to a BBS too are you?
  • Ahh.. BBS's (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 15, 2005 @11:50AM (#13321797)
    I participated in the BBS "scene" for awhile, and one thing that I truly miss is the sense of community. I got to know several fellow BBS'ers, and many would hang out regularly outside of the computer realm. We even had a yearly cookout at a local park where dozens would show up from around the area. ... to the good'ol days... ...
    • Re:Ahh.. BBS's (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dgp (11045) *
      wireless access points could reinvent a local computer community. there is software being worked on to provide a "friendster" like site for those using the same wireless access point.
    • Re:Ahh.. BBS's (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ackthpt (218170) *
      I participated in the BBS "scene" for awhile, and one thing that I truly miss is the sense of community. I got to know several fellow BBS'ers, and many would hang out regularly outside of the computer realm. We even had a yearly cookout at a local park where dozens would show up from around the area. ... to the good'ol days... ...

      I remember back in the late 70's to mid 80's we ran something called The Message System on a system at the college. Every behavioural trait you would see on USENET, BBS's and Bl

    • Re:Ahh.. BBS's (Score:3, Insightful)

      by eggoeater (704775)
      ...one thing that I truly miss is the sense of community.
      Really? ...ironically you posted AC.
    • We even had a yearly cookout at a local park where dozens would show up from around the area. ... to the good'ol days... ...

      That local scene has spread to other Internet based communities such as the one I participate the most in, geocaching.

      We have a state-wide forum and routinely meet up for "Events" which are generally cook-outs drawing people in from all over the area.

      While I miss the BBS days I really don't think that much has changed as far as communities meeting up outside of the computer realm.
    • Things have changed, but the in-person social aspect hasn't. Fark has frequently has get-togethers in cities all over. A friend of mine who is a regular on one of the Star Wars Yahoo! chats gets together at Cons (most recently C3) whenever possible.

      The bbs community may be gone, but in some respects, its be replaced with a wider audience.
      • The bbs community may be gone, but in some respects, its be replaced with a wider audience.

        Not entirely gone... just more or less an underground community now. There's several old BBS software packages that have been ported from their x86 DOS versions into Win32 and Linux versions and run via telnet (and soon ssh). I happen to run Synchronet BBS software (which is open source) for my BBS, which I started a little over two years ago because I had always wanted to run one when I was a kid, logging into ev

    • I just read through a list of BBSs in my area code (courtesy this site [textfiles.com]) and it felt like reading through the obituaries.
    • I found that my local BBS was the BEST way to meet intelligent women. Back in those days, you had to have some clue to buy a modem, plug it in, get everything working, AND find the damn BBS in the first place.

      Local BBS = straight up meat market. Aw yeah. i miss those days..
  • BBS scene memoirs (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dlZ (798734) on Monday August 15, 2005 @11:52AM (#13321805) Journal
    I guess I was a bit of a late comer to the BBS scene. I started in 1990, and started running my own in 1994 (and it ran until 1997.) I do miss those days, though, everything was a lot more personal with everything being so localized. We used to arrange a lot of 2600 meetings on my BBS. I actually knew a large amount of my user base, at least as associates if not being pretty friendly with them.
    • My experiences were similar. Started around '90 (whe I was about 12) as a way to get all the new shareware games for free. I moved a couple years later and finally started my own around '95 or so, which was a great experience (became RL friends with a lot of sysops in the area). The Internet managed to kill off the scene, despite efforts of great BBS software like Synchronet that integrated all sorts of Internet-related features.

      I started with WWIV, but became frustrated with some of its quirks and limitati
  • by davecrusoe (861547) on Monday August 15, 2005 @11:55AM (#13321825) Homepage
    Wow, it's great to hear that the BBS Docu's have been released. If there's one thing missing from the early years of Cyberia, it's a comprehensive look at the beginnings of what it meant to be online, and digital - especially with respect to the manufacture of digital personalities.

    Now, it's all too common to read about "life online" - so much so, in fact, that where many of us have come from is often forgotten. Life in the digital - life that we all share - is not just life, but more a shared heritage & it's great that a glimpse of that heritage has been released... -d!
  • The Games! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by StarvingSE (875139) on Monday August 15, 2005 @11:56AM (#13321830)
    The best thing about BBSing was the games! Any fellow LORD or Usurper players out there? Can these be considered precursers to the MMORPG's of today?

    Many hours wasted playing those darn text games...
    • Re:The Games! (Score:3, Informative)

      The best thing about BBSing was the games! Any fellow LORD or Usurper players out there? Can these be considered precursers to the MMORPG's of today?

      Absolutely, and you forgot the biggest one - Tradewars. Man, did that game start some flamewars.

    • I played both LORD and Usurper, but there were a couple other games I enjoyed more. Trade Wars was a big favorite, along with VGA Planets (which technically isn't a door game). I still play VGA Planets, in fact.
    • I remember this one well. I'm not sure how popular it was on a national level. It was a d&d style ASCII game where you walked through levels of dungeons collecting weapons and challenging other players to vie for the #1 spot. You could only take about 3 hits on the other player a day, so if you waited till 11:55pm to challenge the player then took your three hits, log out, log in around 12:05 am, and take your next three hits, you might kill him before he got a chance to fight back. It went something li
      • You didn't walk through dungeons. It was purely gladiatorial style combat, hence the name The Pit. You challenged different types of computer controlled opponents based on your skill level. You were always free to challange anyone, no matter what level you were, from slaves to gods. You could also attack other players, but you only had one shot (not three). Each player could be attacked (or deafated, I don't recall if it counted if they won) once, and then they were unavailable until next time they log
        • Hmm.. maybe we're thinking of different versions, but I distinctly remember there being treasure you could move into and monsters you could bump into to fight and gain experience...
          • No, you're thinking of a different game entirely. You could possibly be thinking of Operation Overkill, which worked similarly to how you described, except it was post-apocalyptic and nto fantasy. The Pit, The BBS door by Midas Touch, always was a gladiatorial game. At no point did it have dungeons. I was co-sysop of a BBS that ran The Pit (among other doors) for many years, and even resurected it (via telnet) in 2003. That was a weird experience, as the first thing I saw when I logged into The Pit was
    • Played LORD all the time in the middle '90s. I'd use up all my connect time, have to connect the next day, and find out that someone had killed me. :(

      In a way I suppose these were precursors, in that you had to spend all your available time playing them to make your character any good, score with the barmaid, etc...but since you were always kicked off after a period of time, and your character was auto-run instead of disappearing from the game whenever you weren't there, it wasn't quite like that. I'd say

    • Still around.... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Daytona955i (448665)
      telnet lord.nuklear.org 10240

      Their website is here: http://lord.nuklear.org/ [nuklear.org]
    • Me and a friend almost got in a fight with some guy over his wife playing that game. I guess he didn't take kindly with my friend's sleeping with his wife in the Inn option of the game.

      That and I power killed him once per night out of spite. We'd use to keep camping the phone lines until we got through at midnight to take another turn.

      Ah the fun day's of BBS. Reminds of me of gaming today in a sense... Except more vulgar and more young people.
    • Any fellow LORD or Usurper players out there?

      Ran a multinode PCBoard BBS back in the day. Used to host LORD and Tradewars. Some door games were kinda stupid, thost two were great.

  • by Chairboy (88841) on Monday August 15, 2005 @11:56AM (#13321834) Homepage
    As an ex-sysop, I wonder occasionally how a modern chatter would do on an old style BBS.

    WWIV-Menu>
    ==SYSOP Chat Mode Activated==
    Sysop: Hey, i need to take the bbs off for a minute to get fido.
    User: asl?
    Sysop: It'll just be down for a few minutes, call back later, ok?
    User: wtf hax?
    Sysop: Sorry, I don't understand what you're saying. I've got to reboot too, so I'm going to disconnect you.
    User: omfg hax, wtf is tis, spiware? a55h013!
    Sysop: Do you require medical assistance? I've got your address on record from the age-check, would you like me to call a medic?
    User: roflroflflfoolol who r u
    Sysop: If you're having a seizure, don't worry, the ambulance will be there soon. I'm on my parent's phone line right now.
    User: wqho are u????
    Sysop: I'm the sysop of this BBS. Can you breath?
    User: +OPS!!!!!!
    Sysop: The 911 operator wants me to stay in chat with you until the medics get there.
    User: stfu, how do I gt ops??? /+ops
    Sysop: Er, you don't.
    User: dudez you got ops, why not for me?
    Sysop: Actually, I own the computer you're on.
    User: fu lier, gimme ops or I'll hack u
    Sysop: ....
    User: wtf is ur ip address, l33t hax coming
    Sysop: What is an ip address?
    User: brb, police
    )@(*#)@#
    NO CARRIER
    Sysop: What just happened?

    =SCHEDULED TASK: Fido connection starting...==
  • Hi, this is Jason Scott, director of the BBS Documentary, a 4 year project to tell the story of the dial-up bulletin board systems of the 70s, 80s and 90s.

    cool

    The documentary's out, for sale, and is completely Creative Commons licensed. But like most documentaries, there's tons of stuff left on the cutting room floor.

    that's where the porn went

    And that just won't do. I'm happy to announce that I have partnered with archive.org to present what will be hundreds of hours of interviews online.

    cool! you get to an
    • Um, just reading the question line I did think to myself that he had a point.

      This is a documentary. Does anyone want to argue that a healthy share of disk space on BBS systems wasn't devoted to "dirty" pictures?

      Does the documentary not mention that? I'd think it was worth at least some acknowledgement. It's, um, the truth?

      • This is a documentary. Does anyone want to argue that a healthy share of disk space on BBS systems wasn't devoted to "dirty" pictures? Does the documentary not mention that? I'd think it was worth at least some acknowledgement. It's, um, the truth?

        The episode entitled "Make it Pay" covers some of the aspects of how dirty pictures represented an easy way to make fast cash on BBSes, accompanied by a few dozen advertisements I found for "adult" BBSes, and reactions by some people to this fact.
  • The San Diego BBS scene was energetic and explosive, with hundreds of BBSes, on all topics.
    Users often got together in "meatspace" to argue and party furiously.
    Was anyone here a member of San Diego Connection or CSAIA (frantic humor BBS)?

    Memories... ahhh!
  • As I read the comments, I couldn't help but notice how similiar the system is to the old BBS days. Yes, we now have graphics all over, and thread organization, but the rudiments of that was there even back then. We had ASCII art, and especially ATASCII art for us Atari users. Most BBS's had some organization to the thread. Perhaps the biggest difference would be scope. Then, most BBS's were local. You made a local call and got on. The ones that were visited at greater distances tended to be Phreaker
  • I remember the inside jokes - the burger summits - the friends and relationships.

    Most of my oldest friends came from the BBS scene, I know couples that met on BBS's.........the BBS scene was more than the internet in its day. The internet is a global community - BBS's were a LOCAL community, which made things more personal - more friendly.
    BBS's were the seed of many technologies we take for granted today - email networks, online chat, multithreaded communications servers, etc. Ever wondered where emoticons
  • Is it just me, or does anyone else not care to remember BBSes? I ran several in my day, and the internet does everything they do, better. (God do I miss tradewars though).
    • Is it just me, or does anyone else not care to remember BBSes? I ran several in my day, and the internet does everything they do, better.

      Half and half. I loved the client-side part of it enough to clone Qmodem 4.x [sf.net] and use it all the time at work. (I work with buoys running an embedded Linux on PC/104 hardware.) I think for interactive text-mode stuff BBSes were more advanced than the current Internet. For example, transferring files across multiple firewalls that you can ssh through is hard without Zmod
  • I started up my own BBS, Once Upon An Albatross, in 1995 using Wildcat on a highly modified IBM AT (286/1MB) computer. I had dreams of building out a BBS empire while being totally unaware of this thing call the internet. I went bust long before dot coms existed and got kicked out of the university. If only I had some venture capitalists...
  • Wow, what a blast from the past! Anyone here from the old Commodore 64 BBS scene? Remember the Blackstar BBS program? (or was it Darkstar?) .. Or the Spence BBS program? Ah, good times! :-)
    • Darkstar. Don't remember Spence. Ran EBBS-64, modded for 80 col display, quoted replies, rudimentary threading, and FTSC-001 packets. I remember stacks of SFD-1001s clicking all night long. Still have nightmares about the 8250 I smoked.
  • Jason contacted me out of the blue a while back about using some of my music, so I got the DVDs hot off the press. Although I admit I get a small portion of the proceeds for the music I contributed, I think it's really well done. It looks great -- totally professional. And most important to a documentary, it's edited well.
    • Re:It's good (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jason Scott (18815)
      Paul Slocum is the fuckin' MAN.

      When I asked for more music on top of the mass he had available for download, he was unable to make the time because he was hard at work making a 64k bank-switched Atari 2600 RPG. You could buy an ocean liner on that much geek cred.

      People hear his work as the "theme song" of the BBS Documentary; the music was created by hooking a microphone to a dot-matrix printer with a hacked ROM.

      I'm privileged to be in any way associated with him.
  • call these new BBS documentary parts PODCASTS!

    "hot bot dot yahoo!"

    I do miss the BBSing days. It had a stronger sense of a local community, restricted by local area codes, something Internet-based communities will never achieve.
  • by Dejohn (164452) on Monday August 15, 2005 @12:51PM (#13322227) Homepage
    Those were great days. My BBS never got that large - the most calls it ever handled in one day was 20 and I only had one line. I ran it off of a 286 with a 40mb hard drive for a while and later moved it to a 486 with a 4-disc CD tower. I learned tons about batch files and modem initialization strings in those days!

    Some of the tools I remember using were:

    • TheDraw - an ANSI graphics editor
    • BinkleyTerm - the Fido/File net front end mailer
    • RoboBoard FX
    • Shotgun BBS - written by Brent Shellenberg right near the end of the BBS days, but this was definitely a great BBS software
    • There was also Renegade, which was free and had some nice features. MajorBBS I goofed around with for a while but it was the most "commercial" of them all and expensive, if I recall. I'm sure there were others that I used too...
    • Fileecho - a tool to enable transfer of files between BBSes
    • Anyone remember RIP graphics?
    • I can't remember the name of the small app I used as a local news/fido reader...
    • Telex - one of the nicest dialers/terminal programs
    • Then of course I remember all the door games... LORD, BRE, Usurper among many others. Later, there were also caller ID doors and other callback verification devices to ensure the correct number was given. Even later, there were telnet and Slirp doors for SLIP connections to the internet.

    I'm sure there were many more programs, tools, and utilities that I used in the day, but somehow I lost the ZIP I made of my entire BBS when I closed it down. I really wish I still had it around!

    • Telex - one of the nicest dialers/terminal programs

      That never worked on my machine. I had an old IBM-PC that was a dinosaur by early 90's standards. Com-it was the only one that worked reliably for me.
    • Those were great days. My BBS never got that large - the most calls it ever handled in one day was 20 and I only had one line. I ran it off of a 286 with a 40mb hard drive for a while and later moved it to a 486 with a 4-disc CD tower. I learned tons about batch files and modem initialization strings in those days!

      My BBS struggled similarly. I started by downloading a BBS software package (Remote Access, IIRC) on my 1200BPS modem on my XT (with a 20MB hard drive). When I finally got a used 286 w/ 40MB d


    • # TheDraw - an ANSI graphics editor
      I still use this sometimes... Oh ANSI...
      # BinkleyTerm - the Fido/File net front end mailer
      # RoboBoard FX
      This was cool, but I forgot what it was...
      # Shotgun BBS - written by Brent Shellenberg right near the end of the BBS days, but this was definitely a great BBS software
      # There was also Renegade, which was free and had some nice features. MajorBBS I goofed around with for a while but it was the most "commercial" of them all and e
    • Ahh, doors.. that brings back memories. I wrote about a dozen door programs that were used by various BBS's. At one point I sold a copy of one of my doors to Bell Atlantic to use as a prototype for an early version of their electronic yellow pages (I was like 17 and reps from the telco flew down to meet me and stuck a NDA in my face - it was cool). I also had the United Nations using one of my database-oriented door programs to manage a server for collecting environmental data.

      It's really cool how in the
    • Actually, it was Telix. Not Telex. And I still miss it.
  • When I watched that 10+ hour documentary, I just sorta assumed they included every remotely interesting thing they had, otherwise you'd have a 3-hour series along the lines of Triumph of the Nerds. I mean, heck, Cringely managed to condense the history of the personal computer up until 1995 into a three-episode miniseries, right?

    After seeing that there's actually 200+ hours of footage, I can understand how they'd be reluctant to cut it down past 10 hours. Still, I think they could've cut down on some of t
  • I was one of the first people to pre-order the BBS Documentary when I found out about it. I've watched the whole thing, as well as loaned it to a good friend of mine who also watched it all.

    I agree with the comments from people saying it was well done, edited well, etc. And if you're "on the fence" about buying a copy of this but have fond memories of the "BBS era" - what are you waiting for? Order this right away!

    That said, though, I also felt a few twinges of frustration during portions of the document
    • by Jason Scott (18815) on Monday August 15, 2005 @03:40PM (#13323950) Homepage
      That said, though, I also felt a few twinges of frustration during portions of the documentary. Probably my biggest "problem" with it was the segment on the ANSI artwork. It seemed like an extrordinary large amount of time was given to interviewing a bunch of younger kids who got in only on the "tail end" of the whole BBS scene, and mistakenly believed their "art groups" held much more significance than they really did in the "grand scheme".

      One of the advantages of the size of the DVD set (3 DVDs, 5 and a half hours) was that I could afford to put in episodes or sections dealing with subjects that a shorter documentary (or a single-epsiode one) wouldn't have any way to put in.

      Your complaint about going in too deeply on a subject that you yourself do not afford much respect to, is one that echoes here and there with basically all the episodes (except BAUD, which covers the creation of the BBS and people who buy the documentary expect this to be covered).

      Fidonet and Artscene, because they're "out there", covering a very specific subject very distinctly, get very passioned positive and negative responses. Naturally, I have been criticized about how the ARTSCENE episode didn't get in-depth enough! And the FIDONET episode is a "best I could do" capturing of an impossibly-large event/movement. You strike at the heart of what I think is one of the real core strengths of the documentary being episodic; some episodes will appeal to different folks, just like BBSes. Imagine if I made it ONE EPISODE.

      I mean, when I hit "play" on that portion of the DVD, I was hoping to hear interviews with the creators of the first ANSI art software packages like "The Draw" and "ANSIPaint", and/or more time given to the individual artists who first started offering to make free opening ANSI screens for BBSs around the country. They did talk to "Ebony Eyes" who was another famous ANSI artist from around that time, so that was good. But then the interview immedialtey shifted to this big "story" of the competing art groups like ACiD .... and to me, they were roughly equivalent to "script kiddies" and "warez junkies" anyway.

      Ian Davis, creator of "The Draw", is not interesting in discussing or acknowledging his work. I attempted to contact him through third parties who had interviewed him in the past about this subject (and who had great difficulty in even getting him to admit he was "that" Ian Davis). No luck. The creator of ANSI Paint is Drew Olbrich, who worked, interestingly, on "Shrek" and a number of PDI movies; he was supportive of the project but not interested in an interview.

      Ebony Eyes was hard to get a hold of as well; she has gone on to a successful career in magazine publishing and has to deal with a constant stream of "media people" trying to get her time. I was lucky and privileged to get time with her to discuss events of a decade and a half earler.

      Are you implying that after 1990, the story is "over" and should no longer be discussed? I don't agree, and I like to think the other hours in the films that do cover earlier time periods hold their own.
      • I didn't realize that neither Ian Davis or Drew Olbrich had any interest in being interviewed - but that you did attempt to contact them. In a way, that's an interesting "story" in and of itself. (Might have even made for a good little scrolling text "closing credits" type of scene on the end of the segment, mentioning such things as Olbrich's work on Shrek, etc.?)

        But in any case, no -- I didn't mean to imply that after 1990, the ANSI art scene was "over' and didn't warrant any discussion. Only that it s
    • Usually the ansis were done for the big art scene boards. Very quickly the art scene detached itself from the warez scene - I did one Fairlight ansi before joining iCE, and pretty much thereafter it was whoever paid me to do them an ansi.

      As for the artists in those groups being script kiddies, well that's just incorrect. Many iCE artists are professional artists now, working on the video games you play now, the movies you watch, etc.

      Plus, the ansis that were done by the big groups were far ahead of anythi
  • Jason interviewed me, but I doubt my footage was included. My board was too small and not terribly noteworthy, though I was one of a very small group that ran 2AM-BBS software. (Kudos to Neil Clark, Chris Gorman, and Tom Vogel.) And DesqView (remember that??) to run two lines. Ah, Rivendell, I remember ye well. Jason worked very, very hard, at great personal cost, to try and document this lost phase of online community building. The internet has done to BBSes what the Interstate Highway system did to Route
  • I lived through the BBS "era" and I guess I'm waxing nostalgic, but I do miss those "simpler" times.

    BTW, I've been keeping my eye on this project for the last couple of years. I'm glad it finally went gold!
  • by ChrisF79 (829953) on Monday August 15, 2005 @01:36PM (#13322662) Homepage
    I used to run a Wildcat BBS (and a Renegade BBS actually) back in the day and was just thinking about how slow everything was. I remember sitting there waiting for the busy signal to go away on the popular BBS' so I could get in, play some usurper and download Kathy Ireland pictures. And when I gave it a little thought, that busy signal is really the same as the slashdot effect... just 15 years earlier or so.
  • by Simonetta (207550) on Monday August 15, 2005 @01:37PM (#13322675)
    I started BBSing in 1985 with a 300 baud modem and Commodore ('commode') 64.

        Things are much better now. I downloaded a game back in 1986 for the C64. It was 25K bytes in size and took 20 minutes to download. (It took almost that long to load from the Commodore 64 floppy disk drive.) Now I get downloads of old pop songs from Kazaa! in minutes.

        To connect to a BBS outside of your local telephone dialing zone, you had to pay long distance fees; high long-distance fees - by the minute. Now you can connect to anyone on earth with an e-mail address for free.

        The sense of community generated by the BBS network is found now in specialized Yahoo! Groups. And they're free. You don't need hundreds of dollars of specialized equipment or hundreds of hours of training to establish and maintain them.
    Even intercontinental telephone calls are free when using Skype or some other VoiP. Not long ago (within my lifetime), intercontinental messaging was $1 a word.

        Massive personal file-sharing services similar to FTP is available freely now from Yahoo! Geocities. Want to share a file with anyone that has a downloadable internet connection? Put it on your free Geocities website. I do this with the data sheets of specialized old integrated circuits that I buy and sell on Bay and schematics of guitar effects that map out.

        Did I say eBay? Global near-free auctions of the most specialized items imaginable. Find a buyer for anything. PayPal handles the always sticky financial arrangements at a reasonable charge, even currency conversions. I've even sold guitar effects boxes to people who don't speak English. I sold an MXR Phase 90 to a guitarist in Italy and all e-mail communications went through the SysTran [systransoft.com] on-line translator between Italian and English. A micro transaction between individuals on the opposite sides of the world who don't speak a common language. But we both had a high number of 100% positive feedback eBay ratings, a communications channel, a translation service, and a common financial entity.

        Things are definitely getting better as a result of the global communications revolution. All this would have been science fiction when BBS networking started 25 years ago. Now it's beginning to become commonplace.

        Tell us of your experiences.
    • Things are definitely getting better as a result of the global communications revolution.

      And yet, the folksy local spirit of old-style BBS's doesn't exist in places like Yahoo Groups (or even Slashdot, which although it is basically a BBS, is way too big for that "get to know the regulars" type of community a BBS fosters).

      Nope... to revel in the spirit of a BBS environment, you have to log in to a real BBS. There are still plenty of them out there (such as this one [citadel.org]), and they're on the Internet now so y
    • The sense of community generated by the BBS network is found now in specialized Yahoo! Groups.

      Don't know what BBSs you dialed, but I can tell you that a Yahoo group is unfortunately nowhere near the sense of community achieved in my local ones.
    • I generally agree that things are better now (although I really do miss the sense of community I had with the BBS scene--Yahoo Groups and things like Orkut just don't feel the same at all), I have to point something out:

      "I downloaded a game back in 1986 for the C64. It was 25K bytes in size and took 20 minutes to download. (It took almost that long to load from the Commodore 64 floppy disk drive.) Now I get downloads of old pop songs from Kazaa! in minutes."

      You're forgetting about scale. That 25K game was s
  • I noticed it mentioned Creative Commons license. Does that mean we can download this from the Internet legally? If so, then where can we download this documentary?
  • What about transcripts? All that video is hard to handle without transcripts to help people find what they're after.
  • Was anyone here a subscriber to Boardwatch magazine back in the day when they covered BBSes? I remember watching the slow transition to internet related topics, and I especially remember the reader revolt when the main editor guy (his name escapes me right now) resigned to do other things and the whole magazine lost it's original flavor.
  • Why not distribute the upload responsibility, and take advantage of places like FedEx [fedex.com] and get a few datasets scattered about here and there? It would certainly result in a faster upload time than a half a year for the whole mess if you foist uploads on other willing parties.

    In otherwords, "never underestimate the bandwidth of your FedEx guy carrrying a stack of CD-ROMs."

    • Part of the time being taken is that I am editing the interviews for content, removing both conversations I had with the people about getting the sound correctly handled, and places where people were coughing and got up to get some water. So these aren't "raw" and are quite watchable.

      That's what's going to take the most time, really.
  • Oh man (Score:2, Funny)

    by bradsucks (809313)
    He's gonna get a lot of file points for this.
  • How well I remember my own homegrown BBS, Tomb of the Unknown Modem. Written in scratch from Turbo Pascal, it had 10 user-administered message boards and online games. It automatically reused disk space from deleted messages -- a necessity because the 2MHz machine it ran on had two 360K floppies and NO HARD DRIVE. Ran it for 2 years.
  • Don't forget the excellent BBSMates website [bbsmates.com] which is kinda like friendster except for old BBS users and sysops.

    My old board is even on there :) [bbsmates.com] and thats where I got my username, celerityfm from- The Celerity BBS software I used to use.

    Thank you Jason Scott for this documentary, it really does bring back the memories!

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