I wrote the below review of Compuserve in June, 1982. It was emailed on a Burrough's 6900 mainframe to the sys admin I knew there. Read it and understand why this stuff didn't take off at the time. (the first paragraph is about an RCA dumb terminal I bought at the time).
btw, I altered my username because at the time student's usernames were THEIR SSN :-(
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 1982 22:04
From: 999999999 @ UCSC-Site
To: BOB @ UCSC-Site
cc: 999999999 @ UCSC-Site
Subject: Re: Monitor
In-Reply-To: Your message of 24 Jun 1982 09:19
Message-ID: 0322.06.24.1982.22.04.44 @ UCSC-Site
This terminal is quite nice for $399. It's an RCA. It has a
modem built in, color graphics, and sound from 14 Hz to 230 KHz.
(Why the heck do you need 230 KHz. I probably can't hear past
15KHz.) It even has a white noise generator. (Don't ask why).
The graphics are pretty HI-RES, 240x192, but it takes forever
to draw at 300 baud. One could make impressive graphs but one
won't ever see Pac-Man here! You can also hook up a cassette
recorder to store a heck of a lot of data for off-line viewing.
I got a free hour on CompuServe with it. Ever been on that?
They say it's simple, but it took me the whole hour just to look
for one thing. The say it's menu driven. GEEEEEEZZ, they must
have their menu's nested 50 levels deep!
I was looking for the multi-user Star-Trek game that I read
about. Also the CB simulation (Randall probably wrote it).
The story of my quest:
After drifting thru 10 pages of menus, I found the newspapers
that were on-line, so I choose New York Times. They wouldn't
print the %&$#& thing out unless I subscribed! The subscription
was free but they wanted name, add.... I said "SCREW IT". I
could imagine how many menu's were on the other side of that
Now I had to "back up" thru the menus before I could move on.
After another 10 mins. I found the home entertainment menu! I was
getting closer. I didn't see Star-Trek but I did see "ELIZA -
Artificial Intelligence". I decided to try it out, real quick.
This program CompuServe has (called DISPLA) is polite. Instead
of saying #SCHED 1234 it says "Please wait. I am processing your
request." Sure, I think that the computer down there realizes
that it's getting paid by the hour. After 2-3 mins., it starts
"Tell me what's on your mind." After 5 mins I was ready to leave,
"QUIT, BYE, STOP, " nothing worked. She just kept saying, "Your
being short with me.". I was getting desperate, I started
punching all the control codes I could. I stoped the program but
I hung the terminal. Oh, well. Call back. Back to the first menu
page. But I was getting better, I typed "GO HOM" and I went
straight to the home entertainment section. After about 200 more
menus (estimate) I found "CB simulation"! Quick, read doc. Got
it, run CB. "Please wait......". After 5 mins it comes back
"Your free hour is up. Would you like to subsribe?".
All that and I never saw the program. For $5.00/hr plus $2 for
Telenet, they can forget it.
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME ON THE B6900 !!!!!!!!!