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USBBS Time Warp

A Historical Collection of USBBS and BBSing Odds & Ends
 


1989 Chicago Tribune Article About BBSing

Link: Whether For Gabbing Or Gobbling Facts,
Computer Bulletin Board Systems Have Taken Wing

March 16, 1989 By Clarence Petersen, Chicago Tribune
 
This 1989 newspaper article provides an excellent historical perspective on BBSing of that time period. It shows what was actually transpiring on the overwhelming majority of boards in existence at the time. It covers a lot of ground in a short space, and several of the names mentioned are familiar ones. It even mentions "the venerable Darwin USBBS List". I found it interesting and amusing that USBBS, not quite 5 years old when the article was written, would be described as venerable. I guess things were coming and going quickly even back then.
 


USBBS In Early Print Media - 1988 NYPC Magazine

USBBS BBS Lst in NYPC Magazine
[ Click the image above for a larger view ]

NYPC Magazine from August 1988 is the first known instance of the USBBS List mentioned in print, and the first (for certain) instance of USBBSDoor mentioned in print. NYPC Magazine was a publication of the New York PC User Group, Merv Adrian was the editor. NYPC was not a casual publication, the issues were 80+ pages packed with a wealth of topical information and it contained national and local advertising. This pic also illustrates the widely used name of "Darwin BBS List" which was often used when referring to USBBS... The BBS home of USBBS was Darwin Systems, resulting in the list being called Darwin's List almost as often as it was called USBBS List.
 



Why I Do It - by Pete Olympia in 1985

Pete Olympia Bulletin
[ Click the image above to see the complete Bulletin page ]

This is a Bulletin from 1985 from the late Pete Olympia (USBBS Founder) titled Why I Do It explaining why he is a Sysop and runs a BBS. It is a very detailed and interesting briefing from a Sysop in 1985, sharing both his likes and dislikes, pleasures and frustrations. The Bulletin is presented in its entirety and is unedited. It is exactly as Pete typed it in 1985, including the right-justified format. It is presented here in an 80-character wide DOS screen format simulation. Pete used a line-length of 70 characters per-line when formatting the text (a standard length for printing at that time).
 



PKZip PKUnzip and PKLite Manuals, 1990, 1993

PKWare Manuals and Disks
[ Click the image above for a larger view ]
An essential part of the BBS world, PKZip and PKUnzip were undoubtedly the most used software on IBM PCs and compatibles in the eighties and nineties, especially by BBS users and Sysops. It could arguably be stated that without the BBS world, PKZip may have never even existed. The pic above is of my PKZip 1.0, 2.0 and PKLite Professional manuals and disks from the late Phil Katz of PKWare. Many (okay, most) PKZip users from that era probably never knew printed manuals and disks even existed.
 
•  Updated December 5, 2013 -
PKWare used this USBBS Time Warp Blog picture for their Throwback Thursday blog entry today.
 


1985 Welcome Screen and Bulletin Menu From First USBBS Home

SUGI SIG/M RBBS Welcome Screen and Bulletin Menu
[ Click the image above for a larger view ]
This is a print-out from 1985 of the Welcome Screen (top) and Bulletin Menu (bottom) for SUGI SIG/M RBBS, the first USBBS List home (at that time called RBBS List). The BBS was run by the late Pete Olympia, USBBS founder and editor until 1988. Bulletin #5 was the 3/1/85 edition of the list (edition #10). Not long after this Pete changed the name of the BBS to Darwin BBS, and USBBS was frequently (albeit unofficially) referred to as "The Darwin List".
 


Cloneworld BBS Animated ANSI Welcome Screen, 1985-1991

CloneWorld BBS Welcome Screen
[ Click the image above for a larger view ]
This is the welcome screen for the late Mike Cohen's Cloneworld BBS in Matawan NJ. It was heavily animated, upon logging into the BBS it was completely drawn from the bottom up using ANSI animation starting with a black screen. The text (Welcome to Cloneworld etc) was drawn last, swooping in from the lower right and swirling around the screen until it landed as seen here. I saved this screen on February 3rd 1988 according to the DOS directory file date of the old drive I found it on. Our BBSes were local phone calls to each other, and Mike and I became good friends and spent a lot of time on the phone discussing BBSing, computers, and cars. Looking at this screen reminds me of the times Mike would suddenly say "control-c!". It meant he had interrupted this welcome screen while it was being displayed to a frequent user calling at 1200 bps. He would say the user has seen it drawn enough times already, and he (Mike) didn't want to watch it drawn at 1200 bps yet again (it would take a about full minute). It was around this time some brands of BBS software began giving Sysops the option of not displaying (slower) color screens to callers at slower connection speeds.
 


Screen Shots of USBBS List Headers From 1985-2004

For many years most text files on PCs were viewed with a shareware program written by Vern Buerg called LIST. Buerg's LIST program was one of the most used pieces of software on IBM PCs and compatibles in the eighties and nineties, second only to PKUnzip/PKZip. The following are views of the USBBS BBS List as they would have been seen by most Bulletin Board System users and Sysops, using Buerg's LIST software from 1984 into the nineties.
 
USBBS BBS List on Green Screen
[ Click the image above for a larger view ]
The screen above shows the original USBBS (then RBBS) List format. Although most of the BBSes on early RBBS Lists ran BBS software called RBBS-PC, systems running other 'BBS' software were listed as well, and even non-DOS systems running on CP/M were listed. In early 1986 the name was changed to USBBS to more accurately reflect the scope of the list. The listing format was condensed in mid-1985 so that each listing would appear on a single line in the list.
 
The screen above also shows how the list appeared on a monochrome 'green screen' monitor (MDA) using Buerg's LIST to view it. These monitors were popular with businesses because the MDA monitor card came with a printer port. In the early PC years many home buyers of PCs and clones opted for it over the color CGA version for economic reasons.
 
 
USBBS BBS List on Amber Screen
[ Click the image above for a larger view ]
This screen shows edition #32 (January 1987), one of the last editions of the RBBS List before being renamed to USBBS. We know for certain the list was renamed to USBBS sometime during March, April or May of 1987, with the most likely being March (edition #34), based on comments in later editions of the list.
 
The screen above also shows how the list appeared on a monochrome 'amber screen' monitor (MDA) using Buerg's LIST to view it. The PC started being 'cloned' in 1982, and non-IBM monochrome monitors in this amber color were popular.
 
 
USBBS BBS List on White Screen
[ Click the image above for a larger view ]
This screen shows edition #85 from June 1991. By default Buerg's LIST program started up in white on black, so when most BBS users looked at the USBBS List on a CGA, EGA, VGA or white MDA monochrome monitors, it looked similar to this screen. [The list header was shortened in this simulation so that some of the BBS listings appear on the same screen with the header]
 
 
USBBS BBS List on VGA color Screen
[ Click the image above for a larger view ]
The screen above is how USBBS edition #127 (from December 1994) appeared using Buerg's LIST on VGA monitors if the user changed the default 25 line mode to EGA 43 or VGA 50 line mode, and also changed the default white-on-black to colors. [The list header was shortened in this simulation so that some of the BBS listings appear on the same screen with the header]
 
 
USBBS BBS List on VGA color Screen
[ Click the image above for a larger view ]
The screen above is how USBBS edition #163 (from December 1997) appeared using Buerg's LIST on VGA monitors if the user changed the default 25 line mode to EGA 43 or VGA 50 line mode, and also changed the default white-on-black to colors.[The list header was shortened in this simulation so that some of the BBS listings appear on the same screen with the header]
 
 
USBBS BBS List off-line HTML edition
[ Click the image above for a larger view ]
The downloadable edition of USBBS for May 2004 included an HTML version of the list (in addition to the standard ASCII text file). The 'header' (actually the intro page) for the HTML version is pictured above. The header for the text file version was essentially unchanged since edition #163 in 1997. USBBS now came in the standard .ZIP file release, and also a self-extracting .exe file which installed the off-line HTML version in a folder called 'My USBBS' under 'My Documents' in Windows. The Telnet and web addresses in the off-line HTML version were 'live', clicking on them would take the user to that Telnet or web address.
 


The Last USBBS Download Page from 2004

USBBS BBS List Download Page
USBBS Download Page - Click the image to visit the old USBBS download page. This web page served up the last downloadable version of USBBS back in 2004. It has been left on the site for historical purposes (there is nothing to download). Click your browser's back button to return here or click the 'Return to Time Warp' link at the bottom of that page. This link is to an actual page, not an image.
 


USBBS Web Logos, 1997-Present


USBBS BBS List Logos
I'm still looking for the 1995-1997 USBBS web page logo. The current logo was designed in 1997, and was enhanced in 1998 by Tim Yandell. I wanted the beige background as it matched the rest of the site at the time. Tim wisely made a white background version for me "just in case", and it turns out it's the one used the longest, from 1999 until 2013.
 

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