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USBBS Time Warp Blog

A Historical & Modern Collection of BBSing Odds & Ends
 
On this side of this page:
a BLOG (of sorts) of Pictures, Screen Caps, Links, Web Pages, Software etc.
 
Over in the right column of this page:
Grins from Twitter: Funny and poignant tweets about BBSing
and
Recent Online Auctions: BBS related items in recent online auctions
and way down in the lower right column:
Links: Historical sites of interest (and even a BBS List or two!)
 


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 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 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).
 



•    All items below this point were posted between June and October, 2013    •
 


PKZip PKUnzip and PKLite Manuals, 1990, 1993


PKWare Manuals and Disks
[Click the image 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
 


Grins From Twitter:




Some days I would gladly trade twitter for the dial-up BBS where I downloaded Ultima IV tips and played Trade Wars.
Jake Solomon (@SolomonJake)


Described pre-Internet online life to my 15-y-o recently (300-1200 baud, BBSes, etc.). It's like I was describing pre-wheel transportation.
Bill Childs (@billchilds)


If you remember BBSes, then you've been online way too long. I know, because I remember BBSes and I've been online way too long.
Millennium Outlaw (@2014Outlaw)


I have this feeling I'll have to explain wires to my grandchildren the way I've explained records, 8-tracks, and BBS/modems to my kids.
Michael Boyink (@boyink)


@urbanbohemian I was a Beta tester for AOL for DOS. Let that sink in. AOL. For. DOS. I can also regale you with stories of dial up BBS's.
William Mize (@willmize)

@willmize I'm smart enough to both moisturize and never admit that I'm old enough to remember BBS's
Brian Gray aka ürb (@urbanbohemian)

urbanbohemian Oh I'm beyond that, my friend. I'm ready for the Internet Pioneer Rest Home.
William Mize (@willmize)


I need this shirt. Remember holding a pillow over the modem so your parents don't hear you connect to a BBS at 1am?
Annakie (@annakie)
Twitter Image


I began going online in 1983 on Dallas BBSes. When other guys my age were chasing broads, I was chasing bauds.
Rogers Cadenhead (@rcade)


Really looking forward to firing up the 56k modem to log in to the Obamacare BBS.
Bill Hobbs (@billhobbs)


Every time my 13yo cousin asks me about growing up without the internet and mobile phones, I feel like grandpa telling old war stories
Frederic Hemberger (@fhemberger)

@fhemberger Did you tell him that we had something better at the time, which were called BBSes? :-)
Frederic Cambus (@fcambus)


@nitinbadjatia this Internet thing is a fad, don't pay much attention
Jason P. Hersh (@jasonphersh)

@jasonphersh I hear ya. But my Hayes Modem won't connect to BBSes anymore
Nitin Badjatia (@nitinbadjatia)


I just woke up from a 20-year coma. Twitter seems like a pretty cool BBS. Sysop's pretty lax, though.
Steve (@DrExcitement)


I'm getting the biggest kick out of watching my dad and my daughter navigate our new family BBS. 20 years too late, but at last I'm a sysop!
Josh Renaud (@Kirkman)


bbs wanted me to write a letter 2 the sysop abt why i wanted access before i could do anything, like dude ppl aint exactly lined up to get in
smelimelu (@melimeluse)


@twitter please stop making a horrible mess of tweet conversations. Either implement hierarchical threads like BBSes circa 1985 or give up.
Jason Hughes (@keyboardjockey)


Future Blog Post: SysOp Zuckerberg & The Facebook BBS Express
Joe Craig (@Joe_Craig)


HELP WANTED: Bulletin Board Sysop familiar with Synchronet to help setting up BBS before Internet dies.
Freedom Rings (@survivalstation)


Imma gonna get a Ham Radio license. Who's cooler than me!?
Myles Grant (@Myles)

@Myles Hard to top. Telegraph operators and BBS sysops?
Andy Baio (@waxpancake)


The Internet is a fad. BBS'es are coming back strong. And dialup.
Jeff Macfee (@jmacfee)


i dunno about you but i still dial my favourite BBSes every night to see if they've come back :(
midendian (@midendian)


Ah BBSes. The last great bastion of finding local people to sit around Denny's with until 4AM.
Matt Wolff (@mattwolff)



Links of Interest:

BBS Corner
Telnet BBS Guide


The Telnet BBS Guide contains systems which are accessible via Telnet & dial-up. Updated monthly.



Synchronet
Synchronet List


The Synchronet list contains mostly BBSes running Synchronet BBS software. Updated daily.



Break Into Chat
Break Into Chat


Break Into Chat is a wiki and blog created to preserve the history of BBS door games. Updated regularly.



Vintage Computing and Gaming
Vintage Computing and Gaming


Vintage Computing and Gaming is a Retrogaming and Retrocomputing 'Blogazine' and occasionally has BBS related articles. Updated weekly.


© Copyright 1997-2016 Brent Yandell - All Rights Reserved