Computer Bulletin Boards and the Fidonet Network Live On today. Doc’s Place BBS first went online in 1991 and still is online 31 years later. It is running Wildcat version 5 with the new Internet Connect Pack from 1998. The front end is running Platinum Express from Santronics Software which bought the Wildcat BBS lineup from Mustang Software and renamed it to Winserver. It’s sitting here running on an old Dell Optiplex computer under Windows 7 Pro connected to my local network that runs for months at a time without a reboot. The most advanced BBS software ever developed! 😎
Many of those good old computer bulletin board systems love on today. Mine, Doc’s Place BBS is still online after 31 years of providing unlimited access to the Fidonet Community. Though BBS traffic has slimmed down over the years, it still gets a few calls daily. It remains online as a tribute to the faithful callers and pioneering system operators (sysops) that made it all possible and carrying on today!
In 1994 a new company Planet Connect offered their 3-foot satellite dish to receive Fidonet mail and shareware files. Planet Connect was a really slow feed that lasted around 12 hours. If any packets were lost during the 1st transmission, Planet Connect re-transmitted the day’s feed. This was a receive-only Fidonet feed. Outbound mail still had to be sent via modem but was held until ZMH where a single call was made. Net 3603 was divided into two groups. There were the geeks and their followers, and the rest of us. We were referred to as the DroolNet. A bunch of beer-guzzling, women chasing, uneducated rednecks. The geeks bought a dish, so we Droolers chipped in and bought one too. 😉
Living in St. Petersburg Florida at the time we mounted the planet connect satellite dish on my roof. It worked great and we all shared the monthly subscription fee. Things went well for a few months but someone snitch us out to the city’s code compliance division. Doc was told by the St. Petersburg codes inspector to pull the proper permit. Doc went down to city hall and was told they required a structural engineer to approve the installation in writing. Then the city would issue the permit.
Doc was in the car business at the time and bought this 1981 Datsun F10 with cold air for $100. We removed the satellite dish from the roof. Then drilled holes in the roof of the car and mounted the satellite dish to it. One of the members of the net (Jacob Eagle Eyes) put the lettering on the satellite dish. It was funny to watch the cops drive by stop and look. This was on Friday afternoon.
Come Monday morning here came the city of St. Petersburg’s code inspector who was seriously upset with what we had done. He said the car was an accessory structure and he was going to cite me for it. The code inspector was informed what a motor vehicle was. Doc had made the car street legal by issuing it a 20-day temporary tag. He said go ahead and write me up. I’ll unplug the cable and park it in front of city hall. The code inspector grumbled and left. A few days later he said to put it on the roof.
So, the Internet pretty much did away with those Computer Bulletin Boards. There is a fond memory of those educational and fun days of the past. Thre are still quite a few BBSs left on the Fidonet Network today. Probably the greatest majority of those remaining are old-school Telnet accessible. Those remaining are mostly in Zone2 (Europe). Mine is here via HTTP or Telnet .