A blast from the past – My BBS years

Photo By Bortzmeyer – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7937781

28800 Modem Ad-resizedI was going through some old magazines today and I came across a few ads.  The magazine was Boardwatch from 1994.  Boardwatch was THE industry standard magazine for BBS operators, users, etc.  It brought back memories of when I use to run my own BBS.  I was a Wildcat! BBS operator in 1986 and for a few years afterwards.  Around 1993/1994 the company I was working for started a 2 line BBS, running Wildcat! 4.0 BBS under OS/2.  We had a Pioneer 6-disc changer loaded with the latest shareware software.  I think we were charging either $5 or $10 a month (or we were going to – not sure if we actually got that far).  We had echomail setup with a satellite feed where users could email into groups that went around the world.  It wasn’t instant like Internet email is today, but it was definitely the precursor to it.

Galacticomm's The Major BBS V6.2 in 1994
Galacticomm’s The Major BBS V6.2 in 1994

Right before we shut the service down, we were switching from Mustang Software’s Wildcat! BBS software to Galacticomm’s The Major BBS/Worldgroup Server.  It had many more features and was its own “O/S” – meaning we didn’t have to run several copies under a multitasking O/S such as OS/2, or some kludgey middleware software that ran on DOS and allowed you to run multiple copies of software.  The Worldgrop Server actually was a replacement for the Major BBS product that introduced the client/server methodology.  The server ran on Windows NT.

Don’t get me wrong, the OS/2 setup was sweet.  We ran LANtastic for OS/2 on it, which with it being on the network, allowed several of us to connect to the BBS on LAN and enter the chat areas with the actual callers.  It was pretty fun.  Some callers wondered how many lines we actually had.  The BBS was called Peach Online and we ran it for about a year or so.  As I said, we were late to the game because people were jumping away from BBSes and going straight to the Internet.  Could we blame them?

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