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
I 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.
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?
Donovan was born and raised in the deep south of South Central Georgia, roughly two hours from the Georgia-Florida line. His father was a guitar player, farmer, and eventually blue color worker for GM. His mother suffered from Scleroderma starting a few years after he was born, so she became a home maker. Growing up as an only child, Donovan’s interest included music (though he really never learned to play anything) and anything dealing with technology, but specifically computers.
He has spent his entire life involved with computer technology either as a hobby or as a career. In his middle to late teens, he ran a BBS (electronic bulletin board system – the precursor to the modern day Internet). He learned about networking computer systems, building computers, and communication technologies as part of his career.
Later in life, he fulfilled his dream of running his own ISP (Internet Service Provider) when he was hired first as the Network Manager and eventually the General Manager of the Telecommunications Department for the City of Tifton, known as CityNet.
Today he runs his own IT business and has been podcasting in some form or fashion since 2011.
Those were fun times.