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  • Any "oldtimer" internet/forum stories here?

    I'm not talking about forum admins who are advancing in years. Instead, I'm wondering if anyone here has "been around the block" working with forums as long as I have. I'm sure there has to be quite a few!

    I first discovered forums in the early 1990s back when I was a member of Compuserve. In one of the forums I was a regular in, I was given a "sysop" job (equivalent to a moderator; a "wizop" was more like an admin).

    When the WWW became popular, it pretty much wiped out our forums. I think the old forum is still there, but nowhere near what it used to be. About the time the WWW started to gain momentum with the general public, Microsoft pulled all its forums and content out of Compuserve, which cost them a lot of incoming revenue, and the collapse began. It was ironic that the upstart AOL bought this one-time online leader and absorbed it. In fact, the day the AOL purchase of Compuserve was official, that was the day I bailed out.

    Once I bailed from Compuserve, I had to start up a couple of forums of my own, using the old WebBBS forum software. I still have it on two of the sites I maintain (for clients), and it's pretty much dead now, the original developer having abandoned it. It worked, but it had no login system, no user management, etc.

    On a couple of forums, we outgrew WebBBS's capabilities and, after a lot of searching and testing out different forum packages, we went with phpBB. Still running it on most of the sites I have forums on, and it has a couple dozen hacks installed in it. (I actually run all the forums off of one main installation, by using symlinks! Makes updates a breeze.)

    I actually "inherited" the vB forum I'm running now, from an admin who needed to get out of it. We're on a dedicated server, and I'm finding I have to put in a lot of effort to keep it tuned and running nicely.

    Never did get into Usenet all that much. I probably started looking through Usenet around 1994, and the groups I visited were usually moderated. It's so totally different today, I don't even bother. I didn't really care for "discussion" mailing lists either, but belonged to two of them nonetheless.

    Anyone else remember any of this, or know what I'm talking about? (Yeah, I know, at our advancing ages, it's a bit difficult. )

  • #2
    I go farther back then that. In the early 1980's around 83-84 a group of ham operators had a network of dial in bbs. These were used to exchange software and ideas. There was one in just about every state. Then one day we found Prodigy. Prodigy until its demise, it too was swallowed up by AOL, was the hams home. There was also this service called Q-Link. Came inoo existence shortly after Prodigy. It had message boards and chatrooms. You paid by the minute for premium features such as chat. This Q-Link was to become AOL.
    We used Vic 20's, Commodore 64's or Amigas with 800 baud modems to connect to each other, Prodigy and AOL. We learned basic and later q-basic so we could use our computers to log our contacts, connect our radios to the computer for rtty, made our own programs to teach ourselves high speed code and other things. In a way what hams did in the early computer days set in motion what we now do on the internet. We connected our computers over the airwaves and via modems to exchange ideas.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by AWS
      In a way what hams did in the early computer days set in motion what we now do on the internet. We connected our computers over the airwaves and via modems to exchange ideas.
      Neat! I never did get into ham radio, although it was tempting. Couldn't fit it into my high school budget.

      I remember dialing into a couple of BBSes before I joined Compuserve. Blazing fast 1200 baud modem, I thought I was flying! Took forever to download a 100K file. It would have been around 1985 or so when I bought my first computer, and got the modem a year later.

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      • #4
        Curious...when was the internet invented? I was thinking it was invented early 1990's...in that case I'm curious. How could you have been working with forums in the 1980's? I was just wondering, lol.

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        • #5
          I am along the lines with AWS. First system was run on a Radio Shack Color Computer (6809E processor) and was called Mission Control (aka Mission FunHouse) running on a highly modified version of ColoRama on a whopping 300 baud modem upgraded from 110 baud! The big deal was when it moved to a IMB PC with an 8088 processor and an actual hard drive of 10mb! (we loaded and ran from 4 5.25 floppies back then. Considering 5.25 drives cost about $399ea that was considered a huge system)

          Then came the "big system" running MajorBBS and WorldGroup there after. New system was called Power House BBS. 16 nodes 28.8 Hayes Rack mount modems. Upgraded to a killer 56k frame relay internet conenction so those on the net could also access the system. Added a terminal server and offered dial up internet access. The frame relay back then was around $600 per month Power House ran on 4 computers and had 24 CDs online for file access. System ran for quite a few years before I sold off the internet side and folded the system. But the bug bit again a year or 2 latter and now I run another large community and always trying to expand and ofer more.

          So more or less I have been running online communities for 2 decades
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          • #6
            Originally posted by Lineman28645
            Curious...when was the internet invented? I was thinking it was invented early 1990's...in that case I'm curious. How could you have been working with forums in the 1980's? I was just wondering, lol.
            Someone can correct me, but I believe the internet was developed beginning in 1969. Back then, it only connected universities and other institutions, allowing them to exchange data information electronically. (You can imagine what kind of computing systems they had back then!) Back in those early internet days, the only ways of carrying on group discussions was in the Usenet newsgroups (which offered ways for usenet readers to create "threaded" messages), or via "mailing lists" where you joined a list of many other people, and all posts and replies went to a "list" address that sent the e-mail to everyone on it.

            Online services and BBSes (bulletin board systems) were the online option for many others. BBSes, like 1QuickSI describes below, were basically a phone number you dialed with your modem, which attached you to a server where you could download files and take part in other activities. I believe some even had a gateway to the internet, which is nothing like it is today. Online services were another dial-up option: the big companies back then were Compuserve, Prodigy and GEnie (run by GE), and AOL was the young upstart. The online services had discussion areas (forums), file download libraries, and even early forms of shopping. When I was first on Compuserve, it was all text-based (as were most computers back then): you had to type in a numeric menu choice.

            I didn't see the internet awareness really start until around 1993 or 1994. The "web" was already around by then (basically, hypertext documents, which were text and graphics with clickable links to other documents), but once "big business" got ahold of it, it really snowballed and became popular. Compuserve and AOL added internet portals to their offerings,
            and soon, commercial dial-up providers started appearing, where you could pay a monthly fee and dial into a modem pool to access the internet.
            Back then, you could actually find some local organizations that offered a free dial-up service--our local library offered it, in fact, although they only had eight phone lines!

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            • #7
              Yes it was right around 1969. It was actually developed by the government and then spread to universities. IIT in Chicago was in the forefront or creating it for the government.
              The Internet was starting to become popular in the early 1980's and turned the corner to what evolved into what it is today in 1990. Before 1990 you connected to a service, but you remained in the conifines of what that service offered. Prodigy had channels as did AOL. As soon as these services, AOL was first, started giving users a way to make their own homepages and companies started to open their networks to the public the internet evolved.
              Admins Zone - Resources for Forum Administrators

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              • #8
                lol @ "the government created the internet".
                "CREEPSHOW CREEPS ONLINE" - The first & best online resource dead-icated to Stephen King & George A. Romero's 1982 horror anthology classic!!!!

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                • #9
                  Heck, I remember CompuServe, it was our very first host, back around 1995/96. I remember the forums as well. It was all new stuff and great. I used their own software to create some very basic web pages, all 5 of them.

                  The good ol' days, when you did a course in black magic and voodoo to get the modem to work.

                  Bob

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                  • #10
                    Oh yea. Had to config the connection parameters by hand.
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                    • #11
                      Yep, I ran BBS' all through the 80's as well.

                      This site may interest some of you: http://www.bbsmates.com/
                      vBulletin v3.8.0's Implementation of Google Adsense Should Be Avoided At All Costs - Do Your Own Adsense Implementation

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Creepshow
                        lol @ "the government created the internet".
                        Research before you respond.
                        1957 - The United States forms the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) within theDepartment of Defense (DoD) to establish US lead in science and technology applicable to the military.
                        1962 - RAND Paul Baran, of the RAND Corporation (a government agency), was commissioned by the U.S. Air Force to do a study on how it could maintain its command and control over its missiles and bombers, after a nuclear attack. This was to be a military research network that could survive a nuclear strike, decentralized so that if any locations (cities) in the U.S. were attacked, the military could still have control of nuclear arms for a counter-attack.

                        Baran's finished document described several ways to accomplish this. His final proposal was a packet switched network.

                        "Packet switching is the breaking down of data into datagrams or packets that are labeled to indicate the origin and the destination of the information and the forwarding of these packets from one computer to another computer until the information arrives at its final destination computer. This was crucial to the realization of a computer network. If packets are lost at any given point, the message can be resent by the originator."
                        1968 - ARPA awarded the ARPANET contract to BBN. BBN had selected a Honeywell minicomputer as the base on which they would build the switch. The physical network was constructed in 1969, linking four nodes: University of California at Los Angeles, SRI (in Stanford), University of California at Santa Barbara, and University of Utah. The network was wired together via 50 Kbps circuits.
                        ARPA was a U.S. goverment agency and that agency was responsible for the creation of what we now know as the internet.
                        This can be found at http://www.davesite.com/webstation/net-history.shtml.
                        Admins Zone - Resources for Forum Administrators

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by AWS
                          Research before you respond.

                          ARPA was a U.S. goverment agency and that agency was responsible for the creation of what we now know as the internet.
                          This can be found at http://www.davesite.com/webstation/net-history.shtml.
                          I'm not so sure this is true, not what I've heard at least. I think I will do some reseach on the subject.
                          "CREEPSHOW CREEPS ONLINE" - The first & best online resource dead-icated to Stephen King & George A. Romero's 1982 horror anthology classic!!!!

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                          • #14
                            You're not sure what? That the U.S. Government pretty much invented the Internet? It is true.
                            Congratulations on the death of vBulletin, Internet Brands.

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                            • #15
                              Hmmm well I had a RTTY bbs that ran 60 wpm on rtty or 110 baud ASCII on our 2 meter repeater.. then came packet radio 1200 and 2400 bps, which we used telnet to access the internet via a gateway at Auburn university.

                              It was all text, heck I did know that you could check your email with something like outlook express we use Pine.

                              During hurricane season I took of my RTTY equipment to the EOC and we copied the hurricane bulletin from a shortwave station ( WLO ) which was a ship to shore station.. There were no weather channels or fancy radar images back then.. AM I OLD OR WHAT ?

                              Now I use vBulletin for my weather site, we have online radar, instant weather bulletins and 9 online weather stations that upload data to my site.
                              I just love all this fun stuff

                              My 1st access to real internet was using my Wildcat BBS system, I had 4 lines. One that connected to the internet 24/7 and the other 3 were dial in lines so my friends could use me as a gateway to the internet.

                              The next step was when Mustang Software went to a web based system called "WINS" Wildcat Interactive Net System" and the rest is history



                              73's de KB4FSK








                              Originally posted by AWS
                              I go farther back then that. In the early 1980's around 83-84 a group of ham operators had a network of dial in bbs. These were used to exchange software and ideas. There was one in just about every state. Then one day we found Prodigy. Prodigy until its demise, it too was swallowed up by AOL, was the hams home. There was also this service called Q-Link. Came inoo existence shortly after Prodigy. It had message boards and chatrooms. You paid by the minute for premium features such as chat. This Q-Link was to become AOL.
                              We used Vic 20's, Commodore 64's or Amigas with 800 baud modems to connect to each other, Prodigy and AOL. We learned basic and later q-basic so we could use our computers to log our contacts, connect our radios to the computer for rtty, made our own programs to teach ourselves high speed code and other things. In a way what hams did in the early computer days set in motion what we now do on the internet. We connected our computers over the airwaves and via modems to exchange ideas.

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