Gray-Haired Computing - BBS: The Documentary

Steve and Leo's mention of Phil Katz and SEA in SN186 brought
to mind my favorite piece of nostalgia about computers and
communications back in the day.

It's BBS: The Documentary.  Directed by Jason Scott

There are eight episodes of interviews with the important
participants in the phenomenon of computer bulletin boards,
which pre-dated the internet.  If you recognize these people
and things, you may be an old fart like me:

300 baud
Ward Christensen
Xmodem
Phil Becker
TBBS
Fidonet
ANSI art
SEA vs PKWARE

...And lots more.

http://www.greylodge.org/gpc/?p=100

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBS_Documentary

The documentary is free to download via bittorrent under
Creative Commons.   Or, you can pay $40 for the 3-disc set
with lots of photographs and some extra material.

http://www.mininova.org/tor/623136

2.3 gigabytes.  Xvid codec.

I think this is really interesting stuff, particularly
seeing the actual people who pioneered so much of what we
have now.

The documentary is particularly unkind to Phil Katz, who had
died before the interviews were done.  SEA had come out with
the original archiving software, called ARC, after which
Katz brought out PKARC, which was fully compatible, but
faster.  SEA sued Katz, which generated a lot of
hatemail because everybody thought SEA was just trying to
protect the name ARC.  But at the trial, it came out that
Katz had copied whole sections of code from ARC.  Katz
ended up settling, and went on to release PKZIP.  SEA, which
was just a guy and his wife and brother, never recovered
from the bad feelings even though they were in the right.
It appears Leo, and perhaps Steve, share the impression I
always had that Katz was the good guy in this battle.  That
simply may not be true.

Well, I don't really know what's true.  And of course Katz
wasn't available to be interviewed.

Anyway, for peple who actually articipated in these things,
this is really wonderful stuff.  I particularly enjoyed the
segment on Fidonet, which was really quite an accomplishment
in networking.

0
Peabody
3/6/2009 5:11:47 AM
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Yes, I do indeed remember 300 baud. I could read a download as fast as it 
appeared on my monitor as I was connected to an electrical library in 
europe. INCREDIBLE. Now look.... 8-)  cjs 


0
jerry
3/6/2009 8:50:40 AM
jerry sullivan schreef:
> Yes, I do indeed remember 300 baud. I could read a download as fast as it 
> appeared on my monitor as I was connected to an electrical library in 
> europe. INCREDIBLE. Now look.... 8-)  cjs 

Starts sounding like the 'Olde Geezers Confederated' <lol>
When I started working 'outside' the PC, 2400 baud was the standard.
Incredible to imagine that was still in this lifetime. So much has
changed, so fast!

-- 
Dirk Engelage
to the house of a friend the road is never long
0
Dirk
3/6/2009 11:39:52 AM
Dirk Engelage says...

 >> Yes, I do indeed remember 300 baud. I could read a
 >> download as fast as it appeared on my monitor as I was
 >> connected to an electrical library in europe.
 >> INCREDIBLE. Now look.... 8-)  cjs

 > Starts sounding like the 'Olde Geezers Confederated'
 > <lol> When I started working 'outside' the PC, 2400 baud
 > was the standard. Incredible to imagine that was still
 > in this lifetime. So much has changed, so fast!

Yes indeed.  I actually became a "published author" by
figuring out how to get a C64 to do 2400 baud asynchronous.
Well, if a Canadian propeller-head magazine on Commodores
counts as being published.  :-)

The rate of change really is astonishing.


0
Peabody
3/6/2009 1:25:25 PM
"jerry sullivan" <.@charter.net> wrote in message 
news:goqo53$n5$1@news.grc.com...
> Yes, I do indeed remember 300 baud. I could read a download as fast as it
> appeared on my monitor as I was connected to an electrical library in
> europe. INCREDIBLE. Now look.... 8-)  cjs

A co-worker of mine hated the switch to 1200 baud.  He couldn't read that 
fast.  :-)

We used to wear out the ^s key.  (That's <ctrl-S> to all you newbies!)
 

0
bb
3/6/2009 7:10:09 PM
Ah so, My intake couldn't quadruple either. It was more fun then or maybe it 
was just the times............. 8-)   cjs 


0
jerry
3/6/2009 10:39:37 PM
In Montreal, when 2400 baud modems began to show up, a lot of BBSs
used Tim Campbell's Sapphire BBS software which  implemented hot-keys:
While the text was scrolilng by,  all you has to do was type a number
and the BBS would slow the text output. t.  1 would be 10% of max, 2 -
20% and so on.  0 was 100%.

I found that I could comfortably read text coming from a 1200 baud
modem at full speed.  With a 2400 baud modem I usually slowed it down
to 6 or 7 (60-70%, or 1440-1680 baud equivalent).

Hmmm: that'd be roughly 150 characters, or so, per second!  Or,
(according to http://blogamundo.net/lab/wordlengths/ with English at
5.1 letters per word, that'd work out to about 30 words per second!  

Egad!

Paul

On Fri, 6 Mar 2009 14:10:09 -0500, "bb" <bb@invalid.com> wrote:

>
>A co-worker of mine hated the switch to 1200 baud.  He couldn't read that 
>fast.  :-)
>
>We used to wear out the ^s key.  (That's <ctrl-S> to all you newbies!)
> 
0
Paul
3/6/2009 11:15:22 PM
On Fri, 06 Mar 2009 19:15:22 -0400, Paul Renault
<prenault@spicedham.nb.sympatico.ca> wrote:


>
>Hmmm: that'd be roughly 150 characters, or so, per second!  Or,
>(according to http://blogamundo.net/lab/wordlengths/ with English at
>5.1 letters per word, that'd work out to about 30 words per second!  
>

Ooo!  No one caught it:  That'd be 6.1 letters per word since the
stream has to include the typographical characters (CR, space, commas,
etc) after each word.  So it's closer to 25 words per second.  It's
still a number I have a bit of a hard time beleiving...

'later
Paul
0
Paul
3/7/2009 11:59:01 AM
Paul Renault wrote:
> 
> Ooo!  No one caught it:  That'd be 6.1 letters per word since the
> stream has to include the typographical characters (CR, space, commas,
> etc) after each word.  So it's closer to 25 words per second.  It's
> still a number I have a bit of a hard time beleiving...
> 
> 'later
> Paul

It's not impossible. I did a Speed Reading course some years ago, and 
started off at about 800 words per minute, and ended up doing 1200 
comfortably. Scanning was around 5000 words per minute.

25 per second is only 1500 pm.

AlanD
0
AlanD
3/10/2009 10:40:13 PM
Reply:

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