Old-School

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 10, 2007 1:47 AM GMT
    A friend of mine sent me an online discussion from 1996 that he found. Aside from making me feel really old, it got me reminiscing a little bit.......

    Who here actually remembers UseNet? (soc.motss, alt.gay.*, etc)

    Who here remembers IRC? (#gayfrat, #gaycollegeboys, #gaymuscle)

    Who here remembers back when AOL restricted usernames to 8 letters? (leading to highly abbreviated, often not-well-thought-out, screen names like "hotstd4u")
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    Aug 10, 2007 3:59 AM GMT
    Hah! When I started on-line (with my massively advanced 300 baud modem) you had a list of telephone numbers that connected to BBSs (bulletin board systems) running on somebody's Apple, TRS or Commodore computer. If you didn't mind tying up your phone line, you could set up your own BBS for about fifty bucks.
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    Aug 10, 2007 4:32 AM GMT
    I totally remember BBS's!

    BBS's were a highschool thing for me. College was when I started exploring the "internet proper", and things like the Usenet newsgroups.

    Were you ever on IRC?
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    Aug 10, 2007 4:35 AM GMT

    Chuckle - I remember using IPSS and later NSFNet in the late 70's and early 80's. (The first TCP/IP-wide area network went operational on January 1, 1983, when the US National Science Foundation (NSF) constructed a university network backbone that would later become the NSFNet.)

    I remember the huge fun of playing on the very first real TELNET MUD in the US on one of the University of Illinois servers. The fun ones used to be MIT, Berkley, UCLA, and McGill.

    Hell - I even remember in 1978 when UNIX/32V, for the VAX system, was released.

    My own first PC was a TRS-80, my second an Apple II.

    Now that I have dated myself irrevocably...

    R
  • hotversguy

    Posts: 155

    Aug 10, 2007 4:48 AM GMT
    2400 baud modem
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    Aug 10, 2007 5:06 AM GMT
    ITJock - MUDs!! I remember those. Are they still around?
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    Aug 10, 2007 5:31 AM GMT
    My first "computer" was a commodore 64. When I was in high school I bought a trash 80 and connected to Compuserve via a 300 baud rate modem. I still have the old TRS 80 up in the attic and someday I'll have to see if it still works--if I can be patient enough to wait for it to load the OS off the 5 1/4 floppy disk...
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    Aug 10, 2007 10:32 AM GMT
    UseNet - definitely. Used to spend way too much time there with those long stings (alt. pictures.adult.men.muscle.etc.) but it seemed a vast improvement over time and costs of going to a BBS.

    The problem, for me back then, was that it cost a lot and took forever to download a picture from a BBS when there were no "free long distance" services on the phone.

    My main email address has been the same for 18 years.

    The first computer I used was a Digital PDP-8.

    Memories.....
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    Aug 10, 2007 12:10 PM GMT
    Back in the 80's, I worked for Digital, and they had an amazing set of "notesfiles" which was the equivalent of BBS's, but internal. The gay community was really strong there, practically all my friends were one's I got from the notesfiles, and I met my ex there. I remember seeing an outside email (with an @ sign) and thought it looked very strange.
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    Aug 10, 2007 1:03 PM GMT
    Memories. Apparently static, or they'd be long gone by now, considering the number of power outages my brain has had. {g}

    ==============================================

    1st computer I learned to use: Monrobot - by Monroe-Sweeda. Paper tape I/O. 4K bits (not bytes) of core memory. Machine language only.

    1st computer I owned: A small plastic mechanical thing with 3 registers that was programmed by moving steel rods. Could count up & down and simple multiplication.

    1st electronic computer I owned: Radio Shack CoCo - Color Computer. Purchased because it used the same chipset as my employer's proprietary device - the Motorola 6500. A ridiculous thing which mulitplexed 16-bit addresses on an 8-bit buss using a second chip which was prone to overheating. This was the machine I used to contact my first newer-generation BBS/Portal: Prodigy.

    I was working for IBM when they introduced their original PC. The employee price for a single-floppy, no hard disk, 16K memory, text-only green or amber screen monitor with monitor/printer combo driver card: $3500. I couldn't afford it.

    1st high-level language learned: Forgo, or Load & Go Fortran. Learned on a 1620 type 1. It was a 2-pass compiler. Your original punch cards were read, and the machine produced a huge stack of cards in "pseudo-code" which were then fed back in and executed. Clearing card jams was a bitch - it was really hard to get the bottom of the punch back in place.

    1st modem: 75 baud, replaced with a 110 baud - an acoustic coupler you'd place your handset in. Used it with an ADM-3A monitor. Whoo hoo!

    1st class in programming: University of Texas, Austin, extension school - summer of 1965. And yes, I think I still have the textbook.

    I met my 2nd partner on a BBS in about 1990 - I'd dial up and leave a message, he'd dial up and respond. Slow way to have a chat...

    BUT:

    The thing that impresses me historically is a machine owned by a long time couple I know in Studio City, CA. They ordered an Altair 880 from the issue of Popular Electronics that showed the original one on the cover. It was the first real hobbyist home computer. The front panel is toggle switches and LED's - you toggled your loader in byte-octal and then, if you paid extra for the Tarbell "Kansas City" interface, you could load a program from a cassette recorder. Theirs STILL WORKS and one of them wrote kick-ass programs from it, including a blackjack game that is still mighty fine.
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    Aug 10, 2007 1:06 PM GMT
    Typo: That's Altair 8800 - see http://wwwcsif.cs.ucdavis.edu/~csclub/museum/items/mits_altair_8800.html
  • DiverScience

    Posts: 1426

    Aug 10, 2007 1:09 PM GMT
    I remember Gopher (among other such relics)

    I remember text-only online games.

    I remember when the 14400 modem was SUPER DUPER FAST.

    I actually had my *name* for an AOL handle (and I have a common last name)
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    Aug 10, 2007 2:17 PM GMT
    My first computer was an RCA COSMAC VIP that I built from a kit.

    My first PC, purchased in 1992 for a little over $2000, was an AST Power Exec monochrome laptop with a 25 MHz 386SL CPU and 4 Megs of RAM, to which I soon added an additional 4 Megs of RAM at a cost of ~$125.

    I did a lot of BBSing and also signed up with Prodigy. My first exposure to Usenet was on a gay BBS that started carrying a selection of newsgroups. BBSs and the Internet, with all its RFC compliance rules, were not a good combination, as I discovered when some of my private internal BBS mail got posted publicly to SOC.MOTSS, due to either a software glitch or an error by the BBS's owner.

    A huge online argument erupted over the incident, and that began my shift away from BBSing and toward Usenet, which I started participating on, using an RFC compliant offline newsreader and long-distance dial-up access (first with a proprietary UUCP software/service, and later with a UNIX shell account and a freeware ap.) Eventually, local dialup PPP service became available, and about 5 years ago, I had two miles of fiber optic line buried out to the house.
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    Aug 10, 2007 5:52 PM GMT
    In 79, I had HP45 ($500)hand held that you could add upto 2000 bytes of internal memory, read/write memory sticks that looked like chewing gum sticks, and a thermal printer. Using a subset of BASIC and something called "Reverse Polish Notation," I programmed a fulfunction payroll program that calculated local, state, and federal taxes and deductions. It maintained individual's year to date totals and printed acceptable pay roll check stubs.

    For 3 years, I ran a business with 7 employees with that system.
    When I doubled the number of employees, the chewing gum memory sticks became cumbersome, I got a CP/M system with 8 inch floopies costing $3500. and an interpreted BASIC payroll program that cost $125. The only real difference was,it actually printed the payroll checks.

    The manufacturer "Morrow" went belly up before my 2 year financing was paid up. Like Adam Osborne, Morrow made a career out of telling other people how to run computer companies after his company went broke.

    I did keep a CP/M inventory system going for 12 years.
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    Aug 10, 2007 6:19 PM GMT
    In '97 I worked as a product manager for a company that aggregated and archived all the Usenet group messages and put them on the web. You could get answers to anything on Usenet. Now it's called Google Groups and you can still see messages all the way back to 1982, when the founder of Usenet was posting "cutting edge" stuff.

    I remember taking about 2 hours to sift through the porn groups just to find one or two hot naked guy pics. Sheesh. Thank Dog for technological advances! ;-)

    In '82 I had a Texas Instruments home computer (TI-99/4A) that had to be hooked up to your TV. My brother and I used to write programs in basic that would make it look like the computer was crashing, in hopes my Dad would replace it with a Commodore 64. Later on, I tried to write a video game version of the TV game show "Press Your Luck". But near the end of my little project it seems there were too many command lines and the thing permanently crashed, (I'm assuming) due to my maxing out the 8k of memory so that the OS wouldn't even function. I tried to back it up on cassette (?!) but it was too late.

    ticomp.gif
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    Aug 10, 2007 6:25 PM GMT
    My apologies for restating the Google Groups reference. gregstevenstx had already shed light on this.

    Guess my usenetiquette is a bit rusty!
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    Aug 10, 2007 7:21 PM GMT
    "In '97 I worked as a product manager for a company that aggregated and archived all the Usenet group messages and put them on the web."

    Ahhhhhh... DejaNews. My bookmark for Google Groups Advanced Search is still my old one named "Deja.com Power Search" except I updated the properties to point to the new Google URL.
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    Aug 10, 2007 7:35 PM GMT
    I was actively posting on soc.motss around 1989-90. I met one of my first dates through it, when someone sent an email of encouragement...

    Anyone had an anonymous email address on "@anon.penet.fi"? Used to hang out in this gay chatroom with a cryptic name (don't remember anymore, but it's based in Sweden .se).
  • imaxim

    Posts: 94

    Aug 10, 2007 7:41 PM GMT
    The first computer we had was a Commodore 64 with a 4" gray-text-on-white screen. It had text-only games that ran on tapes.

    Later on, we upgraded to the Tandy 1000, which ran games with as many as 4 colors, woohoo.

    I was about 8 years old at the time, so my priorities were a little different. Later on, when the internet became more commonly available, I did quite a lot of BBS and IRC too, but I hadn't dealt with the whole gay thing at that time... aside from downloading a LOT of porn from UseNet.
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    Aug 10, 2007 8:17 PM GMT
    Thanks for keeping it real, paradox. ;-) It was a good company that lost sight of what they did well in order to IPO. An all-to-frequent story, unfortunately.
  • jarhead5536

    Posts: 1348

    Aug 10, 2007 8:45 PM GMT
    Got you all beat. I remember when the internet was a Department of Defense communication system only. I know because I was in the military at that time. It was very 1984, Big Brother-like (every thing was monitored by shadowy "national security" figures).
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    Aug 10, 2007 8:54 PM GMT
    time marches on eh...wonder how soon all of what we're used to now will seem obsolete
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    Aug 10, 2007 9:21 PM GMT
    RPN - now THAT brings back memories...

    a simple test:

    3 (enter) 4 x 2 +

    a) 24
    b) 12
    c) 14
    d) 11

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    Aug 10, 2007 9:55 PM GMT
    My dad and I built our first computer. It was a Compukit UK101. Old skool!

    But I really learnt to program etc. on a Psion Organizer and then a Series 3. They were awesome little handheld computers, way ahead of their time and infinitely programmable.

    Cut my teeth on 6502 assembler then when we bought our Archimedes, ARM assembler.

    MOVS PC, LR
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    Aug 10, 2007 9:59 PM GMT
    And I forgot to mention how much I loved the Acorn BBSs.... we lagged behind in the UK I think, but the homebrew kit was great!

    Nerd-tastic!