TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Bell Divestiture

Re: Bell Divestiture

Tony P. (
Sun, 19 Jun 2005 19:34:44 -0400

In article <>, TELECOM Digest
Editor noted in response:

> Chicago is where the BBS concept got started. Randy Seuss and Ward
> Christianson started the very first one. (In yesterday's Digest,
> Robert Bonomi mentioned how Randy had such hassles with Illinois Bell
> getting the lines he needed). Bell and Howell computers _were_ Apple
> ][+ machines except for the lable on the front of them, and many of
> them, such as mine, had not only a 300 baud modem card on a slot
> inside, but an 'expanded memory' card as well, to go in another slot
> inside, and a 'clock card' plus a couple of floppy disk driver
> cards. I would guess that by 1980 there were a dozen or more BBS's
> operating, all in Chicago or nearby suburbs, and almost none anywhere
> else in the world.

> The Library had their BBS (BELmont 5-3200) based on Bill Blue's
> *People's Message System* as did a guy in Downers Grove, IL. Rogers
> Park ABBS (973-ABBS [2227]) used some other kind of software for
> Apple as I did with my original BBS called 'First Choice'
> (SHEldrake-3-0001). But I soon decided to work with a different BBS
> 'skeleton' to make 'Lake Shore Modem Magazine' on my other phone
> line SHEldrake-3-0002 instead, and Lake Shore Modem Magazine went on
> line in July, 1981. Tim had his Tandy Model 4 operating "Think BBS"
> (based on the old IBM slogan) and Randy Suess kept plugging along
> with his CBBS, until he eventually decided to go 'multi-user' with
> his Chinet system, which was when all the trouble with the telephone
> company got started, in 1984 I think. Ward and Randy were not only
> first with the BBS concept, I think they were first with the
> multi-user concept also (regards home or residential service). There
> was a guy in Oak Park, Illinois using his Tandy Model-4 to run a
> FIDO multi-user node around that same time, but I never did much
> care for the FIDO people; they all seemed so prissy and
> authoritarian, IMO. I did maintain a user group out of his node for
> six months or so, but the FIDO bosses decided to ex-communicate his
> entire system, so that was good enough for me: I had been off and on
> using Usenet (via Portal) for a couple years at that point and
> decided to give up on FIDO and use Usenet exclusively instead, and I
> did that mostly with my Zenith Z-19 terminal and modem. From Randy
> Suess one day I got a bunch of other very good working terminals and
> modems as well; that was around 1983. I finally shut down my BBS
> (Lakeshore Modem Magazine) on December 31, 1985 for good. PAT]

Interesting about the TRS-80 Model 4 multi node. If I'm not mistaken
that was running SIDOS.

Here is the story behind SIDOS:

In 1982 a friend of mine convinced me to spend hard earned money on a
modem so I could connect the the NYBBLINK BBS here in Providence. A
month after I'd gotten the modem NYBBLINK went down for good.

So my friend Don Lambert decided to re-wire his Model III so that it
had multiple RS-232 ports, and ISAM file system, as well as all sorts
of communications enhancements to TRSDOS, enough so that it was a
different O/S once he got through with it. After a few months of the
two of us brainstorming and testing the crap out of the system Syslink
was born.

SIDOS was then run on two other BBS's in RI that spawned a major
communications player. PowerNet and PowerCor both ran SIDOS. The
operator of PowerCor then procured through some nefarious means a DEC
MicroVax II and formed Intelecom Data Systems, or IDS.

The assets of IDS were rolled up and became Conversent Communications.

All because I didn't want to be stuck with a modem and nothing to
connect to locally.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Very, very interesting. There are a lot
of good stories, mostly untold, from the early years of BBS'ing and
networking. I'll bet an entire newsgroup could be started and maintained
with just such accounts. But was SIDOS running on Model 4 as it came
out of the factory? My friend with the Think BBS and the guy in Oak
Park who ran a FIDO node brought their boxes home from Radio Shack,
and plugged them in and started their sites within a day or two; no
adaptation needed that I recall them saying. PAT]

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