BBS: The Documentary

Has anyone seen this documentary?

It’s an eight part documentary on the BBS’s some of us used to frequent before the days of the internet. I’m finding it fascinating and quite a stroll down memory lane. It’s very in depth and reveals a lot about the scene that most of us never knew about. For instance the one on Fidonet was awesome. It lays out a real political side of it that I never knew about. Nor did I know that it still exists to this day. I also wasn’t aware of what was going on in the background with the ANSI art scene that brought us some really stunning work considering what they were working with.

I found the eight parts on the newsgroups, but I did a quick google search and it did turn up some torrents as well. I highly recommend this to people who were into BBS’s and to those who want to know about what we all did with modems before the internet.

From the website:

[quote]Four years, thousands of miles of travelling, and over 200 interviews later, “BBS: The Documentary”, a mini-series of 8 episodes about the history of the BBS, is now available. Spanning 3 DVDs and totalling five and a half hours, this documentary is actually eight documentaries about different aspects of this important story in the annals of computer history.

    * Baud introduces the story of the beginning of the BBS, including interviews with Ward Christensen and Randy Suess, who used a snowstorm as an inspiration to change the world.
    * Sysops and Users introduces the stories of the people who used BBSes, and lets them tell their own stories of living in this new world.
    * Make it Pay covers the BBS industry that rose in the 1980’s and grew to fantastic heights before disappearing almost overnight.
    * Fidonet covers the largest volunteer-run computer network in history, and the people who made it a joy and a political nightmare.
    * Artscene tells the rarely-heard history of the ANSI Art Scene that thrived in the BBS world, where art was currency and battles waged over nothing more than pure talent.
    * HPAC (Hacking Phreaking Anarchy Cracking) hears from some of the users of “underground” BBSes and their unique view of the world of information and computers.
    * Compression tells the story of the PKWARE/SEA legal battle of the late 1980s and how a fight that broke out over something as simple as data compression resulted in waylaid lives and lost opportunity.
    * No Carrier wishes a fond farewell to the dial-up BBS and its integration into the Internet. [/quote]

Had an uncle who was quadraplegic, and my aunt gave me printed transcripts of his posts. HE would chat via mouthstick with friends in other parts of Canada using braille pads and TTY terminals for the deaf.
They were quite interesting, revealing looks into their lives and quite political in content. I regret not having enough trancripts or ambition to make a book and dedicate it to him. He was kinda the guy who interested me in computers, I even helped him pack a crate of punchcards into a plant where he’d use them to print out a Snoopy Calendar to give to hs customers…

Cool Mike, got my mind running down memory lane. Remember when the 9600 baud modems came out and we thought that they were the cat’s meow, “9600 baud, holy fuck! thats insane”, LOL. I remember sitting at work and fantasizing about all the files I was going to be able download when I got home,Keith from citytel ran the only BBS in town, I remeber we used to play this game on it called VGA Planets, anyone remember that? You would make all you moves in the game offline and upload them to the BBS when you were done, at midnight Keith’s box would send them to Prince George I think it was. That box would forward them to another one in Toronto the next night at midnight and on and on till all the players have received the moves. They then would counter with their moves, and return. It took about a week to ten days for a return trip, you had to have alot of patience to play online in those days.