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Oct 2, 2016

Bulletin Board System - Grandfather of Facebook


This is a funny video of the Dial Up Internet Sound which the younger generations of Internet users have not heard before and never ever hear it again.

However, my pioneer generation friends would remember the memories of the dial up Internet connection in the 1980s.

When I had dinner with my son, Wei last week, we talked about the Bulletin Board System (BBS).  As a young boy in the 1980s, he remembered that I was using the computer late at night after everyone in the house had gone to sleep.  There was also the loud high-pitched and piercing sound from the telephone.  That was the same shrill sound to thrill the BBS users when the dial up to the BBS was connected successfully.  Not the funny cartoon video though!

I belong to the era of the BBS addicts to get connected with other veteran computer users with a home computer, modem, dial-up phone line and a required software to run the program.

Here are some relevant pix found on Google to share.

Early modems were generally very simple devices using acoustic couplers to handle telephone operation. The user would first pick up the phone, dial a number, then press the handset into rubber cups on the top of the modem. Disconnecting at the end of a call required the user to pick up the handset and return it to the phone. Examples of direct-connecting modems did exist, and these often allowed the host computer to send it commands to answer or hang up calls, but these were very expensive devices used by large banks and similar companies.



The purpose of the BBS was created to connect people everywhere in the world to communicate.

As shown in the above pix, BBS users could communicate as one to one, one to many or many to many (as a group).  There were "Special Interest Group" (SIG) for the like-minded people under various category groups (e.g.  gardening, cooking, bookworms, health for seniors, etc).

A bulletin board system, or BBS, is a computer server running custom software that allows users to connect to the system using a terminal program. Once logged in, the user can perform functions such as uploading and downloading software and data, reading news and bulletins, and exchanging messages with other users through email, public message boards, and sometimes via direct chatting. 

Many BBSes also offer on-line games, in which users can compete with each other, and BBSes with multiple phone lines often provide chat rooms, allowing users to interact with each other. Bulletin board systems were in many ways a precursor to the modern form of the World Wide Web, social networks and other aspects of the Internet. Low-cost, high-performance modems drove the use of online services and BBSes through the early 1990s. Infoworld estimated there were 60,000 BBSes serving 17 million users in the United States alone in 1994, a collective market much larger than major online services like CompuServe.

The first public dial-up BBS was developed by Ward Christensen and Randy Suess. According to an early interview, when Chicago was snowed under during the Great Blizzard of 1978, the two began preliminary work on the Computerized Bulletin Board System, or CBBS.

Much of the shareware movement was started via user distribution of software through BBSes. A notable example was Phil Katz's PKARC (and later PKZIP, using the same ".zip" algorithm that WinZip and other popular archivers now use); also other concepts of software distribution like freeware, postcardware like JPEGview and donationware like Red Ryder for the Macintosh first appeared on BBS sites. Doom from id Software and nearly all Apogee Software games were distributed as shareware (Apogee is, in fact, credited for adding an order form to a shareware demo).[citation needed] The Internet has largely erased the distinction of shareware - most users now download the software directly from the developer's website rather than receiving it from another BBS user 'sharing' it.

A bulletin board system (BBS) is a computer or an application dedicated to the sharing or exchange of messages or other files on a network. Originally an electronic version of the type of bulletin board found on the wall in many kitchens and work places, the BBS was used to post simple messages between users. The BBS became the primary kind of online community through the 1980s and early 1990s, before the World Wide Web arrived.

A BBS may be accessible from a dial-up modem, Telnet, or the Internet. Because it originated before the graphical user interface (GUI) became prevalent, the BBS interface was text-based. Although recent Web-based versions have a graphical, interactive user interface, the text-only interface preferred by BBS purists can often be accessed by Telnet. 

It is difficult to see where the future of Bulletin Board Systems may go in the future. Certainly BBSes won't be as big as they once were. The Internet has changed the landscape forever.

Before the Internet, hobbyists set their own BBS systems to fill the void. People wanted to communicate with other people. Face to face led to using the CB Radio, then BBS systems. With the Internet, everybody can be connected to any place at any time. The Internet allowed for easy centralization on a global scale.


The examples of the menu of a few BBSs.





This is a mediawatch broadcast of the work I was doing in the early 90's in using Bulletin Board System (BBS) technology for helping people. This was pre-internet commercial world. It was fun then, learning and networking. 





The above videos on YouTube would give an idea of the Bulletin Board System which is now obsolete.

From one generation to another generation of computer users, technology is ever changing the way we think, the way we communicate.

Since time immemorial in the early days when man lived in caves in isolation, the discovery of fire by causing spark friction striking on two stones and dried leaves.

The smoke signal is one of the oldest forms of long-distance communication. It is a form of visual communication used over long distance. In general smoke signals are used to transmit news, signal danger, or gather people to a common area.

Of course, Alexander Graham Bell is the father of the telephone. After all it was his design that was first patented, however, he was not the first inventor to come up with the idea of a telephone. Antonio Meucci, an Italian immigrant, began developing the design of a talking telegraph or telephone in 1849.

The communication devices invented over a century by grandfathers and great grandfathers from all over the world are the legacy of their original concepts and formulae are not discarded.  With  the advanced technology available would create, innovate and modified the hardware products.

We do not need to reinvent the wheels, but the vehicles today are designed with different wheels with different materials required.  Basically, the original idea of a round wheel, not a square wheel or any other shapes, would need to evolve and re-design as required.

How is Facebook related to the Bulletin Board System (BBS)?

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, was not born when the BBS was used as the prevailing system for communication as known as "social media network".

Many scholars and intellectuals everywhere have done researches and conducted surveys on the use of Facebook.

Alex Ohanian

Reddit cofounder Alex Ohanian had some very strong words about Facebook's IPO:

"If Facebook continues to make bad decisions about user experience - about disrespecting privacy  -  you have the potential for this to become something like the social networking fads of yesteryear," Ohanian told Shira Lazar.  "The value of a site that is community-driven is in the community .....  My concern is, if Facebook continues to make bad decisions for the community, those could mean bad things for the business."

Aaron Sorkin

Famed Hollywood writer Aaron Sorkin nabbed his first Academy Award for penning The Social Network script, a dramatization about the founding of Facebook.

While promoting the film on talk show The View, he said, "It's a device that's meant to connect us, to bring us closer together.  I think, and I know I'm in the minority, at minimum there are 500 million people who disagree with me.  I think it's pushing us further apart ..... I think socializing on the Internet is to socializing what reality TV is to reality."

While he admitted it could positively impact people's lives, he didn't relent on the wider negative effect.

Facebook in the Early Days

Back in the site's early days, Facebook was a fledgling startup that catered to college kids on a handful of campuses.

In a 2005 interview, then 21-year-old Mark Zuckerberg was asked about the future of Facebook, but struggled to see how it could get any bigger.

"There doesn't necessarily have to be more," he said.  "There is a level of service that we could provide when we were just at Harvard that we can't provide for all of the colleges, and there's a level of service that we can provide when we're a college network that we wouldn't be able to provide if we went to other types of things."



1 Comments:

Blogger Ignatius Low said...

well documented!!!

October 2, 2016 at 2:29 PM  

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