Interactive Media

Using VOIP to visit the past

Back in the pre-internet days, then back even further to my first computer, a Commodore 64 (of course!), I used to dial in to BBSes (bulletin board systems) on a 300 baud modem. For a moment I got excited when 1200/75 connections were possible to a commercial BBS-meets-teletex news system called Viatel here in Australia. That excitement was shortlived when I realised that it was content and not speed that mattered – and Viatel had content I really had little interest in – especially when private BBS systems held so much other material.

What happened to all of this?

Over at Vintage Computing there is a fascinating story of using VOIP to connect to some of the very few remaining ‘live’ BBS systems still up and running in America. I wonder if anyone is now trying to do this in Australia and whether any of the old boards are still running?

Here’s an excerpt but drop over and read the whole piece –

All this makes me wonder why the Sysops who own these BBSes keep them running with such little traffic. Did they just forget to turn off their machines in 1998 as the Internet finally swept away the traditional US BBS scene? Did the old Sysops die and nobody noticed that the automated machines were still running, undetected, in a dusty back room somewhere? The possibilities are incredibly compelling; they really stir the imagination. That’s why finding such forgotten realms elicits a sense of discovery in me, like being an explorer discovering a long-lost temple in the overgrown jungles of Peru — all the more reason to give the old places a visit.