crazy.txt

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Crazy House started as a BBS in early 1989 in Port Charlotte
(941-423-0356), which is a pretty rural area, as a quasi-private system
running Maximus on OS/2.  It expanded to two lines with the first
rolling over on busy to the second.

As time went on and I was spending less and less time in Port Charlotte
and had bigger aspirations for the BBS as well.  In early 1992 I moved
the heart of the system 45 miles north to Sarasota (941-925-7998) but
kept the Port Charlotte dial-up numbers (more on that later).  

At this time I change the BBS software to Major BBS by Galacticom (later
called Worldgroup-- YUK!) and upgraded to sixteen telephone lines.  By
this time I had as much money into Crazy House as a really good used
car.  The chat room was by far the most used feature!

By the end of 1992 I had secured a 56K Frame Relay connection to the
Internet via UUNet Technologies and became the FIRST private Internet
Service Provider (ISP) in the 941 area code.  It went commercial under
the URL of flnet.com with the company name as "Florida Network
Technologies, Inc."

As my day job was in the Telephony world (but not the phone company) I
was able to, legally, social engineer the phone company to make changes
within their system that allowed me to forward the Port Charlotte phone
numbers to Sarasota without additional callers getting a busy signal
until all the modems were busy.  With this in place, and now due to
higher demand, I tossed out the Galacticom Box (modem bank) added a
terminal server along with another sixteen dial-up lines and upgraded to
a half a T1.  FreeBSD UNIX, which we had been playing with behind the
scenes, became a cornerstone of FLnet's technology for the years ahead.

This worked out so well that I quickly added other forwarding lines to
other cities in the area including Venice (941-496-4505), Punta Gorda
(941-743-9189) and North Port (can't find those digits).  And, again,
added more dial-up lines to the system.

Later, due to high demand I installed a Point-of-Presence (POP) for Port
Charlotte and Punta Gorda in North Port, FL (between Port Charlotte and
Sarasota).  I installed a Point-to-Point T1 between North Port and the
main system in Sarasota and changed the Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda
numbers to point to North Port.  With the exception of another terminal
server, more modems, and a FreeBSD box for administration purposes
everything else was kept in Sarasota.  For users this meant that the
change was 100% transparent to callers-- other than fewer busy signals.

At this point Crazy House was local to callers over more than a 75 mile
north/south distance along Florida's Gulf Coast with a population of
more than half a million people.  Not bad for a BBS in rural America!

The BBS, unfortunately, became a forgotten milestone in technology and
was used less and less.  I pulled the plug on the BBS sometime in 1994
when the daily login, both modem and Internet callers, had dropped to
less than a few a day.  However flnet.com as an ISP lived on for another
three years, through waves of new and ever expanding (and more
expensive) hardware.

I saw the writing on the wall.  The big ISP's were taking over,
Mom-n-Pop ISP's like mine were becoming a dime a dozen.  There was
little room for the little guy.  With my large customer base, due to our
huge calling area, one of the big guys came in and bought out the rights
to my customer base.  I reluctantly sold.

Unfortunately my life does not consist of sitting on the beach, toes in
the sand, and drinking a Mia-Tia all the while watching to make Jeeves
puts two coats of wax the Ferrari.  I am still an everyday working guy.
Learned a ton of tech during the years of Crazy House / FLnet.  I now
work as an over paid consultant as a Unix System Administrator.

I wouldn't change a thing. well maybe Jeeves and the Ferrari.

Thanks for letting me share the legend of Crazy House!

Tim Grzechowski
groovus@zinc-zag.com
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