1. Directory
  2. History
  3. jon.txt

WARNING: I am sure there are typos in this story.  Also, I was somewhat 
         tired when I wrote this, so if you can't make sense of something 
         I wrote, just skip it and don't worry about it.

I got started with computers in 1992.  The computer I used back then, was a 
8088 with 640k of RAM.  It wasn't really my computer, it was for the whole 
family.  Anyway,   it had a menu system on it, so I never even saw the DOS 
prompt.  It did have a mouse with it, but only a few programs could make use 
of it.  About a year later, the "stone virus" got on it from a borrowed 
diskette(the 5.25 inch kind). Both my brother and I tried fixing it, but 
since we only had the computer for a year, we didn't know what we were doing. 
My dad gave it away to someone who knew a lot more than we did and we went 
without a computer for another year.

The next computer we got was a Packard Bell 386(25Mhz) with 4MB of ram, and a 
2400 baud internal modem.  It had Windows 3.1 on it along with DOS 6.22.  
Now skip ahead 3 years to 1996, and I could write batch files and had most 
of the DOS commands memorized.  I had gotten a copy of AOL 1.1 on a floppy 
disk that my dad brought home from work.  I hadn't used the internet before, 
but I heard of it at school.  I found a phone cord to plug into the modem 
and then plugged the other end to the wall.  After messing with some settings 
in Windows, I got the modem working and started AOL.  It dialed the 1-800 
number and connected.  After finding out that there was a monthly fee of 
(if I remember)$19.95, I decided that it would be too expensive.  I told 
my dad how much it costs and he agreed that it was too expensive, but he 
told my that one of his friends was running a BBS. 
After getting the phone number for this BBS, I quickly opened up the Terminal
program and dialed it.  It was called "The Hamshack BBS"(mostly HAM radio 
stuff).  There was only one phone line for it and so there was a time limit 
of 30 minutes. I would always go there to play the games every day.  It was 
neat because you would get points for playing the games and you would 
compete against other users to win 15 more minutes of time. 
After a while, I found the FILES section, and started downloading all kinds 
of games and programs.  When my download ratio limit had been reached, I 
kept trying to download stuff and it wouldn't work.  Then I saw at the 
bottom of the screen 

"Please wait! SysOp coming on for chat."

This was the first time I ever "chatted" to anyone on a computer.  The 
SysOp told me that I needed to upload something before I could download 
more stuff.

I also started using e-mail on "The Hamshack BBS".  Although it wasn't 
e-mail as we know it today, it was still the same idea: messages could be 
typed and sent to other users.  the "e-mail addresses" consisted of only 
the username.  "The Hamshack BBS" was also a FIDOnet node.  I never used
it, but I still remember the node was 1:280/19.

I now had a faster computer, it was a Pentium 120mhz with 16MB ram and a 
1 gig SCSI drive. I don't remember when it was, but I got a copy of the 
"Computer User" newspaper.  I noticed that they had a whole page of BBS 
phone numbers!  I stayed up until about 2AM on a Friday night calling just 
about every BBS on the page.  I remember "The Game Room BBS" was fun and I 
started going there.  There were a few other good BBSs that I started 
going to regularly.  There was also an ISP listed with the BBSs, but the 
description didn't say anything about it being an ISP.  I remember it said 
that they had over 60 gigs for download.  I called it and that's when I 
found out it was an ISP.  They were giving out 2 week accounts(ppp 
connection) for free with no obligation.  I got one and when my two weeks 
were up, I used the Terminal program to dial back and I noticed that it 
said on the screen to "type help as the user name if you need help".  So 
I typed help and noticed that at the bottom of the screen it said to type 
"?" for advanced help.  When I did that, I was able to get on the internet 
with the Lynx browser!!  And it was FREE!!!  And later I discovered how to 
exit Lynx and use telnet.  After a year, the ISP found out what I was doing 
and changed the system so I couldn't get on the web for free anymore.

this stuff is more recent...

Sometime around 1999, "The Hamshack BBS" went down(the computer crashed). 
 The SysOp and still e-mail each other, usually about programming, or 
web pages.

I now have a network of 5 computer running and I have a cable modem. I 
still have an old 56k winmodem in my Linux ip masquerading box, and if I 
ever find time to load the modules for it, I'll get out the now 
diminished list of BBS numbers in the "Computer User" newspaper and use 
minicom to call some of them.

AAAAH! MY EYES! Click here if you prefer a black and white color scheme.