lansing.txt

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Date: Tue, 20 Dec 2005 01:18:32 -0500
From: Jason Artman 
To: jason@textfiles.com
Subject: BBS list additions

Hi,

I have an addition to your BBS listing. Here's the info:
BBS Phone Number: 517-655-3838
BBS Name: Merry Olde England
Town, State: Williamston, Michigan
SysOp: "Robin Hood"/Jason Artman
Software: TAG
1994-1995

If you happen to come across a copy of the Lansing BBS Listing from this
timeframe, you'll find verification of my board's existence. (I searched the
textfiles.com archive without any luck, but as I recall the listing was
always named lbbl(date).txt.) Sadly, I don't think that I archived any of
the listings - or even my board or any of the ANSIs, for that matter. Sad. I
wish I'd had a little more foresight.

I discovered BBSs as they were nearing their peak in numbers, which means
that my time with them was sadly limited (under ten years, for the true
dial-up variety). I miss those times. The 517 area code has a very rich BBS
history, and I was there for the massive explosion (at one point, I believe
there were over 100 active boards in the area code), and the long, steady
decline. Currently, there is one BBS left in Lansing, and it's telnet-only
(lhqi.com). It doesn't see much activity anymore.

The thing about BBSs was that each one was a little community. I'd be
shocked if I met someone on the Internet today who happened to live in my
town. Every forum that I've ever been a member of has had posters from all
over the world, and I've never had much desire to meet someone from the
Internet in real life. On the other hand, every BBS that I called was
populated by other kids from my school or other local high schools and
colleges. Several of them became great friends, and a few still are today,
though we're now spread out all over the country.

I like the Internet. I like the fact that if I want to find a whole bunch of
people to talk to about Pocket PCs, home recording, or my favorite sports
team right now, I can. But it's all so impersonal now. I'd kind of like to
see the pendulum swing back in the other direction a bit; regain a bit of
the local focus that BBSs used to have. Pretty much every single person you
run into nowadays has an email address and some kind of Internet access, but
there's so many possible places where they could gather online that they
just don't. It's really too bad.

As for my board, I loved the TAG BBS software. It was so easy to use. I had
to spend a while tweaking my modem's initialization string (it was a 9600
baud external USR Sportster, as I recall), but aside from that it pretty
much ran itself. All I had to do was customize. I would tell friends from my
school to call - people who had basically no idea how to use a computer or
comm software - so my big thing was that I was going to make the menus as
simple as possible. I designed ANSI menus that removed every option that
wasn't necessary to get to the major parts of the board, while still leaving
in advanced versions of the menus for my friends from other BBSs. And that's
what the board basically was - a gathering point for my friends, who were
kind enough to give me a call and post a few messages every night. I always
thought my handle, Robin Hood, was a little lame. But, I was about 12 when I
thought of it, and by the time I considered changing it, that was my
identity and it just seemed like it was too late. A small subset of my
friends continued to call me "Robin" for years.

Legion Headquarters (LHQ)
Now telnet-only (lhqi.com). The phone-line version, running TAG, lasted
until 2000 or so.
East Lansing, Michigan
Original SysOp: Evil Dude 
Current SysOp: Tont0 
These guys have all kinds of stories and I think contacting them would be
worth your while. One of the cool things about Legion was that they had
several affiliated BBSs, and a post in the Legion-Net section of one Legion
BBS would echo out to all of the others. The discussion boards spawned all
kinds of funny non sequiturs and slang terms that eventually were used by
pretty much every young BBS'er in the Lansing area. (Example: "CHeaP", an
easier way of doing something previously thought extremely difficult, or a
free way of doing something previously thought extremely expensive.)
Definitely the heart of the 517 scene - and not on your list. :)

The Barking Pizza
Can't remember what software this BBS was on. I know it was Mac-based while
Charlie was running it.
Haslett, Michigan (I think)
Final SysOp: Charlie (
Original SysOp: Xao Silverclaws (Apparently, judging from your text file)
I didn't discover this board until Charlie had taken it over. It was sort of
Legion's antithesis - where Legion was the home of the crackers, hackers,
and anarchists, The Barking Pizza was nothing but very intelligent,
sometimes very pretentious discussion. It was always entertaining. The core
users of this board became close friends in real life, and I still talk with
a few of them today.

Disgraced Kosmonaut
TAG
Williamston, Michigan
SysOp: Child of the Media 
This board was not unlike my own in concept. It was one of the only local
boards that had participants from both the Legion and Barking Pizza crowds,
and it was also one of the very few boards in the area code with a female
SysOp. Katy and I actually went to the same high school, but we weren't in
the same social circle and only became friends because we were both on BBSs.

(Can't remember the name!)
Searchlight
East Lansing, Michigan
SysOp: Kian Jorry 
I was confused by this board's login screen, so I actually ended up being
practically the only guy on the BBS who went by his real name instead of a
handle because I thought that was what they required. I'll probably remember
the name of the board as soon as I send this email. It was the gathering
point for students at Michigan State who were into BBSs, and it was THE
place to go for some intense political debate. They'd tell me that I held my
own, but I think they were just being nice. ;-)

Take care,
Jason Artman
"Robin Hood"

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