The Bulletin Board System - BBS
Named by The Root Magazine as one of The Seventeen Black Internet Pioneers http://theroot.com), my name is Mike Holman http://mikeholman.com/Just this week I had to do a paper for a Pace University class I'm taking on one of the historical events that really had an impact on history. The paper had to be somewhat extensive and I thought "Woe Is Me!". Low and behold after conducting a search, I found a website the zeroed in on the Top Ten Historical Events atBBS HISTORYSeeing how I love Information Technology, my eyes immediately zeroed in on number 9, The Dawning Of The Information Age.This was in my opinion a "loaded" topic as there are so many aspects and I had to think of what could I zero in on. I decided to zero in on flow of digital information exchange as I saw it as well as played a role in the early 1990's. Similar to an article I did recently and posted on my Blog, which reflected on my Andrew Jackson High School years, while working on Wall Street in the 1980's, once again to some what you are about to read may seem unclear in terms of trying to get a picture of what was going on, to others it may seem a little clear and yet to others it will be crystal clear. Here's just a little portion of the paper I came up with...The Information Age brought about computers and the internet.The factual information is that we are able to do more now than we could prior to the dawning of information age. Computers in their current form today were on-existent. The computers that did exist took up the size of a large room. Computer code was written on punch cards and “fed” into the computers. There is a podcast on iTunes of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs that speak of how things were prior to the real evolution of the information age.The computers that did exist that could be used by individuals as noted in the podcast had very little memory and hard disk space. Because of this the programs written to run on these computers also had very limited capabilities. The computer programming code existed on tape recorders. I know this personally because I used the computers like this. One of the early computers that were in existence was made by Radio Shack and was called the TRS-80. The computer was not stand alone with a display but rather was more like a keyboard with outlets to input peripherals. To this “keyboard” I connected my TV which served as a display. I also connected little snap in cartridges which contained the programs I wanted to run. There were cartridges for Word Processing, Spreadsheets and even online communications via Videotext Cartridge. There was also a programming language cartridge called Basic Assembler. You could save your work (Wording Docs, Spreadsheets, etc.) on to a Cassette Tape Recorder. To get online I used a cable connected to the keyboard that when into a separate Modem. This Modem connected me to the Information Services that existed at the time such as CompuServe Information Service (CIS). This was the “Internet” for users of the time. You were able to read the latest news, join in Bulletin Board Discussions as well as participate in Live Chat.Information Exchange was a key part of the Information Age. As the Information Age further evolved, individual users found that that if they did not want to pay for an online information service such as CompuServe, they could create they own exchange of information between one or more users. This was done via the use of Computer Bulletin Board Systems or BBS’s. I ran one of these systems. Users were able to l dial my system (my actual telephone line) and I had my computer setup “ready” to take calls from users. I had Message Boards setup for users to exchange information with each other on my system. A Network of Computer Users evolved that at certain intervals at night would “drop off” messages to other Bulletin Board Systems. The Message exchange would be to the “next closest” system so that eventually the message “drop off” would cover the...