Interview with Ryan Brown (alias Zendo) in Mountain View California, on May 22, 2003. Camera shifts a couple times, trying different angles. Subjects covered include running a BBS at a very young age, getting to know people only online, winning an award for running a BBS, as well as discussions about ANSI art and using various BBS software. Excellent back and forth between interviewer and interviewee.
July 9, 2019 Subject:
Watching these videos and listening to the experiences that people had in the 1990's with Bulletin Board Systems is so interesting to me. They bring back a lot of great memories. Back then, BBS's were the quickest way to share ideas and opinions. Most BBS's had public forums and, as they are today, the topics were limitless which was new to people back then At least it was to me, though I was just a kid. When I was 13, I saved up and bought my very first modem (1200 baud). It was great to be able to read articles and notes from other local users about anything and everything - "why a .28 dot-pitch monitor is better than one with a .31 dot-pitch" is a topic I remember spending a lot of time reading about. It wasn't long before I discovered multi-line BBS's and chat rooms. Being able to chat real-time with other people who lived nearby was *SO* cool. Shortly thereafter I started going to miniature golf or bowling shindigs with my new BBS buddies - freaking AWESOME.
This video with Ryan got my attention right off because he's easy to listen to and he's genuine; absolutely no pretense. My folks got me my own phone line in 1992 which is when I finally became a SysOp; at least during the times I wasn't using the line myself to dial-out. I tried running a BBS before that but it just isn't possible on the family phone line which also had call-waiting.
The first BBS software I ran was QuickBBS, then I tried RemoteAccess (I even tried Waffle) among many others. Opus v1.03c [garbage] was my least favorite. I was never very satisfied with anything until Telegard and eventually Renegade. Renegade was by far my very favorite BBS software. I remember taking my board down sometime in 1995. Ryan also had a LOT more users than I did. He mentioned TradeWars 2002 and I never liked that game (or any BBS game that I can remember) but other people sure did. Most of my traffic was due to the games and a couple message forums. I didn't take part in FidoNet, though. I figured there were plenty of other places people could access that if they wanted.
About half-way through the video Ryan starts talking about Sacramento which happens to be the same town in which I began my love affair with BBS's and the fascinating world of telephony. He goes on to mention a board called "24th Street Exchange" - a BBS I that I subscribed to beginning around 1989. Towards the end of 1995, though, I was very busy with school and work and I didn't feel like hanging out in front of the computer very much when I got free-time anymore. I decided not to renew my membership at 24th Street. There was an 8-line BBS called Entertain Net (eNet for short) but unlike 24th Street, eNet was completely free. I figured I'll save the money and I could always chat on eNet if I wanted.
Ryan: I don't know whether or not you used to meet up with any of the users from 24th Street, eNet, or other sites from time to time, but if you did then I'm sure that you and I met at some shindig or party back then.
Thanks so much for your interview, bro. Almost everything nowadays is designed to have a constant Internet connection and most modern devices either work or they're simply broken/beyond repair. People like you and I, and others who have contributed here, have seen our computers hang (or go into a reboot loop) because if an IRQ conflict between our mouse and our modem. Though it might have taken hours to figure out which jumpers needed to be moved, we figured out a resolution; most times without a single piece of documentation or schematic. We have a very unique perspective and particular brand of patience.