Back to the BBS Part Three: Privacy, Message Groups and Retro Hardware

In this part of the documentary we introduce the matter of privacy, with all the erosion of privacy on the net, the #BBS might provide a real alternative for you. We also introduce BBS messaging, a fun forum and email service. Finally we cover hardware to get your retro equipment such as #Commodore 64 and #Atari machines to connect to a BBS via WiFi!

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On the web & social media:

This episode features interviews with (in order of appearance):
Howard Sherman (of Excaliber BBS –
‘Denis’ – A young BBS user
Chris Eldrige (Kurisu Yamato)

0:00 Introduction
1:38 Privacy
8:41 BBS Messaging Overview
9:19 Chris Eldridge describes Echomail
11:35 Echomail demonstration
18:08 Private email: Netmail
20:22 Using retro hardware to get on a BBS

Back to the BBS Part Two: Games & Mods

In this part of Back to the BBS we introduce Games and Mods. There are interviews with the authors of some excellent brand new games, as well as talking to sysops that make add-on software (mods) to BBS’s that give it some modern and fun functionality. Bulletin Board Systems (BBS’s) were what people went online with before the web. This multi-part documentary shows you what BBS’s do, why they are still relevant and fun to use today.. 

Don’t forget to LIKE this video and please SUBSCRIBE to my channel! Press that NOTIFICATION bell so you get to know when new great videos come out that you’ll like!  I really do appreciate your subscriptions, it makes the countless hours I spend on this channel feel so worthwhile!  If you really like my stuff and fancy spotting me a cup of coffee, don’t forget to check out my Ko-Fi and Patreon pages:

Back to the BBS – The return to being ‘online’

This is part one

Ever wondered what happened ‘online’ before the Internet? Yes! There was something before the ‘net. The crazy thing is, that it’s still going today. They’re called Bulletin Board Systems (BBS’s). They are great fun, they have an awesome community of really fun people (as you’ll see in this video), they have games, cool add-on apps called ‘mods’, message forums (kinda like Facebook groups or usenet), and what’s more, it’s private (in most cases). Completely away from the prying eyes of Google and Facebook, it’s a world that is coming right back to life, and could become even more relevant in this age of online censorship and (mis)use of our information so that Facebook et al. can make money from us.

Think of the best bits of E-mail, usenet, Reddit, Facebook Groups, filesharing and a few more besides. Package it all in one area, with a really cool retro aesthetic and you have a BBS. People run BBS’s today because they are passionate about engaging in a community of people with similar ideals, something they won’t get anywhere else.

Join me in part one of the documentary. Part two is just around the door. I’ve put many months of work into this documentary, with dozens of interviews. Across the series I cover the following topics:


    • What is a BBS?
    • Why are BBS’s fun? (interviews)
    • History
    • Connect via the Internet
    • ANSI graphics/text
    • How to use a BBS
    • Dave Cloutier / BBS Demo
    • Subi (15 yr old BBS user)
    • Dave Perussell (future of BBS’s)
    • Daniel Kelly (aBSINTHe BBS demo)

The following parts of the series cover:

  • MODS

Star Micronics Colour Dot Matrix Printer Unboxing (dot matrix printing)

I picked up this 1989 Star Micronics NX-1000 dot matrix printer from a recent computer warehouse haul in Auckland. There’s a good chance it hasn’t seen much use in 25-ish years, but I was surprised to see that it came in its original box. During the unboxing you’ll see that its manuals and cables all present and correct, so I had hopes that this epson compatible printer might work.This lovely little printer was one I was familiar with from primary school back in the day of the BBC micro, and it was a very nice machine back in its day.

10MHz V20 XT vs. a 6 MHz 286?

Here’s another quicky video! Call me dumb but I had no idea whether an XT-clone PC XT rated at 10MHz NEC V20 CPU with an 8087 co-processor, or an XT machine with a 6MHz Intel 80286 CPU and an 80287 co-processor would be faster. Surely logic would say that because 10 is bigger than 6, that’s better? Surely an 80287 would be better than an 8087? Right??? Well, the results may surprise you. Of course, the results are all 100% scientific. Legit scienciefied. The final benchmark which concludes everything is the old ‘Which one loads up Leisure Suit Larry 3’ test. Y’all know that one, right? 😉

Documentary: How and why IBM made the first PC

IBM released the IBM PC 5150 in 1981. Internally, IBM went through massive hurdles to get a personal computer to the market to compete with the other microcomputers of the time. This documentary shows all of the happenings organisationally as well as the trade-offs and decisions that led up to IBM choosing the sluggish 8088 CPU.

Some of the main reference material: BYTE Magazine, September 1990:… “Bill Gates, Microsoft and the IBM Personal Computer” – Infoworld Newsweekly, August 23rd 1982:… “Microsoft Announces 8086 Basic” – The Intelligent Machines Journal, Summer 1979:… IBM Exhibits:…

ST506 Drive ‘Find’

I recently took ownership of a banged-up old #IBM PC XT. The motherboard was toast, the case was all banged up, so I decided it wasn’t worth repairing after many hours wasted with a multimeter and desoldering.. I put a new old 10MHz Turbo XT clone board in and it complained about some boot issues. So whilst I was debugging the issue, I thought I’d put the #ST506 hard drive in from the old machine. I didn’t expect it to work, but I thought just having a controller in there might help the issue. What I didn’t expect is that the 25+ year old drive would actually work. To my amazement, it (almost) worked first time. And here’s the treasure trove on it. Always find it amazing just seeing what people leave behind on their computers. It’s like a time capsule. Apologies for the really rough video, I shot it on my phone with no mic or anything, I just recorded it live as it was happening as I didn’t know if the disk was going to crap out on me. Didn’t have time to prep

Cleaning Retro Kit

Well, I got a mouse today. A lovely little original serial port #Microsoft mouse. It was pretty grubby, so I decided to give it a good old clean up.

Here is a video of the process and materials of what I use to clean up my retro stuff. I hope you find it entertaining and educational. I certainly found doing it a little more entertaining than it should be (thanks, Cussons!).

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How to set up a retro DOS PC to use the web, IRC chat, email, twitter, connect to BBS’s and more!

In this video I show you how to set up networking using a packet driver and mTCP. After that it’s over to showcasing some of the ways to get apps such as telnetd on a Linux box to give you email, twitter, reddit, rss, video and more. Then there’s the native mTCP apps such as IRC; an FTP server, an FTP client, a telnet client (for you to connect to your Linux box with) and more. Finally, there’s a harkening back to the days pre-internet with BBS’s. I’ll show you how to connect to BBS’s via telnet.