Back to the BBS Episode 6: The Demoscene

Although not part of BBSes per se, a lot of the demoscene started from distributing software that showed off the capabilities of what a computer could do. The demoscene is still going strong today. This documentary charts back the history right through to the current day, introducing where demos came from, what the demoscene is all about, speaking to the legendary Jim ‘Trixter’ Leonard (@The Oldskool PC ) of 8088 MPH and Mobygames fame, as well as Vegard ‘Shady’ Skefstad of the Crusaders, founder of The Gathering demoparty in Norway, as well as Bill ‘Retrotech’ Hart (of @PCRetroTech ) and Rowan ‘Cthulu’ Lipkovits. This action packed episode takes you on the road from where it all began, with simple cracktros on the 8-bits, to the crazy parties and the professional side of it all. Some wonderful footage of some great demos too!

I made my partner use DOS!

Call it a ‘social’ experiment, call it torture… whatever you like(!) but I often wonder what it would be like for people if they were made to go back to using a command line computer (in this case DOS, a 1980s era operating system that was the precursor to Windows). As I know DOS pretty well, I can’t un-learn what it’s like to use DOS, and I’m also a pretty tech-savvy person, but I wonder what it would be like for the average Joe (or Josephina) to learn a computer that isn’t driven by a GUI with its Windows, Icons, Menus and Pointers…

The following video is the result of that social experiment. I’m sorry Kristina.. well.. half sorry!

New Zealand Lower North Island Vintage Computer Show and Tell 24th Oct, 2021

A great day out here in the Lower North Island of New Zealand where owners of vintage computers got to show off their machines, talk about them and have fun.

On display was the following computers:

  • Atari: Atari 800, XEGS, 130XE and the 800XL
  • Apple Computers:The Apple Lisa, Apple IIGS
  • Oric:The Oric Atmos 48K, Oric One
  • IBM:The IBM PC Jx, 5155 PC Portable
  • Sinclair: Cambridge Z88, Sinclair ZX Spectrum, ZX Spectrum Plus, ZX Spectrum 128K, ZX Spectrum +2 and +3 (in box), Sinclair ZX80, another home-made ZX80 (in a calculator case!), a Sinclair ZX81, the new ZX Spectrum Next.
  • Commodore: PET 8096-SK, PET 8032, PET 4016, Commodore Amiga A1200HD
  • S100/Kit computers: The ‘Dream 6800’ S-100 kit computer, The MSI 6800 University Trainer machine, the SWTPC 6809
  • The rest: Tandy Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 4, Memotech MTX 512, MB Vectrex, Panasonic MSX CF2700, The Backplane Pro (s100 style modern machine).

Bonus content!

If you become a member of my channel by pressing Join, or by becoming a Patron, there is a full length version of this video with bonus content showing how great the Apple Lisa was to service, as well as the Lisa Operating System. All of the Sinclair stuff, including a UHF broadcast from a Raspberry Pi, as well as more detail on the MTX, Oric’s and more!

Back to the BBS Part 5: The Underground (HPAVc/Warez)

In this episode of Back to the BBS, we take a step down memory lane to look at where the darker side of the Internet came from. We examine Warez BBSes and explain what HPAVC boards were all about (Hacking, Phreaking, Anarchy, Virii, Cracking & Carding). We interview Dan Smolders who recalls what life was like for the average underground BBS user, and chat with ‘deathr0w’, who talks about the race to release warez, and how modern day warez is released.

Despite being involved with some illegal activity more than 20 years ago, ‘deathr0w’ still requires anonymity today!

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

Contents:
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:

https://www.ko-fi.com/alsgeeklab

https://patreon.com/alsgeeklab

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:

PART ONE:

  • INTRO TO BBS’s
    • 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:

  • GAMES / DOORS
  • MODS
  • HARDWARE
  • BBS SERVER SOFTWARE
  • BBS MESSAGES
  • PRIVACY
  • ANSI GRAPHICS
  • DEMOSCENE / MOD SCENE
  • THE UNDERGROUND

The Top 10 PC games in summary (1981-1991)

Hi all,

Due to popular demand, I was asked if I could keep the ‘Top 10’ DOS Games series going. The idea was to do the top 10 games of the first decade of the PC (’81-’91). I finished them off a few weeks ago. I’m pressing the pause button on any more for now to concentrate on other videos, however I thought it would be nice to make a summary video. So for your viewing pleasure, here’s an overview of the best games from that first decade. It also diarises how the PC platform grew up over the years, which was really interesting to see it begin to become the dominant force from shaky beginnings.

Check it out!

IBM PC: The first games ’81-’81 Part 11: (1991)

It’s the last in this 10-part series documenting the best in the top ten games of the first decade of the PC’s Games. We end here on 1991. Some absolute bangers of games here, made it far too difficult to do a top 10 (or even a top 20 tbh), so you may see that I have been ‘creative’ with some of the allocation of games to a position 😉