Thursday, March 14, 2019

Flaming Telepaths BBS

I've mentioned that I've been working on a project over on the Facebook page. Well, this is it!

Way back in the year 1998, I had purchased a used Tandy 2500 PC for $20 in front of the local grocery store (I'm not bullshitting you!) I brought it home and this was my graduation from my Commodore 64. Eventually, I purchased an internal US Robotics 33,6 modem through my workplace (which set me back about $150). I ended up using the existing Trumpet Winsock setup to connect to the internet, and subsequently using the still-active internet account that it connected to. I was also able to see how badly I had run up the account holder's internet bill (back then, internet usage was charged by the hour). The bill was in excess of $100 and was eventually cut off.

To supplement my online usage (and my inability to pay for my own internet connection as a poor young adult), a friend had told me about BBS listings in the back of the local computer magazines. BBSes are essentially electronic "Bulletin Board Systems" where you can chat, meet people, play games, and download files. The listing in the magazine was horribly outdated, but I was able to find a few, connect to them, and get led to other BBSes that were ran locally in my city. My two favourite BBSes to call were "Dystemper Industries" and "Frozen Thoughts", although more people flocked to "Robin's Universe" because the guy was able to afford four telephone lines and could thus handle a much larger traffic load.

Once I had moved into my own apartment, I decided that I wanted to run my very own BBS. I paid for an extra phone line, downloaded some software, and set up my own system. I ran my own BBS until the year 2001 when I was forced to shut it down due to the termination of my relationship with my fiancee and my inability to afford my apartment, let alone the extra phone line. I swore that I would do everything I could to get my BBS back up and running as soon as I could.

18 years later, I finally did it. It's no longer a dialup system. It's now accessible over the internet through a service called "Telnet". You need some specific software to log on (we'll get to that in a minute). First of all, here's some screenshots of the place! It's also very evident that I was obsessed with the band Blue Oyster Cult.

Here's what you see when you first log in (which is subject to change, along with the other images below):

When I initially ran my BBS, I used a package called "Infusion" which was heavy on ANSI graphics. This one was buried in the package as one of the extras, and I eventually used it. Infusion turned out to be extremely buggy and wouldn't run everybody's favourite door game called "Legend of the Red Dragon" or "LORD" for short. In my opinion, that was a sure-fire way to get your BBS software package to fail.

*External programs that are added to BBS systems are called "doors"

Most of the other ANSI graphics were done by myself. I'm not a great artist, but I can get by.

This is the main hub where you choose what you want to do by pressing a key (none of that touch tablet shit!) You won't see the Sysop menu (that's for me only!) nor the Internet menu (which is left over from the early days and is no longer necessary), but everything else is there. It's pretty self-explanatory. I added a voting booth, and a Christian door where people can leave prayers. Here's a nice prayer that someone left:

I run some of the "classic" door games on my system, such as the previously mentioned "LORD" along with about 50 others...

But as we all know, I'm not exactly one for mainstream stuff. I added a section called "Crazy Games" and put some of the more strange and offensive shit in there:

There's some dated games in there such as "Free OJ Simpson", "The Simpsons" and a game called "House Killers" where you murder all the characters from the TV show "Full House".

In addition to that, we have some drug-related games such as "Barneysplat" where you get Barney the Purple Dinosaur stoned and murder him, and a game called "Buzz" where you try to reach the ultimate high without killing all of your brain cells.

There's also a game called "Cripple Smash" where you get to beat the shit out of the elderly and disabled (although they're pretty tough themselves!)

There's also a bunch of "adult" titles here that are guaranteed to make you really horny for pixelated graphics of penises and naked women:

The games "Studs" and "Studette" have you playing the role of a horny person looking to pick up prostitutes. I can't really post screenshots of those, but I can do one of the "Cum As Your Are Slut Machine":

So that's a basic rundown of my BBS. It's almost the same setup as the day I took it down, but I haven't got around to bringing back my network message feeds (which are messages posted from BBSes all over the world), and I'm wanting to move to multinode which will take in more than one user at a time. These two things will take a bit of time, but It'll eventually get there.

Now, here's how to get on RIGHT NOW and enjoy! (unless someone else is using it)

First of all, if you know what you're doing, here is the address:

If you don't know what you're doing, you can download this piece of Windows software called "Netrunner" which is made by the same guy who made my BBS software package. If you download the copy below, all you have to do is extract it and run the .exe file. I've already put my BBS in so you don't even have to do that part. Just click and go! (You can add more BBSes if you like, here's a huge list)

Download Netrunner (it's tiny)

If you run Linux, you can run it in Wine or download the Linux version if you're adventurous.

If you only use a phone, tablet, or a Mac, you're kinda on your own. I'm not aware of anything good for Mac, although you might be able to build a copy of Syncterm on your machine.

If you have a Blackberry Playbook, believe it or not, but you have a pretty good app on there (the name escapes me at this time)

So, that's my new corner of the internet! Hope to see you there posting messages and killing each other in LORD. There's an application you'll have to fill out to become a user, but that's standard for pretty much every BBS out there. You'll get instant access once you're done filling it out, and no, I don't ask for your credit card number or anything.... Yet....

1290 Fox / Q-94 FM Cassettes

These cassettes came from a number of random places, and they looked interesting as hell. I love stuff that comes from radio stations, because you never know what's going to be on them.

First, let me give you a run down of the radio station in question.

Q-94 and 1290 Fox were sister stations, one on the FM dial and one on the AM dial

Q-94 FM was Winnipeg's lite rock and pop station for many years, playing current hits that won't piss off your parents, unlike that evil 92 Citi FM station that played all that demonic AC/DC shit.

1290 Fox for the longest time played music from the 60s, 70s and 80s. Back when I was around 10 years old, it was my station of choice, and I listened to it quite a bit. Kevin McGowan was the morning show host.

Eventually, 1290 Fox decided it was a dumb idea to play music on the AM dial, and decided to become a sports station which broadcast sporting events, had interviews, and whatever else sports people like to listen to.

Football Cassettes

Our first batch of cassettes containg recordings of football games. Judging from the labels, they recorded football games on multiple cassettes and possibly re-broadcasted them. These cassettes are incomplete recordings of three football games. I honestly couldn't give a shit about the football games themselves, but the commercials are where the gold is at. A lot of the places being advertised no longer exist in Winnipeg which is what makes them so interesting. I've pulled the commercials from the cassettes, put them in a wave file, tried to eliminate duplicates, and can present you with a snapshot of Winnipeg radio from 1989, which is interestingly around the time I was listening to 1290 Fox. Here's a list of what's in the audio file:

Rorie Street Marble Club
Space Age Therapy quit smoking
Seal Test Fruit Fantasy Fruit & Yogurt Bars / frozen yogurt
kevin McGowan 1290 Fox
Manitoba Lotteries
Skinner's Wet & Wild
Bryant Air Conditioner
Foster's Lager
Blue Cross
Don's Photo
Kildonan Place
Pembina Dodge
Palamino Club Country Rock Club
Manitoba Lotteries (Great Moment in Football)
Weight Watchers
Eastwood Jeep Eagle Premier
Winnipeg Sun
1290 Fox end football game
1290 Fox Loyal Listener
Manitoba For & Mercury Dealer
Seal Test Parlour Ice Cream
Tetley Tea
Eastood Jeep Eagle
Simplicity Sun Runner Mowers
Belair Air Conditioning
Westroc Battery
Weight Watchers
Eastwood Jeep Eagle
Kildonan Place Food Court Construction
Perkins (new restaurant)
OV Beer
Don's Photo (One Day Photo Finishing)
Henry Armstrong's Instant Printing
Pembina Dodge
A&M Wholesale
Astra Savings
Winnipeg Jets Tickets
Don's Photo (Bell Bottoms!)
Blue Cross Student Accident Insurance
Strawberry's bar
OV Beer
Polar Building Cleaners

Remember, Polar Building Cleaners doesn't just clean the ashtrays and door knobs! Also, put the bikini on mothballs!

Listen to the commercials

Midway Chrysler's "On Hold" Tape

This tape came in a piece of telephone equipment I found at the e-recycler (I still have it, but it's likely buried in a box of stuff that needs to be sorted). It was a unit that was used to play a recording when a person was on hold. In this case, the unit came from Midway Chrysler in Winnipeg which is obvious given the cassette inside. It looks like the cassette was recorded at the Q-94 FM / 1290 Fox station. The background music is in stereo which will work really good on a telephone from the 1980s. The interesting part about this recording is it tells you about Midway Chrysler's website, and gives you an alternative option to contact them if you're not on the internet yet. My guess is this recording is probably from around 1995.

Listen to Midway Chrysler's On Hold Tape

The Life of Brian

He grew! He has eyes, legs, hands and feet! And that's the entire contents of this short song. My question is, who the fuck is Brian???

I really don't know what the point of this song is. It's really stupid, but that's what makes it so charming!

Listen to The Life of Brian

So there's a few slices of Winnipeg history, yet again. Gotta love finding stuff like this!