Thursday, July 19, 2012

Back before the Internet was Fidonet

Every now an then I run into something that reminds me of the old Fidonet and Bulletin Board days and what really got me into computers. If you don't remember Bulletin Boards they were similar to a web site but over dial up lines, you needed to dial their number with a DOS based program like Telix. Bulletin Boards or BBS's had downloads, games and message boards. My board was the Helix named after the first alternative/hippie newspaper in Seattle.

Fidonet was a network to connect BBS's for maintenance, email and to upload new message to message boards. Fidonet was truly International.  Eventually I became the Internet Gateway for New York Transfer News (ANEWS) (which may have closed it doors) and for Dharma Net. I was also the repository for Home Power magazine issues that came out every month.   Looking around the Internet today I find nothing current on Fidonet so I assume they gave up in favor of the Internet.

A BBS console waiting for a call

+ 212-675-9690 NY TRANSFER NEWS COLLECTIVE 212-675-9663 +
+ Since 1985: Information for the Rest of Us +
+ GET INFO from +
+ e-mail: info: +
--- GEcho 1.00 * Origin: helix.uucp =FidoNet/DharmaNet= Seattle (206)783-6368 (1:343/70.0)

An Internet Gateway uses a UUCP dialer like GEcho and receives/sends news groups and email but then they have to be conveted to Fidonet format.  The conversion was done with a program by Jason Fesler called GIGO or Garbage In Garbage Out.  I had to write a small program that would correct the header info that was reversed by either GEcho or my Internet feed.

DharmaNet International      revised: 6/8/94

 BBS-Name: The Helix
      Location: Seattle, WA
      Line-1: 1-206-783-6368
      Line-2: n/a
      Sysop: Scott Parks
      Buddhist: no
      Networks: DharmaNet, FidoNet, UseNet/Internet, PODS
      Access: Free
      Files: Yes
  UL/DL Ratios: 20:1
 Allow handles: Yes
      Chat: No
      Games: No
      Doors: No
  Offline Mail: BlueWave, QWK, Silver Express
      BBS: RA
      Speed: 14400
      Hours: 23
      OS: DOS/DV
      Comments: 300+ echos on alternative lifstyles and alternative politics.
      Internet Email and Newsgroups.  Many interesting info files.

One great story was when a rumor quietly started circulating about the authors of Remote Access, RA (my software and many others) put in a "back door" so you could access a PC at the DOS level.   I announced this over our Seattle network after testing on a woman's Remote Access BBS.   She was the first one to jump all over me and deny the rumor.   The only way  could convince her was to change the name of a text file on her C: drive and tell her to check.   The access method was something like CTL-F4 with no restrictions.

The Story of Fidonet
Starting this Blog so I don't have to post my personal life and trivia in my other Blogs that mainly are concerned with Mexico

The original reason for this Blog has changed a bit towards being political and exposing a few jerks that we run across in the news or in person. Hope some of you find it interesting.