Experiencing the Early 90's Internet with a Raspberry Pi 3 B+ !

Experiencing the Early 90's Internet with a Raspberry Pi 3 B+ !

hey everybody it's LAN Simon and I'm doing a sequel to a video that I did many years ago on computer bulletin board systems and in this video we're going to look at what the internet looked like back in the early 90s when it became commercially available to the public and to demonstrate this we're going to be using the Raspberry Pi B+ that I reviewed the other day because they have a light version of its operating system that very closely mimics what I remembered things looking like when I first got on the internet because what you used to do I was dial-up to a server running some kind of unix-like operating system in my case it was a Sun workstation and you'd be presented with a command line and you'd have to type your way through the internet using a bunch of different applications so I thought I'd to show you what it looked like and then we'll see how quickly things transition to what we're now accustomed to when we're logging on lines we're going to be exploring that in this video again as a sequel to that bulletin board system video which I'll link to down below in the video description now do you want to begin first with my usual disclaimers that I purchased the Raspberry Pi B+ here with my own funds all the opinions you're about to hear are my own nobody is paying for this video and no one has reviewed this video before I uploaded it so let's get into it starting with how I first found my way to the Internet so in the early 90s you could get online in a couple of different ways one was with the bulletin board systems as I mentioned earlier or you could use one of these online services to get online but going online at that point was basically dialing up to that service and being stuck within whatever they decided to provide to you so for example America Online users could not access information on CompuServe or vice versa in this particular period of time you couldn't even communicate with somebody on a different service all that easily but I was using bulletin board systems primarily because they were free I could get on to a couple that were in my local calling area I was running one myself as you'll learn in my other video and we were also connected to something called fidonet which linked together all of these free bulletin board systems all over the world so you could actually communicate in between systems there was mess boards that were echoed they called them throughout the entire world and actually as you'll see in my other video fidonet still exists today so you can actually experience this for yourself and while I was using fidonet I was learning about the Internet people we're talking about this thing where you could go out and connect to a single server with a phone call and that server connected through this mysterious internet could connect to anything else in the world that was also on the internet and this was a fascinating concept to me and I think probably in like the winter of 92 or 93 we went down to Florida like I did every year with my family and my father's friend from college would we would meet up with him and hang out with him and his family and his son was a little bit older than me and he had access to the Internet through a local college and he showed it to me and I was like wow this is amazing and what was really crazy was that I had to get my head wrapped around the fact that the internet wasn't a single network but a network of networks and there were applications that you used to access those different networks and everything was just completely decentralized in just a web if you will of all these interconnected computers and it was just fascinating sitting down at his terminal and playing around with this for two or three hours and I said I got to get on this thing this is incredible so a few months later I was going through my PC magazine after work at my dad's office there we had a family business and I was looking through the magazine and at the back of the magazine they often had all these crazy little ads that were kind of the the budget section it was called the premier section of PC Magazine and this ad stood out to me because it said free internet access I said what is this it's out in Iowa but ha this is rather intriguing so here was the deal no signup costs 24 hours a day free software you could get complete internet access and not have to pay anything for it and I said wow this is amazing so I decided to dial up the number I was at my dad's office I used his long-distance phone call there and I was able to connect and I started typing in things that I remembered seeing at my friend's house from a few months earlier and I was just completely blown away by the fact that I could just type in a few commands and connect to a NASA server legally and start pulling down photos from the Hubble Space Telescope I think that was one of first things that I did on there and it was completely a change of perspective because now you were able to basically have the entire world at your fingertips and I was able to do it for free through this little cyberspace connection this was kind of a freemium internet service in that they gave you a little bit of space on their server and I'll tell you why that's important in a minute and you also had the ability to do some basic stuff but once you wanted to do more like have more time on the server or more space to download stuff you had to then pay for a service account with them but nonetheless it was pretty easy to get up and running sort of because what you were logging into was really just a UNIX terminal and you had to figure out how to get around on there there was no friendly menus like I was accustomed to in the bulletin board system world so let's take a look now and see what that looked like because this little Raspberry Pi is currently configured as a headless machine I just had to plug it in I already configured it so it connects up to my Wi-Fi and I can login with telnet or a secure shell connection and get online through this thing and we're going to now replicate the 90's internet through it so let's have a look at that I'm going to begin using the sink term terminal emulator because this largely replicates the dial-up software that I was using back in the 90s and what we're going to be doing here is connecting via telnet but back then you had to go on your terminal server and have your modem dial out through the phone network over to the server you were connecting to so this is going to be kind of a modern twist on it but it will look the same so I'm gonna connect up to that Raspberry Pi and you were presented with this just kind of a login screen I think they probably had a little bit more on theirs then this Raspberry Pi does but I'm just going to log in here with my Raspberry Pi account and now we are in now back when I connected to that original server the text that you see there would have been replaced by maybe some basic instructions or a little welcome message about coming on to their server I think they had a phone number there you could call to get more file space and stuff on your account so there were some things that they were trying to do to get you to up up convert your free account to a paid account and then you were kind of left here at a prompt then you had to figure out what to do from there I think they had a help file or something to guide us through that but the first thing I did was played around with FTP because I was eager to grab files that might be out there on the internet for me to track down and unfortunately a lot of those NASA FTP sites are no longer available to me so instead I'm going to connect up to a server that has some apple to disk images that I can run in my emulator this will be the same thing though if we were just logging in to try to get images and whatnot now oftentimes you'd be presented with this login screen here because now what we've done is we've instructed the Raspberry Pi to load up its FTP application and go out and find this server this apple disk image server somewhere else in the world and it made the connection and this is such an exciting thing to know that you're connected to this thing and many FTP servers would allow you to log in with a username called anonymous and you would often just type in your email address as the password and then you were in and then you had to navigate around because you got dropped off at this FTP prompt and you had to learn your commands here to do a directory for example so I can go into the pub directory here which was where most of the good stuff was stored I could go into the Apple 2 directory next here and I will do is just find a quick disk image that we can download so I can demonstrate how you have to get it out of there when you're done so let's go over to educational and now you can see here it's kind of falling off my screen so we had to find something that was easy to grab here so let's grab the zoo pack disc one that looks pretty easy now one of the things that you have to remember to do also is convert the FTP client into binary mode so that it would download the software correctly and then you would type get and we'll type in Zoo Pak and it was case sensitive at the time as well dsk there so we'll hit get here and this transferred very quickly here but the file is not yet on my computer so nowadays when we click on the file with a web browser or in an FTP client it downloads directly because we are directly connected to the Internet in this case this computer is not on the Internet technically this one is so we're dialing up to a computer that's connected and we have to push that file down through our terminal shell connection what what I had to do from Iowa back in the day now there was a couple of different commands you could issue to do that so they quit the FTP client here and if I do a directory now of my raspberry PI's home directory or the directory I was on out in Iowa you'll see now that zoo pack disk one is sitting on the server but again we've got to get it to me so the way I used to do it was with something called SZ and I would type in that along with zoo pack disk one dot d SK had to get the file name exact and some of those NASA images were really tough to do and if I hit enter here what would happen would be that it would initiate this the Z modem download through my terminal software now this was a protocol that these terminal emulators used to be able to download things from bulletin board systems back in the day because remember you're connected up with a terminal that mostly transmits and receives ASCII text so what would happen would be the terminal would always be looking for a little signal to know that hey this next blob of text I'm getting is something I'm going to convert into a binary file and Z modem was a very convenient way to do that because it was transferring automatically and also naming the file as it went through now you saw how quickly that file transferred over and that's because we're on my modern AC wireless network here we've got multiple megabits of bandwidth available to us back then I wasn't even close to a megabit I was at twenty eight point eight K on my dial-up modem and that was only when I had a crystal-clear phone connection to Iowa so those files would often take a few minutes to transfer down to my computer it was a very long process to go and grab a file get it onto that Iowa server and then pull it all the way through that dial-up connection to my computer so I could even just look at a photograph it was not a fast processing you had to be very selective about the files that you downloaded because things really did take a long time but that file now is here this is that disk image that we downloaded in a way that I haven't done so in print maybe twenty years or so and I can boot up my Apple 2 emulator now just to complete the retro goodness here and see if that disk image that we pulled down in that old way is working sure enough it looks like that thing is working here we've got zoo pack now running on our virtual Apple 2 here now the internet then as now is all about communicating with people and of course you got an email address when you signed up for an internet service like I did so I got one through that cyberspace thing that I was using for free for awhile and I used an email client called pine and this is what it looks like here this is actually the modern iteration of it called Alpine but it is exactly the same as I remembered it back in the day right now I've got it connected up to my Google account but it was running with whatever my server was running with back then and what you would do is navigate through here with your arrow keys and then when you found an email you wanted to look at you just hit enter and it would come up with that message and then of course you could hit the are here to reply you could have it ask you whether or not you want to reply all and I can then of an email reply and then I could hit control X here to send it and off it would go so that was the email process I didn't have a lot of people to communicate with back then because not that many people had email addresses but I emailed my friend from Florida and slowly some other friends of mine got on to the cyberspace thing and other places and I was able to send email back and forth there was no spam back in those early days at least for me so he generally didn't have too much clogging up your email box and I was very interested in listservs back then which were as you all know email lists you could subscribe to so I think every day the David Letterman top 10 list got delivered to my email account here and that kind of thing and all that stuff would be waiting for me when I hit the I in pine to get my email indexed for me now on the modern web it's very easy to let your friends know when you're online and accessible for communications like through instant messenger or something like that but there were ways to do this back in the terminal days too with a couple of different commands the one that a lot of people used was something called finger and if you were on your server and just typed in finger it would tell you everybody who was logged in to that particular server at that point in time and on my Mac here I'm logged in four different ways at the moment but you get the idea to how that worked and well you could also do with finger though was query other servers throughout the internet so I used to see who was on my college server here by doing finger at Hartford edu which of course doesn't work anymore but if I go over to my raspberry PI's IP address it'll tell me who is currently logged into my raspberry pi so you can see that the user LAN is logged in as well as the user PI is logged in and one cool thing that they used to let you do was use something called the UNIX TOC command and I could do talk lawn at 6 but this could easily be an email address for somebody and what would happen here is I'd hit enter and then it would go out and try to connect up with the talk server on the other end and try to set up a real-time communication with that person this was rarely something that worked in my experience but occasionally I was able to connect with my friends and have a essentially an instant messenger chat with them over a terminal connection through the Internet which was pretty freakin cool I think to be able to do that back in the day you could also finger those users directly and figure out when they were last on so if I go to my Raspberry Pi address here with the user line I can get more information about that user including their home directory a lot of the stuff you would never think of doing today I had filled out some user information when I set up the account including my office number and my phone number and you can see this was a way that people could connect with each other it was almost like a little home page in the days before the World Wide Web that you could put out there so that people knew how to get in touch with you and you'll see here that there's a thing that says no plan and the reason it says that is because the finger server would look for a file called a called plan it was actually dot P LAN and you could put additional information on there so let me show you how to make a plan file now a plan file is straight ASCII but what I wanted to do here was generate some ANSI art text here so I'll just say lon TV youtuber here and you can see we've made some ASCII text with this little generator here that I'll put a link to down below in the video description so I'm just going to copy the here and I'm going to type in nano dot PLA n now I used to use a text editor back in those days called Piko but Nano is the modern implementation of that otherwise the app is the same when you're using it so I'll load that up here real quick we're basically telling it to launch that text editor and create a file called dot PLA n in my home directory here and you can see that comes up it actually looks a lot like pine because it is made by the people that made pine as far as I know now I just used my copy and paste here just the type to put in that little artwork we had there and I can say thanks for visiting my finger profile and I'll do that and hit ctrl o to write that file out to disk and now if I quit here and go back to my other terminal screen here and let's clear that and finger lawn at six again now you can see we've got that little ASCII art there along with the thanks for visiting you can see here also when I was last on and how long I've been idle for so if somebody's not getting back to you you know how how long they've been on and you kind of know the last time they read mail too so this is the kind of information that we don't give up freely these days but this was just the default in many cases on many of these servers he had a very good idea as to when that person last logged in remember back in the early days of the internet before it became commercialized this was how academics communicated with each other and it was important to know all this information about how to get in touch with people if you're working on a research project or something and you could have a good idea as to whether or not they were in their office based on how many seconds they were idle perhaps on their server so you could give him a call because you knew they were at their desk logged in now there were a number of ways and networks you could connect to to make new friends on the Internet and many of these networks still exist today one of course was you s– net which I use to this day actually to communicate with some folks who I share interests with and use net was a collection of bulletin boards that had specific topics and I've got a few of my favorites here that I used to frequent back in those early days and I'm using a client here called tin TI n this is the same one I used back in 94 to browse around at these different things so for example here I could jump into the compass Apple to group which i think is one of the most active ones that's still out there on Usenet here and what's happening right now is that 10 through my raspberry pi is getting all of these discussion threads organized and what's nice about this is that these are threaded discussions so if I go over here to this topic here about my favorite music and video games I can hit enter here to pull up the the little message but I could also hit the right arrow key here and go through the entire thing what I could also do is just hit the right arrow on the topic itself and see the entire threaded discussion and who was talking in each so you can see replies to replies and everything else you can kind of scroll down and get the messages that you're looking for and these go back to 2003 on the server that I'm connected to but actually they're still pretty active I think on this particular news group and people are still communicating and you could often find people to talk with if you want to email them their email addresses would be right up here and you could also of course use that finger command and get more information about them if you wanted to eventually spammers got their way into Usenet and started stripping out email addresses and just dumping spam on people so those good old days are long gone but you can see how I used to communicate on my favorite topics back then now you see that is still a very active network out there and Google actually has a great way to interface with it if you go to groups google.com and start searching for some of these Usenet groups for example Kampf sis Apple two like I have done here you can go in and actually browse all of the current discussions and participate in those discussions if you want Google just like my tin client will thread everything for you so you get a nice web-based interface to this and they also have an archive that goes back decades you can search for all sorts of stuff on there including maybe some solutions to some old software problems that you might be having in fact when I was setting this up I actually use some of those archives to find some command line things that – no to get a few of the things you're about to see here working so it was really helpful to have that archived there and again if you want to see what u s– net is like today I just go over to groups google.com now another thing that was popular back then and still is now is IRC Internet Relay Chat and this is what the interface looked like for me back then so I could go over maybe to the Apple – central server here if I wanted to and see what was going on over there so we can connect up to that there's still a lot of IRC servers working now as you know and you can do a bunch of commands here that you had to learn and just type all these things in and you can get to where you want to go now of course now we've got these these clients that automatically pull down all the channel lists and allow you to jump around to different rooms just by clicking but I kind of like the old-school command interface here because you really learn how all this stuff works having to type in all these commands to get yourself to where you want to go but generally it seems to be very similar now using IRC as it was 20-something years ago even with modern clients now it was not easy browsing the Internet back in those days because you largely had to type something into one of these terminal screens to get anywhere but one thing I found helpful in the early days with something called gopher which is still in operation today so I've got a gopher client installed on our Raspberry Pi we're going to now connect into what they call gopher space and there's some folks out there that are maintaining active gopher servers and the way this worked was you navigated just with your arrow keys here you didn't have to type in a server name or anything you would just follow links kind of like how we do it on the web today so for example if I wanted to see what was on this SD F dot org I could just hit enter there this just connected to their gopher server like it would a web server these days and I can browse around and see what's going on here so if I wanted to get some frequently asked questions I could pop over there I could maybe go over here to some gopher space questions and answers' pull down some information here I could read this stuff there was some ability to search through gopher space as well and then what was nice was that you could just easily go back by hitting in this case the U key to jump around so in many ways this was kind of a text-based way to experience hyperlinks and a very easy method of kind of following a path through the internet like we do right now on web browsers the world wide web did exist at this point in time but you needed a direct connection and in this very short period of time that I was in probably 93 94 I didn't yet have a connection like that I soon got one which I'll talk about in a few minutes but gopher was a really easy way to find stuff if you just wanted to kind of browse around and just kind of explore what the Internet had to offer now as I mentioned the world wide web was in its early days and there was a text-based web browser called links that I used occasionally if I had to get something from the web and you can see here this is what it looked like now this is right now on the links homepage which is optimized of course for this browser so I'll show you what may be a modern web site might look like on here we'll go and visit the New York Times maybe and you can get an idea as to how it worked with things what's cool about this browser is that it asks you every time whether or not you want cookies to be downloaded on the sites that you are visiting so what I can do here is I can browse through some of these articles that are currently up on The New York Times I can hit enter here on this link and I can go through and browse everything it actually does a pretty nice job of getting things into a format that I can read and make use of so there is a functionality to this that was pretty helpful but of course it didn't look as pretty as stuff did with a web browser like mosaic or Netscape which we're starting to become prevalent back in those days so those were the apps that I typically ran when I'd logged into my text-based internet server that I connected to but very shortly after I got into this proudly around 1995 or so things changed because Internet service providers started coming out of the woodwork and they were providing something called PPP which I believe stood for point-to-point protocol and that would allow your computer through its dial-up modem to directly connect to the internet basically turning that modem into a direct network connection so that your computer was on the network and then can do a lot more and that changed the game in fact this was where BBS systems started to fall away because you could do more than one thing at a time when you did get your computer connected up through one of those point-to-point protocol connections so for example here I could load up mosaic which was the first web browser I could be out browsing the web and whatnot I could have my email client running in the background I could even be transferring files over FTP directly to my computer using an FTP client like fetch here on the Mac and I could be doing all these things at the same time whereas before it was one thing at a time and I had to wait for one thing to end before I could do something else in this case I could have a file downloading I could be doing my email and browsing websites all at the same time and this is actually what it looked like back in those days I've got mosaic running on an emulation of an old Mac to see I so you can see kind of what it looks like here and of course this web browser is largely useless now because it's not compatible with anything that's currently out there for the most part but it does give you an idea as to what these early internet applications look like and of course now we have modern implementations all of this of this and all of our computers for better or for worse are always connected to the Internet and and we always have the network available to us when I went to college in 94 we didn't have the network in our dorm room so we used to have to do this dial-up thing initially but it was cool to go down to the computer lab and just have this computer that was on the Internet and you can load up mosaic and all these different applications and copy files to your floppy disks and run them back to your dorm room because it was faster to do it in the computer lab than it was to do it over dial-up but eventually we all got our own internet connections and it was just really cool to think about your computer being connected to the world and a couple of clicks would get you anything that you needed to get your work done or play a game or whatever it was all accessible through these magical devices here so this is kind of a fun little project it was a weekend thing for me and I thought you all might be interested just to see what it was like on the internet for a short period of time before being able to do what you see here became more accessible and affordable and of course now we have everything that we have and it's since I need to see how all of this developed and develop so quickly definitely check out my BBS video because that shows you how the bulletin board systems worked and again those just disappeared once you had this web browser and the ability to do more than one thing at a time on the network there so lots of fun love to hear what you've thought of this down in the comments below I'm sure a lot of you who are using the Internet back in those days had some other stuff one thing I never got into was Archie which was an early way to search for files and whatnot on the web so perhaps some of you might want to chime in or make your own videos detailing some of the things you used back then and the cool thing is all this stuff is still out there you can download it yourself and start playing with it and in this case I've got it on a headless Raspberry Pi but you could probably get it working on your Mac or Windows or regular PC as well with a Linux distribution so until next time this is Lion Simon thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by the lon TV supporters including gold level supporters the black item blues music our podcast Chris Alec Retta and Kalyan Kumar if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month head over to LAN TV slash support to learn more and don't forget to subscribe visit lon TV /s

42 thoughts to “Experiencing the Early 90's Internet with a Raspberry Pi 3 B+ !”

  1. My experience is vastly different from Lon's, but it has some common grounds… because I live in Brazil.
    But I remember the era of BBS through other names. I started using computers as a kid, back in the DOS and PC-XT era… so you know it's been a long time ago.
    I remember the first time messing around with BBSs was back when I had a 5.600kbps US Robotics modem. I think my father actually had an external 600 baud rate modem that weighted a ton, was almost the size of a desktop, had this thick metal case and all… but I never used that one.
    I can't remember the first software I used to connect to BBSs, but the last one I do remember because of the name: BananaCom. That one could already display text in color, so it was pretty modern by those days standards. xD
    I never used most of the stuff Lon showed off, but there were something like 3 local BBSs in my city, and a big national one that had the good stuff.
    I used to wait until after midnight to connect because the phone rates were cheaper and fixed, plus no one was using the line at that time. 😛
    Other than chat (teleconference rooms actually), me and friends used to connect to BBSs mostly to download shareware games, music (in the form of an extinct format known as .mod – analogous to midi – anyone from this era will know axelfoley.mod), and jpgs.
    The first time I connected to the so called Internet was via the bigger BBS (super expensive because I had to make an inter-state call to connect to it), inside an IRC channel of some US university… can't recall which it was.
    This was still all text based and very confusing to use from a teenager standpoint. Plus, I didn't know english too well back then… xD
    Anyways, from then on I went through Zoltrix 14.4kbps, skipped the 33.6kbps model, and only then got an US Robotics 56.4kpbs which was the last modem.
    mIRC was what people used the most here. Netscape and Altavista were the main browser and search engine of early days, which was common through the world I guess.
    Early days of Internet I remember quirky things that I'm not sure how many people experienced… a 2D room based chat with smiley avatars called The Palace. An experimental 3D chat thing called The World. ICQ, which is still around but completely different from what it was back then (I don't remember my UIN anymore, but it was a pretty low number), PowWow, etc.
    I do remember laughing like a maniac the first time me and a friend got to connect Doom via IPX connection and found each other at a level.
    Good times. xD

  2. Really miss the old internet. Everything was about education. Google actually gave you true and honest results. Yahoo chats was the best thing in the world, today it doesn’t even compare to it, you actually felt a true connection to people. The internet was jus magical back then. Today is just about advertisements everywhere , apps, and propaganda. Honestly the only thing good about today is WiFi. Youtube also but in the past you could still find videos on websites. I really dont care about the rest.

  3. Being a long time nerd, I started with programming in machine language in 1960's. In the Air Force, I had gotten really modern with ARPANET which I had to use to coordinate a General Officer's visit to the Orient in the late 1980 's! What a nightmare. Using the systems you describe would have been pure luxury, by comparison! Thanks for this trip down memory lane!

  4. I remember in college (back in the early nighties) using a Unix program called Fone that we could use! The coolest thing was using FONE speaking with Airman in Turkey! That was so cool because all the kids in lab around me!

  5. Lon, great video, but you hit a sore spot by saying nano was written by the Pine/Pico team (originally the University of Washington). Nano was written specifically because of licensing issues with the PINE software back in the 90's, and yes, it was written originally by me. In a new nano window, type a few random characters into the buffer, then exit (^x,y), name your file 'zzy' and hit <enter> to see the credits easter egg.

    The licensing has since been improved for Pine and Pico, but nano has since grown substantially more features (and slightly different versions of the same features) compared to Pico.

    I do love that you're one of the few people I know who pronounce Pico properly though.

  6. This reminds me of the teck guy and hacker stereotype, u know the one where u google 90% of everything.

  7. Boy!! Your age is showing today. 🙂 You're bringing back some distant memories. It seems likely that you were born before time. (Unix time zero – 1970-01-01 00:00) I was. 🙂 We may very well be both part of that ever-diminishing membership of "Ancient Ones" 🙂

  8. This was one of my favorite videos that you've done, however it didn't "take me back," because I use these "legacy" command line apps every day, and I always wonder why more people don't use them.

    In fact, Unix shell accounts are still around, and many are free. They are run by hobbyists like the old BBS hobbyists, universities, and a few ISPs. Some have been around for more than 20 years. These shell accounts give one access to a Linux or Unix box on a remote server and look and work just like what you demonstrated on your Raspberry Pi.

    The best programs I use on shell accounts are textual web browsers. You briefly mentioned Lynx, but there are also Links, Elinks, and w3m. They have all, to one degree or another, been maintained to work with javascript and frames and SSL.

    For reading the text of newspaper or magazine articles or blogs, these text only web browsers are superior to graphical browsers, imo. No ads ever appear. The text covers the whole screen. It's almost like reading a book in an e-reader. Fonts are configurable.

    Unix shells have many other advantages. Ping, traceroute, SSH, and other utilites allow troubleshooting from a remote location. Most Unix shells allow you to have a webpage on their servers. There are IRC clients, as you showed, that are the best way to enjoy IRC, and you never expose your home IP.

    One can go to an untrusted webpage wothout worry, because the only data that is downloaded are ascii characters.

    "Old School" doesn't always mean passé. Today, one can enjoy all the new streaming video etc. while continuing to use the original and still useful programs from the earliest days of the 'net by connecting to Unix/Linux shells using modern SSH clients while on a Windows 10 machine or an Android or IOS device.

  9. I enjoyed this so much. I don't recall my compuserve id anymore.. something with 1001… but I see retro bbs'es come a lot… c64 BBS and other ones. In the 90s I had a BBS here too, FidoNet, later on even UseNet to EchoMail integration but then it went fast. BBSes disappeared, mine too. For nostalgia I started a BBS which can be connected via telnet: mash4077.ddns.net

  10. Wow this takes me back. I need to watch your other bbs video after finishing watching this video. In the early 80s as a 17 year old I ran a bbs in San Diego called "Gummy Bears hide out" on an Atari 800 and a 300 baud modem then later when i saved up enough money i added a CPM computer with a 5mb full height hard drive and a 1200 baud modem and my own phone line but only one person could call per session and users could press a menu command to beep my computer to call the system operator "sysop" which was me!

    I had thousands of small game and other files for people to download and i wrote the bbs system in basic. Fun times! I wish i still had my custom bbs program and equipment! Thanks for the trip down memory lane! 😎

  11. Very good history, remember learning about BBSs in windows 3.1 and quickly learning the 801 area code was not toll free like 800 lol

  12. This brought me memories back from mid 90s. I first used internet back in high school at 95-96 and it was text based, didn't used graphic internet until 98, it was reserved to college users and that was the year when I got a capable computer (a nice Pentium II with an awesome 56.6 external modem). A tear almost rolled off my eye.

  13. The case sensitivity would depend on the filesystem and OS used on the server among other things. Most servers ran and still run some form of UNIX (I'm counting today's GNU/Linux and BSD servers as well) and most of the filesystems used there are case sensitive (e.g. ext4, btrfs, ZFS). DOS and Windows deviated from that norm, FAT16 and FAT32 are case insensitive whereas NTFS supports casing but Windows makes no use of it. Mac System 6/7, OS X and macOS were case insensitive with HFS. HFS+ has partial support and APFS supports a case sensitive variant.

    So whether you would have to take any special note of case sensitivity depended on the server OS and filesystem as well as the server (program) serving you the files, and then on the client side whether your client does any form of automatic filename translation (some offered it), plus what your file system and OS supported.

    It still surprises some people today that usually the paths in URLs (anything after and including the third / counting from the schema) are case sensitive because most servers have a stack that is. People call their web hoster complaining that their file foobar.css is 404ing when they've actually uploaded Foobar.css. But since everything except Windows and the Java world gravitates towards all-lowercase, this is probably less and less of an issue over time.

    I have a nitpick with the video 🙂 Lon called the Internet "the web" several times, but the web and web browsers came only later around 1994.

  14. I definitely don't miss the days of dialing into a BBS on a 300baud modem, and dealing with having a free phone line, line noise, rotary vs. tone, couplers, delay times, etc… But it was interesting to see you recreate some of the 90's type experiences. I'm shocked that all my Usenet posts from the 90's are still viewable on Google 25 years later. Great stuff.

  15. What a great video! Very educational and well made. It was fantastic for me to see this glimpse from the past.

  16. That blows my millennial mind that you guys had to use a terminal to download everything with FTP. Then on top of that you had to convert the binary before you could access your file.

  17. Here's a public Gopher proxy if you want to play with it.

    There is more info at floodgap.com. He also runs the only functioning Veronica search engine. You will also find info about retro computing on this site. Veronica was used to search for stuff on Gopherspace. Archie was used for FTP searches.

    It was a LOT of work to access the Internet back then. Most of us only had one wired phone line in the house that you had to share – so a lot of us took a nap and got up in the middle of the night or very early in the morning to get some uninterrupted phone time.

  18. I used Procom to connect to neighborhood boards to download a gif file in about 6 minutes.Just watching the image appear on the screen very slowly at 1200 baud.

  19. Great stuff Lon! I’m 40, but I never got online until the Spring of 1996, during my senior year of high school. And it was the World Wide Web.

  20. Clayton Zelkman used to run a BBS called Windsor Footnote, it had 4 local lines and it was just a little chat program that people used to talk to other people. It was a lot of fun back in the day before the internet.

  21. Great stuff, Lon. I had a second phone line installed in my house that was used exclusively for dial up. First to my local BBS's then to Mindspring.com. Netscape was the browser of the day. I have lived in the same house for 43 years and the phone lines I installed are still there. Every land line connection point has two RJ-11 sockets mounted in the same plate. I'm sure when the house is sold at some point, prospective buyers, quite a few of whom would have no land line at all, will wonder why in hell some idiot had all those phone connections!

  22. As a 1st year computer science student I find this very interesting, I even understand some of the code, just goes to say that although many things have changed the basics are still pretty much the same.(the complexity of the programs is growing but the building blocks are still the same(in most cases))
    I think the fancy menus and GUIs are just a sign of maturity of the software industry, since the programs which were used back in the day were much simpler than todays, although they dont seem that way because of the UI they use.

    Keep up the good work and have a nice day Lon.

  23. Well i guess there were no mmos or fortnite available than.

    It used to be heavily comoplicated than but it had it own pros. For example , u people had btr grip over programming. This generation dispite spending 26 hrs a day on internet has no idea to type a single command.

  24. I was making Basic games to begin with. Never got into the early internet, but had a blast with free access to various machines in my computer education and some job.

  25. Cool seeing your experience. Very similar, but totally different. I used Telex for DOS, got AOL (5hrs a month access! convinced my mom to get the unlimited. was probably pretty expensive. Thanks mom.) on Win 3.1 and then 95. Started with a 14.4 modem and found random BBSs on shareware disks and stuff. I remember having the phone busy for days at a time. Used pico and pine at PITT. the student dialup was surprisingly fast later with the 56.6 and the compression. Favorite BBSs were Renegade based!

  26. Thanks for bringing back great memories. I was online in 1983 with Compuserve. What a long strange trip! Met my wife on CB Simulator.

  27. Hey Lon! Just wanted to tell you how fantastic your videos are! I've just recently found your channel. I am mid late 40s, and I was wondering if you might post up a video looking at the internet from around 1987-88? I was an early computer kid, and I remember some awful neat stuff from that era. Thanks a ton sir!!

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