While large chunks of the US used this year's Snowmageddon to binge on
streaming TV or tweet selfies with snowmen, take a moment to remember
Great Blizzard of 1978, which led to the first Bulletin Board Service
taking to the phone lines 41 years ago.
Those brought up with the seemingly endless amount of storage and
capacity of the cloud in recent times and the connectivity afforded by
internet are likely scratching their heads at the term "BBS".
Kind-of BBS systems had been floating around during the 1970s in the
mainframe software, but it was Chicago techies Ward Christensen and
Suess who kicked things off for enthusiasts on 16 Feb 1978 with the
of the very first BBS. In an interview with Byte (PDF), the duo
the project took 30 days to put together an assembler in a box rocking
Intel 8080 CPU and 24K of RAM.
A mock-up of the system was built using MITS 8K BASIC during the first
and the pair had people call into the system to critique it. Once
Christensen were happy with how things looked, the thing was rewritten
Assembler language in order to take advantage of the speed and
the resulting binaries.
Storage was handled by floppy disk, with CP/M providing the disk
system. With 240K available on a disk at the time, and a directory
keep track of 64 files, the team aimed at holding 200 to 300 active
on the system at a time. Those were the days, eh?
(posted in comp.misc)
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