Oldest Houston BBS?

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Dwight Silverman

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Jan 7, 1995, 11:27:46 AM1/7/95
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Which of the 500-plus BBSs around here is the oldest continuously
operating board in town?

--
+=======================+====================================+
| Dwight Silverman | E-mail: dwight.s...@chron.com |
| The Houston Chronicle | Voice: 713-220-6873 |
| Computer columnist & | Fax: 713-220-7273 |
| Technology reporter | Audiotext: 713-468-7866 ext. 1001 |
+=======================+====================================+

Jerry Norris

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Jan 8, 1995, 3:08:20 AM1/8/95
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In article <3emfe2$8...@relay.chron.com>, edt...@chron.com (Dwight Silverman) says:
>
>
>Which of the 500-plus BBSs around here is the oldest continuously
>operating board in town?
>

Well, Dwight, until last week I could have told you that Chameleon would
have qualified, but now that board has been taken down due to a lack of
interest/funds. Let me tell you about this.

Once upon a time there was a chat system, set at 300 baud, called
"The Roundtable", run by Jim Penny. If memory serves me correctly (it's
been a _long_ time, over a decade) there were twelve lines. Roundtable
had a few things such as private messages to others, but most of all it
had a very good following. There were upwards of fifty to sixty users,
many of whom were _very_ regular. Most of the conversation was the usual
babble that one finds in "chat" BBSes, but there were occasional moments
when the text on the screen soared into "solid debate" or even
"entertainment". The average user age was around 25. I was known as
"Magistrae", and later changed to "Vermithrax Pejorative". There were
occasional parties thrown so that people who had been "chatting" to each
other could put a face beside the moniker/handle/alias/venial-representation
on the screen. The atmosphere was pretty good, most times entertaining,
and a fairly cheap way to waste time.

Things changed. Modems _and_ computers were cheaper. Children (under the
age of eighteen) had easier access to things that used to be adult toys.
The conversation took a bit of a downturn which spiraled into yet another
example of entropy in action.

Running a bulletin board was _still_ a hobby during this time, and so
one of the "old" Roundtable people set up another chat system, called
Interact. This had almost the same half-life that Roundtable did, with
a lot of the old "RT" people logging on, conversations doing the same
dips and turns that we had grown used to at RT's best. Then "the kids"
found out about Interact and there was yet _another_ example of entropy
as conversation slid to waiting for new people to log in, thow a couple
of "Hi!!"s, "Kisses!!!!"s, and "Slurp!@!@!@"s in their general direction,
and resume the waiting game with a smattering of inane chatter (granted,
this happened on RT too, but it was of a much higher class (ahem)).

One of the RT/Interact users was a former Chron. employee. She created
a bulletin board called Chameleon, run on an Apple //e, and it was her
hobby. It attracted a lot of the old RT/Interact crowd, and was rather
snobby when it came to admitting "new" members, but admit them it did,
and once again there was a place where things could be said, conversations
could be interrupted, and interesting information could be disbursed (such
things as the definition of a "merkin", day-to-day emergency situations
at Herrman hospital told with great care and feeling by a man known on
the board as "Dr. Ralph", to name a few). This went on for a while, and
there were many "gatherings" (we had, by this time, learned that any
grouping of these individuals was far too chaotic to call it a "party")
held, and much fun was had by all.

Then entropy came again.

It started in the form of the sysop wanting to move, further her career,
and the possible "end" of Chameleon. Well, one of the users took over
the bulletin board, decided to change things (thinking that it was rather
appropriate since the name of the board was "Chameleon"), and things went
sour. Some users objected to the change, it was a bad time to do so
since the new sysop was going through his own brand of personal crises,
and I instigated a couple of "stunts" that corrupted portions of the
board. The new sysop took the board down for a while, reconsidered his
options, and put the board back up with a lot of it's original intention
still visible.

Something had changed, though. Whether it was the sour grapes passed
around, or the intrusion by other users, or the fact that the "new"
sysop had other things to do. I know the answer to some of this, but
not all. The sysop and myself sometimes drink and reminisce about "the
good old days" (we _did_ become good friends somewhere after this, and
that, in itself, is another story altogether), and wonder where "it" went
wrong. It would be easy to say that the general level of user was down,
but I don't think that it's right, since I think that it was a number of
things together that caused the fall of the board: enough of the "old"
user base had moved to make the long-distance calls excessive even by
old standards, others had moved on to different interests, relationships
broke up or developed, and overall the core user groups heart just wasn't
into the act any more.

Oldest? Hard to say. One that kindles the best memories? I'd have to
give Chameleon a large portion of my vote.

later,
jerry.

Dwight Silverman

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Jan 8, 1995, 10:30:24 AM1/8/95
to
In article <3eo6hk$g...@nntp.crl.com>, jer...@crl.com says...

>
>In article <3emfe2$8...@relay.chron.com>, edt...@chron.com (Dwight
Silverman) says:
>>
>>
>>Which of the 500-plus BBSs around here is the oldest continuously
>>operating board in town?
>>
>
>Well, Dwight, until last week I could have told you that Chameleon would
>have qualified, but now that board has been taken down due to a lack of
>interest/funds. Let me tell you about this.
>
[Incredibly detailed history deleted.]

Thanks, Jerry! I've filed it away....

Claire

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Jan 8, 1995, 11:23:35 AM1/8/95
to
Jerry Norris <jer...@crl.com> replied:
>Dwight Silverman) asked:

>>
>>
>>Which of the 500-plus BBSs around here is the oldest continuously
>>operating board in town?
>>
>
>Well, Dwight, until last week I could have told you that Chameleon would
>have qualified, but now that board has been taken down due to a lack of
>interest/funds. Let me tell you about this.
>
>
>One of the RT/Interact users was a former Chron. employee. She created
>a bulletin board called Chameleon, run on an Apple //e, and it was her
>hobby. It attracted a lot of the old RT/Interact crowd, and was rather
>snobby when it came to admitting "new" members, but admit them it did,

They even let me in!

>and once again there was a place where things could be said, conversations
>could be interrupted, and interesting information could be disbursed (such
>things as the definition of a "merkin", day-to-day emergency situations
>at Herrman hospital told with great care and feeling by a man known on
>the board as "Dr. Ralph", to name a few). This went on for a while, and
>there were many "gatherings" (we had, by this time, learned that any
>grouping of these individuals was far too chaotic to call it a "party")
>held, and much fun was had by all.


ahhhhh but they were fun and interesting and an eclectic bunch to say the
least. The first time I ever met people off a bbs were the people from
"the lizzard". Vermithrax even drank spiked my coffee :) IIGs, PIGs,
Chili's, Two Pesos...


>
>Then entropy came again.
>
>It started in the form of the sysop wanting to move, further her career,
>and the possible "end" of Chameleon.

That's when I stopped calling. I discovered the CHAT board ;)


>
>Oldest? Hard to say. One that kindles the best memories? I'd have to
>give Chameleon a large portion of my vote.

Fond memories!

>
>later,
>jerry.
>

Claire


--
Claire

cla...@starbase.neosoft.com

Vociferous Mole

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Jan 8, 1995, 1:48:59 PM1/8/95
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In article <3eo6hk$g...@nntp.crl.com>, Jerry Norris <jer...@crl.com> wrote:
>...and interesting information could be disbursed (such

>things as the definition of a "merkin",

"Pubic wig" (No, I did not have look it up!)

Showing off -

--
The Mole - I think, therefore I scream

"General, a machine becomes human
when you can't tell the difference."
[From D.A.R.Y.L.]

sweetand...@cbx.sccsi.com

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Jan 8, 1995, 1:02:51 PM1/8/95
to

> Which of the 500-plus BBSs around here is the oldest continuously
> operating board in town?

good question. i'm not really sure, but i'm sure that if you logged on to
Atomic Cafe, someone over there who maintains their Houston BBS list could tell
you.

of course, the BEST bbs in town would be Chatterbox. but then again, i'm
somewhat biased. :)

sweetand...@cbx.com


Paul Flores

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Jan 8, 1995, 11:36:30 PM1/8/95
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Dwight Silverman (edt...@chron.com) wrote:

: Which of the 500-plus BBSs around here is the oldest continuously
: operating board in town?
<SNIP>

Does anybody remember 'Freelancin ? I remember calling that BBS in the
early '80s from my VIC 20/ 300 baud modem!

I know it was run by a guy in Alvin, (I think he runs a satillite (sp)
dish company there.

That and maybe 'Talk to Me; and how 'bout Zachery Net BBS ?

There were only about 30 or 40 BBS' then (I think, It has been a LONG
time and I was quite young)

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