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March 18, 2007

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Thiago, What Are You Working on Down There?

Michigan teen makes small fusion reactor in his basement. No seriously, it’s real. I’m pretty sure the greatest technical achievement of my tenure as a Michigan teen was, like, connecting to BBSes.

As long as we’re talking about science: Remember the world accent quiz? Well, the results are in. The U.S. accents — Alabama and Wis-CAHHHN-sin — were a cinch, while the accents from Bolivia, Italy, and Morocco stumped almost everyone.

Posted March 18, 2007 at 12:24 | Comments (3) | Permasnark
File under: Briefly Noted, Technosnark


I was a grown-up when I discovered BBSes, of course. God, how I loved them. Wasn't it like magic, even at 300 or 1200 baud?

The first themed BBS I found was called Pyschotic Motherboard, run by a sysop who called himself Al G. Rhythm; I had no idea what either name meant. Not long afterward, the features editor, a freelance computer columnist and I put the Anchorage Daily News online at a BBS called "The Front Page," running on a 512 Mac. We could handle three users simultaneously and posted our classifieds. In 1987-88, I think it was.

Yeah, there was really something great about all those little kingdoms, each created in the image of its master.

One of my favorite was a Detroit-area BBS called L'AISON (it stood for something) that ran on a Mac-only BBS platform called FirstClass; it actually gave it a GUI, with folder and file icons and everything.

Three users is big-time; L'AISON only had one line, so you always had this sense of queueing up behind fellow L'AISON users to see what was new, download the latest shareware games, etc.

Just did some quick googling on the history of BBSes and found this documentary. I might just have to pick it up!

One of the kids at my middle- and high-school ran a BBS off a home computer and second phone line. All the dorky kids
would queue up after school and complain about school or kill each others' characters in Trade Wars or whatever that dragon BBS game was. And then there was the Stanford MUD...

It was this funky pan-dork community outside of the usual school cliques. Kind of like a blog community that pulls together a bunch of semi-random people across the WWW actually.

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