Reliving the BBS days with a Propeller

Back before the world wide web, self-proclaimed geeks would get our compute on by dialing in to bulletin board systems. In their heyday, these BBSes were filled with interesting people and warez to fill the most capacious 10 Megabyte hard drive. In an attempt to relive the days of the Internet before the Eternal September, [Jeff Ledger] whipped up a tutorial for dialing up BBSes with an updated classic computer.

Instead of doing this tutorial with a C64 or an Apple II, [Jeff] used the Propeller powered Pocket Mini Computer he designed. This computer features 32Kb of RAM inside an eight-core Parallax Propeller along with a BASIC interpreter to run your own programs.

This Mini Computer can connect to BBS systems, but seeing as how acoustically coupled modems are rare as hen’s teeth these days, [Jeff] thought it would be a good idea to log in to the many Internet connected BBS servers using his desktop as a bridge between the Propeller and the Internet.

After [Jeff] got his Propeller computer up and running on a BBS, he was free to play Trade Wars or slay grues in one of the many MUDs still running. Not bad for a demonstration of the Internet of old, and made even better by the use of a Propeller.

Comments

  1. fotoflojoe says:

    Ahh… The good old days.
    Get off my lawn.

  2. Adam says:

    Ah, the “old” days… My first modem was 300 baud that I connected to my first BBS and downloaded the “Telex” terminal program…Which took nearly 3 hours using XModem on a line that had call waiting.

  3. vortmax says:

    While nostalgia is fun, there’s no way I’d use telnet for anything over the modern Internet.

    • jas says:

      @vortmax if you’re scared to use telnet you could always use ssh or the encrypted telnet protocol. it depends on if the system supports it. a lot support ssh. you just need a good client, that displays ansi graphics like synchterm

  4. Daniel says:

    Just add “*73,” to the beginning of your dial string… turns that pesky “feature” off…

  5. Chris C. says:

    My first useful electronic project was a ring detector for a modem that didn’t have it, so I could get the BBS software I wrote to answer the phone.

  6. fartface says:

    Someone take one of these and port a BBS board software to it. Talk about the ultimate in Uber cool.

    • oldbitcollector says:

      Already did that.. Wrote some minimal BBS software that ran on this using the same “PropLink/BBS Server” software to make the connection between them. I’m considering putting it back online. (After I solve the xmodem transfers I was trying to add to it.) -Jeff-

  7. Retro Cosm says:

    The good old days indeed, I recently set up a dial up BBS, you can also telnet to it. I also dialled into it using an acoustic coupler which was pretty cool.

    http://retrocosm.net/2012/07/03/retrochallenge-acoustic-coupling/

    http://retrocosm.net/2012/08/18/nostromo-bbs-ftp-telnet-and-dial-up/

  8. Hirudinea says:

    Shame it the Pocket Mini doesn’t have RF out, computer hooked up to a CRT TV, only way to go retro.

    • oldbitcollector says:

      The three I/O connections used for TV out on the Propeller are on the right side of the board along with Vss/Vdd. Add three resistors and you’re connected to a TV. (Already did a version of Color BASIC that runs on that setup.)

  9. SuperNurd says:

    You should check out http://www.propeddle.com and get a real Prop Based Computer.

  10. sgsdfgsg says:

    telnet telehack.com

  11. justice099 says:

    I really need to quit screwing around and learn VHDL. I have been wanting to design a VICII with an LCD interface, 100% backwards compatible, but also have some advanced graphics modes.

    The dream is a portable “modern” C64, of course.

  12. jas says:

    There’s still a lot of bbses accessible via telnet

    get mt32 or syncterm [i prefer mtelnet]

    there’s some good bbses at
    bbslist.bbses.info

  13. hilocoa says:

    omputer hooked up to a CRT TV

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