Saturday, May 12, 2007


Thanks to Tiessa, Veyron and Vint for reviving my old habit.

All of this has started from a visit to a friend with a few beers, to check out his newest self-assembled from totally separate parts shiny hi-end 386.

Somewhere in the very beginning 1990s. Summer, white nights. Friday has just become Saturday.
Two geeks in the kitchen, sitting in front of a 13" screen.


The sound of the pulse dial (the tone dialing was a strange luxury at that time at that place), then the sound of the connect.

If you heard it once - you will never forget it: "...baaaaaaaaaeeeeeeeepshkrchkrspspkr".

Well, maybe not exactly, but something similar.


the funny name FrontDoor shows up, then the screen explodes with ANSI graphics and we start exploring the new and mysterious world. Look! you can download files! Many files! Wow, various programs.. too bad it will take a long time to get them here, even though 2400 is quite fast - it's almost 800 bytes per second!

Let's see what else is there.. oh - look! - there is a command "Yell" - we try it ? - ok!

The PC starts to emit the bleeping sound, and we see the message - "Chat started".

"Hello?" - the letters appear one by one, not too fast, and suddenly we realise it's well well past midnight!

"Did we disturb you ?" - "Nah, not really, what's up"

The next 2 hours of geekspeek are omitted for brevity, if you want the details - find the nearest BOFH and ask.

The end result was that we got full access to the files, and agreement to meet with the beers one of the following days to finalize the balance sheet.

I came home at 6am, by foot, all excited to have talked to another person, complete stranger, using the computer. Ain't this amazing ?

P.S. I've tried to locate the screenshot of such an antique, but found a couple of fun sites, and appears some BBSes are still running over the TCP/IP... try telnet to All the details, including the ANSI graphics detection and screen setup. Feel nostalgic yet ?

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