It must have been somewhere between the years 1995 and 1997 that I connected for my very first time to a Bulletin Board System (BBS) using an IBM Aptiva we had at home during this time. I actually don't remember how I knew about the existence of BBSes at that age (11-13 years old in Santiago, Chile) but was probably through some older neighbors friends. Although I can remember it was a huge change for me at that time, where I was using the computer basically to play around windows 3.1 / 95, Minesweeper or with Microsoft Encarta. I still remember logging into a BBS through MS-DOS waiting for the strange and noisy sounds the modem made and access to a new world of images, files, texts and strangers – and a few real friends – on chat rooms by topics. I remember a section within the BBS Menu where you were able to download files and the only way to know about the content of the file was reading the description of it, of course, many times the file wasn't what was promising. I'm pretty sure I added a few virus to our home computer during that time. After using BBS I jumped to IRC Chat Rooms.
What is a Bullet Board System (BBS) ?
A BBS is an online service connected through phone lines that allow "callers" (users) to send and receive data such as emails, files, messages, forums, play games. The BBSs were a precursor to "The internet" in the early 90's. BBS's were mostly a local service network run by computer hobbyist. The most popular interests included politics, religion, music, dating, and alternative lifestyles.
The interaction on BBS was text-based through the terminal using ANSI standards.
To setup a BBS network was required to have :
• A computer
• One or more modems
• One or more phone lines, with more allowing for increased concurrent users
• A BBS software package
• A sysop - system operator
• A user community