Friday 17 May 2013

CNet 5 testing

Currently running CNet 5 on the SAM, seems to be running smooth thus far.

Friday 21 October 2011

More general content and backstory

Trying to use the blog more as a general "Amiga" themed for a wider reader base.  No secret there's not much of an audience for people strictly interested in Amiga BBS's, heh.

Recently, I bumped into an old Sysop friend from years ago that lives in the NW USA.  IIRC, last time I chatted with him was in the mid 90's.  He, like myself - jumped to Windows when Commodore hit the skids, and after many years of using Windows only machines he bought a "next gen" Amiga, a SAM running OS 4.  After speaking with him for quite awhile, reminiscing about our old BBS days, I thought some people may enjoy a story on my background with BBS's.  The BBS scene back then was truly unique, and only the people that were there at the time can really understand that.

It was early 1990, up until this time I had only owned game consoles and an Atari 800 XL.  The company my father worked for came out with a "Computer Purchase" incentive, offering everything from beige box PC's, to Mac's, to Amiga's.  I'd always lusted over an Amiga and finally talked my Dad into getting me an Amiga 3000.  They were not out yet, and the only option on the list was a 16 Mhz 68030 model.  To this day, I am not sure why my father went for it - the machine, with 1950 monitor, A-10 speakers, and a crappy Star NX 2420 dot matrix printer clocked in at well over $4000.  His employer wasn't giving vast (if any) discounts on the machines they brokered, but the fact that they would simply take a bit out of my Dad's paychecks each month until it was paid off must have been the selling point.  I finally took possession of the machine in mid to late 1990 and fell in love with it immediately.  As many people from back in that era will tell you, the Amiga opened up all sorts of doors for people looking to be creative, and it sure opened doors for myself.

Now to the BBS part.  I'd always been an avid reader of computer magazines and had been looking into BBS's for quite awhile, but the lack of a hard disk in the 800 XL I never bothered buying a modem.  I'd read all about BBS's and was dying to get involved.  Christmas 1990 one of my presents was a shiny new Supra 2400zi Zorro II slot modem.  After a nervous install of the thing (at the time I had never opened a PC), I got it all sorted out and found a local BBS list.  Amiga BBS's were rare as hens teeth in my town at the time, so after finding many PC and Mac systems, I called the Supra support site and found their list of Amiga BBS's.  The first I called was Telepro Technologies BBS, the developer of DLG BB/OS for Amiga - one of the best BBS programs ever written for the Amiga.  I grabbed the Telepro/DLG list of BBS's, found one called "The Mission" BBS, in Mountain View, California.  For some reason I chose to call it.  Was a very quick and well laid out BBS, which was exactly what I needed at the time.  At the time I don't think I even had a concept that there were actually live human beings manning these systems, heh.  About 10 minutes into my call to The Mission, stumbling and bumbling trying to figure out how these things worked, I was dragged into split screen chat by the "Sysop".  I initially figured I had done something wrong, but the kindly fellow simply wished me a belated Xmas (was several days after Christmas by that time), asked me if I was new to BBS's and offered me a hand if I needed it.  We got to talking, he took an hour or two out of what must have been a very busy schedule (in retrospect) to show true interest and enthusiasm towards a "noobie", asking me how I liked my new A3000, told me all about his systems and what they meant to him.  He removed all download/upload ratios for me since I was calling long distance, and queued me up some downloads for some new comms software that would make my BBS experience a bit better.  A completely helpful unassuming man.  My next phone bill was like $250, but that's another story for another day.  Anyone that wasn't around back in those days simply cannot conceptualize how badly the telco's would rape you for LD calling then - $1 a minute in some cases.

I was terrifically appreciative that this stranger was kind enough to take time during the holidays to give a kid like me a hand, and I became a regular caller to The Mission BBS, speaking with the Sysop quite often.  The guy was beyond cordial and helpful, and he showed a true enthusiasm in seeing a noobie like me developing a passion for computers.  Were it not for guys like him, I certainly wouldn't have become such a fan of computers.  In fact, if I had not got into computers so heavily during those days I can say with 99.99% certainty I would have been dead from drink or drugs many years ago, and everyone that showed me kindness and assistance back then I sincerely do appreciate.

I called there quite regularly for 4 years, then one day the system simply had a logon screen posted by the co-sysop that the Sysop had passed away and the BBS would be shut down.  I was gutted.  Sure, I didn't know the guy personally, but by that time I was well entrenched in the BBS community and was sad to see him go, even if I only knew him by his sysop name.

Around the time of his passing, I was following Usenet quite a bit and saw in one post that the Amiga community had lost a very prominent figure.  At the end of said Usenet post, I saw a name that was familiar.  The post listed his accomplishments, and there was a note he was an avid BBS'er and gave info on his BBS.

Turned out the Sysop of The Mission BBS was Jay Miner, father of the Amiga.  For 4 years I had been speaking with him on and off, him not once mentioning he was essentially the proud Papa of the Amiga computer I loved so much, and to this day I respect his humble nature and the kindness he showed to "noobs" like me on his system.

Friday 15 July 2011

SAM back online

Got the SAM 440ep working again, now with a 32 GB Patriot SSD SATA Drive.  Will get the BBS back up over the weekend.  Unfortunately, Excelsior! BBS doesn't seem to like PPC/OS4.1 at all.

Saturday 11 June 2011

Excelsior! BBS news

Awhile back, I reached out to the last known developers of Excelsior! BBS and never got a reply.  Earlier yesterday, LamboJay on gave me a heads up that he'd stumbled across the E! support site, which I'd never been able to find.

After looking around a bit, seems they have released it free to the public, which includes a Trapdoor key as well as an Excelsior! BBS key.

Many, many thanks to LamboJay!

Sunday 17 April 2011

A few SAM issues

Having a couple issues with the SAM 440 corrupting perfectly functional hard disks, so the BBS will be up sporadically until I can sort it out.

Saturday 19 March 2011

More DLG issues

Just when I thought I had it beat, hitting some ugly crashes related to serial/port handlers running the 680x0 version of DLG on OS 4.1 Update 2/SAM 440.  Unlikely I will find a way around this, but thankfully the C source is available so I'll poke around and see if I can get it tweaked for PPC/OS 4.1 with GCC.

In the meantime I'll put the support BBS back up running Synchronet 3.15.  It shames me to run a BBS dedicated to Amiga BBS's on an Intel/Windows machine, but it's just a stopgap fix until I get either DLG or Zeus
running absolutely bulletproof on the SAM.

Will post the telnet address of the Synchronet system once I finish re-adding all the Aminet comm dirs and get the FTN's configured (again).

Sunday 6 March 2011

Putting together a new, modern BBS package

Been working on an all in one installer based BBS package/collection this weekend for running on AmigaOS 4.1 (will run on older versions of WB 100% as well).  Combination of DLG BB/OS for the BBS SW, MailManager for UUCP and FTN's, setup out of the box for telnet only.  Just finishing up some scripts and crontabs for retrieving mail via FTP and I'll throw it on the SAM 440 for full testing.  If all goes well it should be as close to a "modern" all in one BBS package for telnet that exists on the Amiga, I hope.  If you'd like to test this, give me a holler.  Maybe try the same with FAME BBS, depending on how the DLG version pans out.  Still having bad problems with doorgames on the SAM 440/PPC machine running OS 4.1, regardless of what BBS SW I use.