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Google BBS Terminal – What Google would have looked like in the 80s (masswerk.at)
281 points by xearl on Apr 13, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 77 comments

As an aside, both Twitter and Google+ are browsable from lynx. Facebook? not so much:




About a year ago the opposite was true - Facebook was almost fully functional over lynx (or links2 in my case), while Twitter was... less so. (And obviously G+ wasn't.)

Interesting. A few years back it wouldn't work in Lynx at all- but they returned an error explaining that and included the message "Keep it real."

I must've caught a window where it worked. I recall it was always the mobile version of Facebook, and it couldn't detect the browser. May be one of the differences between lynx and links2.

This is not just a work of art, but also a labor of love. It deserves to become a museum installation.

That scroll speed needs to slow waaayyyy down. BBSing with a 14.4k modem was rarely that fast. If it was in the 80's, that'd probably make the common speed in the area of 2400 or 9600.

The training sequence sounds like 56k to me ;)

Yes, it did. Did you forget that there were two different 56k standards and those did sound different when negotiating. 56k Flex versus v.90. Negotiation sounded really different depending from standard.

And how many people would have had a color monitor back then?

Many people had color monitors in the 1980s. For values of "monitors" that include television sets. The Commodore 64 and Vic 20 were color, as was the Tandy CoCo. Lots of others as well.

I opted for a hercules monochrome that was higher resolution than the color alternatives.

For PC connecting to monitor, CGA was introduced in 1981. I'd say by 1985, it was a very popular choice. Before that, many home computers that connected to television were already color.

EGA was introduced in 1984 too.

The Apple II was colour, and that thing came out in the late 70s.

For home machines most of them would have been colour by 1982-3. My first paid for job was Turbo Pascal on a CGA PC in 1984 so it was pretty wide spread.

I had an Apple ][ GS back then. Actually, I still have an 8088 with a color monitor and such, but I haven't got it set up, so I'm not even sure if it still works.

I had (still have, actually) an Amdek Color-I Plus on my Apple //e. It was relatively common at the time.

I'm pretty sure Google would have had some hot ANSI art by ACiD, not the colorized ascii.

The API quota is exceeded for search but not for "L" I'm feeling lucky.

I Said the same thing to my friend. His response, "Yeah.. and Yahoo, trying to be all hip, would have an iCE logo..."

It wouldn't make new connection sounds while searching though.

I could see RMS using that all the time.

Actually, he apparently uses an email interface to wget: http://www.stallman.org/stallman-computing.html

... I'm not sure if that supports or contradicts your point....

That's not what he says.

    I have several free web browsers on my laptop,  
    but I generally do not look at web sites from  
    my own machine, aside from a few sites operated  
    for or by the GNU Project, FSF or me. I fetch  
    web pages from other sites by sending mail to a  
    program that fetches them, much like wget, and  
    then mails them back to me.
He's saying, much like wget (in as much as it is used to fetch a page and return the result as text) he sends an email asking for a web page which then responds with the page contents.

Now, as to why he does this, I have no idea. Thoughts anyone?

My guess is that he has added a price to following a link in order to reduce his information consumption because he realizes that without a cost there is the risk of gorging on things that he actually doesn't have the time for.

By artificially increasing the amount of effort required for reading a page (adding a resistance, such as a relatively complicated procedure for fetching the page) the hidden cost becomes much more visible.

IIRC, it is part information diet, part privacy filter - I would guess his web<->email gateway cannot disclose his location even by mistake (the way many VPN setups do - e.g. on my iPhone, if the VPN cOnnection times out while I am on a page with Ajax and lots of images, some requests go through the VPN and some directly. And an adversary can disrupt the VPN connection in various ways to cause that.)

One thing I've noted about this is, it gives him a personal, easily indexed Wayback Machine.

Mandatory link to Jason Scott's awesome documentary on BBS's: http://www.bbsdocumentary.com/

Thanks for the recommendation. I've been meaning to get the LAMP documentary, but will get both now. Things were so simple, yet complex back then.

I would just like to give a nod to an great docu.

I like how it runs 'C:/DOS/BBS/GOOGLE/google.com'

:) .COM was (on of?) DOS executable file extension(s) - before .EXE...

Completely irrelevant of course, but iirc COM is a raw binary, smaller than 64k that can be loaded into memory and started by pointing execution at offset 100h.

EXE files were larger and had to be rebased by the OS on load.

Someone tell me if i got this wrong, it's been a while!

No, you got it right: COM files were raw binary dumps of code and data, a legacy from CP/M, whereas EXE files had the MZ magic number (for Mark Zbikowski) and enough data in the header to allow relocation.

Also, COM files in VMS are the equivalent of BAT files in MS-DOS and shell scripts in Unix-like OSes.

well, actually it runs 'C:\DOS\BBS\GOOGLE\google.com'. I forgot how DOS uses backslash instead of forward slash in paths...

Yep, 5 minutes to download a very dithered .gif of Elle Macpherson in a wet t-shirt. Good memories. Also noticable that computers back then were usable at night with their black backgrounds.

What an awesome time in computing history. I sometimes find myself judging other IT guys by whether or not they have ever used a BBS.

I used a BBS.

My wife built and sysoped one.

And yes, that's how we met.

Not an uncommon story, I suspect.. but, Roger?

You lost me. What?

He's indicating that the story may not be an uncommon one, but gambling, anyway, that you may be someone named Roger who he knows has the same story.

See ... this is what happens when one is raised by wolves. One has no idea about common social conventions.

Wolves ... or raised in Oklahoma in the pre-internet era. Same thing, really.

Only partly related, but I am too young to have used a BBS in Europe. When I came to Taiwan three years ago, I was delighted to see open Telnet sessions on many CS students' computers, browsing a BBS, in Big5 encoding nonetheless.

I love how local computer customs differ.

How about if they RAN a BBS.

My mom would not shell out for a second phone line. :(

There is such quintessential geek pathos in this little phrase.

I ran a bbs. Even had a couple of paid members. I'm embarrassed to say that I can't even remember what it was called now.

Anyone else type Ctrl-A H in an attempt to leave the page?

I was really hoping to see a response to +++ATH0 No dice.

Wow, good enough to give me flashbacks to my old days as SysOp. Needs more door games. LORD and Tradewars anyone?

You certainly should try "Digital, a love story": http://scoutshonour.com/digital/

An excellent game. Along with telehack (http://telehack.com/), oldusenet (http://olduse.net/), and now this, semi-accurate emulation of the 80's online really seems to be catching on lately.

(disclaimer: I did olduse.net)

~~* The Sysop Would Like to Chat ~~

I liked how the business model of LORD was to get you to pay so you could do it with Violet.

The very first thing I looked for was Trade Wars.

While LORD was popular, I always enjoyed a game run on an Amiga BBS called "Hack & Slash". Even has a modern Linux port. http://robert.hurst-ri.us/games/rpgd/

aah, back when I was a node on FidoNET.

Barren Realms Elite :)

the modem wouldn't re-make the carrier noises after connection.

Why did modems bother to output those noises to the user anyway?

Think what would happen if the number is wrong and other side of the line has a phone, instead of a faxmodem. A human attends the call.

Or am I wrong and that is the noise you are sending to them? Now I'm curious.

This sounds right to me.

The screeching sound gave me goosebumps! :)

My first thought was "It doesn't sound quite right", but then I remembered I was expecting the v90/56K handshake[1] with the BU-BONG BONG BONG near the end.

[1] http://808hi.com/audio/conexantwm.mp3

Ah that brings back memories

This really makes me want to fire up the Contiki browser on my Apple ][ - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMzgp7xTp1k

This is a fine piece of work. I like all the ASCII art too!

FYI: The ASCII art was produced by figlet, using the font Georgia11, which was designed by Richard Sabey.

The ASCII art caught my eye too. I can't help but think about all of the fun I had with ANSI art using TheDraw. Ahh, the good 'ol days!

Putting ANSI escape sequences for BLINK in the label of a floppy was fun, and annoying.

I am flashing back so hard to trying to draw TIE fighters with ACiDDraw in Grade 6. Ah, the good ol' days.

I love it. Why does it bring such warm and fuzzy feelings? The result of my lucky feeling search brought up a wikipedia page. It was such a let down.

That is Beautiful!Now, can we get that on emacs..:)

Awesome! Brings back so many memories...

Unless you had a Mac.

What I like about this the most is that it reminds us just how much real work, real information, real stuff can get done with such a simple UI paradigm. Text characters can move mountains.

API quota exceeded!

yep, they thought of everything.

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