is an article that appeared in Popular Computing Weekly in June 1990
which mentioned the old BBS. I have removed phone numbers and addresses
as these are likely to be obsolete.
NO WONDER YOU SCI-FI FREAKS LOVE YOUR BBS.
KEYBOARD COMMUNICATION TAKES YOU THERE, WRITES COMMS ACE, MALCOLM ARNOLD.
Anyone who has logged-on to Focal Point BB, the online contact point for Pop et al (xxx xxxxxxx - V21/22/22bis/23 -
24 hours), will probably have come across a user calling himself
Zarniwoop! Well, Zarni has his own board aimed primarily at sci-fi enthusiasts, and especially fans of the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams.
The board is called The Big Bang Burger Bar - (xxx xxx xxxx V21 /22122bis/23 - 9.00-18.30,24
hours weekends). It's been online for about six months, but is just now
getting into its stride, as Zarni has been working on a complete menu
rewrite, and adding new features. In particular he has been keen to
include ANSI graphics, to add colour to his menus for those who can
receive it. More and more systems are doing this now, and it really does
perk up what can, after a while, seem quite samey presentation on many
scrolling format boards.
What inspired the BB? "We wanted to base
the whole BB around Hitch Hiker's as we were both avid fans since we
were at school," he told me. By "we" he included his co-sysop,
Gargravvarr. Zarni hopes to be linking up with the official Hitch
Hiker's Appreciation Society very soon, and would like to put some of
their material online, with their permission. I must underline, though,
that the board has more generally based sci-fi interest too, with a sci-fi message area which was just taking off when I called in. It also provides message areas for computer support and chat.
Burger Bar runs on an Amiga, so it isn't surprising that the majority
of program files available at the moment are for this format. In the
process of completion, however, is a file section which is to be run in
conjunction with a Shareware software operation called Jestersoft.
The main appeal of this board, though, is that it is not wholly or exclusively computer-orientated.
As computers, and Comms, get more accessible to a wider public, people
are realising the huge and exciting potential for using them to
communicate about everything under the sun. Comms, in some ways, is sci-fi
come to life! The whole world is out there, now that (as they said in a
certain fantasy TV series), "we have the technology ... "
Regular readers of this column will have heard me eulogize over the excellent science fiction-biased viewdata board, Atavachron. Well, in the process of writing this article, I tried to log-on
to Atavaachron, and found its sysop, Stuart McKnight, answering 'on
voice'. Evidently, the success of the BB software which McKnight and
partner Laurence Reeves produced for the QL (called Q-View) has led
them on to an even more successful project that is monopolising both
McKnight's time, and his BB phone line! The project is 'Minnerva', an
operating system upgrade for the QL. Hence Atavachron's service is
suspended for the moment, but potential sysops wishing to run a board on
a QL can call McKnight for Q-View, and support, on the old
Atavachron number, xxxxxxxxxx. The board may return in the not too
distant future, but in the meantime he may put the sci-fi pages of his BB up on Reeves' board: LAU'S QL (xxx xxx xxxx - Viewdata V23 °24 hours RINGBACK: dial, let it ring once, hang up and call back immediately to connect).
ShatterNet project, which I have mentioned before, is having concrete
results. It is a network of BBs which are dedicated to science fiction,
fantasy, play-by-mail, role-playing and so on. So
successful has the group become that they have succeeded in launching
their own hard copy fanzine. The 'zine is called Shatter, and is a
testament to both the interest in sci-fi and related topics online, and the vision of ShatterNet's founder. He is Pandrogas - the sysop of Darkhaven Castle (xxxx xxxxxx - V21/22122bis/23 - 24 hours, with Viewdata and Scrolling, but Viewdata is best!). The 'zine is well presented, and something of a must for role-play and fantasy fans in particular. Log on to Darkhaven for more details - or send a cheque for £1 and a stamped addressed envelope to the editor: Phil Teunon, Shatter, [address removed].
• Contact me on The Owl Service (xxxxxxxxxx - V21/22/22bis/23 -24 hours), on Focal Point, orvia Prester MBX: 011112661, and Microlink 10: MAG33225.
• Spock, Vader or Dr Who. Go online and BB whoever you want to BB.