What Jessie Did Next...

...being the inane ramblings of a mundane Yorkshire bird.

A brief overview of what I’m up to, since a few people have asked:

Way back in the late 80s and early 90s, I was involved in the Viewdata BBs scene: in common with my peers I used my Beeb to run a bulletin board (The Rabbit Run) and it had a couple of hundred users. Other boards around the time included Chipboard (which ran on EBBS in Leeds), CARBBS-based bulletin boards such as Odyssey, Optix and Cyclone, and FBBS-originated boards such as CCl4.

Having rediscovered the original disks for my BBs numerous times and archiving off portions of the board to more resilient media than the 5.25″ floppies they’re on, the data’s nice and intact.

Now comes the fun bit. One of “those” nights in the pub set me thinking about how the BBs could be put on the Internet, in a similar way to CCl4 and Haven. However, I’d want to keep a nice clean delineation and not “taint” the system with modern technologies or developments such as GoMMC. Thus the idea of using VoIP, modems, Econet storage and original hardware came along.

We’d take a BBC Micro running the BBs software using a Dataphone “Designer” modem to answer (no Hayes modems around this time, remember?), and connect the modem via a house phone exchange to another machine which would actually dial the line when an incoming telnet connection was made. The Beeb setup would remain on faithful pre-1990 hardware, and it’d be a solid recreation of an original Viewdata setup. The Java Viewdata applet could be used or we could write a new one with proper aspect ratio, etc.

Last week, that led to another thought – if we could get one BBs up, why not get others going? There are archives of pages and messages hidden in lofts (there are a couple which I’ve got copies of in any case); so the idea of using an Econet to have a stack of Beebs with modems came about. Believe it or not, I think the hardest bits to source will be the non-Hayes modems (Dataphone Demon-2, Designer, Telemod, Pace Nightingale, etc.).

The idea’s still work-in-progress until I get the stuff running, but it seems that we could end up with a live “Acorn BBs museum” using original hardware and files.

Update on the ST506 Problem: Ian and Jules over on the BBC Micro maillist suggested that it was probably the stepper motor in the Winchester drive being ‘sticky’ – rotated the stepper arm a couple of mm seems to have sorted the problem out. I’ll let Google index this for the next person to have the problem 😉

1 Comment

  1. Has anything come of this idea yet? I’d love to see it come together 🙂

    It would also be great if you could dial in using real hardware.

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