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BBS: The Documentary – 8 Part Miniseries (2005)
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BBS: The Documentary – 8 Part Miniseries (2005)

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Long before the Internet escaped from the lab, connected the planet and redefined what it meant to use a computer there was a brave and pioneering band of computer users who spent their time, money and sanity setting up their home computers and phone lines to welcome anyone who called. By using a modem, anyone else who knew the phone number of these computers could connect to them, leave messages, send and recieve files…. and millions did.

They called these places “Bulletin Board Systems”, or BBSes. And their collections of messages, rants, thoughts and dreams became the way that an entire generation learned about being online. When the Internet grew in popularity in the early 1990s, the world of the BBS faded, changed, and became a part of the present networked world.. but it wasn’t the same.

Director Jason Scott spent three years traveling throughout the country documenting stories of the people and events that made the BBS what it was. The resulting 250 hours of footage were edited down into multiple episodes, each dealing with one aspect of the BBS.

Ideal as either a teaching tool or a reminder of your own memories, the BBS Documentary Collection brings back this nearly-forgotten time in a way that will tell the story… one caller at a time.

IMDB (8.7)

Episode 1: Baud

The beginnings of the first BBSes, featuring Ward Christensen and Randy Suess.

Episode 2: SysOps and Users

Experiences from those who used and operated BBSes.

Episode 3: Make it Pay

The BBS industry of the 1980s and 90s featuring Philip Becker, founder of eSoft.

Episode 4: FidoNet

Details the largest volunteer-run computer network in history.

Episode 5: Artscene

The history of the ANSI Art Scene which thrived in the BBS world.

Episode 6: HPAC (Hacking Phreaking Anarchy Cracking).

Hear from the users of “underground” BBSes

Episode 7: No Carrier

The end of the dial-up BBS and its integration into the Internet.

Episode 8: Compression

The story of the PKWARE/SEA legal battle of the late 1980s.

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