Original graphic for The BBS Corner and Telnet BBS Guide from 1997 to 2016
The Telnet & Dial-Up BBS Guide is the largest regularly maintained Bulletin Board System (BBS) guide that lists both Telnet (Internet based) and Dial-Up (modem based) BBS systems.
This guide is maintained by the SysOp of the Diamond Mine Online, a Telnet BBS system located in Fredericksburg, Virginia USA. This site is professionally hosted by Entirely Digital web hosting in Toronto, ON Canada.
The current website uses WordPress and a number of plugins to make this all work. The website was designed by Vincent Macaluso of Capital Shrill BBS and Shooter Jennings of Bit Sunrise BBS. Without the help of these two great people, this website would simply not exist!!
Background and History
The Telnet & Dial-Up BBS Guide is a combination of two separate spinoffs of The BBS Corner. The Telnet BBS Guide was created in October 1997, while the US & Canada Dial-Up BBS Guide was created in October 2003. Each were created for different reasons.
The Telnet BBS Guide was considered to be an extension of The BBS Corner. While The BBS Corner is considered to be a site about BBS systems in general, The Telnet BBS Guide was created solely for the purpose of listing Telnet BBS systems.
It was no secret that by the mid-1990s that the future of BBS systems involved the use of the Internet. Though the Internet actually pre-dates dial-up BBS systems, the Internet really didn’t get a foothold until about 1990.
This is about the time BBS systems also started to get popular. Computers and analog modems were getting faster and faster. By late 1994 and early 1995, the technology started to merge together. Finally the Internet was able to become available to the masses instead of government, large businesses, and college campuses. The Internet already had the capability of many transmission methods, and Telnet was the one of the more popular and well established protocols.
Telnet was one of the first Internet protocols (even prior to the World Wide Web) and the interaction between the user and computer was almost identical to the method of the traditional dial-up (modem) Bulletin Board System. By the mid-1990s, BBS systems were migrating to the Internet as a means of interacting with those who were already on the Internet. Some BBS software packages were being produced with Internet interface. Other BBS systems were connected to the Internet using special interface software to provide this additional access.
By the mid-1990s, the Internet with the World Wide Web had started to enter the mainstream. Web sites were being created to let people know about BBS systems. Sites like the original Sysop’s Corner (by MaryLou White) and BBS Corner (our main site) came on the scene. Another site that appeared was called the Select BBSes on the Internet (SBI) Telnet BBS List, maintained by Richard Scott Mark. This list ran from approximately July 1994 through July 1997. For some reason, the site was no longer being updated. This was odd considering Richard had just published a book discussing Internet based BBS systems. The original site went down in July 1998 when the server crashed. However, copies of the site (as well as this site) still exist on the Internet still exist to this day.
So by late September, I was wondering if the site was going to be maintained ever again. In fear that the site would never be updated and taken down, I took it upon myself to create my own Telnet BBS guide. I took what Richard had, weeded out the dead systems, added a bunch of new systems, and created my own site. By early October, the first generation of the site was online.
The first generation of the site existed from October 1997 through July 2001. The site was co-hosted with TheDirectory, which at that time listed Internet Service Providers, Web Hosting Providers and even some dial-up BBS systems. The site was maintained all by hand and was only updated once per month. The addition of the text-based list came a couple of years after the site was created.
Second Generation – Part I
In 2001, it was becoming a hassle to have The Directory host The BBS Corner and the Telnet BBS Guide. I decided to seek outside help in determining what my next step was. Mat DeCourcy of DC Systems, Inc. answered my call for some help. He provided a way to help automate the mundane tasks of updating the database and web pages by using a Microsoft Access database system and create pages on the fly using scripting. I obtained web server space from a professional hosting company (Alentus of Edmonton, AB Canada) and obtained a domain name. The automated system was installed and the second generation came on line in August 2001. The two systems ran in parallel for several months, with the first generation coming to an end around October 2001.
Second Generation – Part II
The largest Dial-Up BBS list that was continually maintained until recently was the USBBS list. Since its inception since 1984, it has been the largest list of its kind. It was maintained on a regular basis up until about 2002, then sporadically after that until 2004. Since then, it has not been maintained.
By the fall of 2003, the list had gotten very out of date. I decided that it needed to be “replaced” and added to the line of Telnet BBSes that I currently list. Hence the US/Canada Dial-Up BBS List was created in October 2003. The goal has always been to merge it into the Telnet BBS List but due to other important things, it has been in the “Beta Test Stage” since its inception.
The third generation has its origins back in 2004. Mat had offered to update the database to include not only Telnet listings, but Dial-Up listings as well. As many systems offer both Telnet and Dial-Up, this made sense. He set up a test site with the new engine, but we never got around to finishing it. By 2007, I felt that the site should have its own domain and not be an offshoot of the Diamond Mine Online domain.
The work that was started in 2004 by Mat DeCourcy has been updated and installed with the current domain. With the new engine, the automation has improved to a new level. Instead of entering the data by hand, it is entered automatically in to the database when people submit their information. Also, the downloadable list was updated with the latest information straight from the database instead of being updated just once a month with monthly mailings being done at the first of each month.
The Fourth Generation of this list is what you are seeing now. The graphics of the former Telnet BBS Guide were created in 1996, and remained so for nearly 20 years! Yes, the old site held on for nearly that long. Technology had come and gone, but the site kept on trucking along from 2004 to 2016.
For the longest time, I wanted to update the look and feel of the website, but keep the original “engine” behind the site intact since I really didn’t know too much about ASP programming and Microsoft Access databases. I just didn’t have the time to go through and work on the site anymore. So I kept up the maintenance of the listings but didn’t change the look or flavor of the site one bit for many, many years.
My procrastination had finally bit me in the butt, BIG TIME! In late January 2016, the web hosting company that had been hosting the site since circa 2001 finally said that they will no longer be supporting neither Windows 2003 nor Microsoft Access Database (the engine behind it). In other words, the site would cease to function! It was time I was forced to swallow a bitter pill and finally upgrade the site. But how? What would be the best way? And who could help me?
I had seen a website that sort of was doing close to the same thing that I was doing using WordPress, but I couldn’t find the guy who made it. I asked a BBS Sysop group on Facebook and that led me to Shooter Jennings of Bit Sunrise BBS and Vincent Macaluso of Capital Shrill BBS. Both of them know WordPress, I don’t! So they worked with me to create a whole new website with as much functionality as the old website, while bringing things up to modern technology in 2016.
The new website came online on March 7, 2016 when the old site finally bit the dust. Long live the old Telnet BBS Guide. Hello new Telnet BBS Guide!
1997 – Creation of the Telnet BBS Guide
2001 – Moved from TheD irectory website to Diamond Mine Online website. Automation added.
2003 – US/Canada Dial-Up BBS Guide started
2007 – Site moved from Diamond Mine Online website to its own domain. Automation has been improved.
2016 – Entire website was redone from scratch using WordPress as the engine.
Still To Do
2019 – Improve the capabilities of the site to include automatic validation and checking of the BBSes on the site, a system that is currently done by hand.
If you have any questions – please visit the Telnet FAQ page. If you need further help you may contact us.
Last updated October 25, 2019