Why would you use a BBS in 2020?

Why would you consider using a BBS in the year 2020? Alistair Ross from New Zealand asks that question for a number of BBS Sysops, and the webmaster of the Telnet BBS Guide. Check out the first part of a three part series of “Back to the BBS.”

If you want to see what I look like, fast forward to 36:34.

BLOG – My views on BBSing – August 2019 edition

Hey folks! I’m going to get back to blogging again. It’s been a while since I really did some serious blogging, and I figure this would be a good place to start.

So what’s on my mind with regards to BBSing? Quite a bit actually.

BBSing in the summer of 2019 is interesting from the perspective of the guy who runs and maintains this site. Lots of activity around here, if you haven’t noticed.

So here are my thoughts on BBSing in the age of social networking (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)

1) There are a number of BBSes out there, and the number seems to be GROWING, not shrinking. As you may know, I’ve been a Sysop for 26 years and I’ve been running the Telnet BBS Guide for almost 22 years. I’ve seen quite a bit of changes, trends, and just overall things that show that this still an evolving field, even though the numbers of people actually knowing what this field is and participating in this field is very small these days. Except for a very few people, how many Millennials and Gen Zers actually know what a BBS actually is? I think most of us who know what a BBS is either used them back in the modem days pre-Internet, or found out by some history site such as Lazy Game Reviews on YouTube. But I’m still surprised that the field is growing.

2) Speaking of growing, the major growth is the use of two kinds of software. Synchronet and Mystic. Both are very good BBS packages, continue to be well supported, well documented, and have a fairly substantial use in the small BBS world. Both are modern software packages that bridge the gap between the old world and the new. Synchronet dates back to the late 1980s, while Mystic is all new-school. But while both are extremely powerful and capable, there are distinct differences. But because of that, they appeal to different audiences. Synchronet is more “old school” in looks and style. Mystic is the up and coming system that appeals to the creative type. So you appeal to two types of people, but at the same time fills the niche. Right now, Synchronet leads the pack with the number of BBSes (177) but Mystic is not far behind (127).

3) So even though right now we are experiencing a peak of BBSes out there, how many actual users are there? As time marches on, both people and operating systems have marched on from BBSing. For example, Windows no longer has Telnet installed by default. Hardly anybody uses Telnet anymore because of security. SSH works, but it’s not really good for BBSes (a pain to use with BBSes). And finally, Facebook pretty much took over as the social media giant.

Botton line – So I’m wondering, with the resurgence of BBSes, does anybody other than the Sysops who run these BBSes even care? Or does anybody even know we exist?

Just my 2 1/2 cents.

When technology gives you grief, you rise to the challenge

As many of you know, the Telnet BBS Guide had a number of problems in August 2019. When I did some plugin updates to the WordPress engine that runs the site, the site pretty much went to a complete halt. Suddenly the site just failed to function and I had no idea why. I enlisted my WordPress expert Vincent (who is the Sysop of Capital Shrill and NOLA Carrier BBSes) and he spent a lot of time troubleshooting the site. Bottom line, he figured out it was a memory issue, added the appropriate line in the settings, and the site came back to life. So for now, the site is back up and running and we can breathe another sigh of relief!

Telnet BBS Guide Monthly Mailings is moving to Groups.io

If you are not aware, we have run a monthly distribution list for the Telnet BBS Guide on Yahoo Groups (and before that on eGroups). This is to let you all know that we are moving to Groups.io after 19 years on Yahoo, effective for the February 2019 edition of the Telnet BBS Guide.

Please sign up at the following URL to continue delivery of the Telnet BBS Guide at the beginning of each month:


Click on the Join This Group icon towards the bottom of the page.

If you do not yet have an account on Groups.io, please sign up for one at this time.

If you are already on the Yahoo Groups service, I cannot automatically transfer you, so please sign up for the new service.

And if you are new and wish to sign up, please do!

– Dave

DtDNS Permanent Shutdown August 1, 2018

For those Sysops who use DtDNS for dynamic DNS – take note that the service will go away on August 1, 2018. You will need to find a new Dynamic DNS provider. A free one that I suggest is No-IP.org.

Please update your listing ASAP here  at the Telnet BBS Guide if you update your telnet address. Thanks! 🙂


DtDNS will be ceasing operations on August 1, 2018.  Many of our customers use our free service, which we have been happy to provide for many years.  Unfortunately, we are unable to continue both the paid and free service as the number of complaints coming from our community DNS and dynamic hosting service have steadily increased over the last couple of years.  Unfortunately the nature of offering a free hosting service opens a business up to abuses — a few bad actors make this type of offering quite challenging to operate.

You will need to migrate your DNS hosting to another provider before that date. After that time, we will no longer be available to provide assistance. Thank you for your past business and support. We wish you all the best for your continued success.

Due to the nature of dynamic DNS hosting, we are not able to transfer any dynamic domains nor any dynamic domain hosts to another provider.  All changes in DNS settings should be made at your registrar. There is no need to make any changes on the DtDNS site as your account will automatically be deleted when we cease operations.  We are not able to help with the transfer of any domains to other DNS hosting providers.

The Diamond Mine Online BBS celebrates 25 years

The Diamond Mine BBS (now the Diamond Mine Online) celebrates its 25th anniversary on July 1st. As you may know, it’s the basis for the Telnet BBS Guide and The BBS Corner. Without the Diamond Mine, we wouldn’t be here now! I’m just surprised that I’m still running a BBS 25 years after I started it! 🙂 Thanks to all of you for keeping it going!

MagiTerm SSH Client Dialing Directory

As time marches forward, we are becoming more and more security conscious. We are moving away from insecure protocols such as Telnet and moving on to Secure Shell or SSH. Though many BBSes aren’t able to move to SSH, we are now trying to make accessing those who are SSH capable easier.

Starting with the July 2018 issue, we are including a file called “magiterm.txt” in both the monthly and daily text file downloads. This is a dialing directory that can be used with a new program called MagiTerm that is an ANSI capable SSH client for both Windows and Linux. Our “under the engine” developer Vincent has updated the site to produce this file and include it in the text file downloads.

If you wish to try MagiTerm, the web site is: https://magickabbs.com/index.php/magiterm

If you have questions, please let us know. Thanks!

Celebrating our 20th Anniversary!

The Telnet BBS Guide is celebrating our 20th anniversary! We started officially on October 1st in 1997.

All month long I’ll be posting about the history of the site as well as how the site came to be.

Stay tuned for more details!

Moving to a new server… and growing pains

Hey folks! After about a year of putting up with a slow poke website, I moved the system to a new host. The site should actually work a lot faster.

But, just to let you know a few things don’t work quite right just yet after the move. WordPress (the engine behind the site) doesn’t like to be moved lock, stock, and barrel like it was.

Here are the known issues:

1) Search doesn’t work quite right. In fact, it hasn’t worked for a while. Don’t fret if you search for a BBS (or your BBS if you’re a Sysop) and don’t find it. It’s probably there. Do a manual search by looking at the actual listings and not using the search feature. More than likely it’s there.

2) The monthly lists are not generating. Not sure if I can get that fixed for the July 1 date that I normally distribute the list.

Let me know if you know of any other issues.

Access Denied – We know about it!

Isn’t security great? Especially when it messes things up?

It appears that either a plugin we use here at the site, or a WordPress upgrade has broken things around here.

Let me explain. When a user signs up for an account on here, they’re at the “subscriber” level. That allows them to add a new BBS entry, but doesn’t allow them to go back and edit the entry. So when I see a new user submit a BBS entry, I raise them to “sysop” level so they can later go back and edit their listing. That’s the problem.

Now if a SysOp wants to go back and edit their user account (say to edit their E-mail address), they’re getting an “Access Denied” message. Folks – I don’t know what do about it. Vincent (the guy who helped me out setting up the site) is also stumped. Until we figure out what the hell happened and figure out some sort of solution, drop me a line at the “contact” button above and I’ll manually make the changes. Until then, I am just as confused as you!

So bear with us until we figure out a solution. Thanks!


Please update your listing when you make changes!

I’ve noticed a lot of Sysops are making changes to their BBS (new address, change in port numbers, etc.), but are not changing their listing on the Telnet BBS Guide. If you do make changes, please log on the site and change the listing – or let me know and I’ll do it for you.

I sometimes find out through other sources (Facebook, a forum posting, etc.) and I do catch SOME of them. But often times I do not. If I find your BBS down for more than 30 days, it will most likely be deleted. So please update your listing ASAP if you change address and/or port numbers!

Secure Shell – a more secure BBS connection


As time marches on, the Internet is getting to be a scarier place. These days, are you sure you can really trust the connection to a server? Even “surfing” the Internet on your web browser is risky. Do you really want to log on that site and trust it with your user ID and password? Do you think your connection may be compromised and someone can grab your credentials?

Connecting to a BBS has its risks, too. Sure, these risks are small, but they do exist. So if you really feel insecure about connecting to a BBS, some BBSes now offer a service called Secure Shell (SSH). SSH is not new. It’s been around for a few years. It was started so a system admin could remotely access a Unix box via the Internet over a secure channel.

Fast forward a few years. Some BBSes packages now offer connections via SSH. Unix based BBSes (those that are actually Unix shells) can offer SSH to their users. Traditional BBS packages such as Synchronet offer their users a SSH connection.

So for those Sysops who are now are running SSH enabled BBSes, you can now list your SSH BBS listing on the Telnet BBS Guide. For those who are adding a BBS for the first time, make sure you check off the SSH block and enter the SSH address (with the port number) in the SSH block. For those who already have a listing, edit your listing, check the SSH block and add the SSH address (again, with the port number).

Social Media and BBSes – Yeah, we co-exist

Running a BBS for nearly 23 years (most of that in the Internet age) has me wondering if BBSes can survive going dfacebookown the road? With social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) being so rampant – why even bother? But it seems that BBSes can co-exist with social media. For example, there are a number of BBS related pages and groups on Facebook. As part of the redesign of this site, I decided to start one as well. Feel free to visit our new page on Facebook. I will be posting news and events there as well as here moving forward.

And as always, thanks for your support.


Getting the bugs out. Does anybody have a can of Raid?

raid bug sprayHey folks! We’re still getting the dreaded “new site” bugs out of the system. As we’re finding them, we’re fixing them!

Biggest issue right now are the auto generation of text files (the infamous ZIP files of the Telnet BBS Guide). So don’t be concerned if you download them and they don’t look quite right. Our team of experts (Vincent) is working hard on this.



Testing 1, 2, 3….

Hello, is this thing on? (taps microphone).testing123

Wow! What a difference a month makes!

At the end of January 2016, my web host sent me an E-mail telling me that they were retiring the old server that my website was on. Most of the time it wouldn’t have been a problem – except for the fact when they decided to upgrade, the engine that ran the Telnet BBS Guide would no longer be supported!

For a long time, I’ve been wanting to upgrade the Telnet BBS Guide, but did not know exactly how I would want to do it, or how to do it.

This new site is about 6 weeks of hard work, primarily by one individual – Vincent Macaluso, Sysop of Capital Shrill BBS. He has painstakingly worked with me in building this site, pretty much from the ground up using WordPress, a ton of plugins, and a crapton of elbow grease!

Another person who has helped out is Shooter Jennings, Sysop of Bit Sunrise BBS. He made the graphics (well, not the USR modem, that was found on Google Images!). But without the work of these two wonderful people – this site would simply not exist!

So welcome to the new site. I’ll be posting news and updates here as they occur.

It’s been amazing 6+ weeks, and we’re not done yet!

Thanks, and enjoy the ride!