I inherited a 6 MHZ AT clone with 1 megabyte (!) of RAM and 2 20 meg hard drives from my current employer. I started the BBS off as Left Field BBS running on Opus software. I changed the name to "realitycheckBBS" and moved to Telegard 2.4 BBS software and FrontDoor mailer, connecting through an Anchor Signalman 2400 baud modem.
realitycheckBBS joins NIRVANAnet(tm) as node 9:900/7. NIRVANAnet was a free speech network started by Ratsnatcher, Dr. Strangelove, and Jeff Hunter to network messages between BBSes that valued anonymity and appreciated the power of information.
RealitycheckBBS joined FidoNet as 1:125/57.
realitycheckBBS moves to Albany, CA and switches to Fidonet 1:161/418. I upgrade the BBS to a 386SX. Cast-off Lantastic hardware becomes realitycheckBBS' first network. I upgrade to a Telebit T3000 modem and enter the high-speed realm. The number is (510) 527-1662.
I've added close to 3000 text files at this point.
NIRVANAnet(tm) undergoes a renumbering, and realitycheckBBS becomes a hub for peninsula and east bay nodes The Stage and Lies Unlimited. realitycheckBBS joins GaSPNet, a local telegard support network, and upgrades to Telegard 2.7.
Michael Liedtke blows the lid off of the BBS information.scene with a scathing article titled "Modem Operandi: Tips on Crime Go Online". RealitycheckBBS is implicated for having the same information available as most public libraries or the Library of Congress. The article elevates the Contra Costa Times to the pinnacle of journalistic excellence. Article is later reprinted in the National Enquirer. If you have back copies, look for the issue with Fabio and Rosanne Barr in bed together on the cover.
NIRVANAnet(tm) has 3-4 get-togethers a year at this point.
RealitycheckBBS moves back to San Francisco, but remains in net 161. I upgrade to a USR Sportster 14.4 modem.
realitycheckBBS has over 5000 files at this point, and participates in CCinet, XpresitNet, and JustaXnet.
BBS moves to an EISA bus 486/66 castoff machine the size of an end-table with 16 megabytes of RAM and 2 320 MB drives, I switch the BBS to OS/2 Warp and Maximus CBCS. The BBS number is (415) 666-0709.
Another hardware switch, this time to a Pentium 166 with 48 megs of RAM running Windows95. realitycheckBBS moves to Oakland, and I move the BBS to Windows 95 and the 32-bit DOS version of Maximus.
High tech comes to realitycheckBBS. realitycheckBBS is now running on an ISDN line - one telephone line handles incoming calls fulltime, the other line connects to internet-based message feeds using an application called Internet Rex. Fidonet feeds without relying on local networks, toll recovery programs (aka shakedowns) and polling multiple times a day changes the look and feel of Fidonet.
A slow decline for realitycheckBBS. realitycheckBBS drops out of nirvanaNET after as long struggle with content quality. About this time, nirvanaNET atrophies, is completely taken over by trolls and eventually has the plug pulled. realitycheckBBS re-invents itself briefly as Channel Z, then returns as realitycheckBBS with a variety of othernets including XpresitNet, JustaXnet and InfiNet.
realitycheckBBS migrates to a single analog line with DSL. The BBS is now running on a P233MMX with 128 MB of RAM. The BBS has 5-10 calls per day, which isn't bad considering the state of BBSing.
I take the BBS down in order to re-use the modem line as an office line. At this point, I had 1-2 calls a day, consistently.
I've got a garage full of hardware and no use for it. Firing up a Windows98 desktop system I inherited from a client, I loaded Synchronet on it and started playing around. realitycheckBBS soon comes back to life as an internet-only BBS, with telnet, web, FTP, Gopher, NNTP and mailing list access. Synchronet has become a one-stop shop for communication across several media. realitycheckBBS rejoins Fidonet as 1:161/418.
There's a resurgence in BBSing, with a couple of othernets showing promise and Fidonet Not Dead Yet. Synchronet allows for communication via the web, NNTP, plain ol' telnet, and via email. I register realitycheckbbs.org and start streaming music through the BBS via radio.kataan.org. The BBS moves to a 1.4 Ghz P4 system donated by Dr. Strangelove of "Just SaY Yes"/NirvanaNet fame.
The BBS is down for a move, comes back up in Redwood City, CA, sharing my desktop box.
The BBS moves to Belmont, and email services go away. Comcast blocks SMTP traffic, and while it's nice to provide email notification of messages, it's not critical.
Still going strong - looking for new message networks. The BBS is running via wireless link from a cast-off HP Pavilion running XP, SBBS 3.14, and Radius for mailer duties. I find a way to provide email services and continue offering @realitycheckbbs.org email addresses to users.
I take over as RC10 for Fidonet, and add Agoranet, a thriving art/BBS othernet to realitycheckBBS.
The BBS is hummng along; I add more file echoes and join Survnet, a survival/prep network, and Center of Awareness, a group of BBSes taking Synchronet in a new direction.
The BBS moves back to hardware from this century, with the addition of games via bbslink.net, Center of awareness games, and local games. Physically, the BBS moved as well, to Aptos on the California Pacific Coast.
The last old desktop dies when I turned the power off. The BBS moves to a solid old laptop - built in battery backup to combat the sometimes dodgy power that comes with living in a wooded area.
Still running on the laptop I set up in 2016; the battery is still holding enough of a charge to keep the BBS going through power outages, and things have been stable for some time. I've upgraded the web interface to ecweb v4, which has a decent web forum feature, and have started to see people registering via the web instead of telnet!