Compuserve Forum?!

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jymbee

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Browsing through the "History of the RV Forum" link and noted the references below:

The RV Forum was formed on Compuserve, also known as the Compuserve Information Service...
...
A major breakthrough came about with the creation of the first "Offline reader" (OLR) software, known as TapCIS.

Wow-- anyone else here remember those old Compuserve/TapCIS DOS days where text positively FLEW by one's CRT monitor as fast as your 28.8 (or if you're lucky, a blazing 56k) modem could download it?? 

I can remember actually PAYING $$$ for a version of Netscape!

Damn, I'm OLD...  ::)
 

Jim18655

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How about using a local bulletin board to leave messages and download software? Dial In with your 14.4k modem and look through the files. The first internet connection I got was text only but the information, at the time, was great.
 

jubileee

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I remember being on Seagate?s bulletin board with a 300 baud modem. Marveling at the technology and thinking it cougar any better.
 

Lou Schneider

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The first official RV Forum Quartzsite rally back in the Compuserve days was held behind the LTVA entrance station.  Fred and Daisy Thomas volunteered as LTVA hosts that season and were able to get that primo spot for the group.

The big draw was the pay phone outside the kiosk they could use to connect to Compuserve.  They ran a modular phone extension cord from their desktop PC in the RV to the phone.  Fred would dial Compuserve's 800 number and hold an acoustic coupler up to the payphone's handset while Daisy sat inside the RV and used Tapcis to download the Forum content to the computer.

They'd read and reply to messages offline, then connect again to upload the replies they wrote.

Most connections were at 300 baud, occasionally Ma Bell would smile and allow a blazing 1200 baud through that phone.  Since Compuserve charged by the minute, reading and writing while you were offline with the clock stopped saved money, even at 300 baud.

During the rally we used more modular extension cords to extend the acoustic coupler to the other rigs so we could all get online.  We had to work around other campers who wanted to use the pay phone to make voice calls.
 

Tom

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When I first joined CIS (early 80's), anything faster than 300 baud was science fiction  :eek:

Compuserve's nodes and access via partner networks (e.g. Fujitsu's Niftyserve in Japan) were a lifeline when trying to communicate 'online' from various parts of the world. Often, the challenge was to connect your modem to the unfriendly phone line, and many of us (collectively known as 'road warriors') traveled with a kit of tools, wires, alligator clips, etc that wouldn't make it through today''s airport security. Once connected, we'd use long 'modem strings' to automatically navigate across/between networks, or manually issue the commands from a keyboard.

The advent of OLR (offline reader) software such as TapCIS offered a huge increase in efficiency by using the '2-pass' method Lou described.

Ah, the days when my briefcase went into the computer bag, not the other way around, and a dolly was a necessity.
 

Back2PA

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When I first started using the forum back in CompuServe days I remember how cool I thought TapCIS was, being able to logon, grab all the latest posts, and log off. I think I was using a 12K modem. DSL was pretty new, and my house was too far from the nearest panel to get it. So I had 1000 feet of wire ditched in from the county road and had dual bonded 56K ISDN modems installed. Woo hoo!
 

Tom

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When we held the 1995 forum rally in Plymouth, CA one of the attendees (IIRC forum staffer John Wilson) rented a phone line at his site and strung phone wire to all the attendees' rigs. Controlling 'network traffic' was done by hoisting a flag on a central light post; Flag up meant someone was online, and flag down meant the line was free for someone else to use.
 

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Tom

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[quote author=Tom]When I first joined CIS ...[/quote]

They didn't yet have forums; CIS was an information service aka a collection of searchable databases.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Those were the "good old days"!  ;)  I recollect carrying around numerous phone cords, adapters, a modem and equipment to tap into phones or phone lines. The closest thing to an internet cafe was a payphone that had a modular jack so you didn't need an acoustic coupler. Really high tech!

My first Compuserve RVForum rally was near Tampa in 1996, where Ned Reiter had a site for couple months and several of us met there for 3-4 days.  Ned had a phone line at his site, so we were in fat city! He draped a phone line outside his coach for the rest of us to use when his "flag" was down..
 

Tom

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[quote author=Tom]When we held the 1995 forum rally in Plymouth, CA  .... [/quote]
I recall Lou driving in by truck sans RV, in time for the group photo. I've tried unsuccessfully for a number of years to find someone with a copy of that photo to add to our photo gallery. The photographer promised to send it (IIRC more than once).
 

UTTransplant

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A 300 baud modems with acoustic coupler and a home built Heathkit CPM computer running VT52 (?)  simulator let me do some of my graduate work in Computer Science from home after my first son was born in 81. I didn?t really go on-line to Compuserve though - too rich for my poor grad student budget! I did get active on listservs and Usenet back in the day, mostly in canoeing groups, probably in the late 80s/early 90s.

We should some day have a session where us old farts can reminisce about listing to AT commands, running paper tape and cassette tape programs, and our blinding speed 100-160KB 8? floppies. Note I did laboratory automation and embedded software, so I stayed pretty close to hardware.
 

Chet18013

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Full time in RV. Home is where we are parked
I remember the days of the 300 baud modems with acoustic coupler. Fred and Daisy were the first RVForum couple we met back in 1995. We stopped and spent two nights on their farm outside of Portland, Maine. When I got my first 1200 baud modem, I though I'd died and gone to heaven.

Joe Lacey sure kept us all amused with his troubles and frequent black water mishaps. We were living in the Pocono Mountains of PA at the time. We had 41 acres and had a number of the old RVForum members stop by for visits. One time we had a mini-rally with 7 coaches parked in our yard.

 

DavidM

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We'd get Hayes 1200 baud modems in by the truck load, invoice them and ship them all out in 24 to 48 hours. 
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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My intro to Compuserve came around 1989, when I was representing IBM on some ANSI & ISO standards committees. Few of the major companies would allow outsiders to access their corporate networks (firewalls were primitive back in the day), so we shared draft proposals across companies via independent networks like CIS and AOL.  I got an additional phone line and 1200 baud modem for home so I didn't need to hang around the office so much and soon getting online seemed more a necessity than a convenience. Modem speeds were growing fast (Yeegawds! 9600! Even 19,200 sometimes!) and we could even manage a low-res picture once in awhile!
 

Tom

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Things have certainly changed...

In the early 70's I could barely afford a phone line, and computers/modems weren't for us poor folks with growing families. I'd work with/on/around them, but they didn't communicate outside the companies where I worked. I was on my 2nd (or 3rd) time around at college and, when I needed to communicate or collaborate with folks at my distant (200 miles away) college, I'd drive 20+ miles to a friendly/sympathetic college in a "nearby" town and hop on the then-UK equivalent of ARPANET.

Fast forward to the mid 90's ...

@Home, headquartered in Redwood City, CA were the first company to offer hi speed cable modem service. Their 3 beta cities were Redwood City, Fremont (where I worked), and Livermore (where we lived). I figured that Lawrence Livermore National Lab/employees had something to do with the latter choice. I don't recall what the speeds were, but I was in heaven with those 'high' speeds, instant connections, and no need to use a phone line or navigate networks.
 

Lou Schneider

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Tom said:
I recall Lou driving in by truck sans RV, in time for the group photo.

Right.  I couldn't attend the rally because I'd already booked a month long trip to Australia and I was leaving the next day.  At the last minute I decided to drive up to Plymouth to at least say hello to the group before I left.
 

Tom

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I recall reading the story of your Australia trip Lou. I've wanted to make that trip so many times, but somehow didn't get much further than Singapore on my travels.
 

ArdraF

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Jerry joined the CompuServe RV Forum and was one of the staff monitors, for data communications if I recall.  I still have my yellow CompuServe RV Forum hat and flag!  I guess they'll be antiques pretty soon!

In 1972 I was a literature searcher in the library at Stanford Research Institute (now SRI International).  The head of the library loved gadgets and techie things so she signed my group and me up to attend both Lockheed's Dialog system and the National Library of Medicine system training seminars.  We were the first training class.  Dialog had all of six databases and when I retired it had several hundred.  The NLM system included Medline, Toxline, and Cancerline and non-medical people were not allowed access.  We had to demonstrate enough science background to be able to use it.  This was long before the Freedom of Information Act which required them to allow access to anyone.

All of our searching prior to 1973 had been done using paper indices like Engineering Index, Business Literature Index or Science Citation Index,  We had 300 baud modems and printers for several years before moving up to speedy 1200 baud machines.  Like Chet, we thought we'd died and gone to heaven with those fast new machines!  By the time I retired in 1983 we had more than a dozen database systems with several hundred different databases.

By the way, SRI's computer science people led by Doug Englebart invented what we now know as a computer Mouse and his group also managed the ARPANET Network Information Center so it was a neat place to work back then.

ArdraF
 
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