THE EMPEROR MULTIMEDIA PROJECT ARCHIVES: THE DMCS YEARS
(McBBS & COMTERM Technical Specifications & History)


This archive document has been copied from its original text version without editing. It was written by Derek McDonald, author of McBBS, and remains in its original format.


  
                         MAKING MCHISTORY
                       THE HISTORY OF MCBBS
                By: Derek E. McDonald, Dipl.B.-M.I.S.
                

     (c)Copyright 1999, 2007 Derek E. McDonald & DMCS Technologies.
     

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that of The Copyrights Act Of Canada. Duplication in whole or in part of this
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Duplication, transmission and use are forbidden without strict written
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provided it is complete, unedited and contains this copyright notice.

                         MAKING MCHISTORY
                       THE HISTORY OF MCBBS
                       By: Derek E. McDonald
                       

This document serves as a brief but accurate version by version history of
MCBBS and its major components in chronological order. It is NOT overly
detailed but simply covers the major events and features the program has
seen during its 10 year reign on the Earth. McBBS has had some 18 version,
only the most significant are covered.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------
IN THE BEGINNING:
 The year is 1986. The space shuttle Challenger explodes shortly after lift
 off and a nuclear reactor in the Ukraine goes into meltdown. It is the
 mid-1980's and Ronald Reagan is still in power in the USA along with his
 conservative "right" ideals. The USSR, home of world communism, will exist
 for another 4 years as well as their allies. Only the year before IBM
 launched the 16 bit 80286 computer and 2 years previous Apple offered up
 their first generation of MACINTOSH computers. Computer users commonly used
 1200 baud modems with many still accessing local BBS's with 300 baud
 versions and a wealthier group were using the "high speed" 2400 version.
 The world economy was booming, more than it ever did in history and in an
 upstairs bedroom at a house on the west side of the suburban town of
 Oakville, Ontario, Canada I was coding what would become one of
 the most interesting but largely unknown communications projects ever
 devised.



 The program BUSIDAT, a small program I devised to handle business
 matters such as letter writing and calculations, was abandoned all except
 for its "letter writing" software which would later be used for this BBS
 program. I have an interesting ability to program my computer by simply
 listening to how the programs interact with the hardware components by
 listening to the electrical currents. In older machines this was possible
 because of the small size, modular design and lack of shielding they often
 had. I knew what to listen for because of an enhanced hearing ability,
 something offered to me due to poor eyesight.



 During this time I was still devising software for my Commodore-64 machine
 and I had my first hit with a program that re-aligned faulty floppy disk
 drives.

 Using such programs as Spence-XP, EBBS and PCBOARD as inspiration I
 would devise my own BBS.
 

 At that time the BBS was considered the highest form of programming that a
 hobbyist could do. The idea of programming Operating Systems, the internet
 and other advanced technologies had not yet filtered down to this level.
 Most software at home was written in the BASIC language on computers that
 either ran MAC-OS, DOS or the large number of independent machines and
 proprietary Operating Systems like the C-64.


 By late 1987 I moved to Waverley, NS. and started my own BBS first called
 "The Community BBS" but the name stunk and within six months it was
 changed to "ASCII BBS". For some reason it was a name that stuck.

 On the BBS program I was using at the time I had to redesign the answering
 system to run with my modem because it was designed to work with a competing
 chip brand; I did this by utilizing the program listening trick I told you
 about earlier. This basic answer system and the communication input/output
 procedure also discovered at this time would later be used, unchanged, in
 my BBS for some 8 years. But the program I used at the time also suffered
 from poor design and needed constant baby-sitting, something I couldn't
 stand and would ensure never happened in my program.


 The first telecommunications program was a simple one way (simplex) program
 called GRUESOME-DOG (named after my pet Cocker Spaniel, Gruesome). To my
 software evolution it served the same purpose that Sputnik did for the
 space race. The program didn't do much, just answered the telephone and
 transmitted a hard-coded software message to the remote user's terminal
 screen.


 This program didn't last long, though, as it's use was limited, but enough
 knowledge had been massed that in 1988 I began work on my own BBS program.
 The planning, alone, took more than a year and it wasn't until early 1989
 that prototype communications programs of "MCBBS" were running.

 (MCBBS is a contraction for "The McDonald Bulletin Board System". Because
 my last name is McDonald I thought it was a cute play on my name).

 And so the coding began....



VERSION 1.1:
 After a year and a half of planning and researching and almost eight
 months of development MCBBS was finally completed and presented to the
 public at 2:45PM on a rainy October 30, 1989.

 The first version (MCBBS v1.1) was not like you see it today.
 It was originally developed to operate on a Commodore 64, it had very
 limited message capacity (10 bases), drive compatibility (1 floppy disk),
 reliability and speed.


 The users of my BBS thought something was done that had finally done what
 few locals had done before:

   Firstly, Write a BBS
   Secondly, Not run a program that everyone else was running.

 This first version would sell for $20 CDN, however, being the first
 version not many sold.

 Many detractors thought that the high school kid named Derek McDonald
 couldn't succeed with it - it was only the beginning.
ÿ
 As for v1.0 - there wasn't one. So many prototypes had gone that they
 would be collectively called v1.0 and the program was officially started
 at 1.1.



VERSION 2.0:

 Only about two months passed and v2.0 was complete. This
 MCBBS version had colour graphics, the file transfer capacity was completed
 with a XMODEM protocol written in machine language for the C-64 and the
 disk compatibility was great and the message editing features were
 much improved.


 Several unique features were innovated on this version as well; it was
 with this version the "(R)everse Lines" message editing feature was
 introduced and it exists in all versions from this point on.

 Special programming was needed to enable the program to do the primitive
 short-cut colour transmission that Commodore computers utilized. A new
 item called "Modules" (a.k.a. "DOORS") were required to allow the new user
 application and SysOp editing functions to work, these "modules" were
 loaded automatically by the BBS. Such division of the program was needed
 to allow the program with all it's enhancements to fit into the small
 (64K) RAM that the Commodore had. This ability would be resurrected in
 later IBM versions.


 This became one of the most popular BBS programs for the 64 in the area.


VERSION 2.5:

 By January of 1990 colour graphics was axed from the program, no one
 was using it and it slowed the BBS down. In return for loosing graphics
 more memory was free so new functions like message scanning, New
 message reading, upload/download activity logs were installed, speed went
 up, scroll reading and many more features were added.


 This program sold more copies and it would be several months before an
 update came out, at a time when the average for each update was about a
 month.



VERSION 2.6:

 The final Commodore update was MCBBS v2.6. This version had more
 editing commands for messages, was faster, the file transfer section was
 updated and many old problems fixed.


 Basically it was a bug-fix for v2.5. However, that fix would be short
 lived as one month after completion the conversion to a brand new 80286
 computer, a V-Tech Laser system, had begun leaving the C-64 and all
 research on it behind.

 The Commodore had come to the end of it's physical life. The machine used
 to program MCBBS was aging (a 1983 model) and had been expanded about as
 far as could go. Many users were switching to Apple and IBM machines which
 were incompatible to the now obsolete little C-64.

 Most Commodore users were not impressed with the newer machines Commodore
 (who would later go bankrupt) was offering so the decision to move and take
 the BBS along for the ride was not a surprising or unexpected one.

 The C-64 that started it all still works, however, and is quietly stored
 away in my cellar.

VERSION 3.0:

 This IBM version ran for many months. It was very efficient and only used
 about 32K.


 To this day all versions of MCBBS use this as the minimum requirement and
 cannot upgrade versions earlier than this because of the incompatibilities
 between the Commodore and the IBM.


 However, it was basically a re-starting of the project all over again.

 It required the GWBASIC language interpreter software to run and because
 of the structure of the IBM transfer protocols they had to be relearned
 so file transfers were removed from the program, until I could figure
 them out.

 The code was almost identical to that of the C-64 v2.6. Basically it was
 the old code translated for IBM.


 The SysOp and user log-in functions were no longer external
 Doors due to the increased memory capacity and speed of this new machine.

 The program also operated in 80 column screen mode as opposed to the old 40
 system utilized by the Commodore.

 I  programmed this version on a black and white monitor (I got a colour VGA
 6 months later) and this explains the unkind colour scheme of the program.



VERSION 3.1C:

 It took about 3 months, but finally a follow up version was completed
 called: MCBBS v3.1C.

 As far as technological advances and new features there weren't many except
 one: The program was now compiled into 80x86 (EXE) code, due to the
 abandoning the GWBASIC for a newer version written by a competing company
 (which no longer makes their language either).

 The result was the program ran faster than any previous version and could
 now fit into 70K of RAM (Smaller than any other program of its type).



VERSION 3.3:

 Another 2-3 months went by and again MCBBS came out with some surprises!

 The new version was MCBBS v3.3!


 It could now use PACKET modems, a Canadian invention that connects modems
 and radios together. MCBBS also had a much more extensive configuration and
 the manual was much larger and complete.

 The BBS also, once again, supported file transfers and would load and
 execute ANY transfer protocol known. The protocols were not provided and
 coded for MCBBS though, they had to be obtained by the user separately
 but the program would interface with them. Though the loading system for
 such protocols was excellent it still lacked some features, like the ability
 to load a protocol's sending and receiving codes differently in some cases,
 but it was still a major step forward for the program and my knowledge.

 The program now required almost 94K to operate, but it still maintained its
 traditional small size - a feature it would boast for years to come.

 In addition, several external utilities were supplied with the program to
 help the SysOp operate it better.


 This program was the first to break out of its home community. Several
 BBS's across the country set up transfer bases exclusively dedicated
 to any software coded with the name "Derek E. McDonald".

 The next big step forward was also in v3.3 with the parameter loading
 strings. Now one could load MCBBS and its new SysOp menu door (reliving
 what was done with the Commodore in the past) or bypass the BBS's
 auto-answer routines (run as a "Door" to another program) by typing a series
 of commands after the program's name when loading from DOS. Such features
 were added in an effort to encourage more people to support the program -
 and, indeed, many SysOps thinking of changing to MCBBS ran it from their
 existing system as a Door and got membership approval of it to replace
 their existing system full time.


 3.3 was considered the "MCBBS of MCBBSes" and was over 10X more
 powerful than its ancestor MCBBS v3.1C.



COMTERM:

 Just before MCBBS v3.3, COMTERM v1.0, the companion Terminal program was
 completed. The year was 1991.

 COMTERM used almost 90% of MCBBS's code, including a modified version of
 its modem input/output routines. The terminal was something many of
 supporters said should be done and it should be called "MCTERM" to
 accompany the BBS. The idea for the name was rejected because, in my own
 words, "it would be silly to call it MCTERM and sell it with MCBBS, it would
 make a mockery of the program's name and image". So COMTERM, an amalgamation
 of the words COMMUNICATIONS and TERMINAL, was chosen instead.

 COMTERM was originally designed not as a terminal emulator but as a
 language translator.



 The prototype version kept indexes (dictionaries) of languages - in
 prototype version it was French and English. While one person types from
 one computer the receiver would receive the message already translated
 into his language. Instead of having to wait for the whole message then
 translate after, as was commonly done by many government agencies.
ÿ
 There was two problems with this technology, it was slow (although on
 today's machines that would not have been a problem - but at that time it
 was) and obtaining exclusive use of this technology to market would be
 difficult.



 Inquiries about patenting the technology was pursued but it was turned
 down at the first turn when the government representative said "you can
 protect software by copyright but rarely are patents given. The copyright
 only protects the software duplication but not the idea". It appeared that
 man kind was not prepared for this technology so COMTERM was stripped of
 this ability and became a standard communications emulator.


 Later versions of COMTERM would feature the addition an auto-dial and
 enhanced transmitter (v1.0 & 1.1). V1.1 was the first program other than
 MCBBS I made since the creation of MCBBS to have new features released
 BEFORE MCBBS was fitted with them. Other features like the ability to file
 transfer using external protocols (v2.0), ANSI colour codes (v2.0), a
 supplied transfer protocol (EASCII), high speed modems (v2.5),
 transmit/receive sound via a special ANSI code set which was devised because
 no other terminal featured MCBBS's special ability to do this,
 internet/FIDONET E-mail address storage, auto-dial, auto-installation,
 high speed modems, etc. (v3.0). It ended with the bug-fix version v3.1, in
 1999 where it would later be merged and sold with MCBBS by year 2000.

 COMTERM's evolution is much simpler and with fewer versions than MCBBS. Each
 time a new MCBBS version with significant changes came, COMTERM was also
 updated to parallel that change. And so the two programs would feed off of
 one another's innovation, like brother and sister, until the end.



VERSION 3.3B:

 After a two month wait MCBBS was updated for the 8th time to MCBBS
 v3.3B. Now it was considered to be "the BBS to end all BBS's".

 The SysOp Door from v3.3 was now put back into the program. The file
 transfer commands were updated slightly, errors were corrected.

 The biggest improvements were the message search functions. Now the BBS
 searched for messages written TO or FROM the user, it could then display
 ONLY these messages should the user request instead of forcing the user to
 sift through other messages.


 Also a discovery was made! The wonders of programming beyond 64K which now
 allowed MCBBS to grow without restriction.

 MCBBS v3.3B was larger than any past version but ended off to be more
 efficient.


 MCBBS was starting to come out of the wood work, it was growing up. Now
 new markets for it were opening up in Ontario (central Canada) and the
 Mid-West USA and v3.3 was exported to meet the demand.

 V3.3 and 3.3B saw a revolution in Doors and utilities made for
 MCBBS. Printing utilities for the manuals and an updated configuration
 maker so you could now edit the configuration files instead of having to
 re-install the program when a configuration problem occurred, were added. An
 AUTO-VALIDATION DOOR was added and the UNIVERSAL DOOR LOADING module was
 updated.


 This version also saw an experiment in two way compatibility unfold:
 The Auto-Validation door was the first MCBBS door to be compatible to more
 than one MCBBS version. It was compatible to both MCBBS v3.3 and 3.3B.
 However, this experiment proved be a failure in future versions where
 changes were too much to predict well enough to make programs
 multi-version compliant.


 Meanwhile a local friend of mine, Jeff Pazahanick, was learning
 programming and decided to try building for MCBBS. Essentially, he became
 the first 3rd party developer to MCBBS. He made several
 Doors including off-line mail readers, XT answering systems and bulletin
 updating utilities. This relationship would prove to be short lived; most
 of these programs were lucky to get out of the prototype stage and none saw
 more than one version released.


 However, since version 2, a customer had become a personal
 friend and one of the program's biggest supporters. Steve Hiscock routinely
 conducted software tests and extensively communicated during these years.

 V3.3 & 3.3B also introduced the idea of networking and Steve played an
 important role in the testing of MCNET, the short-lived, message networking
 system used in MCBBS. This network would first appear in MCBBS v4.0. The
 test message transmitted was:

        Mary had a little lamb.
        Steve, did you get that?


MCMAIL/OML:

 One item not yet mentioned was MCMAIL. This program replaced MCBBS's
 proprietary OML mail processor. It allowed standardized QWK packets to be
 uploaded or downloaded from the BBS's message conference to a remote user
 thus saving on-line time and work for both the system and user - something
 that was popular on BBS's throughout most of MCBBS's history. OML was not QWK
 compliant and only saw one version. MCMAIL saw two versions, the first
 appearing on MCBBS v5.0 and the second at MCBBS v5.5 - MCMAIL was QWK
 compliant.


VERIFY/VALIDATE:

 Verify first appeared on MCBBS v4.0 and allowed MCBBS a feature that most
 other BBS's at the time had - The ability to verify a new user right there
 on the telephone by automatically calling him back. Verify went through two
 versions until it was renamed VALIDATE on MCBBS v5.5 to avoid conflicts
 with the DOS instruction "verify".


EASCII:
 EASCII was a name meaning Extended ASCII protocol. MCBBS's first attempts
 at transfer protocol design were failures except for one - the simplest of
 them all ASCII. But to settle for just a standard ASCII protocol?
 No, that was not the MCBBS way and improvements were made...

 ASCII was a protocol that was messy to use and so it was streamlined with a
 user friendly window interface that looked and felt like other data
 protocols with real-time size counters and status bars instead of just raw
 text scrolling across the screen. For the traditionalist a standard design
 was also available by issuing a start-up parameter command.

 EASCII would be installed and shipped with all versions of COMTERM 2.5-3.0
 and MCBBS 4.0-5.1A and early versions of 5.5. It would be replaced by a
 newer program "MAM.EXE".


SETNVRAM:

 SETNVRAM was shipped with all MCBBS's v4.0 and above and there were only
 two versions of it done.

 Basically it set the modem's NVRAM parameters to suit that of MCBBS.
 By v5.5 its usefulness was at an end since MCBBS itself could handle the
 hardware requirements more easily.



VERSION 4.0:

 Just before MCBBS's second anniversary it was updated again.
 On Oct 6, 1991 MCBBS v4.0 was released. It was the most progressive MCBBS
 ever devised, it was called "The next Generation of MCBBS".
 Now there was more colour, speed, capabilities and reliability.

 It was on this version that the infamous DMCS title screen was seen
 again - a picture that had disappeared since MCBBS v2.6!

 This time MCBBS came out with a whole new look. There was a new status
 bar for the SysOp and an extended help window, and these were
 multicoloured. The communication (COM) sub-routines were updated slightly,
 something that had NEVER been done, the COM routines up until now had been
 the same since v1.1! The routines remained similar, just more streamlined.
 But the new communications routines would prove to be unstable and unreliable
 and would soon cause the demise of v4 - in tests it worked fine but proved to
 be unstable and failed after 6 months of release. V5 would see the reverting
 to the old transmitter, it wouldn't be until v5.1 that the transmitter was
 sucessfully upgraded.


 MCBBS v4.0 also supported unlimited message holding and a
 primitive but useful network - the "MCNET". MCBBS's proprietary network.

 The Door loader was also fixed in v4.0 so it now run up to standards and
 worked correctly.


 The program now took over 140K of memory to store, but it ended off being
 smaller and more efficient than past versions like v3.1C and 3.3.

 Unfortunately, just before the completion of MCBBS v4.0, I moved to
 Belleville, Ont. only two months earlier. This meant that my 4 year running
 ASCII BBS went down and MCBBS research was delayed by one month, and cutting
 off all of my contacts, testers and markets. But that was only a temporary
 set back.



VERSION 5.0:

 Release date: Dec. 24, 1992.
 It was now over a year and 3 months since the world saw another MCBBS,
 the longest elapsed time since the original v1.1! (That record of being the
 longest developed version would later be defeated by v5.5).

 I was now a college student and time was scarce for MCBBS. Many other
 projects of mine were stopped or set aside temporarily so that MCBBS could
 get the most of the time.

 There were many things that were supposed to be in v5 but never made it
 due to time. However, what did make it made the wait for MCBBS 5 worth
 it.


 Some of the features included: Bulletin page pausing, User Time limits
 had been achieved, spell checker for messages, improved network, improved
 transfers, unlimited message capacity, unlimited user capacity, faster
 user file access, color graphics had once again been introduced, this time
 more efficiently and using the ANSI codes.


 The program now ran in size to 170K, due mostly to the special coding
 needed for graphics, but compared to most other systems this is small.

 The installation program was in bad need of replacing since it could no
 longer support such a massive program, so it was replaced. No longer did a
 user have to face a gauntlet of technical questions, but instead a simple
 top down cursor key controlled and windowed interface made random and
 spontaneous changes simple and possible.


 An on-line help program allowed the SysOp instant access to the user manual
 at the touch of a key and a new SysOp/Caller interface which set the
 program above it's peers.

 Even the off-line Doors could be configured with the BBS all in one
 place.


HELP:

 The MCBBS HELP program was introduced at this time. The HELP program would
 later be upgraded to run faster and be featured in COMTERM, future MCBBS's
 and other applications. It was a simple text reader program that could read
 standard text files and text files enhanced with a special character to
 allow it to stop, read reverse, do word searches, etc. An improved version
 was proposed but was a minor improvement completed after McBBS's demise.

VERSION 5.1:


 Now consuming over 186K, the massive MCBBS v5.1 was released to the
 public April 11, 1994! A Year and a half had passed since v5 and the sales
 of v5 had dropped off. MCBBS was now located in all four corners of the
 North American continent and badly needed an update.

 An update is what it got.


 The first upgrade was the inadequate OML off-line mail system which worked
 fine but was not compatible in any stretch of the imagination to the new
 modern standards. V5.1 was built to settle these problems. A QWK off-line
 mail reader replaced the OML and solved the mail dispute.

 The network (MCNET) was once again overhauled and a new network was
 introduced. The new network allowed MCBBS to be universally compatible
 with other BBS's and computers - It was called FIDONET, a network widely
 used by BBS's since 1981.


 The first test fire with MCBBS on FIDONET was done in late 1993 with the
 help of a Belleville area SysOp sympathetic to the MCBBS project and one who
 had established a special transfer section strictly for MCBBS and related
 items. He allowed his node address for his "Observatory BBS", using a
 competing BBS program, to be used for packet transmission. He took the
 packets from MCBBS and sent them over the "Worldnet" - a FIDONET based
 network. These tests were meant to test if MCBBS was generating standard
 packets that could be read by any competing program. It was an amazing
 success! Within 24 hours the world was well aware that MCBBS had discovered
 world networking technologies AND how to borrow a node number!! It was the
 shot heard around the world; MCBBS's equivalent to the completion of the
 Manhattan project! There were three such tests done and the last message of
 the last test read "Sorry to everyone on the Worldnet for borrowing this
 node number but I just had to do this test and get it off my chest".

 MCBBS handled the technology very crudely, there was definitely room for
 improvement and there were limitations but like all past versions, the
 features improve with time. By the time v5.5 was released FIDONET replaced
 MCNET as the primary MCBBS network.


 Other enhancements also included an improved ANSI controller better than
 that of v5.0, better screen designs, high speed modem control and moves
 toward modernizing the messages.


 One other major advancement was the fact that in v5.1 the modules and
 Doors were specifically designed so they could be updated without updating
 the entire BBS which greatly helped in the correction of errors and
 reduce the wait time for corrections as well.

 The program was no longer a simple project, it had ballooned into an
 enormous development combining many technologies into one.

 MCBBS v5.1 was dubbed "The BBS of BBS's".



MCBBS 5.1A:

 As wonderful as MCBBS v5.1 was it was also the shortest operating version
 in history clocking in at 11 days. It's life was so short because it had
 one problem - the hard drive control system in the software did not work!
 This spawned the first software recall in MCBBS history (maybe even that of
 the world). All units but one were returned and upgraded to MCBBS v5.1A
 which contained the appropriate patch. The disk control failure occurred
 because of a trick I had been using throughout my programming career - I was
 programming for devices I didn't even have and couldn't test. I did the
 same for CD-ROMs and high speed modems later, fortunately this problem in
 v5.1 was the only failure I ever incurred doing this trick and since this
 time I have managed to test all my experiments and all but this one still
 work to this day.


 MCBBS v5.1 & 5.1A were a collage of technologies and languages. BASIC, C,
 PASCAL as well as small sub-programs and modules which helped the program
 conduct its activities had become common place. The basic MCBBS directory
 was a long list of little EXE encrypted files loaded automatically by MCBBS
 when needed. It also was the first version to be able to handle modems in
 excess of 9600 BPS. In fact the routine which handled this function was not
 native to the computer languages I was using as few programmers
 required that kind of speed (within a few years that would be a different
 matter). As a result I had to calculate the ROM BIOS BAUD devisors by
 hand and hard code these into the program as a table in Machine Code (ML),
 something most programmers would not like to handle even on a good day!

 McBBS v5.1 also allowed multiple modems to be used with it at the same time,
 allowing for multiple connections or a dial-out with a dial-in. Problem is,
 other than the old "VERIFY" Door program or the FIDONET/MCNET there was no
 true multi-user ability in MCBBS, rendering the feature useless for everyday
 use.


 This all increased the size and complexity of the program but it was
 reliable and stable.


MCBBS 5.5:

 It was quite clear by July 1996 that MCBBS was getting more complex and was
 taking longer to complete. Within it's first 3 years MCBBS had some 8
 versions under its belt but the last few took more than twice that.

 V5.5 was the first to be totally commercial, where-as in the past most
 were given away but now there was no way to get one without paying the
 $59.95 CAD price (still a bargain though on the only price increase in its
 history - past versions were $40.00)). It was also the first to be mass
 produced as in the past each one was hand done when an order was received.
 The initial production run was 50 units and each one was serial numbered
 using hexadecimal code and boasted a plain white label with black lettering
 neatly arranged in big bold letters:

                            MCBBS v5.5

                    Written by: Derek McDonald
                    (c)1996 DMCS Technologies.


 MCBBS v5.5 looked and acted very similar to MCBBS v5.1A. It's biggest
 changes were internal. No longer was there a hodgepodge of little programs
 handling simple functions all written in different languages. Nor were the
 high speed modem devisors hard coded in ML anymore. This massive change
 increased the program efficiently and once again made it all coded in one
 language. The modem handling subroutines (aka "Data Pump") was successfully
 upgrade from the "SD-243" that had been used since v3.0, to a routine
 code-named "SD-300". I discovered POWERBASIC, a variation of BASIC written
 by a former employee of Borland. The language did everything I needed and
 then some.


 I had moved back to Oakville and graducated from college this gave me more
 time to dedicate to the project, at least for the time being.

 This was the most tested MCBBS in history, perhaps the most tested program in
 history. More than half of the time it took to develop and release the
 program was spent in testing. There was even a BETA-TEST version released!
 I was determined to ensure that the words "Quality" and "Reliability"
 were on people's lips when using MCBBS and that the embarrassing mistakes
 of the last few versions would not happen again. And they didn't; the program
 was as close to perfect as I could do. During its YEARS of operation only
 three small patches (called revision 1, 2 & 3) were done but no recalls were
 needed nor were these changes identified anywhere on the software label.

 This version had several new features as well. The program was always Y2K
 but now that capability was tested and enhanced so that the computer
 running the program would also be compliant while MCBBS ran in the memory.
 The message bases and transfer bases were not unlimited due to a possible
 future failure of this feature discovered in v5.1A. Instead it held 16
 million entries. A more extensive on-line help system for the SysOp not only
 included the user manuals and an updated HELP.EXE program but also an
 updated QWK off-line mail reader and error messages with useful, meaningful
 explanations as well as a special manual supplied on-line for users/callers
 to use explaining all the commands in detail and support for CD & DVD ROMs.

 Processor synchronization made the program run its most efficient on the
 wide variety of CPU speeds then available ranging from 10MHZ-333MHZ.

 Improved ANSI code set and music code set allowing MCBBS to transmit both
 low-resolution graphics and sounds - something unique to it.


 The Music Code set was unique to MCBBS and essentially used an extension of
 the ANSI Control Code set. It only worked if the receiver has the COMTERM
 terminal software. A low-resolution, but nonetheless audabile version of the
 William Tell Overture and Rolling Stone's "You Can't Always Get What You Want"
 hightlighted the software's capabilities.


 V5.5 was also the first and only version to feature a separate DEMO edition,
 that functioned in every way EXCEPT communication via the modem
 (it would simulate it).

 V5.5 would also inherit the VGA text resolutions of v5.0, as well as the ability
 to flip between split-screen (showing user stats and activity on the same
 monitor allowing 50x80 & 25x80 text modes). This feature was "micky mouse",
 however, and rarely used. Likewise rarely used: MCBBS's so-called
 "multi-task" ability; in the end the program never did develop the true
 multi-task ability, but did allow file sharing if the OS (Operatring System)
 handled the multi-task for it.

 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Rev 1:
 The first revision corrected a problem with the disk drive calculating free
 space.

 Also a programmable baud table was added allowing the operator the use
 either the Rockwell/Supra or USR modem chip set and have the BBS answer
 reliably, even allowing the system to add new speeds as he purchased new
 modems indefinitely.



 Rev 2:
 The door loading program was corrected fixing the problem that forced some
 doors to require the COMCONV data program writeen by MCBBS.

 Also an update to the on-line user command help file.


 Rev 3: (A.K.A. "The Alliance Version")
 Rewritten user manuals with much more descriptive material was introduced
 as well as the addition of a high-resolution graphical title screen
 announcing the 10th anniversary of the program and the inclusion of two
 new protocols XMODEM & YMODEM and a new version of ASCII as a replacement
 to EASCII.


 This change saw MCBBS featured on the Emperor Multimedia music compilation
 disk The Alliance and on this disk, hidden away on the computer CD-ROM
 portion, was a copy of MCBBS v5.5 demo with all of the Rev.. enhancements.
 This enhanced version would immediately go into regular production as well
 by DMCS. This would be the first appearance by a BBS on a music recording
 and would also be MCBBS's first appearance on a CD-ROM.

 Also, revision 3 finally had some proper OS tests done to it and it was
 discovered that a wide ranging group of users were able to use MCBBS. DOS,
 OS/2, all versions of Windows, MAC, UNIX and others. A large number of
 people and machines could now run MCBBS if they wanted to.

 Rev.3 also had a "forced compliancy" that made modems designed to work with
 Windows but exclude DOS apps, work with MCBBS no matter what.


 DEMO:
 Unlike past versions, MCBBS v5.5 had a companion DEMO version. This was
 distributed free to anyone who wanted it and was exactly the same as MCBBS
 v5.5 except it did not come with any utilities except HELP and the INSTALL
 application (which was also updated between v5.1 & 5.5 in that it no longer
 relied on the OS for many house keeping functions (like file copy), and it
 was smart enough to automatically detect the location of the modem,
 processor type, etc.). The program did everything else except
 telecommunicate. The program was rigged so that an internal bitmapped switch
 was set to off to disable the modem. If you wanted access to the modem and
 extra utilities you had to pay for the full version.


 BETA:
 The same switch that disabled the DEMO from communicating could be
 reprogrammed at compile time to designate the program was BETA. The Beta
 was used before launch to test the BBS and several copies are known to
 exist, however, it is unlikely any of them are running because this switch
 causes the program to shut itself down at the designated date (3 months
 after the beta version was created).

 This feature would, however, lead to an interesting pirate control system
 for future releases.

 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Now MCBBS was available on CD-ROM (The Alliance) and standard magnetic disk
 (3.5" high density). However, in Jan. of 1999 it would no longer be
 available on 5.25" low density or 3.5" low density. If you wanted magnetic
 you had to take it on 3.5" high density or (by request) 5.25" high density.
 Future versions would all be on CD-ROM.

 The spell check feature, however, was removed.
 MCBBS still retained another unique feature, however. It's pregrammers
 reference guide the "Technical Manual".


 New marketing techniques had also been implemented. Now one could contact
 DMCS and get a detailed and professionally made sales and technical brochure
 on the product. Discount coupons were available and even retailers had been
 solicited. The US Post Office, Spar Aerospace and other such large
 operations were considering MCBBS for installation into their operations.
 Even a web site had been set up with a section featuring MCBBS. In fact,
 several web pages had links to MCBBS and even free demo FTPs were
 available there. There was even an attempt at getting computer
 manufacturers to pre-install MCBBS onto their machines or sell it with
 modems as a value added product. There was even a 3rd party distributor
 called BBSDirect.com that sold BBS's over the internet (including MCBBS).

 A MCBBS user, JP. Barrette, who owned a small marketing firm in
 Mississauga, Ontario, Canada became a good friend and advisor and threw his
 marketing and business advice into the show as well. I became convinced
 that, if nothing else, he was an intelligent man, when he had figured out
 that in the manuals of MCBBS v5.1A & earlier, hidden amongst all the
 technical specifications and instructions were also my plans for the
 future of the program. He didn't figure it *ALL* out but he was the only
 person to have actually reported his findings in the usuer manual - the
 only person to have figured it out near completely. In essence, he read my
 "Mein Kempf" (sp?). Such references are no longer present in the manuals.


COMCONV:

 This little program was designed to allow old Door programs to interface
 with the new version of MCBBS using a different language and different
 methods of handling the COM Port and BIOS. It was discovered that some Doors
 couldn't handle it. It was later discovered that a small change to one line
 of the MCBBS source could automatically correct this problem thus rendering
 this program obsolete - it was thus no longer shipped with MCBBS.


MAM:

 When EASCII had run its course and I learned more about transfer
 protocols a whole new ASCII protocol was developed. MAM (MCBBS ASCII Modem
 protocol) was developed to replace EASCII. MAM (and MAM1 (v1.1) - the
 update) looked and felt like the old EASCII except it was much faster, less
 clunky and had a new user interface. It also had a small ASCII terminal.
 It's appearance matched those of the rest of the protocols.


MXM:

 MCBBS X-Modem protocol utilized all the features of standard XMODEM and
 adopted them for MCBBS or any other general purpose COM program. It also
 featured X-MODEM CRC and X-MODEM-1K modes. MXM was developed before all
 the other protocols other then MAM and EASCII and it, as well as all others
 there-after (and the McBBS itself), featured a new data pump subroutine to
 handle the modem. The fastest ever for McBBS, and probably the fastest ever
 for any DOS based BBS of the day. Code-named "Sputnik", after the Russian
 satellite, McBBS's transfer protocols were now stripped down data transfer
 machines coded in 8086 Assember able to outstrip their competitors at almost
 twice the speed. There were three versions of MXM in
 total: v1.0, 1.1 & 1.2. It also had a small ASCII terminal.
 It's appearance matched those of the rest of the protocols.

MYM:

 MCBBS Y-MODEM protocol utilized all the features of standard Y-Modem and
 adopted them for MCBBS or any other general purpose COM program. It also
 featured Y-Modem-Checksum/CRC, Y-Modem-128/1K & Y-Modem-G. This program
 proved to be the fastest running I ever wrote up to this point and for some
 time after. There were 3 versions: (1.0, 1.1, 1.2). It also had a built in
 ASCII terminal. It's appearance matched those of the rest of the protocols.


MCCON:

 This was a small program but took a long time to develop. As far back as
 1992 I had envisioned a way for BBS's to connect to one another via
 standard modems. Each BBS would connect to the next and so on allowing the
 user to jump between systems. Between the time of conception and the time
 of creation, however, several years had passed and others had similar ideas.
 Some BBS's did a single jump system and even the internet came out with the
 World Wide Web and Telnet.


 But in 1997 the resources were obtained to build test and market what
 should have been one of the first such jumping systems - MCCON.

 But MCCON had one other innovation that is not seen by the user. It was the
 first "assembly line" BBS Door. I had developed standardized working
 routines and components, i.e.: Disk I/O, Modem I/O, ANSI processor, etc.
 And developed a simple method of connecting these together but at the same
 time allowing the programmer to make subtle changes to suit the special
 needs of each Door - basically build a shell and fill the middle like an
 apple pie - this allowed the program to be actually built, assembled and
 tested (after the research was done) in record time.


VUDC:

 Another first innovation by MCBBS. This one will likely be unmatched for
 some time. The ability to force any competing proprietary program to run
 with your own product is a dream of many a software company but MCBBS was
 there first. The Viking Scriptor was launched in March of 1999 after more
 than a year of development and 3 years of planning and using the "assembly
 line" programming method.




 It allowed the user to program a script run by the VUDC interpreter that
 would rework the output of MCBBS to match that for the input Door "Drop Disk"
 configuration files of any Door.


 It worked well and the script was so powerful that it could execute many
 times faster than even standard scripts. A programmer could control screen
 text and colours as well as disk files and even run comparisons and
 procedural jumps "GOSUB" and "GOTO" 255 iterations deep, something few
 have ever seen scripts do. The language was so powerful that this one Door
 utility alone was called (incorrectly) "MCBBS 6" as it would prove to be
 so powerful it was speculated it would be the engine of a proposed script
 for the next version of MCBBS. Indeed, you could build a primitive BBS
 with it alone. Version 2 would have had better memory management and
 variable handling, but it was never completed.



MCMANS/MCMANS2:

 This was just packages containing updated user manuals which were included
 with all MCBBS v5.5 rev. 3's. The manuals were drastically redone and were
 based on the plamnned book version for the MCBBS v5.5 Deluxe package that
 was never done. The text was so large two were provided, an original
 segmented version for vieing via a word editor/processor and the HELP.EXE
 (".DOC") version for on-line viewing.

MCPIFS:

 Program Information Files for making MCBBS run more efficiently on Windows.
 A COMTERM counterpart was also done.


ICONSM:

 Icons for MCBBS. I had obtained an icon generator and immediately put it to
 use. A COMTERM counterpart was also done.

MCAURUN:

 During The Alliance (rev. 3) upgrade I had figured out what made Windows
 program automatically execute from disk and so designed a script that, when
 installed correctly, would do the same for MCBBS. A COMTERM counterpart was
 also done.


 MCBBS v5.5 DELUXE:
 Same as v5.5 Rev 3 but would also come with all utilities and applications
 (like MCCON & VUDC) that were sold separately and be on CD-ROM with a
 printed version of the user manual in book form. The manual had not been
 available in ANY printed form since v3.3; it was supplied only on diskette,
 MCBBS was one of the first programs to utilize this capability which today
 has become commonplace. JP and I approached several retailers and
 publishers but none would sponsor the idea. All remaining MCBBS copies
 left in storage at the demise of the project were converted to MCBBS 5.5
 Deluxe but no printed manual was ever done.


THE UNFINISHED TECHNOLOGIES:

 MCFAX:
 This was a fax program that would allow MCBBS to accept and send faxes. It
 has a standard 9600 and advanced 14400 mode. At least that was the plan.
 The program prototypes did work but due to lack of development time and the
 fact that the answering system of MCBBS v5.5 would have to be redesigned to
 accommodate full fax integration it was never completed to market.


 MCBBS v5.6:
 This was a proposed version that would enhance MCBBS v5.5 Rev 3 with such
 things as message & file transfer topic grouping (multi-level grouping),
 Telnet ability and improved FIDONET. It would also have multi-lingual prompts
 supplied to the BBS by a user programmable database. Also new software
 coding techniques were learned that would allow the program to be faster
 and smaller. It would also allow fax integration and message database
 compression. By this time MCBBS v5.5 was suffering poor sales and the time
 and expense in development could not be justified.


 MCBBS v5.7:
 One change - recompile to be 16 bit. Idea was scrapped due to the fact that
 even coding the system in 16 bit would still render it obsolete in a 32 bit
 world. (McBBS was still compiled using 8086 code - 16 bit, but 8
 bit compatible).


 MACBBS:
 For many years Apple Macintosh users had been contacting me asking
 about a Macintosh version of the MCBBS and offered the name MACBBS to play
 on the name.


 By the time v5.5 had been released I seriously considered this notion
 and had begun the preliminary investigations. The Mac was not my native
 machine so I sought help from Apple corporation, at this time in its
 history Apple was not known for its service and completely ignored my
 requests so the "MACBBS" never materialized.


 MCBBS-WIN:
 By the time MCBBS v5.5 was launched Microsoft was soon to release new
 versions of their Windows product, (Win95). Although this product, in the
 end, would prove to be less then spectacular it was nonetheless popular.
 Most BBS's that had successfully converted to Windows ended off failing
 in the marketplace due to the fact that text based BBS didn't convert to
 graphics very well. I considered this for my program, however. I
 bought a computer language that could be scripted for the Windows
 environment and quickly discovered that it was needlessly complex and
 verbose and decided that it wasn't worth the effort. The MCAURUN, ICONSM &
 MCPIFS packages were the result of this research that did make it to
 market, however.


 HELP v2.0:
 Only two versions of the on-line manual reader HELP.EXE were done. Both
 were identical except for internal programming changes but shortly after
 v5.5 I discovered a way to allow HELP to do the very same page
 formatting using mathematics instead of a mechanical marker placed in the
 text stream thus allowing ANY document to be read without the need of
 reformatting them.


 DVT:
 Direct Video Transfer. This technology would allow the contents of one
 computer monitor to be directly transferred to that of another digitally by
 extracting the information direct from the video RAM. The theory was that it
 could obtain animation speeds and compete with the emerging video
 telephones. Thus far it has never been completed because computers weren't
 fast enough and an adequate compression for the data was needed and not
 found.


 DST:
 Direct Sound Transfer. This technology allows sound to be digitally
 transferred from one computer to the next. It was intended as an
 advancement to the DMCS-MUSIC codes except this technology was DIRECT, i.e.
 it was not an interpreted set of instructions like the enhanced ANSI codes.
 It was not developed and is unlikely to be because of the advent of
 Real-Audio & Shoutcast for the internet.


 MCBBS v6 (A.K.A. MCBBS-32):
 With the surprising innovations of the VUDC a proposed script based MCBBS
 was suggested. This program would have little to no configuration;
 everything would be run with a set of scripts written by the operator.
 Essentially the MCBBS would simply be a script interpreter with
 communications ability. The script would allow the user to make MCBBS do
 just about anything he wanted even look and act like a competing program.
 It would also be coded in 32 bit and require a math processor, not
 because the technology NEEDED that power but because I wanted to
 update my software to take full advantage of the new features available
 on newer machines. It would allow up to 5 (more in successive versions)
 callers and the SysOp to be on-line simultaneously as well as multinodes.

 It would also be a modular program which would allow individual components
 to be updated as needed; a trend MCBBS was drifting toward anyway. This
 would virtually eliminate the need for a central processing program and
 drastically reduce the development time for the program - when a new
 technology by a competator was innovated it would be weeks, not months for
 MCBBS to impliment its own version and the MCBBS operator need only
 purchase a small upgrade kit and not the whole program at full price again.
 This wouild drastically decrease any advantage someone would have over
 MCBBS.


 MCBBS-OS (MCOS):
 At this time I had discovered the basics behind the logic & coding of
 operating systems and had actually obtained a book that listed the raw code
 for a DOS like system. Modifications were made to the program, and to this
 day all that remains to be done on it is a directory/File Allocation system.
 Since MCBBS almost operated like an operating system to its utilities and
 modules/Doors it was suggested that why doesn't it just become one in its
 own right. This idea also boded well because it would solve the problem of
 MCBBS having to be recoded when operating systems changed, if it had its
 own OS it would run regardless of what the latest fad that IBM or Microsoft
 decided the throw out at people.


 MZM:
 MCBBS ZMODEM protocol. After the successful completion of XMODEM, ASCII and
 YMODEM I started research into a Zmodem protocol. Zmodem is completely
 different and more advanced then the other two. The time just wasn't there
 to complete the job. Since there was a wide variety of 3rd party protocols
 available cheap and free this was/is not a priority.


 OTHERS:
 There were spell checkers and language translators also proposed.
 Also an addition to the configuration file identifying not only the version
 but also revision number. This feature was successfully added, however, to
 COMTERM v3.1 (the last version).

 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Except where noted, none of these were completed and although there is a
 chance they may be it is unlikely now.


 Up until this time, since the beginning, all of the shareware and demo
 software were available on other BBS's, even over the FIDONET, now they
 were also on the Internet. But in late 1999 I stopped distributing my
 software over BBS's you could only get it direct, via a distributor or on
 the Internet. It was one cutback of many that would be made.

 Many blame JP Barrette for the fall of MCBBS; they say his capitalistic
 ways turned a shareware experiment into a commercial enterprise for big
 business, they also blame him for some erred or bad advice. But in reality
 if it wasn't for J.P., MCBBS would have ended on the launch pad of MCBBS v5.5
 as I had declared I was finished with the program and it was "The
 final version". Because of J.P., MAM, MXM, MYM, VUDC, MCCON and MCBBS v5.5
 rev: 1, 2 & 3 were done. Further to that, MCBBS 5.6, 5.7 and MCFAX as well
 as MCBBS 6 were at least considered. In the end he personally may not have
 advanced the sales of MCBBS like he promised but he did encourage me to
 hang on a few more years to give us just a few more ideas.

 No, the problems were not with J.P. alone. There were many factors pushing
 the demise of MCBBS. MCBBS's sales were falling even though it's interest
 and technological advancements were the highest ever it its history.


 * People were loosing interest in BBS's in general and running to see the
   new toy - the internet.
 * MCBBS had to compete with a large number of cheaper/free and less quality
   systems flooding the market.
 * The very name "MCBBS" once an asset was now becoming a liability in a
   world that wanted little to do with "BBS".
 * Being an independent developer and working alone with my own
   resources and money means I was having difficulty keeping up with my
   peers.
 * I was now branching out with a new company EMPEROR MULTIMEDIA into
   music production and with DMCS I was being sought for web page
   construction as well as day jobs which ate into valuable development
   time.
 * Being strapped for money I couldn't effort to continue with a money
   loosing venture.
 * Resistance from SysOps unwilling to try something new.
 * NIH factor caused many to reject it. (NIH=Not Invented Here).
 * MCBBS was originally constructed simply as a "let's see if it can be done"
   academic/hobby project and ended off being the founding engine behind my
   DMCS Technologies company. It was out of its league, basically, and was
   never intended for this kind of exposure.
 * I was growing tired of it once saying "I've have said all I have to
   say on this project and for this industry. Be it on their own head if
   they didn't hear."


 I would go on to develop a complete automated point of sale/invoicing
 and inventory system for my companies, develop a multimedia portion
 displaying band biographies and photos on the Alliance CD release and
 create, DM-Audio a program allowing CD playback on DOS systems AND allowing
 the DOS user to run other applications at the same time WITHOUT Windows.

 Over the next year or so, a software I was developing could be connected to
 MCBBS.

ESPIONAGE:


 As it is so with nations, industries and individuals also occasionally
 resort to spies to get them an edge up on their enemies and competition.
 History has shown that the Russians obtained the atomic bomb from documents
 slipped from US scientists after the second world war, Microsoft
 figured out both DOS and Windows from information obtained from outside
 sources, just to name two cases. Now not all spy work involves James Bond
 or breaking the law much of it is legitimate research which was helped by
 some sympathetic people or circumstances.

 MCBBS was no exception it was spied on and did some of its own. However, it
 is important to note that the evidence shows the bulk of the MCBBS program
 and its accomplishments were done without espionage and, indeed, were
 genuine research.



 Most PC based BBS's of the time used the source code of a program called
 "WWIV" as their base of operations - they cheated. WWIV was a PASCAL encoded
 program whose source was widely available on the internet and when it
 changed so did most BBS's to match it. But MCBBS was one of the
 few unique programs that boasted its own source code 100% original. Not
 only that but it used both proprietary parts AND standardized parts thus
 successfully mixing the two for great compatibility results!

 The only known breach in the technology contained in MCBBS was with v3.0,
 which was coded in GWBASIC and utilized primitive source locks to keep eyes
 out. Unfortunately these locks were well known to avid BASIC programmers
 and were easily broken. The knowledge gained by the individuals, however,
 was useless, since MCBBS by this time was several versions beyond and no
 known technology by these third parties ever evolved.



 However, the opposite is not so true. Although very few technologies were
 gained by spies those that were were used. The most recent attempts at the
 MCOS for example, early prototype transmitters, FIDONET, etc. These items
 were not collected deliberately, however, but were slipped via "the back
 door" by supporters of the program.



EMCOM AND BEYOND:

 EMCOM:
 At time of this writing the future of MCBBS is being debated. The last
 ditch effort of getting MCBBS promoted by having it installed on The
 Alliance compilation disc is underway. This will, for the first time
 coupled with the internet, give people outside of North America the chance
 to sample the work. Should it fail there are two options being considered:
 Stop production of it or go ahead to develop EMCOM and end MCBBS.

 EMCOM is a whole new concept - it would pick up the pieces of MCBBS v6 and
 go all the way with them and then add more. It would be a multi-user,
 multicaller communications environment that would run on several operating
 systems or feature it's own. It would run from a script language, be able
 to interface with the internet and others of its own kind as well as be 32
 bit and modular. COMTERM would no longer be an independent program but be a
 part of the huge EMCOM that would be sold on CD-ROM and feature printed
 manuals (something not seen on MCBBS for some time; MCBBS had electronic
 manuals long before most other software). But it would not be a BBS and
 unlike it's MCBBS ancestor it would not be compatible to all that came
 before it - it's a new beginning.



 My new company EMPEROR MULTIMEDIA will publish it (hence the name
 EMCOM (Emperor Multimedia Communications)).

 It will have little to nothing to do with traditional BBS's which by the
 time of this writing are fading in popularity and by the admission of it's
 own users is "mostly a hobby based endeavor". EMCOM will be a serious
 commercial undertaking.


[[Footnote after publishing: ECOM has been forgotten.]]


MARKETING OF THE MARVEL:

 MCBBS was the underdog in the BBS world, and as such needed an helping hand.
 This helping hand came in the form of interesting ads posted on other BBS's.
 In the early Commodore days the most famous of which was the text message
 saying "McBBS: The little BBS that could", a spoof of the 1930's children's
 book "the little engine the could". In the PC days this would change to
 "McBBS: Big power in a small package", milking the program's compact size but
 robust abilities for all it was worth. Once MCNET was launched it would be,
 "Now, you can do more than just order bergers and frins with it", playing
 on the product's name! The most successful of which was the first two
 campaigns in reverse order.

 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
 On file at the Canadian Intellectual Properties Office is the original
 copyright certificate #458138 declaring MCBBS as being released Oct. 30,
 1989 at Waverley Nova Scotia, Canada as a Literary (Computer Program) work.
 Eventhough such certificates were no longer legally required it was
 registered anyway to protect it legally AND for historical records.

 In 1999 MCBBS earned its place in history by being submitted to the
 National Library Of Canada archives for future historians to examine. It
 has been suggested it should also be sent to the Smithsonian in the USA;
 thus far it has not been.


 [[ Footnote after publishing: In 2007 McBBS, along with the projects that
    succeeded it in the multimedia/music business including Alliance,
    Recorded History, and Polishing of Metal would get enducted into the
    United Nstion's "Great Librarty of Alexandria". McBBS has also been
    featured at Wikipedia.]]


 If there are no more MCBBS's beyond this point then it will, indeed, be a
 sad event. It would represent the ending of an era. The closing of the
 golden age of computers and data-communications. It means that the pundits
 won in the end and corporations, not people, decide what modems shall
 transmit. We will at least have the comfort of knowing that one man worked
 on a dream and surprisingly got a long way with it and in doing so left us
 some really good technology, ideas and memories. It will give historians
 something to talk about when researching the 20th century and discover the
 it's byline. There is also a chance, a small one but one nonetheless, that
 somewhere a computer will still be running some long-time retired version
 of MCBBS.

 "What do I do with it? Order fries and a hamburger?"
 "It's too clunky."
 "It doesn't look like the other programs."
 "Too simple."
 "It will never fly."
 "You can't do that."



 They tried..Oh did people try to knock down the little program with the
 funny name - the name that everyone thought was silly but they couldn't get
 it off their lips. But it had its supporters and it was the kind of program
 that either you liked or you didn't. Those who used MCBBS *CHOSE IT* it was
 never the latest fad or fashion. It was marketed at new and intermediate BBS
 operators and offered a no-frills approach to BBS's that the technology had
 long abandoned - it carved a small niche for itself and that was its market
 appeal. Those who didn't understand this - and there were many - completely
 missed the point of the project, indeed, of what the BBS hobby and
 technology was all about. But I, for the most part, ignored these people
 remembering the quote that a by-stander to one of these "mud-sligging fests"
 said in defence of the program, "Unless you can make something better you
 have no business complaining and MCBBS is a much better than I could ever do."
 Thank you for that memory I got a lot of mileage out of it...

 MCBBS started off as a one off project just to see if it could be done and
 ended off transmitting it's creators ideas for 10 years.



 So, here we are, at the turn of the century and the crossroads of the
 future of MCBBS. Communism in Russia fell, the nuclear meltdown happened
 and the reactor will soon be back on-line, no more space shuttles have
 exploded so far and the music plays on for a few more records (now CD's).
 Time marches on...
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Written by: Derek McDonald.
(c)Copyright 1999 DMCS Technologies & Derek E. McDonald.
Released: June 4, 1999.
Re-release: November 7, 2007.
This document is 'DMCS' formatted.

Close McBBS