The Fone Company is back! What I learned…

It took a bit longer than I expected but The Fone Company v2, circa 1990 is back! Call it: port 23.

After looking through all of my files and folders I realized there have been 3 iterations of the BBS software up until it died:

v1: 1988-1990 – just learning Color 64

v2: 1990-1991 – Color 64 v128

v3: 1991-1992 – Supra 128

While waiting for some parts to come in I tinkered with getting Supra 128 to work to no avail. That is a new project for another time.

I do wish to throw a huge thank you out to Desert-Fox of the Oasis BBS in Chesapeake, VA for his help straightening everything out with the null modem cable. In the end it took getting a VIC-1011A user port adapter, a simple null modem connector and a plain vanilla serial cable to connect all of the pieces.

This has been a very educational experience, and here is what I learned:

  • The ability to quickly browse a directory is taken way for granted.
  • DIFF is wonderful and is taken for granted.
  • So is git and version control
  • There is one direction stuff scrolls: down. So you have a very limited amount of real estate.
  • Debugging is painstaking. Break > Fix > Load > Break > Fix > Load
  • Nothing compares to the real thing. Emulators are nice but they only get you so far.
  • I like a challenge. Working to keep programs less than 101 Commodore blocks (25 kilobytes) is very challenging.

I also learned that I was quite the adept programmer in my high school days and find it not surprise it is what I do now for a living as a freelancer.

I also learned that I was quite a sloppy programmer and did not at all leave any documentation. After all, adding remarks (REMs) in programs add to their size, and during those days size was your enemy.

So, what’s next? Network 64.

While speaking with Desert-Fox we discussed how we could get Network 64 running via Telnet. I do not think it is a bad idea and it is the next endeavor I am looking forward to venturing into.

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