X.25 is an ITU-T standard protocol suite for packet-switched wide area network communication. An X.25 WAN consists of packet-switching exchange nodes as the networking hardware, leased lines, plain old telephone service connections, or ISDN connections as physical links. X.25 was defined by the International Telegraph and Telephone Consultative Committee in a series of drafts and finalized in a publication known as The Orange Book in 1976. X.25 networks were popular during the 1980s with telecommunications companies and in financial transaction systems such as automated teller machines. However, most uses have moved to Internet Protocol systems instead. X.25 is still used and available in niche applications such as Retronet that allows vintage computers to use the internet. X.25 is one of the oldest packet-switched services available. It was developed before the OSI Reference Model; the protocol suite is designed as three conceptual layers, which correspond to the lower three layers of the seven-layer OSI model.
It supports functionality not found in the OSI network layer. X.25 was developed in the ITU-T Study Group VII based upon a number of emerging data network projects. Various updates and additions were worked into the standard recorded in the ITU series of technical books describing the telecommunication systems; these books were published every fourth year with different-colored covers. The X.25 specification is only part of the larger set of X-Series specifications on public data networks. The public data network was the common name given to the international collection of X.25 providers. Their combined network had large global coverage into the 1990s. Publicly accessible X.25 networks were set up in most countries during the 1970s and 1980s, to lower the cost of accessing various online services. Beginning in the early 1990s, in North America, use of X.25 networks started to be replaced by Frame Relay services offered by national telephone companies. Most systems that required X.25 now use TCP/IP, however it is possible to transport X.25 over TCP/IP when necessary.
X.25 networks are still in use throughout the world. A variant called AX.25 is used by amateur packet radio. Racal Paknet, now known as Widanet, is still in operation in many regions of the world, running on an X.25 protocol base. In some countries, like the Netherlands or Germany, it is possible to use a stripped version of X.25 via the D-channel of an ISDN-2 connection for low-volume applications such as point-of-sale terminals. Additionally X.25 is still under heavy use in the aeronautical business though a transition to modern protocols like X.400 is without option as X.25 hardware becomes rare and costly. As as March 2006, the United States National Airspace Data Interchange Network has used X.25 to interconnect remote airfields with Air Route Traffic Control Centers. France was one of the last remaining countries where commercial end-user service based on X.25 operated. Known as Minitel it was based on Videotex, itself running on X.25. In 2002, Minitel had about 9 million users, in 2011, it still accounted for about 2 million users in France when France Télécom announced it would shut down the service by 30 June 2012.
As planned, service was terminated 30 June 2012. There were 800,000 terminals still in operation at the time; the general concept of the X. 25 was to create a global packet-switched network. Much of the X.25 system is a description of the rigorous error correction needed to achieve this, as well as more efficient sharing of capital-intensive physical resources. The X. 25 specification defines only the interface between an X. 25 network. X.75, a protocol similar to X.25, defines the interface between two X.25 networks to allow connections to traverse two or more networks. X.25 does not specify how the network operates internally – many X.25 network implementations used something similar to X.25 or X.75 internally, but others used quite different protocols internally. The ISO protocol equivalent to X.25, ISO 8208, is compatible with X.25, but additionally includes provision for two X.25 DTEs to be directly connected to each other with no network in between. By separating the Packet-Layer Protocol, ISO 8208 permits operation over additional networks such as ISO 8802 LLC2 and the OSI data link layer.
X.25 defined three basic protocol levels or architectural layers. In the original specifications these were referred to as levels and had a level number, whereas all ITU-T X.25 recommendations and ISO 8208 standards released after 1984 refer to them as layers. The layer numbers were dropped to avoid confusion with the OSI Model layers. Physical layer: This layer specifies the physical, electrical and procedural characteristics to control the physical link between a DTE and a DCE. Common implementations use X. 21, EIA-449 or other serial protocols. Data link layer: The data link layer consists of the link access procedure for data interchange on the link between a DTE and a DCE. In its implementation, the Link Access Procedure, Balanced is a data link protocol that manages a communication session and controls the packet framing, it is a bit-oriented protocol that provides orderly delivery. Packet layer: This layer defined a packet-layer protocol for exchanging control and user data packets to form a packet-switching network based on virtual calls, acco
CompuServe was the first major commercial online service provider in the United States. It remained a major influence through the mid-1990s. At its peak in the early 1990s, CIS was known for its online chat system, message forums covering a variety of topics, extensive software libraries for most computer platforms, a series of popular online games, notably MegaWars III and Island of Kesmai, it was known for its introduction of the GIF format for pictures, as a GIF exchange mechanism. AOL's entry into the PC market in 1991 marked the beginning of the end for CIS. AOL charged $2.95 an hour versus $5.00 an hour for Compuserve, until 1996, when AOL switched to a monthly subscription instead of hourly rates, so for active users AOL was much less expensive. AOL used a GUI-based client, while such systems existed for CIS, it only supported a subset of the system's functionality and was purchased separately. In response, CIS lowered its hourly rates on several occasions; the number of users grew, peaking at 3 million in April 1995.
By this point AOL had over 20 million users in the United States alone, but this was off their peak of 27 million, due to customers leaving for lower-cost offerings. CIS introduced monthly pricing in late 1997, but by that time the number of users leaving all online services for dialup Internet service providers was reaching a climax. In 1997, CIS's parent company, H&R Block, announced its desire to sell the company. A complex deal was worked out with WorldCom acting as a broker, resulting in CIS being sold to AOL. While continuing the original service, renamed CompuServe Classic, AOL used the CompuServe brand for several low-cost offerings. CompuServe Classic shut down in 2009, CompuServe 2000 followed suit in 2011. CompuServe Dialer continues to operate as a Web portal. In 2015 Verizon acquired AOL, including its CompuServe division. In 2017 after Verizon completed its acquisition of Yahoo, CompuServe became part of Verizon's newly formed Oath Inc. subsidiary. CompuServe was founded in 1969 as Compu-Serv Network, Inc. in Columbus, Ohio, as a subsidiary of Golden United Life Insurance.
While Jeffrey Wilkins, the son-in-law of Golden United founder Harry Gard, Sr. is credited as the first president of CompuServe, the initial president was Dr. John R. Goltz. Goltz and Wilkins were both graduate students in electrical engineering at the University of Arizona. Early employees recruited from the University of Arizona included Sandy Trevor, Doug Chinnock, Larry Shelley. Wilkins replaced Goltz as CEO within the first year of operation; the company objectives were twofold: to provide in-house computer processing support to Golden United Life Insurance. It was spun off as a separate company in 1975, trading on the NASDAQ under the symbol CMPU. Concurrently, the company recruited executives who shifted the focus from offering time-sharing services, in which customers wrote their own applications, to one, focused on packaged applications; the first of these new executives was Robert Tillson, who left Service Bureau Corporation to become CompuServe's Executive Vice President of Marketing.
He recruited Charles McCall, Maury Cox, Robert Massey. Barry Berkov was recruited from Xerox to head product marketing. In 1977, CompuServe's board changed the company's name to CompuServe Incorporated. In 1980, H&R Block acquired CompuServe; the original 1969 dial-up technology was simple—the local phone number in Cleveland, for example, was a line connected to a time-division multiplexer that connected via a leased line to a matched multiplexer in Columbus, connected to a time-sharing host system. In the earliest buildups, each line terminated on a single machine at CompuServe's host, so different numbers had to be used to reach different computers; the central multiplexers in Columbus were replaced with PDP-8 minicomputers, the PDP-8s were connected to a DEC PDP-15 minicomputer that acted as switches so a phone number was not tied to a particular destination host. CompuServe developed its own packet switching network, implemented on DEC PDP-11 minicomputers acting as network nodes that were installed throughout the US and interconnected.
Over time, the CompuServe network evolved into a complicated multi-tiered network incorporating Asynchronous Transfer Mode, Frame relay, Internet Protocol and X.25 technologies. In 1981, The Times explained CompuServe's technology in one sentence: CompuServe is offering a video-text-like service permitting personal computer users to retrieve software from the mainframe computer over telephone lines. CompuServe was a world leader in other commercial services. One of these was the Financial Services group, which collected and consolidated financial data from myriad data feeds, including CompuStat, Disclosure, I/B/E/S as well as the price/quote feeds from the major exchanges. CompuServe developed extensive screening and reporting tools that were used by many investment banks on Wall Street. In 1978, Radio Shack marketed the residential inform
Byte was an American microcomputer magazine, influential in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s because of its wide-ranging editorial coverage. Whereas many magazines were dedicated to specific systems or the home or business users' perspective, Byte covered developments in the entire field of "small computers and software," and sometimes other computing fields such as supercomputers and high-reliability computing. Coverage was in-depth with much technical detail, rather than user-oriented. Byte started in 1975, shortly after the first personal computers appeared as kits advertised in the back of electronics magazines. Byte was published monthly, with an initial yearly subscription price of $10. Print publication ceased in 1998 and online publication in 2013. In 1975 Wayne Green was the editor and publisher of 73 and his ex-wife, Virginia Londner Green was the Business Manager of 73 Inc. In the August 1975 issue of 73 magazine Wayne's editorial column started with this item: The response to computer-type articles in 73 has been so enthusiastic that we here in Peterborough got carried away.
On May 25th we made a deal with the publisher of a small computer hobby magazine to take over as editor of a new publication which would start in August... Byte. Carl Helmers published a series of six articles in 1974 that detailed the design and construction of his "Experimenter's Computer System", a personal computer based on the Intel 8008 microprocessor. In January 1975 this became the monthly ECS magazine with 400 subscribers; the last issue was published on May 12, 1975 and in June the subscribers were mailed a notice announcing Byte magazine. Carl wrote to another hobbyist newsletter, Micro-8 Computer User Group Newsletter, described his new job as editor of Byte magazine. I got a note in the mail about two weeks ago from Wayne Green, publisher of'73 Magazine' saying hello and why don't you come up and talk a bit; the net result of a follow up is the decision to create BYTE magazine using the facilities of Green Publishing Inc. I will end up with the editorial focus for the magazine. Virginia Londner Green had returned to 73 in the December 1974 issue and incorporated Green Publishing in March 1975.
The first five issues of Byte were published by Green Publishing and the name was changed to Byte Publications starting with the February 1976 issue. Carl Helmers was a co-owner of Byte Publications; the first four issues were produced in the offices of 73 and Wayne Green was listed as the publisher. One day in November 1975 Wayne came to work and found that the Byte magazine staff had moved out and taken the January issue with them; the February 1976 issue of Byte has a short story about the move. "After a start which reads like a romantic light opera with an episode or two reminiscent of the Keystone Cops, Byte magazine has moved into separate offices of its own." Wayne Green was not happy about losing Byte magazine so he was going to start a new one called Kilobyte. Byte trademarked KILOBYTE as a cartoon series in Byte magazine; the new magazine was called Kilobaud. There was competition and animosity between Byte Publications and 73 Inc. but both remained in the small town of Peterborough, New Hampshire.
Articles in the first issue included Which Microprocessor For You? by Hal Chamberlin, Write Your Own Assembler by Dan Fylstra and Serial Interface by Don Lancaster. Advertisements from Godbout, MITS, Processor Technology, SCELBI, Sphere appear, among others. Early articles in Byte were do-it-yourself electronic or software projects to improve small computers. A continuing feature was Ciarcia's Circuit Cellar, a column in which electronic engineer Steve Ciarcia described small projects to modify or attach to a computer. Significant articles in this period included the "Kansas City" standard for data storage on audio tape, insertion of disk drives into S-100 computers, publication of source code for various computer languages, coverage of the first microcomputer operating system, CP/M. Byte ran Microsoft's first advertisement, as "Micro-Soft", to sell a BASIC interpreter for 8080-based computers. In spring of 1979, owner/publisher Virginia Williamson sold Byte to McGraw-Hill, she became a vice president of McGraw-Hill Publications Company.
Shortly after the IBM PC was introduced, in 1981, the magazine changed editorial policies. It de-emphasized the do-it-yourself electronics and software articles, began running product reviews, it continued its wide-ranging coverage of hardware and software, but now it reported "what it does" and "how it works", not "how to do it". The editorial focus remained on home and personal computers). By the early 1980s Byte had become an "elite" magazine, seen as a peer of Rolling Stone and Playboy, others such as David Bunnell of PC Magazine aspired to emulate its reputation and success, it was the only computer publication on the 1981 Folio 400 list of largest magazines. Byte's 1982 average number of pages was 543, the number of paid advertising pages grew by more than 1,000 while most magazines' amount of advertising did not change, its circulation of 420,000 was the third highest of all computer magazines. Byte earned $9 million from revenue of $36.6 million in 1983, twice the average profit margin for the magazine industry.
It remained successful while many other magazines failed in 1984 during economic weakness in the computer industry. The October 1984 issue had about 300 pages of ads sold at an average of $6,000 per page. From 1975 to 1986 Byte covers featured the artwork of Robert Tinney. Thes
AOL is an American web portal and online service provider based in New York City. It is a brand marketed by Verizon Media; the service traces its history to an online service known as PlayNET, which hosted multi-player games for the Commodore 64. PlayNET licensed their software to a new service, Quantum Link, who went online in November 1985. PlayNET shut down shortly thereafter; the initial Q-Link service was similar to the original PlayNET, but over time Q-Link added many new services. When a new IBM PC client was released, the company focussed on the non-gaming services and launched it under the name America Online; the original Q-Link was shut down on November 1, 1995, while AOL grew to become the largest online service, displacing established players like CompuServe and The Source. By 1995, AOL had about 20 million active users. AOL was one of the early pioneers of the Internet in the mid-1990s, the most recognized brand on the web in the United States, it provided a dial-up service to millions of Americans, as well as providing a web portal, e-mail, instant messaging and a web browser following its purchase of Netscape.
In 2001, at the height of its popularity, it purchased the media conglomerate Time Warner in the largest merger in U. S. history. AOL declined thereafter due to the decline of dial-up and rise of broadband. AOL was spun off from Time Warner in 2009, with Tim Armstrong appointed the new CEO. Under his leadership, the company invested in media brands and advertising technologies. On June 23, 2015, AOL was acquired by Verizon Communications for $4.4 billion. In the following months, AOL made a deal with Microsoft. AOL began in 1983, as a short-lived venture called Control Video Corporation, founded by William von Meister, its sole product was an online service called GameLine for the Atari 2600 video game console, after von Meister's idea of buying music on demand was rejected by Warner Bros. Subscribers paid a one-time US$15 setup fee. GameLine permitted subscribers to temporarily download games and keep track of high scores, at a cost of US$1 per game; the telephone disconnected and the downloaded game would remain in GameLine's Master Module and playable until the user turned off the console or downloaded another game.
In January 1983, Steve Case was hired as a marketing consultant for Control Video on the recommendation of his brother, investment banker Dan Case. In May 1983, Jim Kimsey became a manufacturing consultant for Control Video, near bankruptcy. Kimsey was brought in by his West Point friend Frank Caufield, an investor in the company. In early 1985, von Meister left the company. On May 24, 1985, Quantum Computer Services, an online services company, was founded by Jim Kimsey from the remnants of Control Video, with Kimsey as Chief Executive Officer, Marc Seriff as Chief Technology Officer; the technical team consisted of Marc Seriff, Tom Ralston, Ray Heinrich, Steve Trus, Ken Huntsman, Janet Hunter, Dave Brown, Craig Dykstra, Doug Coward, Mike Ficco. In 1987, Case was promoted again to executive vice-president. Kimsey soon began to groom Case to take over the role of CEO, which he did when Kimsey retired in 1991. Kimsey changed the company's strategy, in 1985, launched a dedicated online service for Commodore 64 and 128 computers called Quantum Link.
The Quantum Link software was based on software licensed from Inc.. The service was different from other online services as it used the computing power of the Commodore 64 and the Apple II rather than just a "dumb" terminal, it provided a fixed price service tailored for home users. In May 1988, Quantum and Apple launched AppleLink Personal Edition for Apple II and Macintosh computers. In August 1988, Quantum launched PC Link, a service for IBM-compatible PCs developed in a joint venture with the Tandy Corporation. After the company parted ways with Apple in October 1989, Quantum changed the service's name to America Online. Case promoted and sold AOL as the online service for people unfamiliar with computers, in contrast to CompuServe, well established in the technical community. From the beginning, AOL included online games in its mix of products. In the early years of AOL the company introduced many innovative online interactive titles and games, including: Graphical chat environments Habitat and Club Caribe from LucasArts.
The first online interactive fiction series QuantumLink Serial by Tracy Reed. Quantum Space, the first automated play-by-mail game. In February 1991, AOL for DOS was launched using a GeoWorks interface followed a year by AOL for Windows; this coincided with growth in pay-based online services, like Prodigy, CompuServe, GEnie. 1991 saw the introduction of an original Dungeons & Dragons title called Neverwinter Nights from Stormfront Studios. During the early 1990s, the average subscription lasted for about 25 months and accounted for $350 in total revenue. Advertisements invited modem owners to "Try America Online FREE", promising free software and trial membership. AOL discontinued Q-Link and PC Link in late 1994. In September 1993, AOL added Usenet access to its features; this is referred to as the "Eternal September", as Usenet's cycle of new users was dominated by smaller numbers of college and university freshmen gaining access in September
Delphi (online service)
Delphi Forums is a U. S. online service provider and since the mid 1990s has been a community internet forum site. It started as a nationwide dialup service in 1983. Delphi Forums remains active as of 2019; the company that became Delphi was founded by Wes Kussmaul as Kussmaul Encyclopedia in 1981 and featured an encyclopedia, e-mail, a primitive chat. Newswires, bulletin boards and better chat were added in early 1982. Kussmaul recalled: Delphi was launched in October 1981, at Jerry Milden's Northeast Computer Show, as the Kussmaul Encyclopedia--the world's first commercially available computerized encyclopedia; the Kussmaul Encyclopedia was a complete home computer system with a 300-bps modem that dialed up to a VAX computer hosting our online encyclopedia database. We sold the system for terms as Britannica. People wandered around in it and were impressed with the ease with which they could find information. We had a wonderful cross-referencing system that turned every occurrence of a word, the name of an entry in the encyclopedia into a hypertext link—in 1981...
In November 1982, Wes hired Glenn McIntyre as a software engineer doing internal systems. Glenn brought in colleagues Kip Dan Bruns. Kip wrote the software that became Delphi Forums. Dan upon finishing his MBA at Harvard, become President and subsequently CEO when Wes moved on to form Global Villages. On March 15, 1983, the Delphi name was first used by General Videotex Corporation. Forums were text-based, accessed via Telenet, Tymnet and Datapac. In 1984, it had 4 million members. Delphi was extended to Argentina in 1985, through a partnership with the Argentine IT company Siscotel S. A. Delphi partnered with ASCII Corp. of Japan to open online services in 1991. Delphi provided national consumer access to the Internet in 1992. Features included E-mail, FTP, Usenet, text-based Web access, MUDs, Gopher. "To a lot of people at the time, we seemed to be in an enviable position" says Dan Bruns, Delphi's CEO. "But we didn't have a lot of financing to fuel our growth..."In 1993, Delphi was sold to Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.
News Corporation recognized that there would be growth in consumer use of the internet and attempted to use Delphi as its vehicle. It had 150 employees. Murdoch hired away IBM's director of high-performance computing and communications, Alan Baratz, in 1994 to run Delphi. Bruns and General Manager Rusty Williams stayed on. Delphi peaked with about 600 employees. By 1995, Delphi had lost many of its subscribers, Bruns left Delphi. In 1996, NewsCorp decided to exit the online business, was laying off half of Delphi's employees and wanted to sell or close Delphi. Dan Bruns and some of Delphi's original investors bought Delphi from NewsCorp for an undisclosed amount. With only 50,000 paying subscribers left, Delphi was back to its pre-NewsCorp size. "We were on the same growth slope, but this time we were going down instead of up," he says. "It felt a little poetic."In 1996, Delphi launched a free, ad-supported managed-content website with associated message boards and chat rooms, under the management of a team led by Dan Bruns and which included Bill Louden, who had headed GEnie during its heyday.
For a period of time, both text-based and web-based community services were available. After a year as a managed content site, Delphi reinvented itself as a community-driven service that allowed anyone to create an online community. Prospero Technologies was formed in January 2000 as the merger of Delphi Wellengaged. Webpages for forums were discontinued. In 2001, Rob Brazell purchased Delphi Forums, merged it with eHow and Idea Exchange, formed Blue Frogg Enterprises; the Delphi.com domain was sold to the auto parts manufacturer. Prospero was sold to Inforonics. In 2002, Prospero reacquired Delphi Forums, joining it with Talk City to form Delphi Forums LLC. In 2008, online community developer Mzinga acquired Littleton-based Prospero Technologies LLC, owned by Bruce Buckland, chairman and CEO of Mallory Ventures. In March 2009, a Forrester Research analyst reported on Twitter that Mzinga was having financial difficulties after it had completed a second round of layoffs. On September 1, 2011, Mzinga sold Delphiforums back to early owner Dan Bruns.
In January 2012, Delphi Forums resigned from the Better Business Bureau in protest of their support for the Stop Online Piracy Act. In February 2013, Delphi Forums celebrated its 30th anniversary. Delphi owner Dan Bruns said, "It's true that the Delphi that launched in 1983 was different from today's internet," Bruns said, "but one thing remains the same: places like Delphi Forums provide a friendly, comfortable setting for people to share common interests and passions and to build lasting friendships. If we keep that simple truth in mind, we have a terrific legacy to build on going forward."During 2014, Delphi Forums began a beta test of a new forum software, called Zeta Delphi. The current long-time format, now called Classic Delphi remains, hosts may use either software. Delphi Forums History Project Boston Globe: Zitner, Aaron May 04, 1995 Delphi will move to N. Y. Lowell NewsCorp moves Delphi staff to Crosspoint Building in Lowell Prospero Technologies Mzinga
Usenet is a worldwide distributed discussion system available on computers. It was developed from the general-purpose Unix-to-Unix Copy dial-up network architecture. Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis conceived the idea in 1979, it was established in 1980. Users post messages to one or more categories, known as newsgroups. Usenet resembles a bulletin board system in many respects and is the precursor to Internet forums that are used today. Discussions are threaded, as with web forums and BBSs, though posts are stored on the server sequentially; the name comes from the term "users network". A major difference between a BBS or web forum and Usenet is the absence of a central server and dedicated administrator. Usenet is distributed among a large changing conglomeration of servers that store and forward messages to one another in so-called news feeds. Individual users may read messages from and post messages to a local server operated by a commercial usenet provider, their Internet service provider, employer, or their own server.
Usenet is culturally significant in the networked world, having given rise to, or popularized, many recognized concepts and terms such as "FAQ", "flame", "spam". Usenet was conceived in 1979 and publicly established in 1980, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University, over a decade before the World Wide Web went online and the general public received access to the Internet, making it one of the oldest computer network communications systems still in widespread use, it was built on the "poor man's ARPANET", employing UUCP as its transport protocol to offer mail and file transfers, as well as announcements through the newly developed news software such as A News. The name Usenet emphasized its creators' hope that the USENIX organization would take an active role in its operation; the articles that users post to Usenet are organized into topical categories known as newsgroups, which are themselves logically organized into hierarchies of subjects. For instance, sci.math and sci.physics are within the sci.* hierarchy, for science.
Or, talk.origins and talk.atheism are in the talk.* hierarchy. When a user subscribes to a newsgroup, the news client software keeps track of which articles that user has read. In most newsgroups, the majority of the articles are responses to some other article; the set of articles that can be traced to one single non-reply article is called a thread. Most modern newsreaders display the articles arranged into subthreads; when a user posts an article, it is only available on that user's news server. Each news server talks to one or more other exchanges articles with them. In this fashion, the article is copied from server to server and should reach every server in the network; the peer-to-peer networks operate on a similar principle, but for Usenet it is the sender, rather than the receiver, who initiates transfers. Usenet was designed under conditions when networks were not always available. Many sites on the original Usenet network would connect only once or twice a day to batch-transfer messages in and out.
This is because the POTS network was used for transfers, phone charges were lower at night. The format and transmission of Usenet articles is similar to that of Internet e-mail messages; the difference between the two is that Usenet articles can be read by any user whose news server carries the group to which the message was posted, as opposed to email messages, which have one or more specific recipients. Today, Usenet has diminished in importance with respect to Internet forums, mailing lists and social media. Usenet differs from such media in several ways: Usenet requires no personal registration with the group concerned; the groups in alt.binaries are still used for data transfer. Many Internet service providers, many other Internet sites, operate news servers for their users to access. ISPs that do not operate their own servers directly will offer their users an account from another provider that operates newsfeeds. In early news implementations, the server and newsreader were a single program suite, running on the same system.
Today, one uses separate newsreader client software, a program that resembles an email client but accesses Usenet servers instead. Some clients such as Mozilla Thunderbird and Outlook Express provide both abilities. Not all ISPs run news servers. A news server is one of the most difficult Internet services to administer because of the large amount of data involved, small customer base, a disproportionately high volume of customer support incidents; some ISPs outsource news operation to specialist sites, which will appear to a user as though the ISP ran the server itself. Many sites carry a restricted newsfeed, with a limited number of newsgroups. Omitted from such a newsfeed are foreign-language newsgroups and the alt.binaries hierarchy which carries software, music and images, accounts for over 99 percent of article data. There are Usenet providers that specialize in offering service to users whose ISPs do not carry news, or that carry a restricted feed. See news server operation for an overview of how news systems are implemented.
Newsgroups are accessed with newsreaders: applications that allow users to read and reply to postings in newsgro
Bulletin board system
A bulletin board system or BBS is a computer server running software that allows users to connect to the system using a terminal program. Once logged in, the user can perform functions such as uploading and downloading software and data, reading news and bulletins, exchanging messages with other users through public message boards and sometimes via direct chatting. In the middle to late 1980s, message aggregators and bulk store-and-forward'ers sprung up to provide services such as FidoNet, similar to email. Many BBSes offer online games in which users can compete with each other. BBSes with multiple phone lines provide chat rooms, allowing users to interact with each other. Bulletin board systems were in many ways a precursor to the modern form of the World Wide Web, social networks, other aspects of the Internet. Low-cost, high-performance modems drove the use of online services and BBSes through the early 1990s. Infoworld estimated that there were 60,000 BBSes serving 17 million users in the United States alone in 1994, a collective market much larger than major online services such as CompuServe.
The introduction of inexpensive dial-up internet service and the Mosaic web browser offered ease of use and global access that BBS and online systems did not provide, led to a rapid crash in the market starting in 1994. Over the next year, many of the leading BBS software providers went bankrupt and tens of thousands of BBSes disappeared. Today, BBSing survives as a nostalgic hobby in most parts of the world, but it is still an popular form of communication for Taiwanese youth. Most surviving BBSes are accessible over Telnet and offer free email accounts, FTP services, IRC and all the protocols used on the Internet; some offer access through packet switched networks or packet radio connections. A precursor to the public bulletin board system was Community Memory, started in August 1973 in Berkeley, California. Useful microcomputers did not exist at that time, modems were both expensive and slow. Community Memory therefore ran on a mainframe computer and was accessed through terminals located in several San Francisco Bay Area neighborhoods.
The poor quality of the original modem connecting the terminals to the mainframe prompted a user to invent the Pennywhistle modem, whose design was influential in the mid-1970s. Community Memory allowed the user to type messages into a computer terminal after inserting a coin, offered a "pure" bulletin board experience with public messages only, it did offer the ability to tag messages with keywords. The system acted in the form of a buy and sell system with the tags taking the place of the more traditional classifications, but users found ways to express themselves outside these bounds, the system spontaneously created stories and other forms of communications. The system was expensive to operate, when their host machine became unavailable and a new one could not be found, the system closed in January 1975. Similar functionality was available to most mainframe users, which might be considered a sort of ultra-local BBS when used in this fashion. Commercial systems, expressly intended to offer these features to the public, became available in the late 1970s and formed the online service market that lasted into the 1990s.
One influential example was PLATO, which had thousands of users by the late 1970s, many of whom used the messaging and chat room features of the system in the same way that would become common on BBSes. Early modems were very simple devices using acoustic couplers to handle telephone operation; the user would first pick up the phone, dial a number press the handset into rubber cups on the top of the modem. Disconnecting at the end of a call required the user to pick up the handset and return it to the phone. Examples of direct-connecting modems did exist, these allowed the host computer to send it commands to answer or hang up calls, but these were expensive devices used by large banks and similar companies. With the introduction of microcomputers with expansion slots, like the S-100 bus machines and Apple II, it became possible for the modem to communicate instructions and data on separate lines. A number of modems of this sort were available by the late 1970s; this made the BBS possible for the first time, as it allowed software on the computer to pick up an incoming call, communicate with the user, hang up the call when the user logged off.
The first public dial-up BBS was developed by Randy Suess. According to an early interview, when Chicago was snowed under during the Great Blizzard of 1978, the two began preliminary work on the Computerized Bulletin Board System, or CBBS; the system came into existence through a fortuitous combination of Christensen having a spare S-100 bus computer and an early Hayes internal modem, Suess's insistence that the machine be placed at his house in Chicago where it would be a local phone call to millions of users. Christensen patterned the system after the cork board his local computer club used to post information like "need a ride". CBBS went online on 16 February 1978. CBBS, which kept a count of callers connected 253,301 callers before it was retired. A key innovation required for the popularization of the BBS was the Smartmodem manufactured by Hayes Microcomputer Products. Internal modems like the ones used by CBBS and similar early systems were usable, but expensive due to the manufacturer having to make a different modem for every computer platform they wanted to target.
They were limited to those