Compuserve wayback machine
caveguy at sbcglobal.net
Thu Jan 11 12:08:30 CST 2007
Somewhere in storage I have the Byte Magazine that anounced that compuserve was concidering opening
up their lines at night and weekends to hobiests at discounted rate that worked out to about 10 cents a
minute, provided there was sufficent interest.
I spotted it the day it arrived in the mail. It roped me in on my way to Chaos Manner, I had a 110 baud
acustic coupler and a credit card, I was ready to rock. I called and got an account number along with an
explinations that if it didn't happen for any reason, I would not be charged. I was contacted several weeks
later when they hit the numbers they were looking for and decided to go live. I went online for the first time
on that first night. Shortly there after I got a Hayes 300 S-100 card and then met up with Ward C and
started running it at 450 baud for BBSing. I hated to have to slow it back down to 300 to access C$.
I have lived here in Hilliard Ohio for many years and drive by a number of former compuserve buildings in
the area, often when out shopping. Britton road is a great shortcut with very little trafic most of the time,
plus it has two rotaries, or as some would say round-a-bouts, that are fun to drive fast when no one is
around or looking :) I rarely see many cars in the lot over at C$ - Worldcom or now it has an MCI sign.
Like the weather it will change again .... who knows mabe SBC will buy it up It has a lot of dark fiber
passing in and out of that center, I watched as they built that place, In todays terms it has power and AC
to host a big system sitting on multiple very fat pipes.
There was a time before the internet when everyone who was anyone in the computer business had a C$
account, as that was the only way to get patches, fixes, and updates in a timely mannor.
On this side of town a lot of people use to work at Compuserve, a few worked at Worldcom, and even less
are or were with MCI, or has a relitave that did at one point in the time line. I was involved in the Autocad
forum when it first started on C$, and watched it die over the years.
At one point in time I had one of 3 RBBS systems that mirrored much of the Autocad forum download area
for people who did not have C$ access. Wak ran one node here in Columbus, I ran the master in
Chicago, and Shultzy kept one running in Oakland where our "people at Autodesk" posted things for us as
a local call. The rules then was anything that was posted for public download on C$ was free to distribute.
Items in private non public areas could only be DLed from C$ with special access and could not be
shared, unless we recieved it officially with permission to post it, or it was publiclt posted on our BBS. We
were all under non-disclosure on one or more official levels at the time, and did not abuse too it much :)
What killed C$ was the idea that information was free and access was to be charged for based on baud
rate, while at the same time dot bomb business models were being built around the concept access should
be near free and as fast as possiable, content should be ad supported or sold on CD. The Autocad
developer forum was/is an example. It evolved from the online distribution of hints and fixes, to being a
profit center selling developers CD's and than back to an online mix when they created their own WEB
and FTP site with multi-levels of access if you purchased the CD's.
JohnQpublic will grudgeingly pay a flat monthly fee for access but unless it is porn they will not pay by the
minute to chat and definately will not pay to get tech support.
The merger/takeover by AOheL put a stake in the heart of C$ and killed it slow and sure, didn't help Time
Warner much either, but at least they have a chance of spinning back off again.
Sometimes it was/is sad to watch.
Trivia Question ....
What was the month and year of C$ startup anouncement ?
and when did they pull the plug on CIS ?
Just my 0.39 inflation adjusted
Now back under my rock til' nextime, I feel verbose :)
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