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Author Topic: History of the Big Bang Burger Bar (BBS)  (Read 9384 times)
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Zarniwoop
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« on: 03 November 2008, 23:42:50 »

This thread will try and give you an insight into the history of the Big Bang Burger Bar and why this forum was created.

Big Bang Burger Bar started life as Bulletin Board System running on an Amiga computer in the days when the internet was still mostly an academic tool.

A BBS consisted of a computer, a modem and a phone line, or in some cases more than one phone line. Nearly all of these were run on someone's home computer as a hobby and this was the case for the Big Bang Burger Bar.

We started Big Bang on a software package called BBS-PC! This was a very basic package with little customisation options, although it was possible to ‘hack’ the prompts using a hex editor, there were also a few third party hacks that allowed extra functionality. There was a vibrant community of sysops using this software who helped each other get the best out of this software.

After BBS-PC! We changed to 4D-BBS which gave us more functionality and was a lot more flexible in what it could do, we even helped them out a little bit over here and when we started writing our own BBS Gargravaar helped them out with some coding.

Eventually we decided to write our own software as we never really found anything that did all of what we wanted in the way we wanted it. It also meant when we needed to change something we could do it to our own timescale. Gargravaar did the vast majority of all the hard coding, I helped with writing a few modules here and there and I also got to use this programming exercise as part of my project towards my HNC how cool was that. The software was called “Rapport BBS” and we eventually sold it as shareware and it proved fairly popular, this was also mentioned in an article in Amiga computing in June 1993.

Big Bang ran for quite a number of years and reached a worldwide audience,  I reached a first name basis with a lot of people, spent several late nights chatting to people who visited the BBS. It proved popular with visitors which was good for me! There is nothing more rewarding then when people appreciate the hard work that has gone into something whether that is a simple thank you or a donation. We never got enough to make the BBS break even but that did not matter we did it for the fun and enjoyment. The fact people wanted to donate money was a real surprise and was always gratefully received.

Eventually we both had to take the decision to close the BBS, there were a lot of reasons behind this and I will post the closing statement we made back then which explains about this in more detail in another message.

I will expand on this history as and when I remember or Gargravaar prods me with his memories to add to these. I have also found some letters from users which I may place some quotes on here at a later date.

« Last Edit: 13 February 2013, 00:31:58 by Zarniwoop » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: 04 November 2008, 00:10:35 »

Below is the final closing message of the "Big Bang Burger Bar BBS" posted in 1995 as the front screen seen as people first dialled into the BBS. It brought to an end a hobby that had consumed much of my younger years, time and money. I enjoyed every minute of this hobby and do not regret a single moment. I now hope to in some way claw some of that enjoyment back via this new shiny forum.



"Its with a sad heart that I note the BBS Scene is very much on a major decline. Internet is having its BOOM period and most users are now drifting away from the Home Brew BBS to the Global 'Net'. This is a sad day for us 'ole BBS Sysops, we see our caller numbers falling and our usage dwindling in preference to the big 'NET'. All we have to offer in competition is a more 'personal' feel to comms. I think the BBS as a hobby is starting on a slow road to its ultimate death unless we as sysops club together and find a way to offer something the big 'NETS' can't"

------------- Zarniwoop

These were the last comments I made in an electronic magazine I produced earlier this year. My thoughts are still the same as those above as my own BBS has suffered greatly this year to the point where I really only have 5 or 6 regular callers. This is not a good situation for a BBS especially when the BBS has been known to pull in over 30-40 calls a day!.



Over the past 2 years as we have watched the decline of our user base, we have witnessed the explosion of the internet. The reasons for this are quite understandable and I must admit that I rely heavily on the internet and spend frightening amounts of time on line daily for both work and personal reasons. All the traditional areas the BBS's catered for are now served better and often faster by the the internet. So its with sad and heavy hearts that we make the following announcement:

The Big Bang Burger Bar will close its doors for the final time to the public on January 15th 1996.

Some of the reasons are mentioned in the quote above the rest are as follows:

* ACCESS - Most BBS's have suffered from this unless they had external funding in order to support multiple lines. In addition connecting to a BBS could be expensive if you are calling from a distance or from abroad. With the dawn of service providers for the internet, people can now get worldwide access for the cost of a local call and engaged tones are not so common.

* FILES - I have now seen over the past few years that most of the normal BBS traffic has turned into file retrieval. Once BBS's were the fastest way to retrieve new files, although this often resulted in sysops incurring large bills to pull files worldwide. Now the internet provides a quick and easy way to retrieve files worldwide at no extra cost. Combined with a multitude of search mechanisms (e.g archie) a required file can be located very quickly no matter where in the world it is.

* MESSAGES - The early days of Big Bang saw large amounts of mail traffic in some 20+ message bases. Now they are very rarely left, and this used to be one of the strong points of a BBS personal 'chat'. Now the internet gives you access to the thousands of subjects covered by usenet and has the added advantage of being GLOBAL.

* Some BBS's had FIDO, but this could never compete with the INTERNET as fido is too badly structured, slow and is far too strictly moderated for a lot of peoples tastes.

* EMAIL - Again worldwide email is a lot more attractive to just local email to other BBS users. There are mechanisms to networking BBS's to provide worldwide email e.g. FIDO but these are slow and tightly controlled.

* CHAT - Multiline BBS's including Big Bang (when multiline) provide facilities for users to chat interactively with each other. Again a multitude of services e.g IRC extends this to a world wide user base.

* GAMES - Online games were another good plus for BBS's but multiuser games just get better and better when you go to the internet. MUD's supporting 100's of players can be found and I must say I enjoy playing inter-university games of xpilot :-) . With that sort of thrill why stick to one or two players on a BBS!

In addition the internet provides new facilities like World Wide Web. Something else attractive about the internet is that more and more people are getting internet access in the workplace. In the past we used to get a large number of calls during working hours from people calling from work. Now they can just as easily use the internet without having to pay anything.

Ok There are some BBS's that have internet connections and can offer some or all of these facilities. However internet connections cost and to do it properly you need at least a 64Kbit leased line which does not come cheap. I know of small BBS's who have attempted to go this route and either fail or end up becoming a small service provider charging users for internet access.

In conjunction with these changes we have seen the decline in the community spirit when people just called to chat and a large number of users would be on first name terms with each other. Now the majority of activity is just grabbing files as quickly as possible. Zarniwoop and myself have had long discussions about the changing face of comms as it has evolved towards the internet and although now attracting vast numbers of users has grown a lot less personal and has lost most of the camaraderie that existed in the comms community when Big Bang first started.

I have really just lost interest in the 'scene' as the fun and friendliness of it has all but gone as people seem to no longer communicate or have fun on the 'Boards'. I have neither the time now or the deep pockets to keep this BBS alive and revamped to compete (even if it could).

It is not just the reasons above that prompted this but time and money to keep the board going has now got better and more important uses.

So we would just like to thank EACH & EVERY user who has ever called the BBS for their contribution to the life and soul of Big bang. Its been you guys that have helped to keep it alive and shape and mould the BBS over its 6 year life-span, making it one of the longest running UK BBS's. We're sorry we have to close but we have thought long and hard about it and we would rather quit now while the BBS has some limited life left than just let it drag on for a long time slowly dying off.

Do not give up all hope of ever seeing Big Bang ever again..... In 40 years when we have retired Big Bang could re-open as an oldies board ;-) Also as the internet grows and work on virtual realities and metaverses continue (I know of several quite exciting bits of work), opportunities may arise for Big Bang to re-materialise in a different guise.

Once again thanks for calling and please spread this message.
Comments are invited on the above statements.

Zarniwoop and Gargravaar.

« Last Edit: 13 February 2013, 00:32:10 by Zarniwoop » Logged

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Zarniwoop

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« Reply #2 on: 04 November 2008, 16:20:17 »

Is it just me that's confused...?  Huh? Huh? Huh? Huh? Huh?

Closing in January 1996. Almost 13 years ago?!?

What am I reading here?
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Zarniwoop
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« Reply #3 on: 04 November 2008, 16:50:05 »

Is it just me that's confused...?  Huh? Huh? Huh? Huh? Huh?

Closing in January 1996. Almost 13 years ago?!?

What am I reading here?

In the first post I explain that the Big Bang Burger Bar started life as a Dial up BBS running on an Amiga computer before its current life as a forum started. The second post is the message I posted on that system before we finally shutdown the BBS,  but I had always intended to bring it back in some form or other and thus was born this Forum which I gave the same name. 

My intention, as and when I find the information, is to put as much of the old BBS stuff on here in the nostalgia area that I can so there is a record of what we used to run. I also hope that maybe by doing this some of my old users may find me on the 'net so we can reminisce about the good 'ole days Wink

This Forum is alive and very much kicking and will remain so for a long time (hopefully). I wanted to show where my passion came from to build this site and why I spend a lot of time building up the messages, it's not to bulk up the site but because I have always been fascinated by sharing information, ideas and interest especially by electronic communication.

I hope that over the years I can attract people who want to share their hobbies and interests with others, converse about anything and everything that interests them so we all learn something. There are so many diverse activities out there that people have interests in that struggle for survival or recognition because people simply do not hear about them. I hope that in some way this and other forums can ignite the kind of lively chat that once was prevalent when BBS's were the only real means of community.

This thread and the nostalgia section I hope will demonstrate how things used to be and how they can be again if we all get together. The old BBS's used to have mechanisms that help share common message ares between different peoples systems so you had a sense of a wider community, the one downside to the global internet is that forums, which cover every topic under the sun, are all individual covering the same topic over and over again creating small isolated groups, it would be nice to get back to the good old days when you had global communities online sharing the information helping each individual site have it's unique look and feel whilst gaining the collective input from a wider audience.

(Sorry if seem to get a little carried away on this subject but having moved and uncovered all my old gear again has sparked a huge sense of nostalgia and ignited my old passions)

Regards Zarniwoop (I will go and hide under my stone again now  Grin )
« Last Edit: 04 November 2008, 18:46:42 by zarniwoop » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: 23 January 2009, 09:46:38 »

Below is an article that appeared in Popular Computing Weekly in June 1990 which mentioned the old BBS. I have removed phone numbers and addresses as these are likely to be obsolete.

NO WONDER YOU SCI-FI FREAKS LOVE YOUR BBS.

KEYBOARD COMMUNICATION TAKES YOU THERE, WRITES COMMS ACE, MALCOLM ARNOLD.

Anyone who has logged-on to Focal Point BB, the online contact point for Pop et al (xxx xxxxxxx - V21/22/22bis/23 - 24 hours), will probably have come across a user calling himself Zarniwoop! Well, Zarni has his own board aimed primarily at sci-fi enthusiasts, and especially fans of the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams.
 
The board is called The Big Bang Burger Bar - (xxx xxx xxxx V21 /22122bis/23 - 9.00-18.30,24 hours weekends). It's been online for about six months, but is just now getting into its stride, as Zarni has been working on a complete menu rewrite, and adding new features. In particular he has been keen to include ANSI graphics, to add colour to his menus for those who can receive it. More and more systems are doing this now, and it really does perk up what can, after a while, seem quite samey presentation on many scrolling format boards.

What inspired the BB? "We wanted to base the whole BB around Hitch Hiker's as we were both avid fans since we were at school," he told me. By "we" he included his co-sysop, Gargravvarr. Zarni hopes to be linking up with the official Hitch Hiker's Appreciation Society very soon, and would like to put some of their material online, with their permission. I must underline, though, that the board has more generally based sci-fi interest too, with a sci-fi message area which was just taking off when I called in. It also provides message areas for computer support and chat.

The Burger Bar runs on an Amiga, so it isn't surprising that the majority of program files available at the moment are for this format. In the process of completion, however, is a file section which is to be run in conjunction with a Shareware software operation called Jestersoft.

The main appeal of this board, though, is that it is not wholly or exclusively computer-orientated. As computers, and Comms, get more accessible to a wider public, people are realising the huge and exciting potential for using them to communicate about everything under the sun. Comms, in some ways, is sci-fi come to life! The whole world is out there, now that (as they said in a certain fantasy TV series), "we have the technology ... "

Regular readers of this column will have heard me eulogize over the excellent science fiction-biased viewdata board, Atavachron. Well, in the process of writing this article, I tried to log-on to Atavaachron, and found its sysop, Stuart McKnight, answering 'on voice'. Evidently, the success of the BB software which McKnight and partner Laurence Reeves produced for the QL (called Q-View) has led them on to an even more successful project that is monopolising both McKnight's time, and his BB phone line! The project is 'Minnerva', an operating system upgrade for the QL. Hence Atavachron's service is suspended for the moment, but potential sysops wishing to run a board on a QL can call McKnight for Q-View, and support, on the old Atavachron number, xxxxxxxxxx. The board may return in the not too distant future, but in the meantime he may put the sci-fi pages of his BB up on Reeves' board: LAU'S QL (xxx xxx xxxx - Viewdata V23 °24 hours RINGBACK: dial, let it ring once, hang up and call back immediately to connect).

The ShatterNet project, which I have mentioned before, is having concrete results. It is a network of BBs which are dedicated to science fiction, fantasy, play-by-mail, role-playing and so on. So successful has the group become that they have succeeded in launching their own hard copy fanzine. The 'zine is called Shatter, and is a testament to both the interest in sci-fi and related topics online, and the vision of ShatterNet's founder. He is Pandrogas - the sysop of Darkhaven Castle (xxxx xxxxxx - V21/22122bis/23 - 24 hours, with Viewdata and Scrolling, but Viewdata is best!). The 'zine is well presented, and something of a must for role-play and fantasy fans in particular. Log on to Darkhaven for more details - or send a cheque for £1 and a stamped addressed envelope to the editor: Phil Teunon, Shatter, [address removed].


• Contact me on The Owl Service (xxxxxxxxxx - V21/22/22bis/23 -24 hours), on Focal Point, orvia Prester MBX: 011112661, and Microlink 10: MAG33225.

• Spock, Vader or Dr Who. Go online and BB whoever you want to BB.
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« Reply #5 on: 13 December 2013, 12:02:46 »

Brings back many great memories to see Big bang Burger Bar is still around  Smiley and glad I stumbled on your site Zarni.
Ah yes the days of Amgia's , 3.5" disks scattered everywhere and BBS-PC! and all the faces etc.

Seems there is quite a interest at present from those interesting times back then, when all was so new and changing day by day.
Was nice to have met up with you a few times over those years and one wonders where everyone from back then ended up.

Was sad when the likes of your ole BBS site and many others all closed down, but I guess the internet was taking off then and also with Commodore making such a mess of there business and on the way out, many jumped onto PC's.

Maybe its because I am old now, but although Computers and hardware are now so powerful and so cheap, still does not match the excitement and the enthusiasm we all had back then for the Amiga scene.

Who can ever forget just how expensive the hardware was.. Wow..  Grin and not forgetting how expensive even a local call was them from good old British telecom!
I think we all added very nicely to bt profits back then when there was no choice but to use them.

Anyway, good to find you again and thanks for the great memories.

Have fun Beer
Graham






 


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« Reply #6 on: 13 December 2013, 13:26:37 »

I thought it was you when I looked at your account but I was not 100% as not many of the 'ole gang have managed to stumble across this site sadly.

Don't remind me of how expensive the equipment used to be Smiley I dare not even try to think about how much I spent back then  Ill. Though Imagine what I could get for that sort of money now !!  Tongue

I absolutely loved those days and I got to meet in person and online some really great people, sadly they have all drifted away long ago. I miss the facility to "Live" chat with visitors to the site, there are mods for the Forum software that might facilitate this but the ones I have tried so far have not worked. Mind you if I did get that back I may well go back to those VERY late nights, which I fear I may not be physically up to these days  Coffee.

Well I'm really pleased you found us and I hope you can stick around for a while and we can catch up. I still have the "Pub" area for random musings it's now Called "The Red Dragon Inn" so we can grab a virtual pint there and reminisce about the old days  Beer
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« Reply #7 on: 14 December 2013, 12:44:26 »

Thanks mate,
Nice to catch up and see the ole BBS is alive on the www these-days.Wont clog this area up as its your history thread.
But for sure your ole BBS site and all the friends we made were a lot of fun and always never forget the late night's ;-)
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Zarniwoop
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« Reply #8 on: 24 August 2014, 00:28:24 »

Doing my random searching of the internet I came across this article posted in Amiga Shopper Magazine that mentions the 'old Big Bang Burger Bar BBS and I got all nostalgic again.

Here is a link to the article if you care to read it:

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« Reply #9 on: 24 August 2014, 18:03:49 »

Very cool all we need is to get more folks posting here and we will be fine

 EvilGinger
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