EXACT DATE UNKNOWN
John E. Dell writes a DOS program called "Drug Wars" which allows players to engage in complicated trading and economic role-playing. The program is the basis for an entire genre of BBS programs, including "Dopewars" and "Pimpwars".
drugwars.zip ( 28K) The Original Drug Wars Game by John E. Dell (DOS Executable)
2600 Magazine debuts with their first issue.
January 3, 1984
Hacker BBS "Plover-NET" is first put up by Quasi Moto and Lex Luthor, running GBBS on an Apple II+.
plovernet.txt (8.0K) The Plover-NET Pro-Phile from the LOD Message Project (March, 1993)
March 28, 1984
Having lost millions on the endeavor, Texas Instruments manufactures the last TI/994A and the assembly lines are shut down forever.
May 16, 1984
Thomas G. Tcimpidis, Sysop of the MOG-UR BBS, has his personal computer and data storage seized by the Los Angeles Police when Pacific Tel determines that one of his message bases contains a stolen Calling Card number.In 1984, Tom Tcimpidis was running an electronic bulletin board system. Tom's BBS was very active, with many conferences. He did not monitor or read all notes in all the conferences, so he did not realize that some folks were exchanging stolen long-distance telephone credit-card numbers in a conference on his BBS. The local phone company got a tip that Tom's BBS was being used by such thieves, dialed up Tom's BBS to verify those facts, and having done so, swore out a criminal warrant for Tom's arrest. Tom was arrested, and his computer and floppy disks were confiscated. Tom quickly appeared (by entering a message via modem) in the LAWyers Special Interest Group (LAW SIG) on the CompuServe network - he had to use a friends computer to do so since his had been taken by the local prosecutors. He posted messages advising the lawyers in the electronic conference of the above facts, that he had no knowledge such activities were taking place on his BBS, that he was a working stiff without funds to pay lawyers' fees, and that he needed help. Los Angeles attorney and solo practitioner Charles K. Lindner, another participant in the LAW SIG, volunteered to represent Tom. Chuck pointed out that serious legal issues were involved in the case--issues that could have a significant and adverse effect on the development of telecommunications and teleconferencing should Tom be convicted - could the operator of an on-line system b held criminally liable for activities and information on the operators system of which the operator had no knowledge?. Chuck asked if other lawyers on the system would help him in the defense of Tom's case. Several of us, concerned about the threat of such a criminal action to the development and growth of what we instinctively knew was very, very important technology, jumped to the task and responded that we would help. We discussed the facts in the LAW SIG conference; Chuck uploaded a copy of the statute under which Tom was charged, and we dissected the statute; many of us did legal research, electronically posting the results in the conference. We debated, argued, and discussed the legal issues and existing case law--all by teleconference. As we moved forward with our discussions and analysis we commenced to prepare a motion to dismiss. Chuck, as the lawyer of record, worked with all of us, using the important information we had provided and prepared, and filed a collectively created motion to dismiss the case and a brief in support thereof. The end result was that in the face of this well researched motion and supporting authority--the product of group action by attorneys from around the country via a teleconference--the state's attorney dismissed the entire case on its own motion and with prejudice! A total victory for Tom--and for teleconferencing! Without on-line telecommunications and teleconferencing, such a result would have been impossible. It would have been impossible for Chuck to talk and deal with all the attorneys via "normal" methods of communication--voice telephone calls and correspondence - to say nothing of the fact that prior to all of us being a part of this on-line conference, none of us knew each other. He could never have contacted us all in a timely fashion. Nor could he have dealt with all this information--found it, had it analyzed, produced documents--from divergent parts of the country. Indeed, most of us did our work late at night, in non-prime time--remember, this was pro bono for all of us.
Tom Jennings' FidoNet BBS Network officially makes its appearance, linking several dozen BBSes via late-night phone calls.
July 18, 1984
BIOC Agent 003 publishes "The Course in Basic Telecommunications Part I", one of the most successful electronic-published phreak documents up to that point, and for a long time after.
October 1, 1984
Dan Lewis writes "Isle-Net went live in Staten Island, NY. This was one of the first pay BBS, charging $10 per year and featuring an adult and free speech theme. Isle-Net was featured in many books about the emerging BBS craze, such as Elizabeth Ferrarini's "Infomania" (1985) and multiple editions of "Glosbrenner's Guide to Personal Computer Communications." Instead of a sysop, there was a sexop and a writeup in the short lived "Future Sex" magazine. In 1996, Isle-Net was still there, making the SBI list of top 20 BBSs as published in BBS Magazine. 1999 was the end of the line for Isle-Net, the graphical web had won out over the text-based BBSes. The one thing that the sexop always thought would make for a great BBS was low cost access. The internet came along and provided low cost access."
November 12, 1984
Richard Sandza's articles on Hacker BBSes, "The Night of the Hackers", appears in Newsweek Magazine.
November 28, 1984
EXEC-PC, eventually to become one of the largest (if not the largest) BBSes in North America, takes its first call at 2am. At its beginning, it is running on a single line, but eventually grows past 200 lines.
Source E-mail from Bob Mahoney
Wayne Bell puts up the first WWIV BBS System, running version 1.0 of WWIV in Interpreted BASIC.
December 4, 1984
Tom Jennings publishes FidoNews Issue #1, an electronic newsletter meant to give information and news about Fido and FidoNet. It continues to publish once a week to the present day. Jennings explains the format of the newsletter, indicates he would like to make some FidoNet bumper stickers (without paying the $165 for it) and asks that he immediately be replaced as editor.
fido101.txt ( 12K) Fidonet Newsletter Issue #1, Edited by Tom Jennings
December 10, 1984
Inspired by the harassment and practical jokes he recieves on a daily basis, Richard Sandza submits a second article for the December 10th Issue of Newsweek, entitled "Revenge of the Hackers".
NODELIST.EXE by John Warren is released. This program automates the process of making a FIDONET Nodelist work for a BBS (stripping area codes as needed to work locally). The announcement says it takes the process from one hour to thirty seconds, but this is before the nodelist grows to thousands and thousands of nodes.NODELIST.EXE This program, by John Warren takes the NODELIST.XXX from Fido 51 and makes you a NODELIST.BBS. It will remove the 1 and area code for local (to you) systems, put in sprint or other dialing prefixes, enter costs as you specify, etc. One time only you put the needed information into a file used by the program, and after that just run it when you get a new list. It makes customizing the nodelist from a one hour chore to a 30 second simple task.
December 11, 1984
Fidonet achieves 336 nodes, ranging from Fido's Board, sysoped by Tom Jennings, to Berkshire BBS, sysoped by Harry Lee.
Source Fidonews Issue #2
December 12, 1984
The original hard disk for FidoNet #1 (the BBS of the creator of Fido, Tom Jennings) has a catastrophic hard disk failure, leaving the BBS running on two floppy drives.
Source Fidonet Volume 1 Number 3
December 24, 1984
Tom Jennings announces in FidoNews that the first (verified) intercontinental FidoNet message was sent from Jakarta, Indonesia, to St. Louis, USA. FidoNets had previously popped up almost immediately in Canada, making international messages not quite as ground-breaking. Other discussions in the Volume 1 Number 4 issue of FidoNews center around paying for International calls, and dealing with the sub-par quality of transoceaninc phone lines.
Source Fidonews Volume 1 Number 4