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CBBS

CBBS (Computerized Bulletin Board System) was a computer software program created by Ward Christensen[?] to allow him and other computer hobbyists to exchange information between one another.

In January of 1978, Chicago was hit with a record blizzard, which dumped record amounts of snow throughout the midwest. Among those caught in it were Christensen and Randy Suess, who were members of CACHE, the Chicago Area Computer Hobbyists' Exchange. They had met at this computer club in the mid 1970s and become friends.

Christensen had created a file transfer protocol for sending binary files through modem connections, which was called, simply, MODEM. Later improvements to the program motivated a name change into the now familiar XMODEM[?]. The success of this project encouraged further experiments. Christensen and Suess become enamored of the idea of creating a computerized answering machine and message center, which would allow members to call in with their then-new modems and leave announcements for upcoming meetings.

However, they needed some quiet time to set aside for such a project, and the blizzard gave them that time. Christensen worked on the software and Suess cobbled together an S-100 machine to put the program on. They had a working version within two weeks, but claimed soon afterwards that it had taken four so that it wouldn't seem like a "rushed" project. Time and tradition have settled that date to be February 16, 1978. The program had many forward thinking ideas, now accepted as canon in the creation of message bases or "forums".

As Christensen and Suess went their separate ways, the CBBS name lived on, and survives to an extent as a web-based forum on Suess' website, chinet.com. Christensen's version of CBBS, called "Ward's Board", closed in the early 1990s.



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