2400 Baud

You see, I am semi-unique in that I was an early individual user (as opposed to university and government user) of the internet. Back in those days, (1993) most home users were restricted to dial-up accounts; although my friend would beta test a cable modem for his dad’s cable company less than two years later, and universities and businesses had T1 lines. Downloading photos was a major committment on a 2400 baud, and indeed the world of BBSs is distinct in many ways from the internet today. At that connection rate, chat, MUDS and other text-based enterprises populated the internet, and dial-ups were often local affairs. (Although AOL did have nation-wide dial-ins, it sucked even worse then than it did today, it being early on in the days of hours of busy signals)

This aspect of BBSs made them truely unique. Although we did have users from other parts of the countries telnet in occasionally, most screenames you saw in the main chat were local. Regular “meets” in real life transformed the medium into a sort-of virtual version of an actual reality, a way to stay in touch with those who you had run into Nathans, or Fuddruckers, or Donuts.

Several people I met on my first BBS are still close friends today; at least 5 were at my wedding. Two started their own internet database programming company, and by a combination of genius, hard work, talent, and being early adopters were able to secure Sam Ash as a client. Building on this, they now have Wall Street offices and a dozen employees, and clients such as the US Navy and Douglass Elliman. It was quite a bit more fun to eat lunch at their offices, under giant murals of my friend’s face made from dozens of printed sheets, than in the stuffy, redwell-filled law office I worked in.

One Response to “2400 Baud”

  1. lawgeek Says:

    I do know that 14,400 baud modems existed starting in 1993; I am still unsure whether their widespread commercial availability was established simultaneously. Since baud rates were set manually for the interface, I do remember that in the beginning, the BBS I connected to did not have that available as a connection speed.

    Most likely, I just didn’t keep up with the technology. Less han two years later, I was using my College’s T1 line anyway.