If you read my earlier post Unconventional Nexus, you’ll have seen me mention the old-style BBS run by my friend Don, which I described as “coal-fired, steam-powered social networking” (think of it as “Web 0.0001”).
In that post, I held off revealing the “secret handshake” needed to gain entrance to Sibyl, as the BBS is named (after the oracle Sibyl — as in the prophetess/soothsayer, not the RDBMS software). Don read the post and left a comment, in which he gave out the “decoder ring” to access Sibyl: telnet://vatic.com:51641 (you’ll find a link under the Friends & Family rubric in the sidebar).
Now, for those of you accustomed to GUI interfaces, be warned: the link above will probably attempt to start up whatever “terminal” program your browser is configured to use by default (on a Windows PC, likely the Hyperterm program; on a Mac, it should run the aptly named Terminal program; Linux and similar OSes, um, well if you’re using these you probably know what I’m talking about…). As an alternative to clicking the link in a browser, you can just fire up (there’s the coal-fired, steam-powered analogy again) your favourite terminal program and connect to vatic.com on port 51641.
Once connected, you’ll be asked for your name (User ID); this will be where you can register as a user. Follow the prompts and you should be good to go.
Just don’t expect any fancy graphics, or other amenities — this is a purely character-based system, running on an old but adequate-for-the-task PC from the days when you could actually run things on 640K of memory.
There are lots of old posts in the various sections (each labelled with the name from the Pantheon of Greek gods/goddesses) that you can read; sort of a time capsule from the end of the last millennium. There are some recent posts too, but truthfully there hasn’t been a lot of traffic since Don resurrected Sibyl; perhaps this post will change that as new members flood in…
So, if you’re interested in seeing How Real Men And Women Computed on one of the few remaining coal-fired, steam-powered social networks still in captivity, just drop by Sibyl and consult with the oracles.