SO YOU WANT TO BE A SYSOP
Al Gutkin "The Tax Board" 714 974-3730
Here I am, 3AM in the morning, can't sleep. Why? because tomorrow is the big day. Installation of PCBOARD version 10. For the other sysops using PCBOARD, it's no biggie, for me, it could mean doomsday, but it won't, cause I'm tough. Right??????
Should I worry nooooo. Then why can't I sleep? Could it be that I've only been running this board for 2 weeks. Nooooo, I'm tough. After all, "age and treachury can always defeat youth and ability". Why did I do this thing, Bulletin Board? Who needs it?
I WAS A NEW USER, ONCE
Yep, thats the truth. But, I won't tell you when. Actually, it it was 7 years ago, that I touched my first computer. A Radio Shack model 1. You know the one that had two floppies that couldn't remember that they were there, even the techs at Radio Shack didn't know they were there. I found that out when I went back. They didn't even know what a utility program was then. I ended up giving to charity and taking a deduction for $ 5,000. I bought an Alpha Micro, used it for six years in my business. I felt on top of the world, I learned how to change the menus myself. Dazzled my clients, dazzled my secretary, thank god I didn't know any modern day IBM type programmers back then, I couldn't take the laughing and funny faces that they would make. Boy, have I come a long way.
The biggest gain of knowledge came in the last year, when I was introduced to DOS. YEH, I never met dos before. After DOS, came my introduction to Mr. Modem. Thats where the trouble started, and I introduced myself back to the real computer world. My god, there's people out there that like to talk computers, not only like to talk computers, but actually develop programs that other people can try for free. WOW, I never new this existed. Hey!!, come look at my computer, I'm talking to another computer. Look at the color menus and graphics, how did they do that? Yep, my exact words, "trust me".
HERE COMES THE SYSOP. (What is a SYSOP?)
We all know what a Sysop is, it's probably in the encyclopedia, "ancient monster, that eats computers and has ultimate power over modem users" That sounds like the definition. Well, I know that I don't have the personality to become a Sysop. I'm too friendly, outgoing, and busy to become a Sysop. Besides, who needs that kind of power? In addition, my personality is in voice, not written communication, no-one can see my face through a computer. All I have is my speaking personality, developed over the years to overcome my slow loss of hair.
GUESS WHAT, I'M GONNA BE A SYSOP.
Yea, I won't do it for real. I'll just set up two computers between my office and home and transfer files. That way I can work at home and be with my family more. When I mentioned that to my wife, I had to put my hand over my nose so she wouldn't see it getting bigger with every word that I said.
In order to start a bulletin board, even if it's for private use, you need software. Well, I remember seeing some of that on Free Bytes. Next step, call Free Bytes and take some software. No couldn't do it there, I only was allowed 35 min per day. The Weasel Board, yea, I got alot of time there. Poor Weasel Board, I tied up the phone for hours trying to get bulletin board software. I kept getting waylayed by the ski reports. Finally got the software, but never used it, got involved with "A LADIES ROOM" instead. You know, the FIDO Ladies Room. I could have also been arresed as a rapist. I just looked at the stats. for Free Bytes. 50 down, 1 up. I'm ashamed. I'll just give em all back. Oh, he only has 300,000k of space left.
Darlene was real nice, she gave me some tips, mentioned RBase 4000, for the text part, then we made a deal, I'm the new Tax person. Users will ask me questions and I'll call the board with an answer. Lady Bug was my first and last customer. A LADIES ROOM HAD A DISK CRASH.
Meanwhile, I managed to get PCBOARD from Kenny and the CROW'S NEST. I de-arched it, set it up, by God, it worked. The docs, written by Fred Clark and Associates, said in big letters. THIS IS NOT FOR THE NOVICE SYSOP. WE DON'T HAVE TIME TO ANSWER BABY QUESTIONS. Of course I added some of my own words to that, the docs weren't that harsh. Well, I now had my private bulletin board. I mailed Fred some $$$$ which I usually do when I get good software and bango, I'm a full fledged SYSOP. Of course, I was the only user. When the Crows Nest or the others were busy, I just called myself. Weird Huh?
I had the board set up and operational so going public wasn't that hard. However, before I could get my new tel. number set up and menus changed I registered with Fred's organization. My first great experience came when Fred called the Board, to verify it's existance, and reached the board that was set up in my office. Guess what? I still was using Fred's Salt Air Graphics. Would have liked to see the look on Fred's face when my modem answered and Fred's own introduction came up. Bet Fred thought he was loosing his mind, and calling himself.
Underdog in the state of WASH. helped. Sal the dog, enabled me to compile some of the best business software in the West. The only difference is with me, its free. Don't knock Sal, he spends all his free time scouring the nation for the best. His phone bill must look look like AT&T's annual report.
THE GRAND OPENING - NEWYEARS DAY
NO ONE CALLED. Of course not, who had the number? Oh, heck, how do you market a bulletin board? Put an add in the paper? Got a great idea @@@@@. I called the local BIG TIME SYSOPS and left comments. Oh what a dummy, I was. Yea, I got calls. Don Phelps of FREE BYTES was the first. He left me a nice message of encouragement and left just as fast as he came. Well thanks to the generous help of the local experienced sysops I finally got some users. No-One stayed for more than 3 Min. Why, because I had a boring board. Didn't know how to extend my outgoing personality through the computer. What to do? Failure Setting In.
By chance, I called David Dennen, LaVern and PC STREET. He's Mr. personality, and I won't tell you how old. Dave intercepted the call and heard my woes. Guess he saw the nice comment I left. Anyhow, now my board "THE TAX BOARD" has gone through some radical changes. We have great bulletin and conference areas. Fun and knowledge for all. Still give tax and business advice, but we also cater to friendly people. We, are "USER FRIENDLY". Need help, we're still here, getting bigger every day, but no too big to loose the personal contact with you.
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