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archive:bbs:cursehist

:The Curse Library:-:Ctrl-S/Space:

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                          :  The Curse BBS  :
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                       Written by: The Incognito

Welcome to a little Curse History. How the ideas of The Curse BBS originated. How it all began, from the beginning. A rather fascinating and intriguing tale. Let's begin.

I've always been interested in computers and technology since Junior High. The very first computer I ever used was the PET Commodore with a whopping 8K of memory. I played a couple games. I made a couple games. I recall an incredible sight when I saw someone made the computer print something a set number of times. It was impressive (for a Junior High kid). Later I found out it was something called a "FOR-NEXT" statement. I started to get interested in what a computer could do.

I only used the computer at school. I never owned one. I remember walking into a Computer Land to see the price of a Commodore PET computer. Commodore had a new PET out with 16K of memory. I asked the salesman how much would it cost. He walked over to an Apple ][+, which they used to keep all their records and inventory, and printed out the list price which was only $1295 dollars. Well, to a 14 year old kid that was a lot of money. I never did buy a PET, and I still thank God today.

Well, moving out the PET Commodore stage I started to use Apples. Now in High-School, they had a couple Apple ][+'s. Wow, it had 48k! I thought I could never use all that memory. And it used a disk drive?! What was that? I was only used to tape drives! It just got more interesting as it went along. I found (stole) my first disk in school and used that to put my programs on. First, I could not figure out how to put stuff on the disk. With the PET you just inserted the tape in the cassette drive and push play or record. Nothing I tried worked. Luckily I came across someone that knew what they were doing and demonstrated how to put DOS on the disk by the INIT command. I started to collect simple 80 sectors programs (my Piracy career begins) and I started to make simple games. I remember one game that I wrote called "The Gray Horizon" which was an airplane combat/war simulation game written in Applesoft BASIC. It took me a long time to write it. First on paper, which expanded more than 40 sheets, and finally I coded (typed) the monster in. It ended up more than 123 sectors! Damn, what a headache. I missed a lot of homework because of that obsession. I had a "nice" collection of wares and started into the realm of trading. That is where I met some more influential people. Some of them were THE original pirates. Such as "The Super Pirates of MPLS", "R2D2E2" and other local and national know groups.

From trading I entered the world of telecommunications. I thought

writing games where interesting but it did not (at the time) come close to how one computer could talk to another. Still not yet a proud owner of a computer system I used the school's Apple ][+ with a 300 baud coupler modem (a modem in which you had to attach in the phone's receiver). The very first board I called was "The Safehouse". I logged on as my name (not my alias). I still didn't understand how the bbs worked. Among the options on the menu I saw CHAT. So I did and much to my surprise someone broke in and chatted with me. I asked rather stupid questions (which I thought was perfectly normal) like "is this your job?" and "how do you run a board?". The sysop was very patient and answer all my questions. Back then there were no losers. Really, there was no such thing as a l-o-s-e-r. A public Apple BBS system was a fairly new idea. I guess people didn't mind the ignorance as much. Anyway, the sysop I chatted with I later found out was Apple Bandit. The Safehouse was great. It was interesting. It was fun. It used the original Net-Works. It even had the classic configuration test:

……………… ………………

How Many Lines do you See? #

But it quickly changed. It gained more popularity. I needed an alias. Something other than my original name. After a day of thought and looking through the dictionary for some suggestions I came across "Incognito" and have used it since. I attended what was called "pirate parties". It was a collaboration of people who sat around trading software. The first one I went to was at some pirate's house in the winter. MPG was starting to form and I met some of the early members such as The Burglar (Dan) and Apple Bandit (John, sysop of The Safehouse). At this party I recall The Burglar cracking a "new" ware called "The Serpent's Star". Boy, could that kid's little fingers move as he typed. Boot Tracing was very big at the time. He cracked the ware and I added it to my collection. As there were more pirate parties held (at different people's houses) there existed more people that attended them. Back then Hot Rod was just another face in the crowd. Rod really didn't get his start till a little later. At the later parties MPG was always fashionably late. I still never owned a computer. I had more than 50+ disks of wares and no computer. But that changed.

In May 1984 I bought my first computer. An Apple e with 64k. This was too cool for words. I think I never left my room for days. I got a copy of Net-Works to see how one would run a bulletin board system. It made me more interested in the telecommunication world so naturally I got a modem. And of course it was an Apple-Cat. I wrote a small bbs with Net-Works. I had to name it something. Back then boards like Pirate's Harbor, Pirate's Bay, Pirate's Cove, etc was popular. So I decided to call my bbs Pirate's Curse. It was just a test. No one really called it besides my friends. I got more serious and got another disk drive and a 212 upgrade (for Apple-Cat so it could do 1200 baud) then looked for a different piece of software that didn't have so many bugs. I found GBBS. It was the old version of GBBS (the DOS 3.3 version) that had no features whatsoever. I started to write the new software. I called it The Curse BBS. It went up June 1984. I advertised the board on other bbs' and it started to get a bit active. I met a user called "Darc Deathe" who was co-sysop of another local board which was "PHBI" (The Phederal Bureau of Investigation). At the time Greg Shauffer (who wrote GBBS) put a backdoor in his software. Unknown to me someone crashed the board. Luckily I made a back up just the day before. Well, I put the board back up and called Hot Rod to come over to help me locate the backdoor that allowed you to drop into basic. It was heavily encrypted, but, Rod found it as was able to disable it by a simple POKE. There The Curse was uncrashable. PHBI was also GBBS. Darc Deathe was still hunting for the backdoor. The backdoor was relatively unknown. I helped Dave (Darc Deathe) and gave him the simple POKE. Fortunately Dave and the sysop of PHBI (Black Knight) had their differences and Darc Deathe came over to The Curse. And then, the mods began. Finding the hidden backdoor helped me and Dave learn more about the GBBS driver. Since Dave stripped apart the Driver looking for the backdoor he knew it inside and out. He started to add mods like a fast word-wrap. No board at the time had this type of modification. The board got incredibly more popular. I got more drives and more ideas came to mind. The creation of The Junk Walls, The Enigma Plane and so on. Me and Dave wrote additional mods (Control Characters) to the driver. Things such as Auto-Center text, Left Justify, Right Justify, Tab, Reverse Text, Macros and so on. In fact it grew so much that we started to run out of keys (Ctrl-A, Ctrl-B, etc) to use for the mods. Pretty soon we would have to use ESC-CTRL-A, etc keystrokes. The driver got to 16 sectors (which was normally 6-8 sectors). And the main program got so large I kept of getting out of memory errors. So I had to break it up in modules. This is where the idea of breaking a board up into sections was first created. No other bbs had modules so Dave and I had to figure out how this could be accomplished. We had to use the Apple's CHAIN program. Because CHAIN loaded over part of the driver in the $300 page Dave relocated it higher in the driver. It was a pain because of the indirect JMPs and JSRs CHAIN did. But after a lot of hair pulling Dave finally moved it high in the driver. Now, The Curse was getting better and better. What made it so popular was the mods. No other board had the features of The Curse. It was very interesting and original. I recall having a 10 sector text file just explaining what all the control characters did. All of this added to The Curse's success. I was on some other popular systems at the time (Adventure's Tavern, Devil's Possession, Spectrum, etc). Those days of calling bbs' were great. There were so many wares released, it helped strengthened the increased activity of the pirate world. Couple months passed and things were going good. I recall when Hot Rod, Darc Deathe and The Warezird was over at my house and we had a new ware called "How About a Nice Game of Chess?". After Rod cracked it, which didn't take very long, we put a title page on it. Now, most pirates had "Call these RAD boards..etc" on their title pages but I wanted something different. At the time Apple Bandit used "Kbye" when he finished chating or talking with people. So I came up with "K-Kool". And we put on the title page "Call These K-Kool boards..etc". In fact Dave (Darc Deathe) stated "Watch how fast people start using that word". And amazingly people did. Too many people started to use the word that it got downgraded. It used to be a hip thing to say. I remember when Rabid Rasta put out his humorous text file called "The Real Pirate's Guide" in which he said "Real Pirates Don't Care About The Curse's K-Kool mods". It seems the creation of new and original mods might be getting out of hand (overkill). But, everyone seemed to enjoy it and The Curse prospered because of it. Plus, I had way too much fun creating/making them to stop. I remember when Glenn (The Doc) ran The Spectrum, which was also extremely popular, and he had some serious problems with his software. So I gave him mine. He modified it and ran The Spectrum of what was The Curse BBS. I think I heard that he said he got it from someone else or wrote it himself. But now Glenn himself admits that the software of The Spec was The Curse. Anyway, The Curse was getting more busier and the pirate world was getting more active. But it all halted to a sudden crash when the Secret Service came to my house in November of 1984 and confiscated all my equipment. Read my file "My Day With the Secret Service Man" for more information on this. The Curse went down. Life sucked. Time passed and more time passed. I found out that Darc Deathe had a copy of the Old Curse and gave it to Apple Rebel who rewrote it and made it into Proving Grounds. So the bare bones of the Proving Grounds software was The Curse BBS. I was somewhat relieved that a copy still was around since the Secret Service had a copy of mine. Apple Rebel started to sell his bbs software for about $100.00. He and Time Lord did add the role playing module, but the insides was The Curse. That kind of pissed me off that they were making money off of what me and Dave created. Still, there was really no reason to get upset. Time passed. I left the computer world for a couple years. I finally received some of my equipment back in October of 1986. I decided to put back up The Curse again. But I needed some software, again. At the time GBBS used ACOS and I didn't want to learn that, ugh. I found Tele-Cat II+ and started to modify. The Curse went back up in December of 1986. In its early start it did surprisingly well since the large gap time from 1984 and 1986. I converted the old Curse (GBBS) mods to Tele-Cat and again The Curse was growing. Suddenly I found out that Tele-Cat had a backdoor. Snooping around I luckily found it and removed it. Now again, The Curse was uncrashable. Activity increased and the board was getting more popular again. I got another drive and now The Curse was up to a 3 drive system. Still that wasn't enough room. I bought a 5 meg hard drive from The Doc (Glenn). 5 megs for a message-base system (no wares) was more than enough. With all the new room came new ideas for mods. Early in 1987 I put out a file called "Curse Ad". It was an animated advertisement of The Curse. It was pretty interesting. The Curse was going great. But one problem arose. I had some serious problems with my Apple-Cat modem. It seems that the relay switch that made the modem hang up was getting stuck all the time so the phone line would never hang up thus the board would be hung all day. It was really a pain to write a routine to force a hang up on the Apple-Cat. The routine sometimes worked. As a solution I traded my Apple-Cat for one of my friend's Apple-Cat which he never used. The relay problem was solved. The Curse was now pretty much trouble free. The board went fine until July of 1987. I moved. The summer of 1987 I moved so obviously The Curse bbs went down (again). I sold my Apple e system and bought a Apple gs system. After the move and I was situated in my new apartment I decided (again) to put The Curse back up. I only had a gs system. I had a couple problems to solve. From finding a modem to writing the software. I got a Hayes 2400 Smartmodem. Now all I needed was some software. It was hard to find something that supported the gs modem ports and internal clock, etc. But I finally found something. The software was written by Morgam Davis. It seemed to suit my needs at the time. In October of 1987 I started to write the new software. Converting the code from Tele-Cat. The system went up in November of 1987 on my gs with one Apple 3.5 disk drive. The Curse was now ProDOS (goodbye DOS 3.3 world). At the time one 3.5 was more than enough room (1600 blocks!). But later I was running out of room. I needed more storage space.

In late December I purchased a 20 meg SCSI Hard drive. Now The Curse was 20 megs and 2400 Baud strong. There existed ample room for any mods I wanted. Hence, the Curse Library was created and other creations and adaptations. I tried to start something called "The Curse Raffle". I thought it was a great idea. The basic concept was that every user would send in $2.00 and at the end of the month there would be a drawing. The winning user would get the whole pot. Which would be rather substantial if a lot of people entered. Its one idea that didn't work. Probably because of the timing. I later removed the Curse Raffle and started to work on something more interesting: Curse Wares. I wanted The Curse BBS to be a message-base system only. No wares. But there are some users that wanted a transfer section. Having a transfer section on The Curse would only take away from the board and tie it up more. So I found someone to run Curse Warehouse. It would be the opposite of The Curse. A "just wares" system. No message base. It would only have all the latest. Mirror Image (who ran the very popular Blackwater 100) let me use his system to run the warehouse at his house.

Curse Wares went up in Feb 1988. Now there would be two boards. The Curse for the board and Curse Wares for the wares. There would be no tie up in the phone lines and the log on procedure would be exactly the same as The Curse so the user wouldn't have to memorize two accounts. Both up and both doing well.

Who knows what fate holds next for The Curse. It will most likely go down temporarily because of my moving (again). Or maybe it will stay up and replace Curse Wares while I'm relocating. Whatever the case may be The Curse will die hard.

-Incog/Sysop of The Curse BBS

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