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Tillek

Connection methods discussion.

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A topic for discussion on the various options available for connecting to classic Atari BBS's.

 

 

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I would be interested in what WiFi adapters are available for the Atari 8-bit series and how you connect them to your 8-bit. I have an XEGS so I have an SIO and Cartridge ports. Unlike when I owned an ST BITD, the 8-bit doesn't have an RS-232 port so another cable is necessary. With my setup, it would have to be WiFi since I can't lay an Ethernet cable. I'd also be interested in pricing.

 

I've seen the discussion regarding some Atari-based Internet BBSes along with Irata.online. However, I doubt I'd find much enjoyment connecting to them with my Mac. I'm not sure how much time I'd be able to devote to it so I can't see investing too many dollars in making it work. Sadly, I don't solder at all so I'd be looking for something that's pre-built.

 

Thanks.

 

Bob C

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1 hour ago, darwinmac said:

I would be interested in what WiFi adapters are available for the Atari 8-bit series and how you connect them to your 8-bit. I have an XEGS so I have an SIO and Cartridge ports. Unlike when I owned an ST BITD, the 8-bit doesn't have an RS-232 port so another cable is necessary. With my setup, it would have to be WiFi since I can't lay an Ethernet cable. I'd also be interested in pricing.

 

 

 

I have resisted purchasing any of these WiFi devices since many of them have trouble displaying ATASCII correctly. Most only support the telnet protocol which has a couple rules that conflict with ATASCII. For example, a control M that's not followed with a control J, requires a NULL character (displayed as a "heart character" in ATASCII). This causes some ATASCII screens to have "heart characters" where there shouldn't be "heart characters". Also ATASCII's insert character (character 255) is an escape character in telnet. This causes some WiFi devices to lock up.

 

If anyone knows of a WiFi device that properly supports ATASCII, please chime in. If you're unsure how well a WiFi device supports ATASCII, try connecting to the Basement BBS. Various WiFi devices have choked on the ATASCII found on this BBS. :) 

 

Some of these WiFi devices use an open source firmware. I imagine it might be possible to fix the firmware to support raw mode (or properrly drop into raw mode after a successful telnet handshake). 

 

So, what do I use in place of the WiFi devices? I've been using a Lantronix UDS-10 device. They're relatively inexpensive and they can be configured to properly display ATASCII and support uploads/downloads. I posted a short tutoprial on how I configured my UDS-10 in the club's Resources section. @--- Ω ---also mentioned that they used a UDS-10 connected to a WiFi bridge, so that may be an option for you.

 

There are other versions of the Lantronix devices too (including versions that support DNS lookup -- the UDS-10 does not support DNS lookup). Perhaps others can post their configurations in the Resources section too.

 

Quote

I doubt I'd find much enjoyment connecting to them with my Mac.

 

There are ATASCII term programs available for Mac. Syncterm is one of them. This would at least allow you to have the ATASCII experience on your Mac. Syncterm can be downloaded at the following link:

http://syncterm.bbsdev.net/

 

-JP

 

Edited by JohnPolka

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JP,

 

I appreciate your comments. By "much enjoyment", I meant that I'd probably prefer to actually access the BBSes (or irata.online) on my actual Atari hardware. I could always use Altirra if I wanted to go the emulation route. Syncterm has a DOS interface that reminds me of old DOS terminal programs. It'd take me some time to figure out how to dial out with it.

 

While I remember using BBSes back in the 80s and 90s, my time is limited now. That's why I wasn't looking for an expensive or time consuming solution.

 

Bob C

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3 hours ago, darwinmac said:

 

I appreciate your comments. By "much enjoyment", I meant that I'd probably prefer to actually access the BBSes (or irata.online) on my actual Atari hardware. I could always use Altirra if I wanted to go the emulation route. Syncterm has a DOS interface that reminds me of old DOS terminal programs. It'd take me some time to figure out how to dial out with it.

 

 

 

Syncterm just works with Internet BBSs. You don't need to know "how to dial out with it". It has a BBS directory that you add BBSs into. You specify the BBS' telnet address, port number, connection mode (e.g.. telnet, raw, rlogin, etc.), its screen mode (e.g., Atari mode, etc.). Then you just select the BBS from the menu and it connects automatically. The Atari BBS telnet addresses are available at http://sfhqbbs.org/ataribbslist.php

 

-JP

 

Edited by JohnPolka

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My main suggestion to anyone is to try SyncTerm first (or Qodem or one of the others).

One thing I see far too often is people spending a lot of time and money getting a "real hardware" setup.  There is a lot of posting, questions, answers, etc.....

 

But then something happens.  They call some of the BBS's once or twice.... and then disappear into the "Fruit Roll-Up Zone".  Never to be seen or heard from on the BBS's again.

 

I don't know if they just got their "fix" or if the BBS community didn't live up to their memories or expectations... but some of them just don't stick around.  So why not try one of the "easy" methods for connecting first, so that you can see how you like it (if you like it)... and if you do find yourself hooked, then look into spending the money and making the plan to find the best solution for your setup.

 

... anyway, that's my 2 cents for anyone interested in getting started with the BBS hobby.

 

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@Tillek,

 

I think that's a good suggestion. Check out BBSing first with Syncterm (or another term program) since it's free. If the hobby isn't what you're hoping for, at least you didn't spend any money checking it out.

 

I think @Bikerbob suggested on one of the BBSs that a youtube video that shows how to connect to an Atari BBS on Syncterm might be useful. How 'bout making that video, @Bikerbob ?

 

-JP

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@JohnPolka, @Tillek,

 

Point taken. I agree that it’s better to start out with no investment. I figured out the empty Syncterm directory window is where I add entries. If a sample entry had been there, it would’ve been obvious to me. A short tutorial video would’ve eliminated my frustration. It’s been too long since I dealt with a Procomm Plus-type interface. 

 

I was able to connect to Dark Lord’s BBS. For some reason, I was stuck on connecting to JP's Basement BBS. I don’t know why yet. I’m sure it’s a problem on my end. 

 

I still need to determine how to generate an Insert key on my MacBook Pro so I can add more directory entries.

 

For me, I’m hoping a BBS will have a small community of people who see everyone else as a person. I miss those civil discussions. Online today, people too often forget they’re talking to another human being with their own problems and differences. 

 

I used to to use my local BBSes to get files for my ST BITD, but that doesn’t make sense anymore. I never played the games much. It was a long distance call so I had to call late at night and limit my time online. 

 

Bob C 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, darwinmac said:

@JohnPolka, @Tillek,

 

 

I was able to connect to Dark Lord’s BBS. For some reason, I was stuck on connecting to JP's Basement BBS. I don’t know why yet. I’m sure it’s a problem on my end. 

 

 

Glad you figured out Syncterm. Someone was on my BBS earlier, so maybe that's why you were unable to connect to it. Try connecting again.

 

-JP

 

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12 hours ago, JohnPolka said:

Glad you figured out Syncterm. Someone was on my BBS earlier, so maybe that's why you were unable to connect to it. Try connecting again.

 

-JP

 

JP,

 

You were correct. The line must’ve been busy. I didn’t see a BUSY signal (Syncterm may not have a way to show it) and it was the first BBS I tried so I thought it was a mistake on my end. 

 

I didn't think through the fact that even though it’s accessed over the Internet, the underlying BBS software is either single or multi-line. 

 

Now that I know what to look for, it’s no big deal. 

 

Regarding the Insert key on my MacBookPro, I couldn’t find a key combo that worked on my system. However, it looks like Syncterm always creates a blank entry at the end of the directory. Because of this, I’ve worked around the problem. 

 

Thanks for your help.

 

Bob C  

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19 hours ago, darwinmac said:

@JohnPolka, @Tillek,

 

Point taken. I agree that it’s better to start out with no investment. I figured out the empty Syncterm directory window is where I add entries. If a sample entry had been there, it would’ve been obvious to me. A short tutorial video would’ve eliminated my frustration. It’s been too long since I dealt with a Procomm Plus-type interface. 

 

I was able to connect to Dark Lord’s BBS. For some reason, I was stuck on connecting to JP's Basement BBS. I don’t know why yet. I’m sure it’s a problem on my end. 

 

I still need to determine how to generate an Insert key on my MacBook Pro so I can add more directory entries.

 

For me, I’m hoping a BBS will have a small community of people who see everyone else as a person. I miss those civil discussions. Online today, people too often forget they’re talking to another human being with their own problems and differences. 

 

I used to to use my local BBSes to get files for my ST BITD, but that doesn’t make sense anymore. I never played the games much. It was a long distance call so I had to call late at night and limit my time online. 

 

Bob C 

 

 

Actually, I'm surprised.... When I downloaded SyncTerm, the dialing menu had tons of entries... All IBM machines of course, and half of them basically dead.

Regarding the "insert" key on the MacBook Pro keyboard, try this link... Page I found googling it.

 

The BBS community tends to be more civil than in the past.  Then again, there aren't that many.

 

File transfer is kind of an interesting topic. BBS's that are old systems from "back in the day" tend to have more files.  Ones that are "newer" tend not to bother as things are easy to get on the internet and not hard to get it back onto disks or "disk emulators".  Even games don't seem to be all that popular (something I hope we can change with better awareness).

That said, it really is a die-hard close knit community, and every extra person makes a huge difference.

 

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1 hour ago, Tillek said:

Regarding the "insert" key on the MacBook Pro keyboard, try this link... Page I found googling it.

 

The BBS community tends to be more civil than in the past.  Then again, there aren't that many.

 

As to the Mac insert key, I did find those shortcuts. Unfortunately, none of them worked with Syncterm. For some reason, Apple is allergic to an Insert key. Most of the time, it doesn’t matter. With programs like this, it’s irritating. 

 

I’m hoping the BBS community is more civil than Facebook or Twitter. I realize I’m setting a low bar. I was fortunate to spend my time on BBSes when I was in my late teens into my 20s. The BBSes I frequented were run by adults and were quite civil. 

 

I don't care about file downloads since there are many great sites who handle that better today. 

 

Bob C

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On 6/18/2019 at 11:13 PM, Tillek said:

My main suggestion to anyone is to try SyncTerm first (or Qodem or one of the others).

One thing I see far too often is people spending a lot of time and money getting a "real hardware" setup.  There is a lot of posting, questions, answers, etc.....

 

But then something happens.  They call some of the BBS's once or twice.... and then disappear into the "Fruit Roll-Up Zone".  Never to be seen or heard from on the BBS's again.

 

I don't know if they just got their "fix" or if the BBS community didn't live up to their memories or expectations... but some of them just don't stick around.  So why not try one of the "easy" methods for connecting first, so that you can see how you like it (if you like it)... and if you do find yourself hooked, then look into spending the money and making the plan to find the best solution for your setup.

 

... anyway, that's my 2 cents for anyone interested in getting started with the BBS hobby.

 

Many don't get the experience as the BBS normally is a shell of it's former self, or the screens don't get along with telnet. The BBS might not have all of it's screens done. Sometimes the sysop isn't very active, news doesn't get updated and so on. Some folks expect instant access to all levels, very few boards are running the latest incarnations of their BBS software with file attachments to their messages etc. default profiles poorly configured. I never call a BBS that constantly follows the mantra- well I didn't do that because you can upload/download/dothis/dothat online at a forum blah blah blah anyway stuff. The reasons are many.

 

Calling a BBS is a dish best served raw. Most folks don't know how to get ready for the meal.

Putty, Syncterm, Bobterm, Ansiterm, Ice T, Flickerterm, different devices, different tunneling software... can be a little work but it is worth it.

 

Some system operators are a bit down on their callers as well, advising them not to invest in anything and take the call a couple times with your winaptel box, most folks who invest in it wander in and out over time though. I think it's fine to see a caller connect to the BBS once a week or every other week, some are fine monthly... it's not like the web where you get constant notices always pulling you back in to a thread 400 posts deep with such wonderments as I like that, I like that too, I don't like that, me either, I like salad and if I had a helicopter I'd fly conversations.

 

It would be a good idea to make a BBS break out pack ready to go with the software all ready configured, raw with the ip's addresses and numbers already in it. I considered making, (A-Z), a complete BBS break in box with all the software and FAQS from wiring up, connection methods, do's and don't s, devices and so on...  It helps to give examples of upload/download also.

Edited by _The Doctor__

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On 6/19/2019 at 9:50 PM, Tillek said:

Actually, I'm surprised.... When I downloaded SyncTerm, the dialing menu had tons of entries... All IBM machines of course, and half of them basically dead.

Regarding the "insert" key on the MacBook Pro keyboard, try this link... Page I found googling it.

 

The BBS community tends to be more civil than in the past.  Then again, there aren't that many.

 

File transfer is kind of an interesting topic. BBS's that are old systems from "back in the day" tend to have more files.  Ones that are "newer" tend not to bother as things are easy to get on the internet and not hard to get it back onto disks or "disk emulators".  Even games don't seem to be all that popular (something I hope we can change with better awareness).

That said, it really is a die-hard close knit community, and every extra person makes a huge difference.

 

Tillek you can wipe those entries out. It is in the content directory for Syncterm appdata>roaming>SyncTerm>syncterm.lst   - wipe it or edit it.. and you have the list you want.

 

James

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2 hours ago, Bikerbob said:

Tillek you can wipe those entries out. It is in the content directory for Syncterm appdata>roaming>SyncTerm>syncterm.lst   - wipe it or edit it.. and you have the list you want.

 

James

I know that, but if I understood what he said, he didn't get any with his default install whereas I got tons.

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