<P>All of have our favorite magazines. One that I have been reading for about 15 years is going on-line. Hand writting has been on the wall for some time.</P>
<P>Before many of you knew anything about the Internet there was a on-line community that dialed into community Bulletin Board Systems. A little history review is needed before I go into the above headline. I initially launched my dial-up &lt;a href=”<A href=’http://www.bbsnets.com/”>BBS</a’>http://www.bbsnets.com/”&gt;BBS&lt;/a</A>&gt; in 1987 it ran on a Commodore Colt with a 8088 processor with a 47 meg RLL hard drive. It had one of the best modems of the time which maxed out at 2400 bps. At the time I was king of the hill in my community. It had one dial in line and could handle around 250 callers a day. Most called locally but may called from all over the United States. They logged in and stayed a few minutes to download mail/file’s or play a game.. My system was like thousands of other small hobby boards. We featured shareware, forums and on-line games through a text colorized ANSI interface. </P>
<P>My system grew and just prior to the revolution known as the WWW we had 14 dial-up lines running on a several 486 machines using desqview to multitask the command windows via Dos 5.0&nbsp; We had nearly 5000 users of which nearly 500 payed a monthly fee to have access to premium sections of the site. We actually made money :)</P>
<P>This is where Boardwatch magazine comes in. This publication which in it’s hay day had nearly 100 pages of color content. Kept BBS sysops all over the world connected and up to date on the latest happenings and new technologies. We all chased faster connection speeds and craved to learn the more on the latest and greatest software packages, tools, games and resources. </P>
<P>For our primitive beginnings we offered 5 minute delayed stock feeds for free as early as 1990. CNN acknowledges today that there stock feed is 15 minutes delayed isn’t technology grand. We were in effect community AOL’s as many of us offered a large number of services. I was one of the first to offer e-mail when most had no idea what e-mail was.</P>
<P>Companies such as US Robotics, Hayes, 3com owed much of there financial success to Boardwatch and BBS operators. People who dial-up today at 56k can thank BBS Sysops. They were the driving force behind faster modems. Heck the modem companies catered to the BBS Sysop and had special programs in place to entice us to purchase the latest models heavily discounted which in turn fueled our dial-up users to upgrade to the latest standard.</P>
<P>When the WWW revolution hit most small BBS systems folded or went off-line as they failed to go the next step and migrate to the web. I and a number of people I have known for nearly 15 years migrated to the web and our &lt;a href=”<A href=’http://www.bbsnets.com/”>Net’>http://www.bbsnets.com/”&gt;Net</A> based BBS&lt;/a&gt; are still thriving. There were a few bleak years but then people started looking for communities of users again that refrained from spamming and actually could have intelligent conversations in forums. So today &lt;a href=”<A href=’http://www.bbsnets.com/”>BBS’>http://www.bbsnets.com/”&gt;BBS</A> Networks&lt;/a&gt; has nearly 25,000 users.</P>
<P>Well Boardwatch changed it’s BBS focus early into the www revolution and went after the ISP crowd. The ISP owners who subscribed were not so surprisingly were in a large extent Ex-Bulletin Board Operators. The magazine was sold a number of years ago to Penton and the longtime Editor Jack Rickard quit and fell of the face of the earth. Thus the demise of the magazine began. He was the foundation to why that magazine was a success.</P>
<P>Penton changed the format and it has been downhill ever sense. The magazine has been sold again to a company I have never heard of called &lt;a href=”<A href=’http://www.lightreading.com/”>Light’>http://www.lightreading.com/”&gt;Light</A> Reading&lt;/a&gt;. &lt;a href=”<A href=’http://www.boardwatch.com/”>Boardwatch</a’>http://www.boardwatch.com/”&gt;Boardwatch&lt;/a</A>&gt; will now cease being a published magazine and become a net based publication. We will see what happens now but the good ol days are definitely gone. I imagine my collection of Boardwatch magazines that go a long way back will probably be a collectors item someday.</P>
<P>[&lt;a href=”<A href=’http://www.boardwatch.com/”>www.boardwatch.com</a’>http://www.boardwatch.com/”&gt;www.boardwatch.com&lt;/a</A>&gt;]</P>