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From: Stephen Hayes
To: All
Date: 2003-03-26 07:20:16
Subject: The *reason* for the new British Mailing lists

* Forwarded (from: GEN_BRITAIN) by Stephen Hayes using timEd/2 1.10.y2k.
* Originally from Stephen Hayes (8:7903/10) to Rod Neep.
* Original dated: Wed Mar 26, 07:18

Rod Neep wrote in a message to All:

 RN> From: Rod Neep <listcoord{at}>

 RN> Let me explain the complete history, and hence the reasons for
 RN> setting  up new British mailing lists and a new system.

 RN> In the beginning, before the days of the Internet as we know it
 RN> today, a  group of us established a bulletin board system here in
 RN> Britain,  effectively just the same as mailing lists, (at that time
 RN> called  "forums") discussing genealogy. We set up individual
 RN> dial-in computers  in each local telephone area, so that people
 RN> could connect using a local  phone call. This was back in the days
 RN> of 1200/75 bits per second modems.  (1200 receive, 75 send. Putting
 RN> that in perspective, a character "a" of  plain text takes up 7
 RN> bits). Slow. Very slow indeed!

 RN> Each night, each computer had a time slot to dial into a "hub"
 RN> computer  to transfer all the day's mail, and to collect the mail
 RN> from other  computers. We established a "web" of computers
 RN> throughout Britain in  this way, and in the end, we had 65
 RN> inter-linked computers, shuffling  genealogy mail throughout
 RN> Britain, using a software called "Wildcat".  Messages posted one
 RN> end of the country on a local bulletin board system  took at least
 RN> one day, and sometimes two, to reach a computer at the  other end
 RN> of the country so that others could read it. And a day or two  to
 RN> receive a reply. Heady stuff.

I still run a BBS connected to Fidonet and FamilyNet, and I am replying to
this message on the FamilyNet BBS side, since the newsgroup is also gated
into the FamilyNet BBS network.

I prefer the BBS software to the newsgroup software, as the BBS software
was written for interactive (many-to-many) discussion, whereas newsgroup
software was written for one-to-many discussion, and mailinglist software
is an unsatisfactory kludge of e-mail software, which was designed for
one-to-one communication.

The Fidonet BBS network still exists, and has several genealogy forums --
it's a pity that more people don't make use of them, since in many ways, as
I have pointed out, they are better than mailing lists.

For more information about genealogy BBSs see the following web page:

Keep well

Steve Hayes
  E-mail: hayesstw{at} 
___ timEd/2 1.10.y2k
 - Origin: Khanya BBS, Tshwane, South Africa [012] 333-0004 (8:7903/10)

--- WtrGate v0.93.p9 Unreg
 * Origin: Khanya BBS, Tshwane, South Africa [012] 333-0004 (5:7106/20)
SEEN-BY: 633/267 270
@PATH: 7106/20 22 7102/1 140/1 106/2000 633/267

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