My Apple IIe BBS

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skipper1947's picture
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I have got my Apple IIe BBS on-line, running GBBS Pro (modified) and connecting via Raspberry Pi at a whopping 2400 baud (the fasted GBBS Pro supports as far as I can tell).

I added a GUEST account (no password) if anybody wants to check it out without going through the user registration process.

It is dura-bbs.net port 6359. I chickened out of using the default port 23. Smile

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

I logged in, but didn't stay yet. Dumb me didn't realize I needed to telnet in. Once I figured it out, I tried logging in to the other A2 BBS. I'll be back Smile

skipper1947's picture
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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

Hi Rick71. Sorry, I should have mentioned to use Telnet. There are a few freeware telnet clients I have tried, the one I like the best is syncTerm:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/syncterm/

PS: I use it in Windows 7. I see on the syncTerm home page there is a version for OS X also (I think that is Mac?) It looks like this page also has the windows version as a .zip file.
http://syncterm.bbsdev.net/

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

Very Kewl Smile
I have an account now.
I'm a ham radio operator and have a friend, also a ham, that is visually impaired and has a couple of Apple IIs. I had a nice conversation on the radio about finding a couple of Apple II BBS's online. I am trying to make a couple of packet radio stations (not unlike packet switching on the internet) using classic computers, hopefully using a IIe.
Thanks for putting this up.

skipper1947's picture
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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

Thanks Rick71. You are the first New User on my board since 1993. Big smile

Good luck with your packet radio station. Keep us posted.

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

I used putty on opensuse linux. Telnet is also installed. I give that atry, too.

MarkO's picture
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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

Very Nice.... I will sign up....

MarkO

skipper1947's picture
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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

Thanks Mark. Smile

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

How did you get this working? I assume you're using tcpser on the raspberry pi?

I had that combination working at one point but I've hooked it all back up again and I just can't get it. The null modem cable works just fine with ADTPro for sending and receiving images and using ProTerm to call out is working fine. I just can't get the Apple to answer the phone when a connection comes in to it. I've tried ProTerm Unattended Mode, Teleworks GS, and GBBS Pro

TCPSER accepts the incoming telnet connection and I can see it "RINGING" in the log but nothing ever appears on the Apple IIgs side. Any advice?

skipper1947's picture
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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

Hi Thexder,
Yes, I am using Raspberry Pi on an Apple IIe (not sure how different that is from your GS). I am using a super serial card with the jumper block pointed down, and a standard (not NULL) cable.

I have the SSC card dip switches set just the way they are in this guy's youtube video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfJtD5OeR_k
He shows a closeup of his dip switches at about 40 seconds into the video. I paused the video, enlarged the screen and took a screen shot.

Here is the command line I use to launch tcpser
tcpser -s 2400 -d /dev/ttyUSB0 -p 6359 -ts -B /scripts/busy.txt -N /scripts/offline.txt

I have not gotten the offline.txt to send when I take the board offline, though the busy.txt sends OK if somebody else is on.

I hope this helps.
Skip

PS: GBBS Pro will only recognize modems from it's hardcoded list (at least in my version).

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

Thanks for the reply. I may try it with my II+ or e to see if I have any better luck.

I don't remember if I had to make changes in the control panel for the modem port or not in order to get it to work previously. It's been a couple of years since I had it all hooked up. Sad

skipper1947's picture
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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

Hugh Hood has been able to patch the xmodems file for GBBS v1.2 so it now runs at 4800 baud instead of 2400. I was tickled, and very appreciative of Hugh's help.

He tried for 9600, but there must be a handshake timing issue as it was not reliable, usually requiring manual intervention to go on-line at 9600 (after each call).

I am very happy at 4800. Smile Hugh said I could give a copy of the file if anybody wants it.

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

Thanks to Gene B. who gave me the control sequence to send; anybody calling my board with a "raw" telnet client (such as comes with Windows or Linux), should no longer see those dratted ddoouubbllee characters when they type. Thanks Gene!

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

I dialed in and read posts from 1993 in one of the RPG boards! Laughing out loud

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skipper1947's picture
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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

Yeah, I felt like I was walking among ghosts when I first restored the board. I think of those message boards as a sort-of time capsule. Smile

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

Thanks to Hugh Hood, my GBBS Pro board now runs at a whopping 4800 baud. Smile

So, I have indulged myself the past few months, programming in ACOS on GBBS Pro. My project was a first person front-end, for the Land of Spur command line game for GBBS Pro. Alas, I am nearing the end of what what I can accomplish given the development environment (4800 baud, text/ANSI 'graphics', Apple IIe, and last but not least; my skill).

I think the result would be pretty cool- if the year was 1986... Still, if anybody wants to try it out, it is #3 on the GAME menu on my board (telnet dura-bbs.net port 6359). You can try it with the GUEST account if you wish (though any progress would not be saved). I would be happy to hear any suggestions for ways I could continue to play with the program. Message board #6 on my BBS has more info (start reading at message #51)

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

I'll have to jump on and try this one out, looks good skipper. I lost interest in the BBS scene for a few months after getting frustrated with my own GBBS setup. How did you get up to 4800bps? I'm having all sorts of trouble at 1200bps but I think a lot of problems would disappear at higher speeds.

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

Hello skipper1947,

that looks great... !
I tried in the 80's something similar - not as a game - but as a kind
of graphical replacement for navigation in the paths of my BBS.....
In fact the paths have been represented by floors and the subdirs by
branching floors and the final dirs with specific topic as rooms
displaying the available files documents within that final dir like a catalog of the
room....

sincerely
speedyG

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skipper1947's picture
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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

CWJ_Wilko wrote:

I'll have to jump on and try this one out, looks good skipper. I lost interest in the BBS scene for a few months after getting frustrated with my own GBBS setup. How did you get up to 4800bps? I'm having all sorts of trouble at 1200bps but I think a lot of problems would disappear at higher speeds.

Thanks CWJ_Wilko. Hugh Hood hacked the external modem file of v1.2 so it supports 4800 baud. He tried for 9600 baud, and it actually connected, but I could not get it to recycle after a caller disconnected, and I had to manually reset it. 4800 works great though, smooth as glass.

I don't know if Hugh is on this forum or not, he responded to my plea for help in the Apple II forum on groups.google.com. I could probably send you the hacked file if you wanted to try it. (Hugh indicated I was free to give to anybody who was interested).

Dj's Place BBS (also GBBS Pro) is actually running at 9600 baud, but he is using a prototype version 2 of GBBS Pro. (telnet bbs.impakt.net port 6502) I tried to run verson 2, but could not get it to work (yet). It might have something to do with me using a Raspberry Pi as a modem.

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

speedyG wrote:

Hello skipper1947,

that looks great... !
I tried in the 80's something similar - not as a game - but as a kind
of graphical replacement for navigation in the paths of my BBS.....
In fact the paths have been represented by floors and the subdirs by
branching floors and the final dirs with specific topic as rooms
displaying the available files documents within that final dir like a catalog of the
room....

sincerely
speedyG

Sounds like a cool setup Speedy. Looks like we were both running BBSs during the same time period. My resurrected board is basically a trip down memory lane for me. I thought I would give it a try for 1 year, then decide if renew my IP address.

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

Hello skipper1947,
i was watching this thread for a while....
what made me join was the picture with the graphical display of a floor
similar to the view at my former display....
at the moment i leave the idea of resurection of the BBS besides and
focus on consolidation / repair / archiving the existing bunch of stuff
for preservation of the history.....
maybe in a few years - when that task is nearly completed - i'd switch back to this idea...
still have somewhere in the dungeons of my archives the tape backups of the former BBS....
speedyG

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In early days I had a lot of money but no time - now I have no money but a lot of time....
the second part includes less friends but a lot more joy on life....

skipper1947's picture
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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

Good luck with your project Speedy. I hope your backup tape is good. Hopefully "in the dungeons" is a figure of speech. Smile

I was pleasantly surprised when I found ALL of my 3.5" backup disks were in perfect condition.

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

I joined. I've never used BBS, so this is a new and exciting experience for me.

skipper1947's picture
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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

Thanks for visiting KF5SDR, I hope you find it interesting. Smile Here are a couple resources:

http://www.vintagecomputerbbslist.com/
http://www.telnetbbsguide.com/

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

In case anybody is interested, I have added ProTERM Special display to the Chess Club module on my BBS. It now supports ANSI, ProTERM Special and Text. Admittedly, the Text version is next to useless, but I think the ProTERM version is serviceable, even if a bit clunky. The ANSI version is the best and fairly easy to use.

So, if anybody has a desire to use their vintage Apple to connect to a vintage Apple BBS, but didn't see anything to do once they logged on, this might provide something of interest. Of course, there are many vastly superior Chess programs on-line, but they don't have that old-timey Apple IIe feel. Smile

Being a single-user BBS means you would make a move, then call back in a day or so to make another (kind-of like fast postal chess, I guess)

My telnet address dura-bbs.net:6359

Screenshots (The screenshot did not survive the size reduction very well I am afraid).
http://www.applefritter.com/?q=content/chess-club-screenshots-dura-network

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

Rick71

Let us know how you get on with the packet station, I was thinking of trying the same. I have a PacComm Tiny II that I am itching to get hooked up to a spare apple IIe. G6AML.

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

By the way, if you want to see how a web portal into the BBS looks, here is a link:
sfhqbbs.org/telnet-dura.php

Thanks to Tillek of Star Fleet HQ BBS for setting this up on his site. Star Fleet HQ BBS is an Atari BBS (also available on the above linke)

6502enhanced's picture
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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

Hi Skipper,

I was now several times on your BBS and I like it very much!

Could you please explain your setup:

1.)
You said this is your command on the Raspberry:

tcpser -s 2400 -d /dev/ttyUSB0 -p 6359 -ts -B /scripts/busy.txt -N /scripts/offline.txt

So 6359 is the port?

Where is the connection to "dura-bbs.net" - "scripts/busy.text" which leads to what you have written in GBBS Pro?

2.)
Which modem did you choose in GBBS Pro for the Raspberry PI ?

Thanks!

skipper1947's picture
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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

Hi 6502enhanced, glad you like the board. Smile

Yes, 6359 is the port number.

As for "scripts/busy.txt", do you mean; how does the Raspberry Pi know the board is busy, so it will display the contents of busy.txt to the remote caller? That was a mystery to me as well as a few others. I conducted some experiments on this. It appears the Pi has no idea if anybody else is logged on to the BBS, it doesn't even know if the BBS is actually on-line. What it does know- is if somebody else is connected to the Pi. For example, I would have no program at all running on the Apple. I would then open a telnet connection to the Pi, which would succeed. I then try to open a second connection, this second connection will get the contents of the busy.txt file (saying the board is busy, even though it is actually off-line).

Note that I have never gotten it to display the contents of the second text file "offline.txt". What I do know when I plan to have it off-line (for backups, etc), is open a connection to the Pi after I take the board down. This triggers the "busy.txt" file for anybody who tries to connect (as described above).

As for which modem I have GBBS configured for. Note that my version of GBBS Pro 1.2 uses a file called extmodems for this. I understand newer versions do not have this file so not sure if my experience would apply. Anyway, I tell it to use an external modem via the Super Serial Card, and specify Hayes Smartmodem. Note that GBBS Pro 1.2 only had Hayes Smartmodem at 2400 baud, Hugh Hood modified it to support 4800.

I hope this is helpful. Smile

6502enhanced's picture
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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

Hi Skipper,

thanks for that explanation!

I also use GBBS Pro V1.2 and with the Hayes 2400 it works fine!

No, what I mean is:

how get you your telnet dress: dura-bbs.net?

How tell I to the Raspberry/tcpser which adress I want to use?

Do I have to do this in GBBS? At the Raspberry?

EDIT:

Ah ok I see - I have to connect my domain with the IP of the Raspberry - that's all isn't it?

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

Yeah, that is it, pretty much. It has been over a year, so my memory is a bit vague. I do not have a fixed IP address, so I use www.noip.com. It installs a small utility on my PC, which tells noip.com what my current assigned IP address is. I registered dura-bbs.net with noip.com, and it directs all telnet connections to the currently assigned IP address.

I had to configure my WiFi modem/router to open up the specified port #, and had it direct incoming traffic to my Apple IIe. My Apple IIe is assigned a fixed local IP address within my modem/router. Actually, to be more accurate; the traffic is directed to the Raspberry Pi, not the Apple IIe. The Pi is physically connected to the Super Serial card on the Apple IIe.

I hope this makes sense. Smile

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

Hi Skip,

thanks a lot for all your help!

I have done it. All is working fine with GBBS Pro V1.2.

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

Great, glad to hear it. Is it open to us calling?

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

Well, my first work was to set up GBBS in general and to establish the connection - that is done. Now I will need a bit of time to arrange the boards (add some) and to set up my Apple IIe which will run it. I bought a fan and now I am testing how the temperature is developing ...

I will let you know when you can call in.

By the way: Do you know a modification for GBBS Pro that it makes possible to use 2 modem lines. So I could have one SSC with the Raspberry PI for telnet access and another SSC with a real modem for real dial-up access.

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

OK, thanks.

I don't know how you would set it up for both telnet and dial-in, sorry. Are you talking about manually switching from one mode to the other, or some sort of multi-tasking?

Either way, I am thinking you are talking about hardware external to the Apple. Multi-tasking (accepting calls from either source), would be cool but I think would require a computer and hardware external to the Apple. The Apple would be unaware of the actual source, they would look identical to the Apple (such as a Hayes modem).

Just 'sky-bluing' here, I don't have a clue what I am talking about. Smile

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

6502enhanced wrote:

By the way: Do you know a modification for GBBS Pro that it makes possible to use 2 modem lines. So I could have one SSC with the Raspberry PI for telnet access and another SSC with a real modem for real dial-up access.

GBBS will only be able to use one Super Serial Card, as far as I know. Extensive modification to the ACOS language might allow you to modify this, but it's probably beyond most people. Multi-line bulletin board systems did exist back in the 1980s in the way you describe, and could 'see' between 1 and 7 modems installed in an Apple II system. D-Dial (Diversi-Dial?) was one of these.

This type of software and setup could work, with one SSC dedicated to the Pi and the other one hooked up to an actual Hayes modem, but again I don't think GBBS supports this out of the box.

I found this text document which describes a typical multi-line setup of the era: http://software.bbsdocumentary.com/APPLE/II/DIVERSIDIAL/ddial.txt

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

CWJ_Wilko wrote:

GBBS will only be able to use one Super Serial Card, as far as I know. Extensive modification to the ACOS language might allow you to modify this, but it's probably beyond most people.

And beyond what most people would be willing to do.

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

OK, yes that seems to be the situation with GBBS Pro - only one modem.

I tested Diversi-Dial (thanks for the link) - but so far I wasn't able to make a connection to the PI.

The more I look at your BBS Skip, the more I'm impressed by the modifications you made to GBBS. The different arranged menu and the Ansi check is really great.

I will walk forward with GBBS Pro V1.2. At the moment I try to handle the download section. But so far I couldn't identify how to change the programs to download.
And the next point will be to arrange more boards. But this seems to be a good question to me what for boards with which topics make sense. On different other BBS I see that people prefer only one general board to talk about all different topics and don't like to have to much specified boards.

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

Thanks for the compliment. Smile Modifying the board was my main hobby for several years in the late eighties. Much of the time I spent just trying to understand things. I will try to help as much as I remember.

When you say "At the moment I try to handle the download section. But so far I couldn't identify how to change the programs to download." do you mean you can't find the code that handles it? I shuffled my modules around so can't say for sure, but I think it should be in a module called misc.seg.s Look for a routine there labelled "transfer", here is what mine looks like (partial snippet). If the user enteres "1" it sets the upload/download paths to the Mac folders. Note that actual paths are replaced by drive specifiers, so that "J:" might specify /path/sub-path while j1: would then specify /path/sub-path1


transfer
on nocar goto drop.ud
down.title
print \'File Transfer section

[1] Mac [2] Apple II series [3] IBM
[4] Atari [5] Amiga [Q] Quit area'\
if info(5) print "[6] SYSOP"
dg$="Which? :":gosub prompt
zz$="":if i$="" or i$="Q" goto end.ud
;..zz$=volumn, a$=file drive spec, zx$=file description drive spec
if i$="1" zy$="[Mac]":zz$="/Q2":a$="j:":zx$="j1:"

As for your sub-boards, note that I have run into a corrupt message pointer when I raised the number of retained messages in sub #1 above 60. This has happened more than once, however sub #6 currently retains 100 messages with no problem. I have no idea how the corrupt message pointer happens, but if I keep sub #1 to 60, I don't get it. Anyway, this might suggest that more, smaller sub-boards would be more robust than 1 big sub-board.

Hope this makes sense. Sorry for the rambling reply. I don't get many opportunities to "talk shop" with GBBS. Smile

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

Hi Skip,

thanks a lot for all that information. This is all new for me and I feel that I have to move forward step by step.

I have arranged the BBS so far, got an Internet address for it from your linked page.

I think I will start the BBS in the next days - and then learning by doing (or I have to question you Smile ).

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

Hi Skip,

here I am with another question towards your cool Logo "Dura Europos BBS" at the starting screen.

Have you written that into "MAIN.SEG.S"?

Where do I have to place a Logo like that in, in MAIN.SEG.S?

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

Actually there are 3 separate program modules that display the title. One for ANSI, one for ProTERM and one for text. The logon.seg.s module detects which display the caller is using, then calls the appropriate module to display the title. When finished, the title segment returns to logon.seg.s to finish the login process.

So far as I know, ANSI graphics cannot be stored directly in a file, so it generates ANSI graphics 'on the fly' with code. Anytime it generates a ASCII value higher than 126, it must first execute a "poke hi,255", then when finished, do a "poke hi,127". I added a link to the ANSI module if you want to look at it. Smile
https://www.dropbox.com/s/es9i3cy5y9k91oe/ansi.title.s.txt?dl=0

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

Thanks a lot for the information and the link!

It seems that I do have a long way in front of me ... Smile

I will go step by step.

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

OK, good luck. I guess I don't know how interested you are in learning to program GBBS Pro/ACOS, a not-very-active (i.e. "dead") platform; but if I can help, let me know. Also, I don't want to lead anybody "astray" in thinking there is a lot of user interest in vintage Apple BBS sites. Smile If you are mostly just interested in the site for it's own sake, it can be a satisfying experience.

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

Regarding splash screens, I created mine through trial-and-error adjustments of the default connect text that comes with GBBS. Once I understood how it PRINTed text, I used an ASCII art generator online to create my image, and then copy-pasted this into one of the GBBS files, I assume it was Main?

Of course to do more complex ProTerm graphics like on Dura, that's a whole different story.

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

Hi Skip, hi Wilko,

thanks a lot for your help! I'm getting forward - maybe there will be something on air next time - I'll let you know.

It really makes a lot fun to arrange such a board. And that is what it is all about. My goal is not to have as much people as possible on the board. I want to arrange a BBS in the style of the 80's because it makes a lot of fun to do all of the work that is necessary. And if people like to use it I'm happy to share this wonderful old BBS-Style with them.

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

Hi Skip,

towards the Apple II, Duodisk and GBBS - all is working without problems.

But one problem I do have with the Raspberry PI and tcpser:

I make tcpser run like you described above - that works well - but after about 20 hours or so it shuts down by itself ?? Then I can start it again and it works without problems for about the next 20 hours till it shuts down by itself again.

What can I do to avoid tcpser's shutdown ?

Thanks!

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

Weird. You mean it actually powers down, or freezes up or something? I have not had that problem. Mine has been running for over a year without issue.

I would suspect it is related to your Pi, and not tcpser itself, unless your version has some sort of memory leak or something.

Sorry, I do not know much about the Raspberry Pi. You might try asking your question in a Pi forum, or try googling "Raspberry Pi Shutdown" or something. Sad

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

sounds to me like a setup problem and a invoked power-save-option at the pi
or a release and renew IP-adress
speedyG

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Re: My Apple IIe BBS

Thanks for your help!

In another forum (C64 Smile ) I got the answer to add "-l 7" to the command to put out maximal logging messages.

It started working good - we'll see how long that works ...