. ...The Viewdata Revival
toxic, probably
In the mid to late eighties the Bulletin Board scene was at its peak, there were hundreds of the things run by enthusiastic hobbiests with far too much time on their hands. One of the most popular types of BBs were those which used viewdata and consequently were run on BBC Micros - the reason being that Acorns were a popular home computer and a modem could be attached to it easier than any other micro which was popular at the time.

There was a real drive amongst the acorn comms community - Viewdata systems opened and closed weekly. Budding musicians and programmers created music demos. Sysops joined together to form viewdata networks. People competed to design the best graphics, attract the most callers, provide the most original features, the most lines

In 1990, CCl4 was generally accepted as the most popular viewdata BBs in the country. It was receiving around 300 calls per week on two phone lines and the users were leaving upto 1000 messages a day. It had a user base of a size that these days a small ISP would be proud of.

Then as the nineties crept on, something happened. I think one of the biggest things was that the 'gang' of us which was most enthusiastic towards viewdata were all around the same age so we all either got jobs or went to university at the same time. The other main reason was the rise in popularity of ANSI. Awful stuff. From an Acorn point of view I also put some blame on Doggysoft for point blank refusing to put any viewdata support in their communications software. At least Hugo Fiennes acknowledged the greatness of viewdata and included it in !Arcterm, but ArcBBS didn't support it. ANSI had won.

Now the tide has turned. The dialup bulletin board is all but dead, even the ANSI and Fido ones. It is the time for viewdata to reclaim it's position at the top of the hill. In the world of the internet a scrolly bbs or the like is pointless, when there's so much out there what the hell do you want with one of those? but a Viewdata bbs that you can telnet to or log on to via a bit of javascript? Now you're talking...the bitch is back.

. A handful of vintage viewdata frames...

a few screenshots of some viewdata frames from the beginning of the decade, a time when viewdata BBSes were plentiful.


Get logged on!

Viewdata client stuff for the windows, x-windows, Riscos, mac...blah blah blah. Download something and get logged on this very minute

connect to CCl4 now!
If you have a Java capable browser then connect to CCl4 right now!
t e t r a  c  h  l  o  r  o  m  e  t  h  a  n  e
toxic, probably

? 1999 CCl4
placenta cafae sumus