Prodigy Online

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Prodigy Online

Postby James » Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:30 pm

Two memories I strongly associate with my IBM PCjr is using Prodigy and playing Space Quest. Before the "Public" internet there were online services and BBS. Prodigy was my favorite. Every day I could be found on Prodigy's Bulletin Boards. There was a PCjr User's group. I also read and posted to BBs dedicated to BASIC programming, assembly and IBM (branded) hardware.

I was with Prodigy from 1990 -1996. Prodigy did not natively support the PCjr but PC Enterprises modified the Tandy driver to work with the PCjr. If you had the Tandy Mod you could run Prodigy in Tandy mode natively. The PCjr ran Prodigy beautifully especially if you had a hard drive. I originally had a 2400 baud modem, which was the maximum that the local Tymnet supported. Sometime around 1994 Tymnet upgraded the local node to 9600. I used the PCjr until 1993 when I upgraded to a 386.

I had a Prodigy T-shirt that I bought from Prodigy on Prodigy. It was my first online purchase. I have been looking for one on ebay to no avail, though I did find the below pin.

ImageImage
-PCjr (1989)-DOS 3.3, Racore Drive II, jrIDE-128 MB DOM, jrExcellerator, Tandy Mod, Serial Card, Combo v2, Config Plus, IBM Parallel Port, Megaboard, Xircom PE3-10BT
-PCjr (2001)-DOS 3.3, jrIDE-128 MB DOM, NEC v20, Parallel Port, Comswap, Xircom PE3-10BT
James
 
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Re: Prodigy Online

Postby Brutman » Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:13 pm

I was a BBS user starting in late 1984 or early 1985. Compuserve existed back then; Prodigy was just a startup at that time. Both probably had hourly connection rates that I could not pay for by delivering newspapers. ;-0 (Remember, back then even local calls were 10 cents a minute.)

My first modem was a 1200 bps Hayes external. After that, there was a 2400 bps Hayes. That was some beautiful hardware. I pity the people who used the 300 bps Novation based modem ... I've tried using one and it was an awful experience.

The Jr was fine at 2400 bps as long as it did not need to access the floppy. Above that speed it becomes very sensitive to the time it takes to scroll the screen or process the serial stream from the keyboard.

Ethernet is far better. :-)
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Re: Prodigy Online

Postby James » Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:03 pm

Prodigy was unique in that it didn't have hourly charges. It cost, if I remember correctly, around $15 a month for unlimited service and their business model was based on having an advertisement on a portion of the screen. Prodigy made local telephone numbers available through Tymnet. Local numbers were included in my base phone bill so the $15 was the only cost. They tweaked the price structure over the years but in the end I think it was like $25-$30 for unlimited service.

We had some great BBS in Central New Jersey. I remember one called "The Magic Dominion". I hung out with the SysOp a couple of times watching the BBS operate. Believe it or not it wasn't as boring as it sounds.

My younger brother, who was into computers a few years before me, used to frequent a bunch of different BBS in the mid '80's. He had an Atari 800XL. Back in those days you had to check the telephone book to see what was a local call. More than once my brother got into trouble for going to BBS outside the local area.
-PCjr (1989)-DOS 3.3, Racore Drive II, jrIDE-128 MB DOM, jrExcellerator, Tandy Mod, Serial Card, Combo v2, Config Plus, IBM Parallel Port, Megaboard, Xircom PE3-10BT
-PCjr (2001)-DOS 3.3, jrIDE-128 MB DOM, NEC v20, Parallel Port, Comswap, Xircom PE3-10BT
James
 
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Re: Prodigy Online

Postby Vorticon » Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:04 am

Back in the early 90's I tried most of the available commercial online services including Prodigy, GEnie, Compuserve, Delphi and Sierra, but in the end found that GEnie fit my needs well and stuck with it until it was shut down. While the graphical online services looked nice, it was my impression that most of the interesting discussions were happening on the more traditional text based ones.
For those of you still longing for these services, BIX (Byte Information Exchange) is still alive and well, although under the name of Noise Level Zero. It can be reached via telnet or through a web interface at NLzero.com. It costs $40 a year and really works great on the Jr. Lots of interesting discussions still going on too :)
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Re: Prodigy Online

Postby James » Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:28 pm

I also had an account with BIX in the early 1990's. I joined BIX in 1991 and kept it for a few years. I think I got rid of BIX in 1994 when the company I worked at closed and I had to make some tough financial decisions. It was a completely different experience. It was more of a professional level crowd.

I know of NLZ but always hesitated because I couldn't determine how active it is. Are you a member? I went through the sample forums (when they worked) but didn't recognize any names from BIX.
-PCjr (1989)-DOS 3.3, Racore Drive II, jrIDE-128 MB DOM, jrExcellerator, Tandy Mod, Serial Card, Combo v2, Config Plus, IBM Parallel Port, Megaboard, Xircom PE3-10BT
-PCjr (2001)-DOS 3.3, jrIDE-128 MB DOM, NEC v20, Parallel Port, Comswap, Xircom PE3-10BT
James
 
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Re: Prodigy Online

Postby Vorticon » Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:27 pm

Yes I joined a couple of weeks ago. I was never a member of BIX before, so everybody there is new to me :)
I posted a couple of messages in the Lounge just as a test to see how active things are, but have not had a chance to dig deep as of yet.
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