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AOL Shuts Down CompuServe

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the real-men-use-base-eight dept.

Communications 224

Oracle Goddess writes "After 30 years, CompuServe is all but dead, as AOL has pulled the plug on the once-great company. The original CompuServe service, first offered in 1979, provided its users with addresses such as 73402,3633 and was the first major online service. CompuServe users will be able to use their existing CompuServe Classic (as the service was renamed) addresses at no charge via a new e-mail system, but the software that the service was built on has been shut down. Tellingly, the current version of the service's client software, CompuServe for Windows NT 4.0.2, dates back to 1999."

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Wow this is a day... (5, Informative)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581143)

I still remember my compuserve address... 70324,1777...

I can't for the live of me remember my pins, or phone numbers, but this ancient email address I have remembered to this day...

Re:Wow this is a day... (1)

phil reed (626) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581255)

76012,3621 here...

Re:Wow this is a day... (1)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581277)

Same here. I wonder whether AOL will make the discussion groups and other archived stuff available?

76344,2701

Re:Wow this is a day... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28581671)

75030,772 here, although I did have to look it up in my notes. Ah, the memories of dialing up at 1200.

The CompuServe POV forum was _the_ place for POV discussion back in the early 90's. Nowadays you get more POV discussion that you could ever want from news.povray.org, even though the current version has been in beta for like 2 years.

POV-Ray was the reason I bought a 486 DX instead of a 486 SX and CompuServe was where the original POV-Ray community grew.

R.I.P. CompuServe

Re:Wow this is a day... (0)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581689)

Whoa, how did I become Anonymous? Oh, well, that was me.

Re:Wow this is a day... (4, Funny)

friedo (112163) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581853)

71350,2360 here. Sometimes I miss the days of terminal emulators and 1200bps modems. Then I remember how long it took to download pr0n, and I don't anymore.

DOWNLOAD ZMODEM! ...NO CARRIER

Re:Wow this is a day... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28581259)

72677,464.

We all remember.

Hey gramps (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581395)

What's the "get off my lawn" equivalent for young->old

Re:Hey gramps (2, Funny)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581457)

What's the "get off my lawn" equivalent for young->old

We wouldn't know -- it would be something utterly intelligible to us, but we'd recognize the word "fossil" in it somewhere...

Re:Hey gramps (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581473)

s/intelligible/unintelligible/

(Senility is already setting in...)

Re:Hey gramps (2, Funny)

spiffyman (949476) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581467)

I don't know, but we should come up with one. "Go back to the nursing home?"

Re:Hey gramps (3, Funny)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581865)

"Go back to the nursing home"

We're all LOST you insensitive clod!

Re:Hey gramps (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581869)

I would go with something like "The Buffet is on Tuesdays", or maybe "Ruuuuuunnnn, change is coming!!!".

Re:Hey gramps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28582003)

What's the "get off my lawn" equivalent for young->old

"Get off my intarwebs, CAVEMAN OOG!"
Or simply end with "old man", if outside /.

Re:Wow this is a day... (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581459)

72127,3114

I was also on GEnie, but ironically don't remember my login there.

Re:Wow this is a day... (1)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581615)

Former CompuServe and GEnie. Alas, I don't remember my logins either.

Re:Wow this is a day... (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581883)

I was D.DVORKIN1 on GEnie, since my father already had D.DVORKIN. Kept meaning to change it, since people were always mixing us up, and then of course it wasn't an issue any more.

Alas, GEnie! (And "Genie" was never the same.) Really a great place to get an introduction to the online world. Those endless exchanges on the SFRT taught me a lot, and I think the level of the writing was higher there than in any other online forum I've ever seen. (Of course, the fact that it was the unofficial home of SFWA for a number of years didn't hurt -- when you have a bunch of professional writers posting, other posters tend to follow suit.) Actually, Slashdot is the closest thing I've found since. I'm not sure if this is praise of Slashdot or an indictment of, well, everything else. ;)

Re:Wow this is a day... (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581517)

I still remember my compuserve address... 70324,1777...

Hello, Christian Gross.

Re:Wow this is a day... (2, Funny)

flydpnkrtn (114575) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581769)

Congratulations, you can Google! [barnesandnoble.com] ... IIS 2... wow that was a while ago :)

Apparently you can also read his email address in his username tag line! Great job...

(I hope this post didn't come across too "assholish"... I'm just joking around)

Re:Wow this is a day... (2, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581877)

Nah, it came across with the proper level of assholish.

Re:Wow this is a day... (1)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581937)

Nope not at all... More rather, I as well looked to see what was referenced to that address and thought wow THAT WAS A WHILE AGO...

Re:Wow this is a day... (2, Interesting)

BrittanyGites (871668) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581587)

I wonder if Compuserve was running on DEC hardware with TOPS-10 I remember my University username was [201,108]. Never seen user id like that anywhere else.

Anyone know ?

Re:Wow this is a day... (2, Informative)

phil reed (626) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581759)

I wonder if Compuserve was running on DEC hardware with TOPS-10

Originally, yes. I believe they moved to VAX in later years, but kept the user IDs.

Re:Wow this is a day... (3, Informative)

MaxiCat_42 (711203) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581871)

Yep, Compuserve probably knew more about DECsystem-10s than DEC did. At one point
they even designed their own power supply to replace the DEC one as it was much
more efficient. They designed and built their own disk controllers to use cheaper
(IBM) disks. They had a LOT of them!

Phil.

Re:Wow this is a day... (2, Informative)

a9db0 (31053) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581601)

71052,3331

Great. That I can remember, but I can't remember my ATM PIN!

I still have the CS binder-in-a-book that came with my subscription, and my old OzWin (Anyone else remember that?) logs and email files around. Last email date: 1998.

Re:Wow this is a day... (1)

k2dbk (724898) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581701)

Newbie. I was 70160,306. And in my day, we really did dial up at 300bps. And liked it, because it was faster than 110.

Re:Wow this is a day... (1)

TheOldBear (681288) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581727)

76116,3650

Used to hang out on Will Zachman's Canopus forum, using an off line CI$ agent called 'Golden Compass'

Re:Wow this is a day... (1)

DenaliPrime (6153) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581841)

71451,300 here.

Re:Wow this is a day... (1)

StuartHankins (1020819) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581949)

72343,1545. RIP CompuServe. I miss ya.

Re:Wow this is a day... (5, Interesting)

Doctor O (549663) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582005)

Oh well, 100531,3420 here. Yup, we Europeans had different numbers, and back in the old days before Eternal September you could even tell the geographical area of someone just by his CIS ID.

For all those who tagged this story "andnothingofvaluewaslost": Back in the day, you could only join CompuServe providing ID and using your real name. It's amazing how much nicer people behaved and how much more substance there was in the discussions. Because, you know, you didn't want your name associated with talking out of your ass. Much less flaming also, leave alone trolling. The trolls couldn't hold onto their accounts for long, because without ID they wouldn't get new ones. Oh, and for the same reasons there was no spam whatsoever.

It was a great time. It went down the drain when German laws dictated that everybody had to be allowed in, using nicknames, and without proof of identity. Then came the trolls, the idiots, and Eternal September followed.

I was a sysop, and even a wizop (Wizard Sysop, basically "root" of the forum), and have seen much of the shit which started when AOL took over. That basically killed the spirit. It's a real pity that I signed a pretty badass NDA, otherwise all that would make for a great book on how *not* to run an online service.

*sigh*

I feel old now. Being online used to be fun and fascinating and educational. Nowadays it's, well, shit.

animated gifs (1)

g4ry (1556149) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581161)

Yet the internet will be littered with dancing Jesus for years to come.

Nothing new (5, Informative)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581163)

AOL shut down Compuserv LONG ago, when they bought it. The only thing that remained was the name. The techy goodness that differentiated CS from the mass appeal of AOL was gone.
They even dialed into the same modem bank, with exactly the same phone numbers.

[hanging head] Yes, I had an AOL acct and a CS acct at the same time.

Re:Nothing new (2, Informative)

JohnHegarty (453016) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581257)

Exactly , the Compuserve clients released by AOL were just re-branded version of the AOL software.

Started with AOL 4.0 if i remember correctly.

Re:Nothing new (5, Informative)

R.Mo_Robert (737913) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581363)

This article is wrong: AOL isn't shutting down the entirety of CompuServe.

AOL simulatenously operated both CompuServe 2000 (the AOL-based network) and CompuServe Classic, as it came to be called. AOL isn't "pulling the plug" on the entire company as this summary says; they're merely shutting down the CompuServe Classic service, which they have hardly touched one bit in the last ten years anyway. There are no plans to shut down CompuServe 2000, and users have the option of migrating to this service.

So, while your comment is mostly on the mark, it's important to note that AOL neither shut down CompuServe when they bought it (they operated Classic simultaneously with the new service for 10 years!), nor are they shutting down the service (CompuServe 2000) to which you refer.

Also, this was announced in April, so it's hardly news, other than the June 30 shutdown date--which already happened.

Re:Nothing new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28581391)

[hanging head] Yes, I had an AOL acct and a CS acct at the same time.

Really? Who'd a thunk it?
This was totally something i wouldn't have been able to guess at all.

Re:Nothing new (1)

Vesperi (10991) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581399)

AOL wasn't allowed to purchase CompuServe directly, UUNET (really MCI or MFS, can't remember who owned UUNET at the time) bought it then carved off the consumer level accounts and sold it to AOL. Part of the deal was AOL transferred all the business service accounts and it's dial-up pops to UUNET and they got merged in with the dial-up pops from CS and the existing UUDIAL network. Then both systems leased POPs access back from UUNET. After that point most multi-state dial-up ISPs where either reselling UUNET or SPRINT dial pop access and where just content providers rather then actuall ISPs.

Signed up in 1987 (3, Interesting)

gcalvin (325380) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581165)

I don't remember my Account Number, but I signed up in 1987, shortly after I bought my Atari 1040ST and a 2400-baud modem. I got hooked on the CB Simulator, and spent myself into severe debt. Good times.

Re:Signed up in 1987 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28581183)

I was born in 1987

Re:Signed up in 1987 (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28581317)

I was born in 1987

Weird, I fucked your mom in 1986....

Re:Signed up in 1987 (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28581761)

So I have you to thank for premature baldness?

Re:Signed up in 1987 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28581433)

I wasn't.

Re:Signed up in 1987 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28581577)

My first computer is older than you -- got offa my lawn!

Re:Signed up in 1987 (1)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581319)

I signed up in 1983 or so, after I got my Atari 800 and 300-baud modem. The CB Simulator was fun. I still remember fondly that people back then typed complete sentences and words, not like the ch475p33k crap that passes for communication these days.

Everyone complained about how expensive Compu$erve was, but we paid the price anyway. And we liked it that way.

Re:Signed up in 1987 (3, Funny)

iroll (717924) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581405)

1997 called, they want their tired joke about everybody on the internets speaking "1337" back.

Re:Signed up in 1987 (1)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581429)

That part wasn't a joke...

Re:Signed up in 1987 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28581667)

Perhaps you should stop jerking off with the 13 year olds at 4chan then.

Re:Signed up in 1987 (1)

gcalvin (325380) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581455)

I signed up in 1983 or so, after I got my Atari 800 and 300-baud modem. The CB Simulator was fun. I still remember fondly that people back then typed complete sentences and words, not like the ch475p33k crap that passes for communication these days.

Yes, and it was considered extremely rude to ask someone's age, sex or location, at least without spending a couple of weeks getting to know them. In fact, it was pretty easy to offend somebody by being too familiar too soon. Punishment for such offense was to be completely ignored, as if you didn't exist.

Re:Signed up in 1987 (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28581775)

God you know how many people I've explained this to, to BLANK STARES?

I never did the whole AOL/Compuserv/GENie/Prodigy thing (Too expensive and it was WELL before I could get a job.)

But I did every local BBS I could get a local access # to, and was on chatting terms with 2 or 3 sysadmins, plus a few friends who boarded too.

Anyways nobody who I associated with during that era passed out personal info unless we already knew each other.

It wasn't until the late '90s when I was MU*ing online that people started doing that, and even then coaxing info out of anyone who'd been online for more than a year was pretty rare.

Nowadays though everybody posts a face picture, and their name/dob/everything short of street address, and they're HAPPY about it?

I try and warn people just how bad of an idea that is, but it seems like nobody has the comprehension anymore to understand it.

And we wonder why privacy, at least in America, is on the decline.

Re:Signed up in 1987 (3, Informative)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581901)

That was the major difference between BBS culture and Usenet/Internet culture. On pre-september Usenet, everyone posted under their real names, their sigs often contained their job titles and phone numbers, and there was a sense of responsiblity because your account was closely tied to your real life.

For the most part, web discussion boards follow the BBS tradition of using handles and discouraging the posting of personal information. However, that doesn't serve the needs of people who want network their real life as opposed to hanging out with a bunch of internet phoneys called "DarthMegaBlade666". So its natural that things like Facebook or LinkedIn appeared.

Re:Signed up in 1987 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28581591)

It's even worse now than it was back on the elite BBSs of the late 80s. There used to be an unspoken ruleset for elite case. Consonants were upper case, vowels were lower case, zero was a lower case o. Nobody substituted numbers for letters, except for the zero. Some people used extended ASCII as character replacement, but they were more creative about it back then.

Re:Signed up in 1987 (1)

retiredtwice (1128097) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581609)

Hmmm, 1983 is about when I signed up. Cant find a record of my old ID and unlike others I have forgotten it. But an Atari 800 and an acoustic modem is what I used at the time.

Geez that was a long time ago. I hadn't thought about it but 26 years is a long time.

Re:Signed up in 1987 (1)

JCZwart (1585673) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581359)

I remember a relative bought a modem back in the days. It came with 2 diskettes (anyone still remember what that were? ;) ). One labeled 'Compuserve' (IIRC), and the other one containing the communication apps. I seem to remember reading the user's manual of Kermit, and not understanding a single word of it. Of course, I would understand things right now - thanks to the right amount of experience and a degree in IT. And thanks to things now being handled by the appropriate communication drivers.

The BBS'es of that time of course looked like nothing compared to the internet of now. I do remember they featured 'graphics', though. Ah, the secret joys of viewing big blobs of ASCII art - in no more than 16 colors, for those lucky enough to own an EGA monitor!

Signed up in 1984, had the account for 13 years (1)

sdw (6809) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581649)

76244,210
Atari 400 at 300 baud... Used CB Simulator, wanted to start a number of forums that foreshadowed very successful web sites...

Later, I wrote Buddylist at AOL.

I still have printouts of the service somewhere in my records.

Stephen

The PITS (reward) (4, Interesting)

wls (95790) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581177)

Does anyone remember playing the game "The PITS" on CompuServe? Or, even better, know if thesource survived?

http://games.wwco.com/pits/

Time to open a bottle of champagne (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28581193)

I kept one just for this day

Migrating from CompuServe (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28581209)

Goodbye to what was once an incredibly innovative service...

For any Slashdot readers who need to get a friend or relative off of CompuServe:

Users who are running CompuServe 3 or 4 can export the address book using:
http://www.connectedsw.com/Overview/57262

Users who are running CompuServe 2000, 6 or 7 can export the address book and email using:
http://www.connectedsw.com/Overview/57267

That's me :( (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28581633)

For any Slashdot readers who need to get a friend or relative off...

Yeah... I've known her for seven years and loved her madly for six. She considers me a very close friend and someone whose shoulder to cry upon, even calls me cute occasionally... But that's just a friendly, nothing meaning compliment. And I can't say anything because it could ruin our friendship.

I wouldn't even need to "get her off"... Hell, if I could just once tell her "You are more than a friend to me"...

Re:That's me :( (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28581911)

man up and rape her you pussy! she'll forgive you
- 4chan

Re:Migrating from CompuServe (1)

pdcull (469825) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581771)

I recently used a product called CS2OutlookExpress from CS2Exchange to import from WinCim, through Outlook Express, into Outlook 2003. It cost me $25 but worked great and now means that I have my ancient history available once again. Paul

Re:Migrating from CompuServe (1)

pdcull (469825) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581821)

Oh, and 100242,1513 too by the way... I think I signed up around 1993. I remember taking my notebook to a bar inside what was then the most violent slum in Rio de Janeiro city, Santa Marta, to use their telephone to dial in... somehow the system worked enough for me to send and receive emails. And then worrying about whether the drug lords were wanting a computer or whether the police would steal it from me during a raid... .those were the days! Paul

RIP (2, Interesting)

resfilter (960880) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581229)

compuserve was the first thing i ever dialed with my first real computer, as it was the first actual service provider to have a local phone number in my area when i was a kid

i was completely in awe of it when i first used it, it cost me a good chunk of my allowance, but i remember it made the local BBS systems, as well as some other service providers that eventually crept into my area seem like toys

i used it for quite a long time even after everyone else had proper internet service (the internet took quite a while to get here)

i'll always have fond memories of it

suprised it took this long to die, but RIP anyways

Good Riddance (5, Interesting)

SirLurksAlot (1169039) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581243)

Compuserve might've been great at one time, but it hasn't been for a much longer period. I used to do customer service for them back when they were offering a $400 rebate on new computers... as long as people signed up for a 2 year service agreement with them. I felt dirty every time I had to take a call from someone that had one of those rebates. Half the time the callers wanted to cancel their service because of how piss poor their dial-up connection was and it was my job to "remind" them about the terms which stated that they had to pay back the rebate PLUS a cancellation fee. I put remind in quotes because it was often the customer's first time hearing about the terms in the first place (Admittedly this was usually the sales person's fault, and usually not Compuserve's.). I remember one call in particular when a customer in Pennsylvania had purchased a computer with the rebate only to find out that they only had TWO dial-up numbers in the whole state available to them, neither of which was a local call for them. I had to tell this poor soul that they had accepted the terms of the rebate, received the $400, and if they cancelled they would owe Compuserve all that back, etc even though they couldn't even use the service. Now Compuserve was obviously not the only ISP that played the rebate game, but their participation left a bad taste in mouth and lowered my opinion of them greatly.

Re:Good Riddance (1)

Deep Penguin (73203) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581369)

I used to work in the department that created the software that billed those rebate customers if they did happen to cancel early.

Re:Good Riddance (1)

SirLurksAlot (1169039) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581421)

Heh, then I feel your pain brother ;-)

Re:Good Riddance (2, Informative)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581745)

I remember them a long time ago. Around 1992 I got a Tandy 102 portable computer [8bit-micro.com] which included a 300 baud modem and a free trial for CompuServe (you can probably see where this is going...). Being able to download programs very slowly (the screen scrolling reduced the effective speed to well under 100 characters per second) was cool. Having my parents question me about a $50 bill a couple of months later wasn't. Needless to say, I wasn't a member very long.

Re:Good Riddance (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581807)

Every dial-up service and PC mfg that pulled this trick made it to my "never-buy-from-them" list. Aren't all the dial-up services that tried this trick now dead or mostly dead?

Re:Good Riddance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28581975)

I'm surprised AOL allowed them to continue this long.
I remember my two brothers constantly being bumped from AOL in the middle of a an IM, which is why to this day I refuse to have anything to do with them.
I signed on with cs early on when the rather large package was I believe $25. stayed with them until freewwweb and the others came about, when net zero was also free.
I still refuse to deal with AOL. I used to use their im service as it was the only one but as soon as Yahoo came online I dumped them.

Anyone remember Cubby v. CompuServe? (5, Informative)

Meshach (578918) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581247)

The case of Cubby, Inc. v. CompuServe Inc. was one of the first of it kind and set an important precedent for online BBS. In that case CompuServe was sued because they hosted a BBS where defamatory content was posted. The court rules that although CompuServe provided the medium they were not responsible for the content (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cubby_v._CompuServe).

I still use (receive email on) that address (1)

CaptainOfSpray (1229754) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581261)

I chose it because you could get connected anywhere on your travels, including countries that had not yet discovered the internet or dial-up connectivity. There was always a node to dial, usually local if you were in a city. Now there's friendly people all over the planet who know my old Compuserve address, but I don't know their current email address. So I kept that old address long past its close-down-by date, just in case some old friend came out of the mist looking for me. Worked quite a few times, too. I'm glad AOL are allowing the addresses to continue.

Brings back memories (5, Interesting)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581341)

Oddly ironic that Compuserve was around before AOL. Gah, I still remember the days when AOL users first flooded the net. They were rude, they were shrill and they were legion.

The days you would actually still use a gopher server.

We got our first internet connection from the local library.

Some admins would actually block AOL users from their web servers.

Exciting times.

Re:Brings back memories (1)

Jared555 (874152) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581431)

Some people still block AOL from chat servers, etc.

Re:Brings back memories (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581685)

You forgot to say "No get off my lawn!"

CS censorship (1)

Windrip (303053) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581387)

I canceled my CS account after they overreacted to Bavarian censorship demands. See Risks issues 17.61, 17.62 and other sources

What? (4, Interesting)

mqduck (232646) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581445)

Allow me to be the first to say... Compuserve still existed?

It was still up ?! (4, Interesting)

DiSKiLLeR (17651) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581451)

Compuserve was shut down? It was still up!?

Those of us who live outside of the US are vaguely aware of its existance...

memories of $12 an hour for 300 baud (2, Interesting)

mikeskup (1337) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581523)

I remember in mid 80's paying alaskanet? $6 an hour to get connected from Naknek AK instead of long distance charge & then paying another like $6 an hour for the compuserve, plus a monthly $25 or such to compuserve....

all for 300 baud ... watching those characters come in..... just about as fast as you could read...

Remember "The Source"? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28581539)

So any old timers remember, "The Source"? I used that until its subscriber base got so low you could hear the crickets chirping when you logged on and then switched to CompuServe.

I remember being on "The Source" around 1984 and chatting with someone in the Middle East. Really quite "cool" at the time.

Oh yeah, and my CompuServe ID was 73707,3450 (must have typed that thousands of times until I got TAPCIS to automate downloading). Out of nolstagia I checked my CompuServe mail once every 6 months for years after I gave up on CompuServe.

Good memories...

Of course, now you've got easily accessible on-line porn. Things are MUCH better now!

Flash Forward one year. (1)

korney (1469497) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581563)

Once great AOL, not an intelligent idea or product in sight for years, is finally put out of its misery by Time Warner.

Prodigy? (2, Interesting)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581595)

Whatever happened to Prodigy? That was my first internet service. I remember my excitement at finding their ST:TNG message board... and chagrin at discovering that it was mostly full of middle-aged women having fantasies about Brent Spiner. I mean, I had a crush on Data and all, but at 14 I was definitely not interested in a 45-year-old actor in the same way these ladies were.

Re:Prodigy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28581645)

I hated Prodigy. It was the 5 minute timed disconnects that really aggravated me. We had the unlimited dial up, but we could only be on for exactly 5 minutes before we got disconnected.

Re:Prodigy? (1)

SirLurksAlot (1169039) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581669)

Whatever happened to Prodigy?

According Wikipedia's article on Prodigy [wikipedia.org] they were bought out by SBC which in turn turned (back?) into AT&T. Prodigy.net actually redirects to my.att.net.

it was mostly full of middle-aged women having fantasies about Brent Spiner

Brent Spiner?! Everyone knows that Jonathan Frakes was the lady killer :-P

Re:Prodigy? (1)

dmarcov (461598) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582011)

I had a crush on Data and all, but at 14 I was definitely not interested in a 45-year-old actor in the same way these ladies were.

"Ladies." Right.

HTML beat NAPLPS (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582051)

That's pretty much what happened. But, to some extent, Prodigy's protocol was ahead of its time.

New email system? (3, Insightful)

mr_lizard13 (882373) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581607)

CompuServe users will be able to use their existing CompuServe Classic (as the service was renamed) addresses at no charge via a new e-mail system

That'll never catch on.

The more things change (2, Interesting)

Tom DBA (607149) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581627)

Before all the tubes got connected business cards were full of email addresses. One had at least a Compuserve address, a Prodigy address, an AOL address, a company VAXMail address, a company VM/VMS address and perhaps a DARPA/ARPA address.

All that is changed now.

Now we list Company main telephone number, Company direct dial number, Company fax number, Home number, Company cell number and perhaps a Skype id.

Pay per Hour (1)

Guru80 (1579277) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581673)

I remember the very very early days of the internet paying for HOURS online...boy that was fun! But then again it definitely wasn't today's internet!

103151,517 (1)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581731)

I used to spend a fortune with them. I also used to go into Worlds Away through compuserve.

Ahh CI$ (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28581795)

Back in the days before the Internet, CI$ (Compuserve Information Service) was one of the first nation wide BBS type systems. It was the place where nationwide online tech support started to become somewhat useful. I used to logon for Novell downloads and Atari support. Of course I also pirated the heck out of everything back then. And I loved their freebie $15 credit thingy they'd include with new modems. Use that code to start an account, randomly pick name/addr/phone number out of phone book, get a bank routing number, then randomly pick account number. Tada free Compuserve until they shut it down. If you did it on a Friday it'd usually last until Monday or tuesday of the following week... Of course this was pre-18 yrs old for me, and I stopped doing it about that time. I remember the adult areas on Compuserve. 320x200x256 GIF files! wohoo! :)

Fixing CS bugs from 1995! (1)

Aliotroph (1297659) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581799)

A couple years ago I was working at Dell and got a call from an old lady whose CS client broke. Seems it would eat half the CPU time instead of shutting down. She paid us $99 to fix it because she liked it that much. Solution was to patch the client from something like 7.xya to 7.xyb. Changing only from an a to b version in so much time didn't seem very encouraging since I couldn't find any kind of changelog. The thing worked and good thing too. Googling the issue wasn't getting me anywhere that day.

The funny part came when an L2 wandered by and asked what I was doing. I think he just about died when I told him I was fixing CompuServe. That's when the guy two seats down, a former ISP guy, piped up and told us it's had that bug since 1995 and her issue will likely return in a few months.

I understand people wanting to keep their old e-mail addresses but honestly I find it weird when they want to keep their 1990s method of browsing the web. I certainly don't have any attachment to whatever version of Netscape I was using back when she signed up for CS. The days of the pages with the default gray backgrounds are finally gone!

Re:Fixing CS bugs from 1995! (2, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581851)

The days of the pages with the default gray backgrounds are finally gone!

I don't miss the old days of web browsing either -- but I do have my default background in SeaMonkey set to exactly that old shade of gray, and it's pleasant when I get a page that doesn't set the background color for me. (I know I could override it and have my preferred color scheme come up every time, but that seems like overkill.) Black-on-light-gray is a lot easier on the eyes than black-on-white when you're looking at a glowing screen. I'm used to the latter by now, but I do wish that people had kept in mind that screens and paper are not the same thing.

Re:Fixing CS bugs from 1995! (1)

Aliotroph (1297659) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581991)

A good point. My preferred screen configurations involve dark backgrounds and bright text, preferably something like amber on black. I don't know if it's just my bad eyes but I can't stand reading anything on that grey colour.

The white hurts but I do prefer it to the grey. You just reminded me I should see about getting a better setup for reading this site.

Dead? Dead companies don't charge $17.95/month. (1)

trygstad (815846) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581819)

Gee, if you go to cs.com you can sign up to Compuserve with unlimited Internet access for the discounted rate of $17.95/month. Does not look like a dead company to me; it looks like a company requiring their clients to migrate to newer software (CompuServe for Windows NT 4.0.2 to Compuserve 7.0, which BTW is only 8 years old!). This sounds like such complete non-news...

Re:Dead? Dead companies don't charge $17.95/month. (1)

Invader_scutch (1591205) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581905)

I know, right? I just went there and you can pay $17 a month for unlimited internet access. It's probably just AOL dial-up though.

I'm a killer? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28581889)

First, I watched the Tonight Show for the first time with Conan just a while back and thought, "So Andy's back as announcer AND sidekick? Just like Ed McMahon!" Ed sadly passes away. Freaky. Next day, I got into an argument on how much Michael Jackson sucks and BAM! Michael passes away. Then I watch the Tonight Show with Billy Mays & Anthony Sullivan. Yup, again, died too.

I swear, just last Wednesday, I read some articles on "walled garden" (e.g. AOL with their AOL Keyword) ISPs for nostalgia and read some old Usenet posts. One of those articles included CompuServe. Now, they're 100% dead. So WTF? ALL I DO IS KILL!? I'm the only one doing this?

RIP Ed McMahon (1923-2009), Farrah Fawcett (1947-2009), Michael Jackson (1958-2009), Billy Mays (1958-2009), Karl Malden (1912-2009), & CompuServe (1969-2009). I might have killed 2/3 of you people!

Re:I'm a killer? (0, Offtopic)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582059)

"I might have killed 2/3 of you people!"

Since you just posted AC, this could be interesting.

All but dead? (1)

bmecoli (963615) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581947)

I'm no English major or anything, but shouldn't it be "all but alive?"

Was great, back in its day (1)

Lepton68 (116619) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581969)

I loved CompuServe back in its peak. Pre-Internet, everyone was there. I wrote an app called CompuServe Navigator as shareware and they picked it up as a commercial product, and for a time it was the best way to surf the forums with your Mac and a 2400 baud modem. It was sort of a terminal emulator and looked to CompuServe as though a very, very fast typist was giving all the commands to read their favorite forums. It saved all this and hung up the phone, then you could read it all offline and queue up replies to be sent the next time you kicked it off. Yeah, I had the name before those browser people had it, but I didn't have it registered and who wants to fight over a stupid word so I just renamed it MacNav.

I wasn't an employee, but I could see CompuServe falling apart. From where I sat, they were just not listening to the customers any more. Membership fell and AOL got more popular. I sold MacNav to them and watched them evaporate soon after. It was kind of sad cause they didn't have to go - at least until the free, enormous Internet enveloped everything.

My Life as Girl on Compuserve (5, Interesting)

Kurt Granroth (9052) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581977)

Compuserve was my first real foray into an online community and all the good and bad that comes with it. I was 16 and in High School when the Computer Programming teacher (BASIC on Apple II+ computers) signed up for a school account on Compuserve. This was years before I had even heard of the Internet. Since nobody in the school had the first clue what to do with this "Information Superhighway" thing, and I was the only geek around, the teacher just gave me the login info and let me do whatever I wanted on it.

It didn't take me long to gravitate towards the various chat rooms. Those of you who grew up with the availability of the Internet and the like probably take it for granted that you can communicate with people all over the world (or nation, at least). Back when my only communication with the world at large was my pen pal, these simple chat rooms were mind-blowing!

There was one little hitch. See, my nickname back then was "Granny" (play on my last name) and so I naturally used it as my handle in the chat room. I forget which room I joined but I hadn't been in there but a few seconds when I started getting a lot of people saying "hi" and asking where I was located and the like. Then somebody asked how old I was and I mentioned that I was 16.

Well, right after I wrote that, I started getting a stream of Private Chat requests. We're talking a couple dozen requests in about 10 seconds. "Everybody is so friendly," I thought.

But their questions were odd and very personal. "What do you look like?" "What color are your eyes?" "What are you wearing?" Eh? What am I wearing? What kind of weird question is that to ask.

And then: "How big are your boobs?" "Do you have a boyfriend?" It went off the deep end after that.

They thought I was a 16 year old girl! I thought that was so funny and told them so. And just like that, all of the Private Chats closed and all I was left with were a scattering of "Well why would you call yourself Granny if you weren't a girl?" messages.

I signed on a few more times as Granny after that but found that I really couldn't go anywhere without a stream of sexual comments following me. I eventually had to change my nick just to be able to chat with people without them staring at my virtual chest.

That was an eye-opener. Let me tell you, though, when the Internet happened years later and I heard women complaining about being effectively harassed online by a bunch of horny nerds... well, I knew exactly what they were talking about.

Heh.

How many thousands of dollars (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 5 years ago | (#28581983)

I was 71541,3346.... then I got 3 other accounts. Was seriously into multiplayer gaming, specifically MegaWars III and Island of Kesmai. Most of my college money went to pay the +CI$ bills...

AOL picked the wrong thing to shut down (2, Interesting)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#28582049)

Compuserve, I think,, would have survived much better in the Internet age than AOL, if AOL hadn't have bought them. AOL was more a forerunner of the advertising laden shlock that we have today, but Compuserve was a much more serious minded product and tended to have good information products and good forums. IF AOL would have kept up with Compuserve, investing millions into a computerserve web site, rather than -cough-, Time Warner, they could have been way out in front with the social stuff that was in Compuservers forums, the software stores could have been expanded to sell other stuff... the news was always good. It was just that AOL ruined them.

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