In the beginning there was…

1988 began an new hobby in the BBS world. I had a modem and dialed into a local BBS (electronic Bulletin Board System) called Mo’s Back Door operated By Gregg Maroney. I decided that I should have a BBS. I wanted a way to release the fire department software that I was writing and this looked like the way to go. Sparky was the dog that rode on the fire truck and this was my corner of the world hence was SparkysCorner BBS was born. I started with a 300 baud modem and graduated to a 1200 baud modem. .


1989 I found a used SCSI NEC CDR-300 CD-ROM for a bargain price of only $400. It was the first one for a computer I had seen. It was an external that used a special carrier to hold the CD. It was a monster in its time and could only read single speed disks. I purchased Shareware CD’s such as Night Owl Shareware.

Rod Hufstetler owner of the BBS PCMania and I began releasing PCBoard shareware which brought callers from Europe and Australia to Sparkys Corner.


In 1989 I purchased a USR Courier HST which was a proprietary 19.2k modem to download FIDO net mail and in 1990 I joined the USR SYSOP program and purchased a USR Courier Dual Standard that I still have today and has been compatible and upgradeable from 33.6k to 56k.


SparkysCorner came to breathe new life in 1990 with the addition of a 386-40. Using DesQview and two modems I had a 2 node BBS. I could open a 3rd window but when problems happened everyone suffered and all the calls were dropped. I purchased 2 network cards and using Netware Lite I again had a networked 2 node BBS that was far more stable. In 1991 I purchased a Pioneer 6 disk changer which now brought me up to a total of 7 shareware CD’s online. I finally had more online storage space than my competition in Bozeman and I could call myself the largest BBS in Montana. With the help of my friend Gregg Maroney I moved to a new network software called PowerLAN. With PowerLAN I could see what both nodes were doing and interact without changing keyboards.


A major setback happened in 1991 when my wife of 13 years decided that greener pastures were for her and we divorced shutting down Sparkys Corner for 3 months till I could purchase another home and get Sparkys Corner up and running again.


By the time that I had finished up with the divorce the BBS in Bozeman MT had added another 6 disk changer to his system and I was under the gun to make upgrades. Shareware CD-ROM disks were showing up everywhere. In 1992 I purchased another 6 disk pioneer changer and later in the year a 7 disk Nakamichi changer. I added a PC for each of the now 3 node system and purchased a PC to be a server which I called my workstation. 1993 I added a satellite down link to SparkysCorner which captured 100,000 messages per day for my users. This added a computer to capture the messages and another to toss the messages to and from the server. I now had 5 PC’s networked in my home to run a 3 node BBS. 1993 I had more clients, shareware files to download and equipment than the local ISP Internet Service Provider.


My how times change I added up the money that I spent on equipment and realized that my small hobby had set me back $25,000. It was all paid for and I was making $250 a month from subscriptions. I had great friends and life was good. In 1994 I made a comment that the Internet was overpriced and was out of reach for most people and that the BBS world would be around to fill that need. I may have been wrong because by June of 1995 subscriptions would no longer pay for the satellite downlink and I shut it off and by January of 1996 I had disconnected the last phone line, backed up the server and shut it off.

Sparkys corner is still a fond part of my heart but it’s time has past. I hope that someday I will restore the files and fire it up one last time. Just for old time sake.

Sparky my Sheltie

wpe4.jpg (5247 bytes)Sparky, a pure bred Sheltie and is as smart as they come. Sparky was born October 30th 1996. He is very easy to train and he knows many tricks. He can do all his tricks either with hand commands or by voice commands. He can sit, sit-up, roll-over, speak, play dead, lie-down, jump through a hoop and I am sure that if we tried he could learn many more. He loves to ride in the car and jump on the trampoline with us. As with all good things Sparky died in Aug of 2007. He was a great addition to my family and is missed.

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