Randy Suessmetz Yorktimes In the early days of the internet, there were few ways for people to connect with one another online. Email was still in its infancy, and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter were decades away from being invented. For many early internet users, one of the most popular ways to communicate with others online was through a technology known as bulletin board systems (BBS).
While BBS might seem quaint by modern standards, they played an important role in shaping the early internet. And one man who played a key role in developing this technology was Randy Suess, a Chicago-based computer programmer who is often referred to as the “father of online bulletin boards.”
Suess got his start in computing in the 1960s, when he worked as a programmer for IBM. But it wasn’t until the late 1970s that he began experimenting with home computers and developing his own software. In 1978, he and a friend named Ward Christensen developed what is widely considered to be the first BBS, called CBBS (Computerized Bulletin Board System).
At the time, CBBS was revolutionary. It allowed users to log onto the system using their home computers and communicate with other users in real-time. They could post messages, share files, and even play games together. This was all done over telephone lines, which made it possible for people to connect with each other from all around the world.
CBBS quickly became popular among early computer enthusiasts, and it wasn’t long before others started developing their own BBS systems. These systems would eventually evolve into the online forums and message boards that we know today.
Despite his contributions to the development of BBS technology, Suess remained largely unknown outside of the small community of early internet users. He continued to develop software throughout the 1980s and 1990s, but he never achieved the same level of recognition as other early pioneers of the internet.
Today, Suess is considered by many to be an unsung hero of the internet age. His work helped pave the way for the online communities that we rely on today, and his vision for a connected world was decades ahead of its time.
While the internet has come a long way since the days of CBBS, there is no doubt that Randy Suess played a crucial role in shaping the early online landscape. His legacy lives on today in the many online communities and social networks that we use to connect with one another, and his contributions will not be forgotten.