• Tragedy Of Online Addiction

    From Daryl Stout@1:19/33 to All on Monday, September 07, 2020 00:06:38
    by Steve King

    "Did you know that last month's (expletive) phone bill is over
    $450?" my wife scolded me in her harshest, my-husband-the-child voice.
    "That's more than twice the monthly payment you make for that
    (expletive) computer!" she continued as she escalated to screaming.

    "I confess! I confess!" I sobbed. "I'm just an on-line junkie.
    I'm addicted to my modem! I guess I'll just have to join Modems
    Anonymous before I owe my soul to the phone company."

    As a counselor for Modems Anonymous, I hear numerous variations
    of the preceding story every day. That insidious disease, modem
    fever, is exacting a tragically large toll from the cream of our
    society's computer users. Modem-mania is sweeping through the very
    foundations of our country and there seems to be no stopping it. This
    disease (yes, it is a social disease of almost epidemic proportions)
    is becoming a such calamity that soon there's even going to be a soap
    opera about on-line addiction named, "All My Modems."

    If you don't already own one of those evil instruments called a
    modem, take warning! Don't even think about buying one. Modem fever
    sets in very quietly; it sneaks up on you and then grabs you by the
    wallet, checkbook or, heaven forbid, credit cards.

    Once you own a modem, you enter the insidious addictive trap by
    "dialing up" a friend who also has a modem. For some strange reason,
    typing messages to each other fascinates you. (Even if it is less
    than 10% of the speed that you can speak the same words over a normal
    voice phone link.) Of course, you make several attempts at hooking up
    before you finally figure out that at least one of you must be in the half-duplex mode; that discovery actually titillates you (sounds
    impossible, but it's true).

    Then your modem-buddy (friend is too good a term) sows another
    seed on the road to on-line addiction by giving you the number of a
    local RBBS (Remote Bulletin Board Service). Once you get an RBBS
    phone number, you've taken the first fatal step in a journey that can
    only end in on-line addiction.

    After you take the next step by dialing up the the RBBS your
    modem-buddy told you about, you find that it's very easy to "log-on."
    This weird form of conversation with an unattended computer is
    strangely exciting, much more so than just typing messages when you're
    on-line with your modem-buddy. The initial bulletins scroll by and
    inform you about the board, but you're too "up" to comprehend most of
    it. Then you read some of the messages in the message section and
    maybe, in a tentative manner, you enter one or two of your own.
    That's fun, but the excitement starts to wear off; you're calming
    down. Thinking that it might be worthwhile to go back and re-read the
    log-on bulletins, you return to the main RBBS menu.

    Then it happens. The RBBS provides the bait that entices you all
    the way into the fiery hell of modem addiction. As you look at the
    RBBS main menu to learn how to return to the log-on bulletins, you
    find an item called FILES. By asking your host computer for FILES,
    you thread the bait onto the hook of corruption; the FILES SUBMENU
    sets the hook. You start running with the line when you LIST the
    files; you leap into the air with the sheer joy of the fight when all
    those public domain program titles and descriptions scroll by.
    They're FREE!!! All you have to do is tell the bulletin board to
    download (transmit) them to you. You download your first program and
    you're landed, in the creel, cleaned and ready for the cooking fires.

    In just 55 minutes after you logged-onto the board, you've
    downloaded six programs, one of them is Andrew Fleugelman's PC-Talk,
    version 3 (truly an instrument for evil).

    BBS-LIST.DQC, which is also among the files you downloaded,
    contains a list of a great number of bulletin boards throughout the
    country. (There's evil all around us, constantly tempting us!) You
    print the list and find about 60 RBBS phone numbers. (Have mercy on
    our souls!) The list also gives you the hours of operation,
    communications parameters and informs you about each board's
    specialty. You decide to try PC-Talk and use it to dial-up an RBBS
    about three states away. Since the line is busy, you pass the time
    entering all those RBBS phone numbers into PC-Talk's voluminous
    dialing directory.

    You try the number again -- still busy. You think, "Hey, there's
    one that specializes in Pascal programs. Maybe I'll try it. It's
    about half-way across the country, but it's after 5pm and the phone
    rates have changed. It won't be too expensive."

    The Pascal board answers. After 45 minutes you've downloaded
    another five programs. Then you call another board -- only this one's completely across the country from California, in Florida. And so it
    goes on into the night ... and the next night ... and the next...

    Some days it gets to you. You begin to feel the dirtiness of
    modem addiction, particularly when your wife makes you feel like a
    child by berating you for those astronomical phone bills -- if she
    hasn't divorced you by then. Every time you sit down before your PC
    to do some work, you dial up another RBBS instead. If that one's
    busy, you call another, and another, until you connect. Then you feel
    OK, almost "high." When you finally hang up, you still can't work; you
    can only dial up another RBBS.

    Your downfall as an on-line addict is just another one of this
    society's terrible tragedies, such as polygamy or the compulsion to
    circle all the numbers on computer magazine "bingo cards." Eventually
    your whole social life relies upon only the messages you find on
    electronic bulletin boards; your only happiness is the programs you
    have downloaded. (You never try any of them, you only collect them.)

    Hope exists, however. We, the dedicated but under-paid staff of
    Modems Anonymous, have done extensive research to find a cure for
    modem mania, which has been ruining hundreds of lives. And we have
    succeeded in our quest.

    The cure is really quite simple, yet effective: Set up your own
    remote bulletin board service. Then all the other modem addicts will
    phone you, and their wives can nag at them about $450 phone bills, and
    you can find peace -- at last.
    --- SBBSecho 3.11-Win32
    * Origin: The Thunderbolt BBS - tbolt.synchro.net (1:19/33)