Community Memory terminal preserved at the Computer History Museum, Mountain View.

Community Memory terminal preserved at the Computer History Museum, Mountain View.

Detail map of Berkeley, California, United States Overview map of Berkeley, California, United States

A: Berkeley, California, United States

"Community Memory," the First Public Computerized Bulletin Board System

1973
<p>People using the Community Memory terminal at Leopold's Records in Berkeley, California</p>

People using the Community Memory terminal at Leopold's Records in Berkeley, California

In 1973 Efrem Lipkin, Mark Szpakowski, and Lee Felsenstein established the first public computerized bulletin board system (BBS) called Community Memory in Berkeley, California. Community Memory used hard-wired terminals in neighborhoods as distinct from the first public dial-up CBBS which was set up on February 16, 1978.

"Community Memory ran off an XDS-940 timesharing computer located in Resource One in San Francisco. The first terminal was an ASR-33 Teletype at the top of the stairs leading to Leopold's Records in Berkeley. You could leave messages and attach keywords to them. Other people could then find messages by those keywords.

"The line from San Francisco to Berkeley ran at 110 baud - 10 characters per second. The teletype was noisy, so it was encased in a cardboard box, with a transparent plastic top so you could see what was being printed out, and holes for your hands so you could type. It made for some magic moments with the Allman Brothers' "Blue Sky" playing in the record store. Musicians loved it - they ended up generating a monthly printout of fusion rock bassists seeking raga lead guitars. And out of it also emerged the first net personality - Benway, as he called himself."

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