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journalWelcome to my online journal. I'm Alex Mead. For many years people called me AMPro --so much so that it seemed like my name. More recently, a lot of people on the internet have come to know me as green.earth.al and in show biz...My Rap Name is Alex. Whatever name I'm known by, I still seem to have the same opinions and convictions, I still like to write and make public my introspection and try to say something that will provoke some thoughts and help people see the world in new and helpful ways.
seven-one-six
this journal entry posted on November.23.2007

Seven one six is my area code. It's the area code for the phone number that I've had all my life (and even before that since it was my mother's phone number before I was born).

And 716BBS.com is the name of a website I started, in May of the year 2000, trying to stay in contact with my friends as they moved away from the 716 area code.

Once upon a time I graduated from High School. Not long after that I started a software company called AMProSoft to spread joy and goodness throughout the world. I was making shareware video games, thinking puzzle games and such and I knew that they really could travel all around the world. ... Somehow.

In college my friend Rob tried to help me out. He gave me a disk labeled BBSs. It did not end up helping me out as I had no clue what to do with it. I left it in among my pile of furiously scrawled notes, drawings and hand written programming code, having a gut feeling that some day it would mean something.

Some time later another friend from college, Kieth, actually came to my house and brought over some additional disks and did some magic on my computer and all of a sudden I could get BBSs on my computer.

BBSs, Bulletin Board Systems, then, slowly, became a huge part of my life. I would call them and upload my video games. And some people would download them and play them and give feedback. I discovered that if I left messages on the BBSs then even more people would know they were there and might play them and give more feedback. And then I found that the people I was leaving messages too had even more useful advice on how to upload games to more popular BBSs and online services in other area codes and even around the world.

And then many years passed in what one call call a BBS-existence. It became a big part of my life, and introduced me to some of the people who have made the biggest impact on my life. I became a big fan of BBSing as a form of communication and, as an artist, I latched onto the BBSing art scene, which was called ANSi Art. I created a program called tha AMPro ANSiNator, which actually became a widely used program for ANSi Artists worldwide.

Click for a gallery of my ANSi Art

As time went on some friends of mine and I started a comic/newsletter/magazine to support my games and then as the internet began to come on strong we developed a website at AMProSoft.com to support the whole franchise. I put much more time into those two things and into BBSing than into making new games, so at some point there was no more software coming out of AMProSoft. And that was okay because I was starting to have dreams of making educational games that would teach kids math and the industry was going in the other direction developing games like Quake and Doom that would teach players how to shoot and maim.

So the decade and the millennium came to close and I was called to do other things on the new and blossoming internet. I was making a lot of websites and designing lots of other stuff and learning to code for the web and finding out just how much I enjoyed writing. AMProSoft began to wither on the vine.

I put up 716BBS as a last effort to stay in touch with all of the quality people I had met. But then that too suffered from a lack of attention. I had a policy of not installing any software on any of my websites that I had not personally written. And I always had it in mind to write a proper BBS and message board system, but years went by and it had never gotten written to my satisfaction.

Over the summer my girlfriend Heather began installing some BBS software, Simple Machines Forum, on one of her websites that I host on my server. And at some point I had to do some maintenance on it and found it to be fairly easy to navigate. I still didn't really want to inherit any security issues by installing widely used software, but it was already there and I was getting to know it and developing a tolerance for it.

More recently I accidentally nuked her message board. I felt really bad and had to dig around in a lot of code and databases trying to figure out and fix whatever I'd done to make it unhappy. And I learned a lot more about the software. And I kind of like it now. I set up a BBS system for the band that I'm in the BloodThirstyVegans and then I went over to 716BBS.com and replaced the AMProSoft message board system --which had been gummed up with unfathomable moosetons of spam over the years-- with a nifty SMF BBS.

http://www.716bbs.com/BBS

If you ever had a modem back in the 90s and called a BBS (in the 716 are code or not), please feel invited and encouraged to stop in and talk about the good ol' days.

be Peace,
-Alex


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