From Nick Baggarly:
After 37 years, the Safehouse BBS has switched back on using its original telephone number!
Mention The Safehouse to an Apple II devotee from the 1980’s and don’t be surprised if they enthusiastically recite the telephone number from memory: (612) 724-7066!
This was an iconic bulletin board that lives in infamy and one that my 14-year old self called very often. It was created and managed by John Pechacek, aka the “Apple Bandit” who ran the popular 4-line BBS from 1982 until 1985. He also authored the BBS software and even rigged up a clever feature that used a Corvus hard drive to allow callers to chat with each other.
I secured the original Minneapolis number and a Market Expansion Line that forwards callers to a ship in Marina del Rey, California where the board is hosted. Aside from the Corvus drive, we are running it on hardware and software identical to the original site:
The Safehouse runs on an early white-letter enhanced //e with 128K memory, Thunderclock Plus and a Novation Apple Cat II modem. The BBS software is the original Apple-Net 2.4 running on Apple DOS 3.3 and accessible by modem only at a blazing speed of 300 baud…for the moment. We had it running at 1200 baud but the Novation 212 card just suddenly stopped working. There is one line and no Telnet access just like back in the day. Keep calling and eventually you’ll get in. So, think old school but those who investigate a little will find relevant new uses of this technology.
The first TWO callers who log on will receive a FREE legacy iPhone case signed by STEVE WOZNIAK. There are seven “Woz poses” to choose from. Simply log on.
We’re also giving a FREE Woz-signed legacy iPhone case to the first caller who correctly answers the log-on trivia question.
People (mostly my family) have started asking why I did this. Pretty sure they’ll never get it but there’s a story.
This is a board that lives in infamy and it’s one that many of us called it in the eighties. The material available was mind blowing. The Sysop, Apple Bandit, would occasionally interrupt a session and chat with me. Like many during the pandemic, I reacquainted with the Apple ][ and soon after that I wished I call the Safehouse again. Putting this board back online was one of those ideas that just stays with you. Out of curiosity, I decided to call the old number just to see what would happen and got a reorder which means, the number was no longer in service, imagine that. So I spent several months making calls trying to secure the original number—figuring I’d proceed if I could get it. There are probably better ways but I would call random 612-724 numbers in Minneapolis and ask whoever picked up who their phone service provider was. One day while calling around I happened to reach a ranking technician with the phone company. It was so random but also a lot like how we did thing in the 1980’s. I shared stories of The Safehouse and learned he too used to call BBSes. He said he’d look into it and a few months later he called and said, “we got it!” 612/724-7066 was ours.
I guess the reason is, I wanted to give something back to the Apple II and to a community that gave me my first real sense of belonging because that computer has led to a stellar professional career and many adventures.
This quote from an Apple II user says it all:
“How do we make meaning of an online world that existed years ago when people operated with some degree of anonymity?
From a human perspective, the modem life’s greatest tool is allowing people the freedom to express what they really want and to be the person they really want to be- no excuses, no limits, no regrets.
Some people that appear as kind individuals in person will live in shadows online where their true self can run free without fear of retribution.
Others prove themselves noble and dignified without reward and are often brighter gems then what the eye beholds.
The choices come from within, the freedom is yours.
In the end, you just have to ask yourself “What kind of world do you want?”
WANT TO HELP?
Want to help us with The Safehouse? We need programmers to help get CFFA compatibility working with Apple-Net. It requires someone good with Basic and ProDos. Also, someone familiar with hardware to troubleshoot and repair a couple Novation 212 cards. Finally, if anyone can dig up buffer captures from the original Safehouse BBS (which ran from 1982-1985) they would be very helpful. Reach me through the BBS or PM me here. Thanks!