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New and improved Pen?

©02 The Media Desk

       The two men sat across the table and looked at their latest victim.
       The young woman glanced back and forth from one to the other, then back.
       The heavier built of the two men, Camaro, leaned forward excitedly. "We're putting the board back together."
       The thinner of the two, Cajun, leaned to one side in almost a slouch then he spoke slowly, dramatically...
                     "We're on a mission from God."

       No, it's not a re-remake of the Blues Brothers. But it could be.
       No, it's not the demented rantings of a caffeine addled over-stressed professional freak. Not exactly.
       No, it's not even exactly what happened. But it's close enough.

       Word came to the Desk through one of those unexpected late night phone calls. Then through a certain amount of coercion and pushing the Desk went through with it and logged in to what was promised to be something like what used to be.
       Well, it is... and it ain't.
       There are forums, and they promised games are coming, and there is a teleconference. And like that way. And they have recruited some of the former staff to re-up and be staff on the new board. But it can't be the same. No matter how they try, and how much we want it, it can't be the same.
       Something on the order of over 500 people at one time were Penners. Playpen BBS members, users, staff, and... well... whatever the Desk was.
       Even the Pen as it was, was changing. It wasn't the SAME even when it still existed. Which was part of the reason it was taken down. It had gotten huge, nationwide, and even, indeed, to some degree worldwide. The Desk remembers seeing over thirty people on the board at once, and only recognizing two or three. The board's reach had most definitely exceeded its grasp, far exceeding the scope of the original idea, and to some extent, the capabilities of its software and staff. The Net was becoming the focus. Dial up BBS'ing was on its way out. Content was no longer as much of a focus as it had been. How could its game offerings compete with the Internet making every game ever written available instantly? Even Bud ('two D's dangit') and his cheerleader pictures were playing at a disadvantage because of the local storage limitations and the vast resource on that side of the Web. The Desk even had trouble keeping up doing whatever it did, Drudge and others have unlimited range and resources. How could the Pen compete with that?
       So about four years ago, we signed off for the last time. Or so we thought.

All things old are new again.

       Now some people are looking for that familiarity. They don't want nor need content from Poland every day. "Sure it's nice to read the news from South Africa once in awhile, but what's happening here where I live with people I know?" Yes they have been exchanging email with Mav Schmoe in Fiji, but it's kind of hard to meet them for coffee once a week.
       On the Net that local flavor is missing. And people are starting to realize it.
       They seem to want a bit of that local interest and human side while still having access to content and the flexibility built into the Net.
       Some of the advantages of the World Wide Web are that it IS anonymous, far reaching, and ever changing.
       Some of the disadvantages of the WWW are that it IS anonymous, far reaching, and ever changing.
       People like some consistency. Some. Just a little. And they like, and maybe even need, more access and choices to do other things now and again.
       The Pen was versatile, within limits. It and its staff tried to meet a variety of needs and even whims. But there were limits. Limits to the wires and hard drives, to the software, to the staff. Limits on the types of real-world functions and GTs. Even limits on the users. On the other side of the argument, some of those limits were its strengths. The very things people are now looking for.
       No, we will never go back to black and white screens and 2400K dial up modems to a single user at a time BBS. But at the same time, we have also discovered that we really don't need, but it is nice to have, instant access to everything in the world including full motion color on demand video from Japan's Sumo tournament.
       Is the time now to bring back a local interest and locally focused but Web based BBS?
       The only answer is... There is one way to find out.

       And the owners, staff, and users of Up All Night Online intend to try it and see. the site no longer exists

       Now... About that GT.


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