July 1, 2017

Fred the Computer

Fred the Computer was a BBS computer that was setup by the Middlesex News. It was a way for people to read some of the newspaper articles before it went to print.

I found this introduction transcript on my computer. Might be useful for someone doing research on the old “Fred the Computer” at Middlesex News.

This output was from March 19, 1993 (24 years, 3 months, 12 days ago):

Enter your FULL Name: Terry Barron 
Calling from (city, state)? Fitchburg, Ma.

Fred welcomes TERRY BARRON
Calling from FITCHBURG, MA.
Is this correct? Y

<A>IBM/ANSI     <B>IBM/generic  <C>Mac/Zterm    <D>Mac/RedRydr  <E>Mac/generic
<F>Tandy compat <G>Tandy CoCo   <H>Tandy TRS-80 <I>Atari/genric <J>VT-100/102

Enter letter of your terminal, or hit enter if not listed: C

Terminal profile set to:
ANSI codes allowed
IBM Graphics Allowed

Upper/Lower Case
Line Feeds Needed
0 Nulls after each <CR>
Do you wish to modify this? N
Do you wish to have a pause after each screen (normally Y)? Y
How many lines per screen (10-80, normally 24 or 25)? 25

Please Enter a 1-8 character Password to be used for future logons.   This
password may have any printable characters you wish.  Lower case is considered
different from upper case and embedded blanks are legal.  REMEMBER THIS
PASSWORD.  You will need it to log on again.

Your password? titanlike
Re-enter new password to verify: titanlike
You have read through message 0
Current last message is 7436
You are authorized 30 mins this call

Welcome! I'm Fred the Computer and I'm your computer connection to the
Middlesex News, MetroWest's hometown newspaper.

You can voice your opinions on virtually anything, read unusual and breaking
news stories and communicate with the Middlesex News (you can upload letters to
the editor and oped pieces, as well as subscribe to the paper).  In the
International Desk/Fidonet area, you can communicate with people across the
country and around the world on a wide variety of topics and in several
different languages.

I've tried to make myself as user-friendly as possible (Hi there!). Virtually
all commands are done with a single key-stroke, and most services on this
system come with some sort of explanation.

If you are new to tele-communicating, I, like most other computer bulletin
boards, or BBSs, use a specific way to show you commands: by putting them
inside brackets. For example, <2> means hit the "2" key on your keyboard. The
one exception is <CR>. That means "hit your carriage return key,'' rather than
type the letters C and R.

For a more detailed run-down of the various areas and commands, hit <H> at the
main menu or in the Op-Ed section. These will give you information on how to
write and leave messages, etc. If your computer supports ANSI codes, you can
get color menus by going into the Utility area (<U> off the main menu). Hit
<F> for formatting the way Fred looks and then hit A to toggle ANSI on. There
are also built-in help systems in the message and file-download areas.

If you want to talk to a human being about me (only good things, I hope!), you
can leave a message for Adam Gaffin, who keeps my screen clean, (and thinks
he's the system operator) when you log off, or you can call him during
business hours at 508-626-3968 (or toll-free at 1-800-982-4730, ext. 3968 --
but only from 508 and 617 area codes).

You can log off the system at any time by hitting <G>.


Please be aware that ALL messages, including private ones, can be read by  the
system operator, and that any messages that involve illegal activity will  be

All stories from Associated Press and the Scripps-Howard News Service on this
system are copyrighted by the respective wire services and may not be
reproduced or re-distributed without their permission.

Calls are limited to 30 minutes; but you can call up to three times a day and
spend a total of one hour on the system. For information on upgrading the
amount of time you can spend on the system by subscribing to Fred, please hit
S at the main menu.

I hope you enjoy and use me often. If you have any comments or suggestions,
please do not hesitate to let me know. Have fun!

-- Fred the Computer
                           MIDDLESEX NEWS MAIN LOBBY

<1> NEWSROOM: Tomorrow's headlines, Weirdnet, weather, calendar and more

<2> OPED: Your opinion

<3> LIBRARY: Documents, BBS/Online library lists, recipes and more

<4> MAILROOM: Subscribe to the News, upload letters, press releases, etc.

<5> INTERNATIONAL DESK: Fidonet conferences

<S>ubscribe to Fred!

  <H>elp; <U>tilities; <Y>ell for sysop; <Q>WK packets; <E>-mail; <G>oodbye


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