About Jim Howard and Howard’s Notebook

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My name is Jim Howard.  I live in Fort Worth, Texas.

I was always interested in personal computers and things like that.
In 1978 I got a Radio Shack Model I.  When  I got the TRS-80 it had 4K of memory.  I upgraded to 48K of memory.

In 1982 I wrote a bulletin board system (BBS) for my TRS-80.  I wrote the program in BASIC.  I had to write my own program because my computer did not come with a disk drive.  It came with a tape recorder that you used to input and save data.  In order to add a floppy disk drive you had to spend $350.00 for the interface box.  Then you could add a floppy disk drive and that would cost you an another $350.00 just for that drive.

So in 1982 I put online Howard’s Notebook.

People connected at 300 baud. Upgrades and new things were done until 1995 when the world-wide web was invented. Howard’s Notebook was then moved to the web and is still in operation.

I been blogging since 1982! I was one of the first online sites.  In 1984 “Link-Up” magazine picked Howard’s Notebook as one of the ten best bulletin boards.

Yes, you will be told that “blogging” began in 1995.  Wrong,  I was blogging in 1982.  I am still blogging today.  Yes, I have been blogging for over 35 years.
You see me in “BBS the Documentary” by Jason Scott.  I am only in the documentary a few short times.  But, Jason Scott said that I got the biggest laugh in the movie. Jason, has a three-hour interview with me.  He only put a few minutes in the documentary.  Please ask Jason to release that 3 hour video.  If he does release it I will put it on YouTube.

I also was one of the first sites in the world to stream live video.
You have found one of the oldest sites in the world.
You may wonder how old I am.  I am 77 years of age..

I have a history before 1982.  I am one of the founders of the first People-to-People organization.

I was active in Civil Defense, in Kansas City (MO), back in the late 1950s.  I was a member of the Ground Observer Corps until the USAF ended the program in 1958.

I was active in shortwave listening from 1955 and am still active in shortwave listening and ham radio today.  You can read about my early days of shortwave listening in the book “LISTENING on the Short Wave, 1945 to Today” by Jerome S. Berg.


I put out a number of publications, on shortwave listening, in the old days.  I even did a shortwave radio program that was broadcast over WRUL radio around the world. WRUL radio did not like one of my news items and took it out of the broadcast.  I put it back in the next show and that was the end of my radio program.  WRUL replaced it with “DXing Worldwide.”  

 

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The image above is Jim Howard, me, being interviewed for “BBS: The Documentary” and I was streaming out video of the interview on my BBS but not audio of it.

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4 comments

  • I love what you do. I have learned so much from you; prior to finding you online I did not know anything about BBS. Thank you for all your work.

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  • Hey Howard – fun reading your bio. I was 15 in 1982 with 300 baud modem and Vic20 computer (also with a tape recorder). Yours was one of the first sites I came across, back in the day when you kept a notebook of phone numbers where there was a computer on the other side. We spoke a couple of time then back then – weren’t you a Research Medial back then? Your site helped keep my interest in computers going and I wound up with a CS degree from KU. Anyway, I hope all is well and it was fun reflecting. Take care, Trey

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    • Hi Trey.
      Great to hear from you.
      I also had a Vic 20 and C-64. I even attempted to run my BBS program on the Vic 20. Just as a test one day. It worked but because of the small amount of memory it would answer the phone and say “Welcome to Howard’s Notebook” and ask for the logo in and people would enter the name and then it would take minutes for the next thing to pop up so everyone would hang up.
      But ran the BBS on a C-64 for years. It was a great computer for that. It was fun back in those days. Everyone was so nice. Like a family. We even had some times we met with each other.
      I started that list and kept it up to date for a long time. It was a LOT of work. Thank God the local SysOp group asked if they could take it over and I said yes fast.
      Do you happen to remember “The SysOp Next Door” story that I would run each week?
      It was written by JoAnn Goodman.

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    • I forgot to answer part of your comment.
      From about 1982 to 2000 I worked for Research Medical Center aka Health Midwest. I worked at RMC a couple of times and I worked at Research Belton Hospital for 11 years and I worked at Lee Summit Hospital.
      It makes me happy to hear from old Howard’s Notebook people. Those were the good old days.
      Often I hear that they went on to get into computers or some other field.
      Make me happy if I had some small part in it. I can see why teachers feel so good about the work they do sometimes. They do that sort of thing all the time. I just had a little part of it.
      Jim
      SysOp of Howard’s Notebook

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