This is a brief history of Pinkboard. I hope to build on this as I go through old boxes and floppies I have lying around. If you have any memories of Pinkboard please email me .
Pinkboard was created on 1 May 1986 as a service provider on Viatel. I had discovered this Viatel service which had only been opened the year before. It was a videotex service from Telecom based on Britain’s Prestel service. You accessed it with a 1200/75 baud modem, that is about 120 characters per second download and 8 characters per second upload. It had primitive graphics and 8 (16?) colours.
I thought I can create something here. I then thought a bit more and suddenly realised I could create The gay service on Viatel.
Initially it was called The Pink Pages, but Telecom didn’t like that because it could have been confused with telephone directories. So I came up with the name to Pinkboard.
On Viatel the user had to pay various amounts to access each page, from 0c to up to $4.50(?). But I also had to pay to maintain the pages.
After a couple of years I realised it would be difficult to make any money out of this, and it was costing me more than I could earn, so in October 1988(?) Pinkboard become a dial-up bulletin board. (BBS stands for Bulletin Board System.)
It was primarily bulletin boards which are sort of like the current Graffiti Walls. It also had private messaging. There were file uploads/downloads available but Pinkboard didn’t make use of these.
I started running it on an IBM XT clone running at 4.77MHz with MS DOS. This was upgraded a number of times.
Everyone on the BBS had a handle. I had a few during the years including Lorenzo di Medici and rti.
Pinkboard became a member of FidoNet which allowed message boards to be shared among different BBSs. The system dialled up a couple of other BBSs daily to transfer the messages back and forth.
A few other gay BBSs emerged during this time including Wombat and Dreaded Ned’s in Sydney and a couple in Melbourne. There were also a couple of BBSs which had hidden gay sections. Together we became known as Pink Link.
In both 1990 and 1991 Pink Link entered floats in the Mardi Gras parade.
It came to a stage where the software I was using to run the BBS was no longer maintained so I either had to set up different software or do something new. Around this time I became aware of the Internet, got an account and started to play about on it.
Internet in those days had newsgroups, email, FTP download sites and the world wide web. Since the bulletin board was much the same as the newsgroups, email and FTP I couldn’t just move these over to the web, so I had to create something completely new.
So I spent all my evenings for a while writing Perl scripts to create the first version of Pinkboard on the world wide web.
I also decided I needed a new handle. After thinking of many different names I finally settled on Pinkboard Panther. I found this icon and have used it ever.
On 21 May 1995 I launched the new Pinkboard.
I started with a single Linux box connected on a 28k modem to the ISP Microplex. This was a permanent connection rather than the standard dialup so I had to pay a whole lot more for it.
In 1997 I upgraded to an ISDN Microlink connection which was two 64k channels. I purchased a Cisco router to handle the connection.
Eventually the connection wouldn’t handle the load on Pinkboard so in 2002 I upgraded to a 2Mb E1 connection. This cost over $6000 to get connected. In 2004 I moved to an SHDSL connection to reduce costs.
On 20 May 2005 Pinkboard held a celebration at Arq Nightclub called Pink to celebrate Pinkboard’s Ten Year on the Internet. DJs were Murray Hood, Shanobear and Dan Murphy all regular contributors to Pinkboard, as was Brad Wright on lighting.
Portia Turbo performed a great number, then complained about how badly she had been treated on Pinkboard. Shauna Jensen sang Everytime and her upcoming single Free, Gay and Happy to rousing applause.
She could only find good things on Pinkboard, except for something by Shanobear. (The two have now made up.) Panther gave a speech which was introduced by David Wilkins. Broad Poster. Tall Poster. Photos. Graffiti Wall.