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NirvanaNET was a dial-up BBS network, started in 1990 in the San Francisco Bay Area, by Joe Russack, aka Dr. Strangelove (Sysop of Just Say Yes), Jeff Hunter, aka Taipan Enigma (sysop of &TOTSE), and Ratsnatcher (Sysop of Rat head Systems). NirvanaNet was unique among BBS networks, because member BBS systems agreed to allow anyone to connect, and access everything on the systems, instantly and anonymously. They also traded thousands of text files between the systems covering every subject imaginable. &TOTSE continued as a website until January 17, 2009, when it was closed by Jeff Hunter.
It later expanded to include other eclectic BBSs that valued liberty and privacy, including realitycheckBBS, The New Dork Sublime, My Dog Bit Jesus(Berkeley-Oakland—Dittany/Susan), Lies Unlimited(S.San Francisco-Mick Freen)(later Salt Lake City, Utah), Sea of Noise, El Observador, The Salted Slug, The Lair (Boise, Idaho), Burn This Flag(San Jose-Zardoz), The Stage, Tomorrows Order of Magngitude (Mountain View-Palo Alto--finger_man) and others.
The initial NirvanaNET(tm) 1990 core consisted of : Jeff/Taipan, Joe Russack/Dr. Strangelove, Poindexter Fortran (taking over from Count Zero Interrupt), and Dittany of Crete were the primary founding members. &TOTSE closed its node function around 1998; several online "attempts to recreate an online database" were claimed to be imposters by original founding members who are named on the trademark application (now expired). &TOTSE (Temple Of The Screaming Electron) was—if functioning—a members-only BBS by 2000. Both node and voice functions were discontinued or changed before 1999. Even only nine (9) years old, it was one of the older BBS networks. See 'FIDONET' BBS started by Tom Jennings.
Jeff Hunter was an aka inspired originally by an actor's name, Captain of the first Star Trek premiere.
A 1993 article in the Contra Costa Times described TOTSE (and other NirvanaNet BBS nodes) as "an information network providing criminal insights to anyone with a phone, personal computer and modem." offer(ing) hundreds of files providing instructions on credit card fraud, money laundering, mail fraud, counterfeiting, drug smuggling, cable-TV theft, bomb-making and murder."
Computer Underground Digest subsequently obtained an interview with Zardoz, sysop of Burn This Flag BBS, who provided this description of the network:
- Our BBS network, NIRVANAnet, started several years ago with three systems in the Bay Area that had the same basic philosophies. It was decided that since their message bases were very similar, and since they all shared the same basic philosophies on how to run a BBS system (no registration, trust your users, freedom of speech reigns supreme, knowledge should be available to everyone, no discrimination based on age, sex, religion, drug use, or mental stability, etc.) they decided to form NIRVANAnet.
- The network has since grown to seven systems (with six operational and one currently relocating). The original premise is still alive with what we believe is one of the best message bases offered in the country. We allow and encourage user aliases, which in turn promotes a level of honesty and frankness that would be otherwise absent from the discussion areas. We pride ourselves on believing that a user can dial up a bulletin board without giving up their identity and/or personal privacy.
- Here is the current list of NIRVANAnet systems...
- Burn This Flag 408/363-9766 San Jose Zardoz
- &TOTSE 510/935-5845 Walnut Creek Jeff Hunter
- realitycheck 510/527-1662 Albany Poindexter Fortran
- Lies Unlimited *JUST-MOVED* ???????? Mick Freen
- My Dog Bit Jesus 510/658-8078 Berkeley Suzanne d'Fault
- New Dork Sublime 415/864-DORK San Francisco Demented Pimiento
- The Shrine 408/747-0778 Sunnyvale Tom Joseph