Author: Michael Friedman
Additional Notes:
Michael Friedman writes "I am Michael Friedman, the author of the RATS BBS system which is listed on your site, along with the Greene Machine which was based on my original work. I don't know if I was more amazed that you collected all of this info, or that you managed to find references to my ancient TRS-80 program. I wish I had known earlier that you were collecting this stuff, but in any case I figured I would throw in my 2 bytes worth.

"RATS is short for the Radio Amateur Telecommunications Society which was formed by myself and James Gordon Beattie, Jr., sometime around 1978, though the exact year alludes me. Our goal at the time was to find a way to combine our TRS-80 computers with our Ham Radio stations. At the time the only other groups trying to do this were in Vancouver Canada and Tucson, AZ. (We were in New Jersey.) The BBS system was to be our way to focus our ideas in one central location. It was to start out over phone lines and later work over the radio, though this version never got that far. The RATS BBS had one feature which was, to my knowledge, unique amongst its peers. That was the "Discussion Groups" section where people could add their comments to a running thread on a particular subject. I suspect that Usenet might have already existed in some form at that time, but I was completely unaware of it. (and most other things, come to think of it)

"Somehow the word got around and the system was being called from all over the country. I began to give away copies to anyone who sent in a blank floppy and return envelope. I gave away hundreds of them to people all over the world. Unfortunately, I didn't keep any real records at the time. Eric Greene was one of the people who received an early copy, and he did a fantastic job updating it with file transfers, keyboard shortcuts and who knows what else. As I did, Eric gave the program away. From 1983 to 1986 I worked on the "Valdocs" program for the Epson QX-10, which was perhaps the greatest (and last) CP/M and Z-80 based machine. Naturally, I was in charge of modem drivers and the electronic mail system.

"I moved away from the RATS organization and Telcom in general after getting quite disillusioned over what became known as Packet Radio. In fact, I was so fed up with BBS's and such that I ended up being a late comer to the Internet. I just couldn't be bothered - been there, done that, etc. I've since recovered. For the past 25 years or so I've continued to work as a professional programmer, mostly in the process control and instrumentation area. I operate a company, Small Systems Specialists, which designs and manufactures automotive computers for road rally cars. (www.rally.cc) I have had the privilege of writing the code (mostly in Z80 assembler!) for the first handheld GPS Moving Map system for airplanes back in 1991ish. More recently I have been involved in machine vision for the real time control of printing presses. I guess magazines and newspapers are communications too, so I'm really still at the same old stuff in disguise."

n2426f.jpg () Author Michael Friedman and N2426F, his aircraft (2004)
rats.zip () RATS BBS Program by Michael Friedman (December 6, 1981)