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Tshwane BBSs

Information about public computer bulletin board services (BBS) operating in Tshwane, South Africa

Tshwane is a new supercity in Gauteng, South Africa comprising several smaller municipalities including Pretoria, Soshanguve, Centurion and Hammanskraal.


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What is a BBS?

A BBS (Bulletin Board Service) is the poor man's Internet. It is a way of communicating with other people using a computer and a modem. Like the Internet, a BBS lets you talk to people internationally, on a variety of subjects. But BBSs also excel at local communications.

A BBS provides a "do it yourself" computer communications system. Anyone who has a computer, a modem and a telephone line can set up a BBS. The software is cheap or free, and you don't need the latest and greatest computer equipment to do it either. A business can set up a BBS to provide support for its customers. A church (or group of churches) can set up a BBS to provide support for their members. A local radio station can set up a BBS to communicate with its listeners. Schools, NGOs, community bodies and others can all set up BBSs that can provide a local means of communication. These BBSs can be linked together in networks, so that messages posted on one BBS can be echoed on others around the town or around the world. If you would like to know more about the uses of BBSs, and how you can start one, see our BBS page. If you belong to a church or NGO or Community-based Organisation, or any other group in civil society that might be interested in setting up such a system, you can join the Christian communications forums.

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Local discussion forums on Pretoria BBSs

There are several discussion forums available on Pretoria BBSs that are intended for local communications between people in the Greater Pretoria area. If there is enough demand, others can be added.

Coming event announcements

Use this to announce coming events for your club, church, school, society or other organisation.

Community affairs

Use this for discussing matters of community concern in the greater Pretoria area. The aim is to promote networking between community-based organisations and their members, and links betweern different communities in the Greater Pretoria area.

Discussions can include things like crime prevention and Community Policing Forums, neighbourhood watch schemes, roads, town planning, schools, cultural activities, pollution, community problems and services etc.

Local history

Use this for discussing the past of the Greater Pretoria area. Historical and genealogical societies can use this to give information about their activities, and people can write reminiscences about the past that can be saved to form a local history archive.

More local conferences can be added if there is enough demand for them, and if those listed above become too crowded with messages on a particular topic.

There are also several international conferences on a variety of topics that you can participate in.

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How BBSs can be used in crime prevention

The sysop of a BBS can set up special crime prevention conferences - for a whole city, or part of a city, or even for each suburb. Members of Neighbourhood Watch schemes can use these to leave messages for each other, and could also report suspicious happenings in their area. Others who read these can comment on them, and these reports can be correlated with crime reports.

For example, suppose someone reports a group of people acting strangely - examining houses, carrying burglary tools, and so on. If this is posted on the BBS, someone else might report that they saw a similar group, similarly dressed, in a different street an hour later. Then if there is a break in in the neighbourhood about that time, the police could use these reports in searching for the suspects. In most cases of break-ins, the police do not have time to interview all the neighbours, in the hope that someone may have seen something. They simply do not have the staff for that kind of thing. But if such reports are collected on a BBS, and made available to the police for investigation, it is possible that many more crimes could be solved, or prevented - if a crime was reported, someone seeing the same group, having read about it on the BBS, could call the police.

This is just one example of how BBSs can be used in crime prevention. If businessmen donated computers to their local police station, the police could set up their own BBS, and this could make contact even easier. Remember, a BBS doesn't need to be the latest and greatest. A 286 or 386 being tossed out because one is upgrading is quite adequate for running a BBS.

Can you think of more ideas?

Call your local BBS and post them in a message!

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How to call a BBS

To call a Pretoria BBS you need to set the communications software to dial one of the following numbers. If you have Windows 95 or Windows 98 on your computer, there is a communications program called Hyperterminal already on the computer, and you can use that to connect to a BBS. Do not try to connect to a BBS using the same software you use to connect to the Internet - it won't work. If you have a problem, you can find more help on our general BBS page.

Pretoria local BBS phone numbers
BBS name Phone Hours Notes
Khanya 333-0004 24 hours Daily mainternance at midnight

If you would like to run a BBS, or if you are already running one in the Pretoria area, and would like to connect it to the networks so you can be linked to the local Pretoria conferences, please e-mail Steve Hayes, or you can phone me at 012-333-6727.

The Pretoria Online pages give more information about Pretoria, its communities, and events and happenings. Read about them on the Web pages, and discuss them on the BBS!

You may also search these web pages for other topics that interest you:

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This page maintained by
Steve Hayes
E-mail: hayesmstw@hotmail.com
Please see web page for contact information
e-mail address may overflow because of spam

For more contact information, see our contact page Created: 1998-09-23
Updated: 2003-12-09