CompuServe and GEnie both sound awesome

Written by Mr. Bessler on January 26, 1990

Damn, I wish I had a modem. Mike’s dad has one and he uses it find stuff on his computer. He wouldn’t let us use it, but he let us watch. First, there was a list of What’s New crap, but after that, here’s all the things you can do at the Top menu:

CompuServe                           TOP

 1 Member Assistance (FREE)
 2 Find a Topic (FREE)
 3 Communications/Bulletin Bds.
 4 News/Weather/Sports
 5 Travel
 6 The Electronic MALL/Shopping
 7 Money Matters/Markets
 8 Entertainment/Games
 9 Hobbies/Lifestyles/Education
10 Reference
11 Computers/Technology
12 Business/Other Interests
Enter choice number !

He mainly used it to check the Stock Market (boring). He also sent a electronic letter to some woman he met in a “forum” about SCUBA diving. Sounds like a blast.

CompuServe                           COMMUNICATE

 1 CompuServe Mail
 2 CB Simulator
 3 Forums (SIGs)
 4 Practice Forum (FREE)
 5 National Bulletin Board
 6 Directory of Members (FREE)
 7 Ask Customer Service (FREE)
 8 CB Society
 9 The Convention Center (tm)
10 Member Recommendation Program (FREE)
11 Specials/Contests (FREE)
Enter choice number !

I already have a pen-pal from Nebraska that I don’t communicate with, so no thanks. Games. Now, those interest me:

CompuServe                           GAMES

 1 Intro to Games
 2 Fantasy/Role Playing/Adventures
 3 War Games
 4 Simulations/Sports Games
 5 Parlor/Trivia Games
 6 Modem Game Players CHALLENGE BOARD
 7 Game Forums/News
 8 Entertainment Forums
 9 Entertainment News
10 Order Merchandise/Guides
11 Computers/Technology
Enter choice number !

He wouldn’t let us play any games, though. He said computer games are a waste of time. (Says the guy who uses his complex computer set-up to discuss SCUBA diving with people he’s never met in real-life.) He said there’s also this other service called GEnie, which is just like CompuServe, but he likes CompuServe’s “Forums” better than GEnie’s “RoundTables“. Good lord, more SCUBA talk.

I did some digging today at Waldenbooks and here’s what I learned about these two services:

GEnie CompuServe
Cost $6.00* per hour
(300/1200 baud)

$10.00* per hour
(2400 baud)


probably some telecommunications surcharges**

$6.00 per hour
(300/450 baud)

$12.50 per hour
(1200/2400 baud)


phone surcharges for use of an “access network node” (if that’s a real thing)**

Monthly fee? No. Yes. $1.50 support fee.
Owned by Those light bulb people.
That tax company.
Sign up fee $29.95 $39.95 + 10 bucks extra if you want the “Executive Service option”, whatever that means.
Sign up process Easy as one, two, three…
1. Set your modem for local echo (half duplex), 300 or 1200 baud.
2. Dial 1-800-638-8369. When connected, you just enter HHH.
3. At the U#=prompt simply enter XTX99596, GEnie. Then just press
RETURN. And have a major credit card or your checking account number ready.
Ask me in 4 to 8 weeks. I sent away for literature.

* It’s $16 per hour during weekdays, but I’m at school or playing ball during those times, so who cares.

** Most likely add around 30 cents per hour. I hope. Or it could be up to 12 bucks extra per hour if Tymnet gets involved. Ouch, this could get really expensive. I should just save my money and buy a Pete Rose rookie card.

Update (February 20th at 3:15PM): Wow, that arrived quickly! Hmmm, I would’ve “preferred” they spell my name right.

CompuServe must be full of attractive people. Attractive people with lamps.

And that’s how you close a deal.