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StarText Classic

Farewell To A Good Friend

March 14, 1997

"I felt a great disruption in the (STARTEXT) force at about 5:12 pm today." - Dave DeBoo

On March 3, 1997 at 5:12 pm, StarText Classic was turned off for the last time and ceased to exist. So what's the big deal? Online systems come and go, but this one was special. For many of the new subscribers to StarText, you really can't understand the feelings of us older StarTexans. StarText Classic, as it came to be known, was the forerunner of StarText.Net, the system we are all on today. Classic wasn't as flashy as StarText.Net. No, there weren't any fancy graphics, colors, or sounds; just plain old text and information and a "warmth" that will never be duplicated again anywhere. We were a small community of three or four thousand but we all knew what was going on with everyone. We were neighbors and we were concerned about each other. Everyone was always willing to help a new user with a problem. Now don't get me wrong, we are all doing that now, but it was just different on Classic.

One of my favorite features on Classic was the subscriber written columns. I really wanted to be a writer. With the advice and encouragement of some good online friends, I tried it out and found out that I too could put a column together. Today almost all of the subscriber columnists that are online on StarText.Net got their start on Classic. We couldn't rely on fancy graphics or colors, we had to have content. Content was king!

Thanks to Gerry Barker we have a record of the demise of our friend, the last final moments before the switch was thrown.

Goodbye To Classic - Scene 1

A screen shot of the users online at 5:12 pm.
(There were 3 users logged on.)

Goodbye To Classic - Scene 2

Phil and 3 witnesses -- Marla Hammond, Lisa Jones
and Gerry Barker enter the secret room where
Classic lived. This is seconds before the final moment. . .

Goodbye To Classic - Scene 3

The moment had arrived. . . .It was time.
Together, Marla, Lisa and Phil pressed the button.
It was finally over. Long may she rest.

Goodbye To Classic - Scene 4

After it was over did Phil hit the right button?
Phil, you did hit the right button, didn't you?

Classic will always hold fond memories for me and Terry. StarText Classic was my first venture into the online world of computing. I can remember to this day back in 1991 when I walked into Taylor's Bookstore (you remember Taylor's don't you) and purchased a "Seven Day Trial" to a online service known as StarText. I wondered what the heck was this all about. I knew I had a modem in my computer but I wasn't quite sure what it exactly did and what information I could get with it. Well, I went home, installed the software, called customer service, and I was online and hooked in a flash! At that moment Terry became a "computer widow." I had the world at my fingertips. I even had online messaging! Wow! What a deal. I found answers to questions, got the news almost instantaneously, and met some of the finest people that I've ever known. We will all miss her, but the memories will always be with us.

Some subscriber comments on our friend's demise:

"She served her purpose well! Long 'live' Classic . . . in our memories." -- Geary N. Hughes

"Classic is what got me started in computers, it was my friend . . . I feel a great loss . . . I have a heavy heart . . . Now for some fun . . . LONG LIVE THE NET . . . (g) It was nice but this is FUN!" -- Randy "Cakeman" Lovelace

"Back in '84 I saw StarText for the first time on a Timex 1000 with a 16k RAM pack and a 300 baud modem. Talk about exciting! Getting to see all that news from over the telephone lines. WOW! I vowed one day, come hell or high water (and if my wife would let me), I, too, would be on StarText. In '85, with a fairly new Timex 2068 and a 300 baud modem, I was on the Classic. It was great! I was able to get so much news, everyone was friendly and helped everyone else. Going to the first subscribers meeting I was able to attend helped me to meet Gerry Barker and others no longer at StarText (but I still have fond memories of Joe trying to do and say so much.) When the Timexers spoke up, everyone, and I mean "EVERYONE" offered to help in anyway possible. Now that is "family!" -- David Baulch

StarText wasn't just another online service, she had a big heart and shared it with all who wanted to be a part of the best online community ever! For those of you that are new to StarText, you can read more about the history of Classic by pointing your browser to:

On March 22, after the SIG meeting in Dallas, we are all getting together for a "Farewell to StarText Classic Party" at Rodeo Steakhouse from 12:00 - 2:00 pm. It's potluck. Bring your favorite dish to share. Soft drinks will be provided. RSVP to and let Gerry know what you're going to bring. Don't have time to cook anything, come along anyway and meet old and new subscribers alike. Come help us say "Farewell to A Good Friend." Just make a day of it, attend the SIG meeting in the morning and then the party in the afternoon. Don't forget mark your calendars for March 22!

Click on the "NEXT" button below to learn about HTML Writer's Guild and why Chuck joined.

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