The Gnome > Introduction
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Introduction


While technically a hobby system, The Gnome At Home was possibly the biggest Viewdata BBS existing, back in the late 1980s.  With paid-for subscriptions and aspirations of providing national access via PSS, it was almost a commercial success.

MicroGnome was a regular news spot within Viewfax 258 on Prestel, however limitations of space encouraged them to set up their own viewdata bulletin board.  Initially operating a single-user system on a BBC Micro running CommunITel, it was quickly upgraded to a custom written host software supporting at least six telephone lines in, each answered by a BBC Micro and modem, with yet more computers running automated softwares (the AutoGnome) to watch over and update various services, chat with and generally annoy the users.

Operated on a day to day basis by The Great Goblin (Glyn Philips) regular articles were penned by MicroGnome himself (Bob Clark) alongside the Prestel-published columns.  There were multiple "Grotto" areas - space rented by users to publish their own pages, and multiple special-interest groups.


More to come..

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Comments

A.J.
04 Dec 2011, 14:05
Oh lord I was a subscriber to TGAH! So many good memories! In many ways it was better than the Micronet pages. I had to give it up in the end the phone bill was prohibitive (student days for me)

T'GG, Gnomey, ARG, Brian Gaff, Thanatos, where are you now guys? I miss you.
Dave Mazzetti
31 Jan 2012, 07:09
Ahh yes I was a subscriber to TGAH as well as Prestel. Fond memories and I loved the viewdata format. I still miss both of these, but luckily I save many Viewdata frames to disc on my Amstrad 6128. In spite of the internet, I wish these systems still existed.
HM
27 Jun 2012, 17:50
Me too - I would have thought there'd be more people waxing nostalgic about it.

Ah, it was the RPG that kept me there there, with Thanatos running it, and me, Wabit, Blue Adept, Hercules, and probably others with equally fun names I've forgotten, playing. Even had a meet up.
Steve Williams
28 Jun 2012, 05:32
So many good memories - good lord was it that many years ago? Glad to see that the Internet is finally recognising its roots. We WERE the pioneers!

I was *The Cunning Canadian*

I ran the WACCI On-Line site (WOLi) and then went on to be the Editor of the actual WACCI magazine.

I am writing a slightly longer missive so I will be back soon.
Steve Williams
28 Jun 2012, 05:35
Is there a word-limit on this page?
Steve Williams
28 Jun 2012, 05:58
I am just testing to see if there is a character-count on this site. If there isnít... then the G@H spirit is still alive.... I will post this and see if it gets through. If it does?... I will write a book!


So many good memories - good lord was it that many years ago?

I was *The Cunning Canadian*

If you can remember, I ran the WACCI On-Line site (WOLi) and then went on to be the Editor of the actual WACCI magazine.

Yes I remember all of those good friends... The Giant Gnome (Glynn), Gnomey, ARG, Brian Gaff, Thanatos, Dark Star, Dog Breff, the recidivist,

Those were my computing formative years. I had just upgraded from a ZX81 to a CPC 6128 and bought a modem from Keith Rose. Yes it actually worked.... and the first BB I hooked up to (on that rainy Sunday afternoon) was The Gnome @ Home... the rest was history.



Does anyone else remember ďAuntie Johnís Problem Page?Ē

Q : CPC CF2 discs are so expensive - are there any alternatives?
A : Try formatting a McVities Chocolate digestive - one sided only though.

WACCI also pissed off Bruce Everiss with an article by Glenn Carey that said he was such a money-grabber that he even sold hot water to his mother at his birth

I actually lugged Jeff Walker (the Editor of WACCI at the time) up to Gnome Central (in Tottenham) to meet Glynn. We took my CPC6128, an RS232 interface and a bunch of CP/M+ PD software to transfer over to the G@H system.

That was a wonderful evening. Seeing a dozen BBC-Bs hardwired together and seeing this ENOURMOUS hugely-bearded, fat guy sitting in a leather swivel-chair. He and Jeff interfaced my computer and the G@H system seamlessly. Seeing all that data being uploaded to a central server was a subliminal experience... like losing your virginity... you may not be sure what is going on but you like it... and you know youíll remember it for the rest of your life!

Rob
28 Jun 2012, 06:41
:-)
I remember my first encounter with Glynn & Gnome Central. Awe-inspiring.

In some ways it feels only yesterday; at other ways it was so long ago. The world has changed, and got bigger. Still, we enjoy our memories; keep them coming!
Lee
08 Jan 2013, 21:26
Hello from Grendel. How many years ago was this! God I feel old now!
Wayne Barnes
28 Apr 2013, 22:12
Good to see something Gnome.. I was a Wizop at one point. I loved it. It was quite revolutionary and Glyn cooked up some superb ideas...
Wayne Barnes
28 Apr 2013, 22:16
Hey! Cunning Canandian. I'm in journalism now would you like to buy a Big Issue magazine....
Times got tough, had an undiagnosed illness which has finally been isolated and am improving daily....
I only go back the street as part of promos etc for the Big Issue. You have probably seen me on television as BavonWW

Steve Williams
30 Apr 2013, 04:23
Hey young sir... you still alive? We did better than either of us expected then eh?

Tell me, is that the legendary musical "Bavon" who used to tout the advantages of the Atari ST over the Amiga 500+?

Remind me - what were they?

Forget it - neither you or I can dig that far back into our memories.

TG@H took me into the world of freelance computer journalism and publishing... 25 years later I have no regrets and I am living comfortably in my home country...

I owe a lot to Clive Sinclair, Clive Sugar, TG@H, Gnomey, TGG and Mr Rose (who sold me my first 12/75 modem) and all the other people who taught me how to use the internet - before it was even known as such!

Wayne.... just mail Rob at

robert@irrelevant.com

and remind him of who you are - then you and I can get chatting on his Viewdata site!

Chat to you soon Mr Bavon! :-)

Kevin
12 May 2013, 07:54
Glynn was certainly a larger than life person, I remember he designed the Demon modem in his garret (prior to his Tottenham days) and he helped me design the modems I made, which were sold by Keith Rose in Modem house (sod went bust owing me loads, then he ended up in Parkhurst!).
Rob
12 May 2013, 08:19
The Kirk Modems? I remember them, might even still have one buried in a box somewhere. And Keith Rose of course; he was somewhat notorious at the time for his rip-off actions. Was the Magic Modem his, and a straight copy of somebody else's too, or am I getting my teenager-memories muddled again?

Glynn as part of SoftMachinery, seems to have been responsible for a large proportion of the modems, and Beeb software, around at the time!
Nick
21 Oct 2013, 22:54
I loved G&H. I also had a Demon modem, gotta love the 1200/75 baud. Without the ability to load the rom into sideways RAM I'd have never been able to get online because at the time my mum kept it in a ZIF case and locked from me!! Fortunately having an image of the rom changed everything, any my phone bills. Good times :)
Richard Moore
21 Jun 2014, 17:10
It's thirty years later and I can still remember the excitement of seeing the Prestel diamond appearing for the first time. I moved onto the G@H and then later Cix. And yes I had a modem from Mr Rose too. all 1200/75 of it.

Seemed to spend most of my Sunday afternoons on G@H or using TP to download from Cix. You tell kids today and they don't believe it :-)
Terry
19 Nov 2014, 21:55
Just been reminiscing about my first time online, did a search and here it is. :)

My school had just bought one PC with a modem. Nobody really knew how to use it or what you could do. There were only a couple of phone numbers we had to BBSes and I logged on to TGAH only a few times, but with such an easy number to remember it has stuck with me for 30+ years: 01 888 8894 (yes, back when all of London was covered by the same area code).

Happy days...
Terry
19 Nov 2014, 21:57
Just been reminiscing about my first time online, did a search and here it is. :)

My school had just bought one PC with a modem. Nobody really knew how to use it or what you could do. There were only a couple of phone numbers we had to BBSes and I logged on to TGAH only a few times, but with such an easy number to remember it has stuck with me for 30+ years: 01 888 8894 (yes, back when all of London was covered by the same area code).

Happy days...
Mark Horlock
10 Dec 2014, 14:08
I am not sure if ANY of you guys will remember me but i used to go by the name of GumDum and i used to run a BBs from my school science labs using 3 BBC micros on and Econet system running Glynn's software, i even wrote some of the user manual for him at the time but i don't think it ever came to anything.
The BBs at School was called SWAFAX !
Anyone Remember this??
i ended up running one in my loft at home called Swafax 2000 and i part of SHATTERNET (based on the book, The Shattered World)
I remember names like Thanatos and Dark Star.

Man things have changed so much!
The internet has a lot to answer for!
Mark Horlock
10 Dec 2014, 14:09
I am not sure if ANY of you guys will remember me but i used to go by the name of GumDum and i used to run a BBs from my school science labs using 3 BBC micros on and Econet system running Glynn's software, i even wrote some of the user manual for him at the time but i don't think it ever came to anything.
The BBs at School was called SWAFAX !
Anyone Remember this??
i ended up running one in my loft at home called Swafax 2000 and i part of SHATTERNET (based on the book, The Shattered World)
I remember names like Thanatos and Dark Star.

Man things have changed so much!
The internet has a lot to answer for!
mark horlock
10 Dec 2014, 14:15
Does anyone know if Glynn Phillips is still around???
What he is up to now?
25-28years ago.

I am here today as i have just been running BEEBEM on my MAC and playing games
Hopper
Killer Gorilla
Monsters

Then The Gnome at Home popped in my head so i thought i google it!
JinxterX
08 Feb 2016, 22:12
I was a subscriber to the G&H when I was a teenager and ran up a huge phone bill that my dad had to pay, after that he got the line disconnected, lol.

Those were the days :) I'd love to go back and do it all again!
JinxterX
08 Feb 2016, 22:13
I was a subscriber to the G@H when I was a teenager and ran up a huge phone bill that my dad had to pay, after that he got the line disconnected, lol.

Those were the days :) I'd love to go back and do it all again!
mel
24 Apr 2016, 10:27
And you thought we'd gone away...
mel
24 Apr 2016, 10:28
And you thought we had gone away...
John
23 Aug 2016, 08:21
I was the Poison Dwarf lol, good memories ..
David
25 Aug 2016, 08:27
Hey guys - wow I'm not the only one feeling sentimental about those days then :-) I found my WS2000 modem the other day, along with the viewdata software and rs232 interface that got me and my humble speccy online. The Gnome at Home was by far my favorite place in those days - weighty phone bills (and groundings) to prove it!

hope you are all well. thanks to everyone who made it what it was.
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