A Brief History of Magic on the Internet

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Scott Wells
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A Brief History of Magic on the Internet

Postby Scott Wells » January 20th, 2018, 2:49 pm

Jim Sisti was the creator, publisher and editor of "The Magic Menu" for several years beginning in the 1990's. During that time, his newsletter went through many "desktop publishing" changes as the technology evolved. He was also intimately and actively involved with posting on Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) by using "dial-up" technology.

This week on The Magic Word Podcast, Jim and I talk about the evolution of magic on the internet from the days of the BBS through online forums, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, and a peek at our guesses for what's coming in the future. I know that we overlooked some people and places but we hope that perhaps this podcast will not only bring back fond memories of yesteryear but also stir the imagination for creators to re-imagine the future. We also spend some time discussing the AllMagic.com website that was hosted by Richard Robinson that became the "go-to" forum for learning magic before YouTube. The encyclopedic warehouse of knowledge is now available on a flash drive that can access hundreds if not thousands of hours and web pages chock full of useful information for beginners to pros.

You can view a video trailer on AllMagic.com, enter the contest for a chance to win a flash drive, see some photos, listen to the podcast online and download the MP3 file at: https://www.themagicwordpodcast.com/sco ... -jim-sisti

Next week I will be traveling to Columbus, OH to attend the Magi-Fest. If you can't attend, then be sure to listen for my daily updates from the convention floor with chats with the organizers, dealers, talent and registrants. If you do attend, then please be sure to look for me and say "hello". I will also be found at the bar on Thursday night the 25th for our weekly "Magic and Martinis Thursday". Join me if you can!
Visit The Magic Word at http://themagicwordpodcast.com/

Stephen Burton
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Re: A Brief History of Magic on the Internet

Postby Stephen Burton » January 22nd, 2018, 5:00 pm

A notable omission from your dialogue with Jim Sisti was The Magicon, a forum for magicians begun by myself, Martin Lewis and Bill Palmer in 1986. This was initially a chat group but we expanded to our own forum BBS system where I published the first online magic newsletter, Abracadata. We had more than one hundred members that met for years on CompuServe. Members included Max Maven, David Alexander, Howie Schwarzmann, Dick Hatch, Jeff Busby, Bart Whaley, Peter Samelson, Jerry Fields, Gary Ouellet, Penn and Teller, T.A. Waters, Rick Johnsson (who also reported it in his Linking Ring column), et al. I write to amend the record because in your conversation it was mentioned that David Lichtman's Magic! BBS as being "the first" online forum, but that began around 1989 just about the time The Magicon was winding down. We stopped mainly due to the high fees being charged by CompuServe and the rumor that a new type of relatively cost-free internet was rolling out in 1990 called, The Worldwide Web.

REF: The Linking Ring, July 1986, page 94.

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Scott Wells
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Re: A Brief History of Magic on the Internet

Postby Scott Wells » January 24th, 2018, 12:27 pm

Thank you, Steve, for the clarification and details on your important contribution. I did not remember the name of your BBS nor the timeline but I did know that you had developed that program. So, that is great to have your post for historical reasons. To assure that it stays embedded with the podcast for future listeners/readers, you might consider posting that same message in the comments section of The Magic Word Podcast blog episode #402.

But for the record, I did not omit you from our dialogue but indeed I mentioned your name and alluded to your previous BBS (prior to MAGIC!) at the timeline 00:24:00 mark. Thank you, Steve, for being a pioneer in the digital magic world.
Visit The Magic Word at http://themagicwordpodcast.com/

Stephen Burton
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Joined: August 20th, 2015, 1:47 am

Re: A Brief History of Magic on the Internet

Postby Stephen Burton » January 24th, 2018, 3:49 pm

Thank you, Scott, for your reply and I do appreciate you mentioning me by name. My clarification was to include Martin Lewis and Bill Palmer who also founded the forum, call it by its actual name and give it a timeline. And to comment further, it wasn't just a BBS (bulletin board system) it was a forum with a chat group (both private and public) a BBS system and a printed newsletter, The Magicon Journal.


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