The GEnie Apple II Archive at Mac GUI Vault

Poof! The GEnie is out of the bottle in time for KansasFest 2016 as Mac GUI Vault presents the Apple II GEnie and Delphi file and discussion archives.

In the heyday of Apple II telecommunications, GEnie and Delphi ruled the roost, providing discussion forums and file libraries for thousands of subscribers. Both these services had extensive Apple II collections called A2 and A2Pro, the latter devoted to programming. After GEnie closed down, the activity moved to Delphi. The GEnie archive spans the years 1988 to 1998, while the Delphi archive runs from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s.

Resurrecting the archives

Periodically, the sysop would bundle 100 or so messages from the RoundTables into a single text file, compress with ShrinkIt, and upload the archive to the file library. As the years passed, these compressed archives grew to number over 3,000 in all. When service closure made it necessary to move the files, they all had to be painstakingly downloaded by modem from the GEnie or Delphi mainframe computers. Some of these dusty boxes of archives have sat neglected for nearly three decades.

Using the text processing tools and other extensive resources of Mac GUI Vault, these dusty boxes–both the discussion boards and the software libraries–have been opened and brought to light. Custom scripts were written to parse the discussion board archives and update them for the Usenet archiving system at Mac GUI Vault. The software files were gathered and cataloged, duplicates eliminated, and the remainder matched with their text descriptions which had been provided in the archive.

Not everything made it. Some ShrinkIt archives were corrupt, extracting only to garbage or zero-length files. Some of the messages were successfully extracted, but inspection revealed that long-ago telephone line noise garbled parts of the transmission, leading to irreversible character loss. In this case, these files were preserved as best as possible. It is estimated that between 500 to 1,000 messages from the RoundTables are missing due to corrupted ShrinkIt archives.

What we have today

The good news is that over 180,000 messages–some 22,000,000 words in all– are now online at Mac GUI Vault in the Usenet archive. These are the GEnie A2 and A2Pro discussion RoundTables. Reading these archives gives one a more complete view of the Apple II world of the 1990s and early 2000s, and forms an interesting parallel to the discussions in the Usenet newsgroups. As these were moderated forums that required a paid subscription to access, the tone and subject matter is from time to time at odds with that in the (mostly) free-for-all Usenet newsgroups.

Browse the GEnie A2 RoundTable

Browse the GEnie A2Pro RoundTable

Over 3,500 files from the GEnie and Delphi software libraries are now online at Mac GUI Vault in the Downloads area. These files are in the same categories as they were in the GEnie and Delphi archives, and bear the same descriptions. The Delphi archives for A2 and A2Pro appear as sub-categories under GEnie.

Browse the GEnie Apple II file archives

Browse the Delphi Apple II file archives

With these archives now online, the Apple II world has easy access to many more sources for programming, gaming, and perhaps best of all, nostalgia!

Mac GUI Vault

About the background collage

In this attempt to visualize what was a 100% text medium, I decided to start with an Apple IIgs as seen through a film camera. The background image was shot on a Mamiya/Sekor SLR using Kodak Gold negative film (the filmstrip is from that day's photo shoot). Super-imposed over it to create the vignette is the view through a Pentax viewfinder, with microprism focusing aid at center. Text selections are from the GEnie A2 RoundTable.
» Click here to view the full image.

The GEnie Apple II collage is © copyright 2016 by D. Finnigan.