Name of Interview: Steve Punter
Date Interviewed: May 26, 2002
Location: Mississauga, Ontario
Miles Travelled: Part of 200 mile round-trip
DV Tapes Filled: 2 Hours

I originally e-mailed Steve Punter for the simple reason that he was the creator of the only Commodore PET BBS that I could find. To have someone writing a BBS for a machine and it likely being the only one... well, that seemed great.

It was only later, after he agreed to an interview, that I found out that he was not only the creator of this Commodore PET BBS program, but was in fact the creator of the Punter Protocol, pretty much the main transfer protocol for Commodore systems! Talk about almost missing the boat!

As it turned out, though, I probably would have been given all this information anyway, because Steve had copious records of his time with BBSes and specifically with PunterNet, the networked BBS program he wrote in the late 1980s. Steve was methodical and exact in his answers; within the first hour of recording, he'd answered pretty much all the questions I'd given to such a fashion that the second hour was a bit wandery. I still had it in my head that a "decent" interview lasted at least 2 hours, and I didn't sway from that yet.

Besides doing Punter Protocol, PunterNet and the PET BBS Software, Steve Punter wrote a word processing program for the Commdore 64 called Wordpro. He had all his old documentation and advertisements from that time as well. For all the people I've met who didn't have a scrap of anything from their BBS days, it was great to meet someone who had it all. At one point I mentioned a cranky user of Punternet who'd had political issues with how the heirarchy was being maintained; Steve and his wife were able to find the exact record entry of the guy, including what number software he'd had, and when he'd gotten the software. They still had it all!

At one point, Mr. Punter's wife brought out the single coolest thing I've seen yet at an interview: A 300 baud modem installed in a remote-control A-Team van. It was acoustic, and I believe the headlights would show the status of the modem. I took pictures, but they don't do it justice. What a great thing it was; I actually tendered an offer for it, I liked it so much.