The electronic bulletin board comes of financial age by Marshall Rens and Federico L. Brown
If you've never explored one, computer bulletin boards must seem b-o-r-i-n-g — a bunch of hacker nerds earnestly arguing via their personal computers the merits of Intel's 80386 chip over Motorola's 68020 or engaged in other trivial pursuits. It's a pity, because for the computer owner the bulletin board system (BBS) is heaven on earth—a quick source of thousands of free investment software programs. All yours for the asking. All free, or the next thing to it.
If these programs were just games, you could dismiss the hundreds of BBSs. But ask yourself: If you needed a good options valuation program, would you rather pay $360 for a commercial one that you haven't had the opportunity to try, or grab any of the numerous full-feature options programs from a bulletin board and pay little or nothing? If you wanted to track a portfolio of your stocks, would you rather pay $400 for a portfolio manager or grab PC-File from a BBS and accomplish the same for free? The same goes for tax programs and any number of utility programs that improve your computer's operation or add to its ease of use.