AOL Apple2 Mainframe?

Does anyone here remember seeing the computer (server?) that AOL had for its Apple // community? I think I saw it once being sold at some sort of used computer website in California. I couldn’t afford it at the time, and I lost track of it. It would have been nice to get it up and running again as a place that the A2 crowd could use to get back online.

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I don’t remember that… was this AOL as such, or was it (possibly) Compuserve after being absorbed by AOL? I found this:

The CompuServe Information Services division was sold in February 1998 to former competitor America Online. Apple II users who remained members of MAUG realized that this was likely not going to be good news, as AOL had previously excluded direct Apple II access by failing to continue to provide a graphic access program that worked on the Apple II. … The new managers of CompuServe appointed veterans Ray Merlin and Loren Damewood as new sysops for the APPUSE area.

Soon after the purchase by America Online, the predicted loss of text-based access came true, when the new owners announced in December 1998 that access to CompuServe would require a “front-end” program to manage access. This move accelerated the exodus of Apple II users from that service to elsewhere (often going to Delphi).

In 1999, the mainframe computers on which CompuServe was run were upgraded from the very old 36-bit architecture PDP-10 systems to newer 32 bit computers, which finally did break access for text-based computers. It was in February 1999 that the APPUSER forum for Apple II computers disappeared because of this change. A space was made available on the MACHW (Mac hardware) forum for Apple II issues, and the first message posted there (by former APPLESIG Chief Sysop from The Source, Joe Kohn, who discovered the change) was “Apple II Forever!”

Found a video of a Compuserve machine - running!

Gerry explains the history behind this Compuserve PDP-10 computer, as well as shows you the Boot-Up process.

Nearby, running the machine before donating to the Living Computer Museum: