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Online San Diego

From the April 4, 1997 ComputorEdge (Issue 1514)

By Jim Trageser

Single Scene San Diego

Single Scene is an Excalibur BBS system, so only Windows users can access it (meaning lovelorn Mac, Amiga or Atari users are outta luck here). As with Chameleon Tree BBS (reviewed Feb. 28), another Excalibur BBS, Single Scene can be accessed via dial-up or via the Internet – although you still need the special Excalibur terminal program for either.

As its name implies, this BBS is dedicated to those seeking a mate of one sort or another. It's a subscription-based BBS – but (get this, guys!) it's free for women! Men have to pay. Oh, the injustice of it all!

The BBS itself is well designed; there's a point-and-click menu bar across the bottom of each screen that allows you to get to any area from any other – none of that having to go back to the Main Menu stuff. And as with all Excalibur boards, Single Scene is as user-friendly in its interface as a Web page – more so, actually.

"Matches OnLine" is the main area to prospect for potential dates. In addition to the main file bank, you can also join "The College Connection" or "The Christian Connection." In any of them, you can search for just those possibilities that interest you – by gender, age, whether they smoke or not, whether they're married or divorced or separated, by their education or religion, whether they have or want children, how much money they make, or several other options. Once fully registered (by sending in a copy of your driver's license and a photo), you can also view photos of the other users. Once registered, you can also get free Internet e-mail.

The less-shy can be found in the chat room, which is fairly busy in the evening – about 12 people the night I was there. Registered users can also set up their own private chat rooms, which is a nice touch of privacy for the terminally shy.

There are other, non-dating-oriented areas on the board – games and files and such. But c'mon, if you're calling a singles board to find computer files or play online Scrabble, it's time to give up any illusions about finding a life partner and simply accept the fact that you have terminal geekdom and are doomed to eating Top Ramen out of the pan while watching re-runs of "Gilligan's Island."

It ought to go without saying, but what with Dear Abby on her anti-Internet kick, common-sense precautions bear repeating: Use the same caution in setting up a blind date via computer you would anywhere else. Meet in a public place for your first date, be sure you have the other person's home and work numbers, etc.