Posts Tagged ‘Internet’

The Internet That Was: 1981-82

August 20, 2010

I recently stumbled across an archive of Usenet posts, mostly from around 1981. They’re archived using the Gopher protocol, so you most likely have to use one of the Mozilla-based browsers like Firefox, Seamonkey, etc. to be able to access them. Many of them are incredibly amusing from a historical standpoint. For instance, in the archive, there’s the following from April 1982:

I came across a record a few months ago by BOW-WOW-WOW.
After an initial readjustment period I became quite
happy with it.  It's name was something like "See jungle,
go ape crazy" (I taped it and lost the title).  Anyone
else hear this album?  Do they have any other albums?
Any of them worth a listen?  I fear that this is the kind
of group that you could get tired of real fast.

I love the assessment of Bow-Wow-Wow as “the kind of group that you could get tired of real fast,” as well as the simple fact that someone once felt compelled to ask of the band, “Anyone else hear this?” Here’s a history lesson for you, kids: once upon a time (when we had to walk eight miles each way to school through ten foot high snowdrifts every day, even in May) we used to buy music on these 12″ diameter things called “record albums,” and then we would make copies of them on cassette tapes to share with people and listen to in our portable Walkmans and boom boxes. It was like the peer-to-peer file sharing network of its day.

There’s also a review of an Asia concert (!) by a Steve Howe fanboy (who wouldn’t be a “boy” anymore, because he’s now 28 years older than whatever age he was at the show), as well as the prices and information you needed back then to subscribe to the Computer Music Journal (Journals Department, The MIT Press, 28 Carleton Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02142 — I dare you to send something there now and see what happens, since the address is different now).

The fact that everything’s archived on a Gopher server makes it even more awesome. I once attempted to explain to my sister, who’s about 10 years younger than me, how during my freshman year of college (1995-96), our whole campus computer network consisted of VAX terminals, and that the Internet as we had it was all text in the form of something called Gopher rather than the World Wide Web as we know it today. She couldn’t fathom how people managed to exist like that.

Random little side note: I still insist on using the Weather Underground website and iCal feed today to get weather forecasts and updates on conditions, mostly because that was what we had available at school through Gopher when I first started using the Internet as a college freshman, and even today getting weather information online through any other venue just doesn’t feel right for some bizarre reason.

Attributive legalese: The Usenet archive stuff linked to and quoted here is from The Usenet Oldnews Archive: Compilation Copyright (C) 1981, 1996 — Bruce Jones, Henry Spenser, David Wiseman


Welcome to the Hotel California — Whoops, I Mean Facebook

May 13, 2010

As social media giant Facebook’s privacy policies get more convoluted, creepy, and downright Orwellian, it appears that some people are beginning to dump their accounts on the site.

Turns out that, however, is easier said than done. If you want to see for yourself just how Byzantine the process of deleting a Facebook account can be, read about it yourself here. You may want to brew yourself a pot of coffee before doing so.

There’s a Bridge in New York I’d Like To Sell on Facebook

March 7, 2010

The most popular baby name of 2010.

Do you really believe that anybody would name their kid “Megatron” just because her sister got 1,000,000 fans on Facebook? Come on, people.

Weird Search Terms

November 8, 2009

One search engine query that directed someone to this blog two days ago was “cat eating.” I’m not sure whether the person in question was looking for cats eating things, or the eating of cats. Either way, it’s somewhat squirm-inducing.

A search term leading here yesterday was “infant hair removal.” I really don’t want to know.

“Snowball with batteries cowboys” was another term from the past week. I can’t even begin to picture what the searcher envisioned by that.

“Victorian insane asylums,” or some variation thereof, is a frequent denizen of the search terms that lead readers here. Apparently a lot of people out there are really into Victorian insane asylums.

Another person this week was looking for a “slogan for america.” How about this one: “America. . . Two continents for the price of one!”

“Funk do chupa cabra” was another recent search query directing here. This one gives me an idea: maybe somebody should invent a dance called the “Funky Chupacabra.” It would be like the funky chicken, only somehow involving buckets of blood. Now that I think about it, having just written “buckets of blood” here probably opens this site up to even weirder Internet searches in the future.

The Sublime and the Ridiculous on the Internet

June 20, 2009

First, the sublime.

Now, the ridiculous.

I Give Up

June 17, 2009

I give up. I caved. Finally. I held out as long as I could, but I could hold out no more.

I opened a Facebook account. Or, more accurately, my wife started opening a Facebook account for me last night, and I decided to go along with it.

I’ve always been very ambivalent about the whole “social networking” thing. There are probably a few reasons why:

  1. I used to do public relations work for a college.
  2. College students tend to put incredibly stupid things, especially stupid things in photographic form, on social networking sites.
  3. Some of those stupid things are publicly viewable and can end up making the whole college look bad, which results in the college’s PR people having to scramble to put out the resulting fires.
  4. It’s especially fun when reason number three occurs while you’re away on vacation.

So, I spent several years resisting joining Facebook. I’m sort of amazed that I held out all the way to the middle of 2009, to be honest. I pretty much knew that I would have to give in earlier this spring when I received a class letter in the mail from my collegiate alma mater directing people to the tenth-year reunion (yes, I am that old) Facebook group for more information.

Random Weirdness

February 17, 2009
  1. Our baby monitor is currently picking up someone else’s house. The reception is crystal clear. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for our own house.
  2. When you Google “Tater Tot Casserole Recipe,” the first link that takes you directly to a recipe is that of the Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar family web site.
  3. If you desire to purchase a 4,435 square foot apartment in Tashkent, Uzbekistan from the U.S. State Department, you can do so by sending an e-mail to and referring to property ID 5TashkentX26. This handy information is just four clicks away from the recipe page on the Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar family web site.

Olaf, Metal!

January 1, 2009

The Internet is a vast repository of all human knowledge, created by the collective contributions of experts in every human endeavor. Only the most precious bits of wisdom make their way into its recesses, such as the following treatise, “How to Appreciate Death Metal.”

Personally, I recommend starting with Meshuggah . . .

No Surprises Here

December 1, 2008

In a fit of idle boredom, I just took the Beliefnet Belief-O-Matic quiz (which assumes no legal liability for the ultimate fate of your soul, by the way). I can’t say I’m the least bit surprised by the results, except for “Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants” somehow topping “Nontheist” on the list. That and “Liberal Quakers” ranking as high as number four sort of baffles me a little bit.

The top score on the list below represents the faith that Belief-O-Matic, in its less than infinite wisdom, thinks most closely matches your beliefs. However, even a score of 100% does not mean that your views are all shared by this faith, or vice versa . . . The higher a faith appears on this list, the more closely it aligns with your thinking.

1. Unitarian Universalism (100%)
2. Theravada Buddhism (94%)
3. Neo-Pagan (90%)
4. Liberal Quakers (88%)
5. New Age (85%)
6. Mahayana Buddhism (83%)
7. Secular Humanism (80%)
8. Taoism (72%)
9. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (71%)
10. Nontheist (61%)

Guuck fer Ardickel!

October 25, 2008

One of the weirder things floating about the Internets is the Pennsylvania Dutch version of Wikipedia.

That’s right, a version of Wikipedia in the Pennsylvania Dutch language exists. Contrary to popular belief, not all Pennsylvania Dutch speakers are Amish and/or Luddites. There aren’t that many of them who are not, however, so the variety and length of the articles are both rather limited.

Still, it’s pretty funny to see what the authors of “der Wikipedia in Deitsch” find important enough to say about their subjects. Take, for example, the comprehensive four sentence biography of Dick Cheney:

Der Dick Cheney iss alleweil der Vice-Bresident vun Amerikaa. Er hot mit em George W. Bush zwee Lekschionne gwunne. Uff der 11 Henning, 2006 hot der Dick Cheney der Harry Whittington, en Texas Attorney gschosse mit me Flint. Er waar Quail am Yaage mitaus en Permit.

My translation abilities are a little rusty, but this is the basic gist of what it says in English:

Dick Cheney is currently the Vice-President of the United States. He won two elections with George W. Bush. On 11 February 2006, Dick Cheney shot Harry Whittington, a Texas attorney, with a gun. He was quail hunting without a permit.

Really gets to the heart of the matter, doesn’t it?

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