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The Internet

Usenet With a 30 Year Lag 102

joey writes "The early A-News days of Usenet are being played out on olduse.net in realtime with a 30 year time delay. You can catch up on what rms and Postel are doing, Keep informed of the latest prices in disk drives ($75000 per gigabyte), and more. Available through a web-based teletype or NNTP. I plan to run the service for the next ten years, until 1991."
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Usenet With a 30 Year Lag

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  • ...you must keep vodka intake at sub-thursday levels.

  • by gregarican ( 694358 ) on Monday June 06, 2011 @11:02AM (#36350396) Homepage

    Besides a 30-year reverse time warp we have a recursive link. That's deep. Too deep for a Monday really...

  • He really should run it until '92, when the Internet became accessible to just about everyone and was no longer a strictly military,academic, and industrial plaything. For historical interest those that were active before that date would be of greatest interest. Stopping in '91seems arbitrary.

    • Re:September '92 (Score:5, Informative)

      by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <mashiki@gmTEAail.com minus caffeine> on Monday June 06, 2011 @11:13AM (#36350576) Homepage

      Well probably. I mean Eternal September [wikipedia.org] didn't start until nearly a year later.

      • Right... and I suppose you could run all of usenet off a single thumb drive... until binaries started to appear.
        • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

          Binaries were alive and kicking back in '91.

          • Fair enough... there was a time all the usenet binaries could have fit on a thumb drive, when binaries were small. I should have said feature length pornographic video.
            • Fair enough... there was a time all the usenet binaries could have fit on a thumb drive, when binaries were small. I should have said feature length pornographic video.

              Nah, the first thumbdrives were in 2000 at like 8MB, hardly enough to encompass all of usenet ... especially the usenet of 2000!

              • all turned around.... I meant usenet up until porno movies exploded there can fit on a thumb drive (now).
    • And here, silly me, I was willing to stick it out until '93 [wikipedia.org].

    • Actually it was 199*3* when AOL added Usenet to its service, and thus began the never-ending influx of newbies.

      I started posting on Usenet back in 1988 using local BBS feeds. The SYSop would download the messages at midnight, and his users would reply to the posts, and then wait a full day to see the answer.

      • Re:September '92 (Score:4, Insightful)

        by CharlyFoxtrot ( 1607527 ) on Monday June 06, 2011 @11:33AM (#36350844)

        Actually it was 199*3* when AOL added Usenet to its service, and thus began the never-ending influx of newbies.

        I started posting on Usenet back in 1988 using local BBS feeds. The SYSop would download the messages at midnight, and his users would reply to the posts, and then wait a full day to see the answer.

        Jeez, I get annoyed when the mobile connection on my smartphone doesn't work for 15 minutes. That really makes you appreciate how hyper-connected we are now.

        • Re:September '92 (Score:4, Informative)

          by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Monday June 06, 2011 @11:45AM (#36351004)

          Yeah, that was when long distance calls were expensive, so BBS owners would try to keep costs down by only connecting to the Usenet at night. Fidonet BBSes operated on the same principle.

          Some BBS owners provided real-time access to usenet or fidonet, but they also charged Users for that privilege.

          Speeds were slower back then too. 1k or 2 k was standard for the Users, while BBS Owners shared messages across the nation at a "trailblazing" 18 k. Of course it was pure text - no pictures exist on Usenet or Fidonet.

          QuantumLink (AOL) was the only service with lo-res graphics.

      • by e9th ( 652576 )
        I remember two horrible early sites, PSUVM, where EVERYBODY USED ALL CAPS, and "the well", (the "whole earth 'lectronic link"). They brought in undergrads and flower children, and demonstrated that diversity is not always a good thing.
      • "Netiquette." Now there's a term I haven't heard in a long, long time. What a quaint concept!

        • by Smauler ( 915644 )

          Everyone has "Netiquette" now, it's just different rules... they're told how to behave, and if they fail they get dropped.... same as before. People forget, back in the old days there were griefers all around... they just got shut down more effectively, and it was more effective when a community self censored. Admittedly it took more technical skill back then to communicate, which may be part of the difference.

          • by jbolden ( 176878 )

            And don't forget until about '95 most people were using real name accounts tied to their work emails. That helped I imagine the most.

      • I think my first post to Usenet was in 1985, to rec.arts.sf.written, from a Unix system at college.

        After college I had my Amiga on a dialup UUCP connection to a machine which was off of decvax. It was always disappointing to go down to the basement in the morning, where my computer (in fine nerd tradition) was located) and find that the connection had failed for whatever reason. Sending email that way was certainly not much faster than 'snail mail', if your Zoom modem wasn't all that reliable...

      • by jbolden ( 176878 )

        I don't know most of the people I talked to were also using FIDONET connections so it was 2-3 days. It was only when I started going direct in '92 that I got that high speed 6-30 hr turnaround times.

  • by Infiniti2000 ( 1720222 ) on Monday June 06, 2011 @11:08AM (#36350494)
    Yup, just like the good ole days.
  • by kvvbassboy ( 2010962 ) on Monday June 06, 2011 @11:11AM (#36350538)
    .. a bit dramatic, don't you think? I wonder what the last topic is going to be. :)
  • What if you had to tell someone the most important thing in the world, but you knew they'd never believe you?

  • Nah (Score:5, Funny)

    by Chemisor ( 97276 ) on Monday June 06, 2011 @11:17AM (#36350638)

    This is old news.

  • Instead of the big war he predicted would start in 2004, he was actually was saying it would start in 2034.

    However, the world's now supposed to come to an end this coming October, and again in December 2012, so I'm not sure how this fits into the schedule.

  • You have to play out the DePew debacle of early 1993! [catb.org] This generation needs to see the replay of one of the worst software lasers of all time!
  • This is exactly what we get, when services are tried to be run too efficiently. Like utilizing nearly 100% of resources provided by server. If server is down for just a while, it'll take ages to catch up. At least three news servers which I were using had all normal load over 90%. Which meant that if server went down for a day, it took easily one to two weeks to catch up!
  • by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Monday June 06, 2011 @12:09PM (#36351364)

    I've been thinking for the last decade or two that it would be interesting to do something like this, but on a shorter scale, such as 1-2 years, and using a source for political and world news that's as neutral as possible. That way, we can be reminded of things that are mostly still relevant, yet later got spun away, swept under the rug, or outright discredited. In particular, It'd be less of a novelty and more of a useful tool in refreshing our collective memory. I think it'd be especially useful in two situations:

    1) It's easy to say that "X was a bad decision" after the fact, especially since parties are eager to blame the other side and someone always has to take the blame for things that go wrong, but if we see the events as they play out, sometimes those "obvious" bad decisions actually end up being good field decisions that were well-founed based on the information available at the time.

    2) When we find out that someone in authority was lying to us over an extended period of time, those sorts of scandals are often downplayed in the media and swept under the rug quickly, meaning that they're forgotten and implicitly excused when we get distracted by something else. But if we re-watch the lies and see them as they played out, we'll be reminded of exactly how long and hard the lie was repeated without the coloration that later spin applied to it.

    Imagine the public accountability that something like this could create. Imagine if the memory of the mob didn't last a mere five minutes, but instead lasted for years. Imagine how people's priorities would change when they're shown ephemeral things that they thought were world-shatteringly important at the time, but were really not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. Imagine how PR and spin would change if they had the knowledge that it would all be dredged up again later. Imagine how casual political discussion would change if the rose colored glasses were removed in such a manner. Imagine how much more consensus we could reach when we're all reminded of the original facts, rather than the spin and interpretation that happened after.

    Ehh...I can dream, but I'm not kidding anyone, even myself. While I'd love to see something like that, there's no way it'd ever see its full potential.

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      In Germany they re-broadcasted news after 30 years. The most interesting part was that it all is still the same shit going on. Nothing changed, except the names.

    • Excellent idea! For implementation, I propose that google add a "newsdate:" keyword... just specify a date, and you get the news (or the entire www, if that's possible) as it appeared on that day. That would be useful in a lot of ways for a lot of things.

    • This is called "post-blogging" by a few bloggers, who do it. The most prominent one I've seen is the NYTimes "Opinionator" blogs, post-blogging the US civil war, to coincide with the 150th anniversary. I've also seen some history blogs do some more specific ones -- the Sudeten Crisis and the Blitz, in one case, and the Boxer rebellion in another.

      • I like that idea, but it loses the relevancy and accountability that a shorter delay of just a couple of years would afford, which is why I was thinking the 1-2 year delay. For purely informational purposes, I think that post-blogging, as you described it, sounds great. But as a tool of bringing about change and awareness of the current world, it has a more limited impact.

    • Nothing would change. The "news" is a soap opera that most people watch everyday. Stop reading the paper and watching the news for a few weeks, then come back. You'll find that you haven't missed much. There are probably a few scandals still going on dealing with some congressman or governor or whatever. There are still a few wars going on. Some of the stories are similar, but the names have been changed.

      Not much is "swept under the rug" in old news, because you don't have to. It wasn't meant to me

      • I actually haven't had cable or OTA TV for a few years now, so all of my news comes from RSS feeds and the like. Prior to that, I wasn't much of a news watcher anyway. It's a never ending source of information that can become a major waste of time, and anything that's truly important will get to me in some form or another anyway, at which point I can research it if I'm so inclined.

        Anyway, I don't disagree with what you're saying. I even acknowledge that it wouldn't work in my original post (see the last lin

  • by taiwanjohn ( 103839 ) on Monday June 06, 2011 @12:12PM (#36351412)

    Seriously, how many people were buying storage by the GIGAbyte back then? The first time I ever heard of a "hard disk drive" was around 1984 (give or take) and it was a 10MB drive that cost about $3k. A friend told me about it, and said it was wicked fast. When I asked him "how fast," he expressed it in terms of the load time for PC-Write [wikipedia.org].

    HIM: "You know how, when you load PC-Write, it takes about 10 or 15 seconds to read it off the floppy disk? Well, when you have this 'hard disk' thing, you type pcwrite, hit ENTER, and the hard disk goes 'zzzzt' and then the PC-Write screen pops up all at once."

    ME: "Whoa.... Cool!!"

    Now we buy terabytes for the cost of a few-dozen floppies in that time. At least we're doing something well.

    • by Jicehix ( 778864 )
      In the archive, there is a post from 1981 in net.general mentionning a new hard drive with a capacity of 560MB, by DEC and selling for $38K-$48K.

      Seems huge for thirty years ago.
    • by ibmjones ( 52133 )

      You know how, when you load PC-Write, it takes about 10 or 15 seconds to read it off the floppy disk? Well, when you have this 'hard disk' thing, you type pcwrite, hit ENTER, and the hard disk goes 'zzzzt' and then the PC-Write screen pops up all at once."


      Hey, that's faster that Microsoft Word on the Mac!

  • This is the only thing that makes me envy the me generation. I was born in 82 and am loving to read about the EUNICE project on VMS from a year before I was born. The 80s sure were epic!

    • I'm born in 1970 and went on the net in 1990, I know usenet pretty well (as well as gopher, and IRC) and I rememebr a.b.p.e.* :-)

      What was epic in the 80s was the personnal computer like the C64 or the Amstrad CPC6128, the Z80 CPU, etc. I had an old 8086 PC with 2x 5¼ floppy and a monochrome monitor...
      • by ogdenk ( 712300 )

        Actually your "personal computer" these days has more in common with a mini or early UNIX workstation than it does any of the "home computers" such as the Atari 8-bit, C64, etc.

        I was born in '82 but have a QBUS-based VAX I occasionally fire up. I didn't have a PC until 486's were cheap. I grew up with real computers with either MOS or Motorola CPU's. But the minicomputer era is every bit as interesting as the micro era. They just didn't have Star Raiders for the PDP11. I cut my teeth on home computers

  • http://www.skrenta.com/rt/utzoo-usenet/ [skrenta.com] apparently includes a copy of all 141 tapes which comprise the oldest archive of usenet messages.

  • If all this was put on a DVD+R (assume double layer, since DL burners are fairly common now), and starting from the very beginning, how many years of Usenet would the single disk be able to store?

  • Finally get a chance to get all those pr0n fills that nobody would ever repost.
    • this message is no longer available on the server
    • Were those already on Usenet that early?
      I "discovered" it shortly after going on line (with an AOL account) early in 1996. It was already loaded with binary goodies.
      But at dial-up speeds, it became a slow-motion race to see if you could download all the segments of some juicy item before the 30-day article retention period ran out.

  • by Combatso ( 1793216 ) on Monday June 06, 2011 @02:14PM (#36353204)
    amazing looking back 30 years and seeing how things were so different... The economy was in the tank, gas prices were through the roof, unrest in the middle east and a nuclear scare... glad we have come so far
  • I didn't need to read the prompts, just automatically started navigating and reading by keyboard.

    As always, spacebar = MORE
  • Suddenly a bright light has appeared, and I no longer fear the unknown. The past and future shall be rewritten beginning today.

"Hey Ivan, check your six." -- Sidewinder missile jacket patch, showing a Sidewinder driving up the tail of a Russian Su-27