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We live in litigious times, so I should say that content reflects only my opinions!

Thursday February 10 2005

Just found

this brilliant Fidonet-to-internet interface / gateway thingy. It's not the first time this has been done by any means, but it's a very elegant solution. Reminds me of my formative online experiences, which were centred around the Fidonet community - because the web had yet to be invented. Thinking on that for a moment, I wonder how we ever managed. I tend to use the net so much, as both a reference resource and an entertainment, that I'd have to seriously change my life around without it. I mean, it's not like one can't do without web access or anything - but simple fact-hunting would certainly be a hell of a lot more expensive in terms of both time and money. I'm forced to consider the sneaking possibility, however, that I was probably a lot more focussed back in the pre-web days, since the effort involved in checking anything out meant that a trip into town to the library or whatever was not going to be undertaken on a mere whim. The ability to simply surf around all sorts of sites does not necessarily mean that practically applicable knowledge will be the result. I always had a butterfly mind, and the web has only exacerbated this tendency to the point where I have to look upon it as inherent and immutable - a gift, if you like. Of course the web also serves to keep we compulsive readers inert too. Thankfully I'm not even remotely, if you'll excuse the pun, socially isolated.

Oh yes, Fidonet. This was and is a method of circulating discussion forums - and I also want to say forae but that's not the generally used term - over slow, unreliable links. Like newsgroups, but permeating the network hierarchically over dialup links rather than whizzing around on the high speed (and at the time largely non-existent, at least for the general public) internet infrastructure. On Fidonet you had your email, person-to-person, and your echoes. Echoes were the discussion part. All of this was resolutely ASCII, and as a result of the commitment required to get it all up and running the quality of discourse tended to be high. As a casual user you'd get either access via a bulletin board - which meant expensive calls to the board to read stuff online - or you could find a friendly bulletin board sysop who'd make you a "point". As a point, you could much more easily poll for mail, and you had an address of your own. All a bit complex really, but it all worked. Discussion could be had, without ridiculous phone bills mounting. In the developing world, apparently, Fidonet is still going great guns. I loved it, and spent ages fiddling about with software setups to optimise my access. And now I think of it, I may dig out that software and see if I can't get some of it to work now...


Posted at 8:07 pm by Jim Woods



Tuesday February 8 2005

Here's

a moderately interesting thing. See how reliable your car is, or is likely to be. "Website of the week" in The Times, that one, so get down on it.

Micras like mine the most reliable cars of all, by the way. Yippee.


Posted at 4:00 am by Jim Woods





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