FRIDAY SURPRISE: The day the internet died.
Friday, May 21, 2010 Filed in: Friday Surprise!, Technology
Yesterday was a monumental day in the history of the 'net: Duke University, the birthplace of Usenet, shut down its Usenet server some thirty years after it first came to life.
Citing diminishing use and rising costs as the reason for the shutdown, this comes as sad news for those of us who cut their teeth on newsgroups. While there are other servers still hosting Usenet traffic, the closure of the Duke server is a sign that the end is near.
I spent far too much free time on Usenet in the '80s and '90s. Before the World Wide Web, Usenet was THE source of information and interaction on the 'net. If you know what DoD stands for, you spent a lot of time on rec.motorcycles; if you know who the KoTL is, you spent too much time there!
There are people I "met" on Usenet with whom I still correspond. I first encountered Ed Harris, whose name should not be unknown to readers of this blog, on rec.guns. That was more years ago than either of us care to recount, and despite never having been face-to-face we've exchanged ideas, shared projects and even collaborated a bit on a training manual for emergency communications. There are others whose names would mean nothing to you, but mean a great deal to me.
With so many ISPs dropping Usenet access, people for whom the WWW is the whole 'net don't see the loss. For those of us who remember FidoNet gateways and bang paths it's like losing an old friend.
Virtually, of course.
-=[ Grant ]=-