Ello is soooo summer of 2014. Autumn is tilde.club
October 4, 2014 5:31 AM   Subscribe

While Ello burns out and MetaFilter goes 2014, tilde.club appears as a defiantly old school minimalist blogging platform. What is tilde.club? It's a community developed social network, initiated by MeFite ftrain. As described, "The only goal is for tilde.club to be a place where you can make weird web pages that you might not want to put anywhere else." Community activity involves the updating of home pages, sometimes to creative effect, discussions and thoughts on historical Internet culture, working on teccie stuff and donating towards costs via new methods and old. Live for several days now, the cultures of established and new users are differing, while interest means there is currently a new user waitlist. There is also a web ring.
posted by Wordshore (130 comments total) 61 users marked this as a favorite
 
Kind of disappointing that they're closed to new users when most of the links I click on are blank anyway. =/
posted by curious nu at 5:38 AM on October 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


(which seems a grumbly thing for a first comment. sorry! it's a cool thing and obviously I want in ;)
posted by curious nu at 5:40 AM on October 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Neat. Needs a $5 signup fee, though....
posted by schmod at 5:43 AM on October 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


curious nu: yep, there are a fair few blank pages by people who have registered and done no actual writing yet. Also noting the incepting practice of other (well, one other) social network creators creating a page on this new social network and making it redirect to his page on a third social network. (that should really play some Hans Zimmer music during the five seconds)
posted by Wordshore at 5:43 AM on October 4, 2014


As usual, I find out about it the moment it closes memberships. Woo-hooo! Forever late to the party!
posted by JHarris at 5:47 AM on October 4, 2014 [14 favorites]


Dear Cthulhu I've heard of, in a historical sense, more than a few of the users with accounts; it's a little scary. There's definitely a recurring membership lean of "Was writing Perl scripts in the mid 1990s" about some of those on there.
posted by Wordshore at 5:52 AM on October 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


I, um; I don't get it. Geocities nostalgia with an extra veneer of "in the club" elitism?

Nice hat though.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:54 AM on October 4, 2014 [11 favorites]


Since it's not actually open, I recommend NeoCities which accomplishes something similar.
posted by michaelh at 5:58 AM on October 4, 2014 [8 favorites]


To be clear, this was a pure lark that started when I made nerdy jokes with mathowie over Twitter about tildes after having a few drinks. Another result of that same conversation is that ~[username] on MetaFilter now redirects to your profile. When I woke up with a mild hangover I had 100 people asking to join tilde.club. The "network" is one micro Linux server on Amazon's cloud.

People got a kick out of logging into a Unix server and wanted their friends to log in too. People have expressed that the desire to join was motivated by a mix of nostalgia but also genuine appreciation for the rich tools that Unix provides and the fun of making something in a lo-fi unconstrained environment. Some people made art, some started blogs, some people made "APIs" that output javascript that could be included by other pages. Some people made pages like this one. One person made a page of most recently updated pages. There must be dozens of mefites on the box.

Since a Unix box comes with mail, primitive server-wide broadcast chat, and person-to-person chat, this has turned into a de-facto social network in the same way that being on the early web was a de-facto social network. Except much, much cheaper than it used to be.

A few people really love hanging out on Unix boxes and told me that. Since this is my folly, I feel a (welcomed!) responsibility to support them. But I've learned from MetaFilter that asking for help is smart so I did that right away. People began to donate to cover hosting, and sysadmins have volunteered to help, which is a greater relief than the donations.

I'm going to start working with the sysadmins to add more servers so that more people can come on. It bothers me that people think it's exclusive, although the name tilde.club can be read that way. The whole Internet used to be tilde.club and anyone can join tilde.club by, like, booting up a $5/month unix server in the cloud and giving their friends accounts.

Anyway. It might fizzle out in a week or keep going for a while. My personal goal remains to keep it low key and ridiculous and for people to make hilarious web pages of any form that suits them on their tilde accounts. It's just a machine that's less powerful than most phones, yet it's a meaningful place for hundreds of people to hang out. That's great to see. Seems like about 60 people can use it at once to do work and chat; I've made 600 accounts so far. Laborious, but meditative. So far it hasn't been abused too badly. As we make scripts and stuff I'll be adding them to github so that people can repeat the experiment should they choose (and maybe we can get such machines to talk to each other, emulating the way the early Internet came together).

I'm guessing since the sysadmins who volunteered are much, much better than I am at admin-ning servers (and there are enough of them that it shouldn't take much time) my job will become introducing people who want to learn about Unix and web basics to people who want to teach them, and asking people not to, like, use this as their new Java compile node.

We might also set up a local usenet spool that is only inside the tiny network we are building so that people can chat. Who knows. It's been four days. It's been a joke that turned into something surprisingly sweet that a handful of people are sharing. Once we figure out how to make it sensible more people will be welcome. Maybe it will find a footing. If it fades, some hilarious web pages will remain.
posted by ftrain at 6:13 AM on October 4, 2014 [135 favorites]


Am being mildly chastised from one of the doners re: the post:

"You missed that it is more a celebration of Unix server collab than a social network as such."

Which is a fair comment.
posted by Wordshore at 6:27 AM on October 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I've been divorced for more than a decade but here's my tilde from the last century

Will wait to join this one.
posted by infini at 6:43 AM on October 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


Wow this brings me back.

I want an account just for the excuse to blog with blosxom again. The slickness of GUI blogging tools never felt as elegant as using simple tagging. If you couldn't visualize how it'd turn out, you could probably stand to clean up the design. Then again, I first learned tagging syntax on phototypesetting machines. Pre-SGML, they were.
posted by ardgedee at 6:45 AM on October 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


What's the reasoning behind the waitlist signup form asking for your full name?
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:56 AM on October 4, 2014


I get a kick out of how many lil communities I'm part of have started out as "hey, let's do dumb stuff on this server space I have!"
posted by droob at 7:03 AM on October 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


~[username] now redirects to your profile? oh man that just feels right
posted by arrjay at 7:06 AM on October 4, 2014 [14 favorites]


"Was writing Perl scripts in the mid 1990s"

HEY!
posted by mikelieman at 7:08 AM on October 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


For maximum 1990s verisimilitude, you need to establish the tilde.club cluster of 10-30 computers and assign each of them hostnames according to some kind of scheme, e.g.:
[bird of prey].sccs.swarthmore.edu
[spice].cs.swarthmore.edu
[fruit].artsci.wustl.edu
posted by tss at 7:10 AM on October 4, 2014 [29 favorites]


Since I'm also late to the party, does everyone have a ~/.plan file or is it in ~/public_html? It would be sort of awesome to run /usr/sbin/fingerd so that finger ftrain@tilde.club worked.

(I was also writing perl scripts in the mid 90s and still miss the Unix Room)
posted by autopilot at 7:13 AM on October 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


What if I don't want my MeFi username used as a page on this particular Unix box? I do not recall being asked.
posted by spitbull at 7:15 AM on October 4, 2014


spitbull, no the nifty thing is you can use http://www.metafilter.com/~spitbull as a link now :-)
posted by arrjay at 7:18 AM on October 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


tilde.club has allowed me to finally get a respectable web address for Chickn Facts, my April Fool's joke on the office made with copious help from AskMe.

I'm reasonably techincally ept for a lay person - that is to say, I do not computer professionally, but I have taken computer science courses both great and small and I've spent living in both DOS and Unix. I no longer have any idea how to get my stuff on the web without going through some level of web 2.0. It took me a couple hours to remember enough Unix and emacs to use tilde.club, but it was a lot of fun. I actually feel a teeny bit guilty for getting in on the first sign up - I'm not nearly internet-cool enough for this. My homepage is never going to be any more technically advanced than it currently is, but I am looking forward to sticking more text files and such on there. So I appreciate tilde.club for being a fun silly project that lets me have a little web space AND lets me relearn some computer and feel clever AND lets me chat with a new group of nerds.

"Thank you, this is fun" is what I'm saying.
posted by maryr at 7:23 AM on October 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


People got a kick out of logging into a Unix server and wanted their friends to log in too.

It's like witnessing the birth of Usenet in microcosm. Everything old is new again.

Love it.
posted by Itaxpica at 7:38 AM on October 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


Thinking this is possibly the ultimate unix-front implementation of FOAF. Somewhere in Amsterdam or Bristol, Dan Brickley and Libby Miller are looking at a large bank of monitors, stroking a white cat, smiling, purring "Our work here is done..."
posted by Wordshore at 7:40 AM on October 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Right, so what if I object to that offsite redirection of my username?

Huh? WTF metafilter?
posted by spitbull at 7:44 AM on October 4, 2014


Keep your social network and my MeFi identity separate please.
Or I'm outta metafilter.
posted by spitbull at 7:45 AM on October 4, 2014


Metroid Baby, the signup sheet asks for full names because Unix account handles are traditionally associated with full names.

spitbull, there is no relationship between MetaFilter usernames and tilde.club accounts.

autopilot, there are .plan files but the port is not open to the world so they only work locally.

There is truly nothing to tilde.club aside from default "cloud" Unix settings + human beings.
posted by ftrain at 7:46 AM on October 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm not clear what you're objecting to. There's no tilde.club/~spitbull page. It goes to a 404 Page not found.
posted by ardgedee at 7:47 AM on October 4, 2014


It looks like metafilter.com/~username is just a redirect to metafilter.com/user/09237509180902 or whatever the user number is
posted by LogicalDash at 7:53 AM on October 4, 2014


Hi, spitbull.

mathowie and I were joking about the "~" tilde character on twitter.

mathowie made it so that http://www.metafilter.com/user/4021 and http://www.metafilter.com/~ftrain went to the same place.

I made tilde.club.

While both actions were spurred by a mutual appreciation for the "~" character and its unique place in the history of the early World Wide Web, there is no further connection between these two websites nor is any planned.
posted by ftrain at 7:53 AM on October 4, 2014 [13 favorites]


It's weird how much this has uncorked some memories for me. I got to thinking about my first webpage, which was a tilda'd userpage on teleport.com back when Teleport was just a local dialup Portland ISP instead of something bought up and then retired by Earthlink. It had a too-colorful tiling tie-dye background image, it had individual colored words, it had pointed brazen I Am A Teenage Intellectual Iconoclast swearing for the sake of swearing. It was a hot mess, I think I was sufficiently embarrassed by it as even a twenty-year-old to wipe it off the face of the web.

And that happened before archive.org really got into gear, and I never made a back up that I know of (maybe on a floppy somewhere ha ha ha *gross sobbing*), so that terrible thing is lost to the ages. And wanting to see it is mostly about not being able to, I know, since if I saw it again I'd just be like "yeah, jesus, I sure was a teenager, and now my eyes hurt" but it still makes me a little sad.

archive.org does have a couple captures of my later version of that page, which was an index into a collection of prose and lyrics and poetry and art and stuff I was making in college, but that front page used nothing other than an image map to provide navigation into the rest of the site, and for whatever reason archive.org didn't meticulous spider the pixels of that image map, and so the actual content of that site is gone too, and the backup lost to a drive failure.

I've been much more about building things that live on webservers the last ten years than I have been about just having A Web Page, and I'm not sure if I'll revert exactly and have no idea what I'll do with my little site (so far I'm just hand-compiling some dumb jokes I've made on twitter) but I am delighted to have the chance to at least revisit that sense of place.
posted by cortex at 7:57 AM on October 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


This reminds me of both sdf.lonestar.org and nyx.net. In a case of long-Internet-memory, my accounts on both services still work...
posted by fireoyster at 7:57 AM on October 4, 2014


ftrain: "We might also set up a local usenet spool that is only inside the tiny network we are building"

BRB, installing nntpd, definitely want in on this even more than a login.
posted by fireoyster at 7:59 AM on October 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


This will be fun, as despite being in nominal charge of all the computering at my job, I'm incapable of doing anything useful on our actual servers now. "Oh sorry, no those are all automated VMWare Dockered chef servers running Puppet 4.8 snapped from virtualized AWS Vagrants" and I'm like what I just wanted to cat a logfile.
posted by nev at 8:04 AM on October 4, 2014 [18 favorites]


The most interesting thing about this post, for me, was that mefi could have a new look...but all the screenshots from that post (on the grey) seem to be 404 now. Sadface?
posted by trackofalljades at 8:09 AM on October 4, 2014


Well, you nailed the old-school style. I spent a solid 20 minutes assuming that this was some old fossil that Wordshore had stumbled upon, that happened to have a bunch of early MeFites on it. I think it was the WebRing that really fooled me. I'm pretty sure nobody younger than 25 actually know what (much less why) a webring is.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:19 AM on October 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I want an account on this so I can write fingerd statuses and push them automatically into twitter.
posted by Leon at 8:22 AM on October 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


trackofalljades: it's an option you can try out in your preferences
posted by p3on at 8:52 AM on October 4, 2014


YAY Tildes!!! So much nostalgia. Modem sounds, windows 95, CLI FTP, editing HTML in notepad, debugging CGI perl scripts. discovering PHP and having my mind blowed open. It sucked so hard to get anything big done back then, but you could play for days on small projects...

Seriously, I was so bummed when all the real, actually useful unix shell accounts went away in the late 2000's.

/me pours one out for my dearly departed he.net/~landlocker docroot
posted by Annika Cicada at 9:21 AM on October 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


this was some old fossil that Wordshore had stumbled upon

Hah! No, although Internet archaeology - as in the finding of websites and services from the early to mid 1990s, not the enduring elib project - is a particularly lovely hobby.

The post came about because the neighbor of @ftrain and the person with the bucks are both ex-colleagues from back in that day, working on subject gateways i.e. indexed artisanal website descriptions and one tipped me off about this. To add an extra layer to that, I'm temporarily staying with another mutual ex-colleague, who in the mid-1990s wrote lots of Perl scripts that ran those same subject gateways - he's live-translating some of the comment teccie speak in this thread to me as I type. And also telling me that teccie is spelt techie, while reminding me that we meta-nerded back in the day.

And the topic of who connects to who, especially multiple worlds and historical work spheres inter-connecting with each other and IRL, fascinates. @ftrain, like Jessamyn and a few other MeFites, I've never met in real life but we have many mutual and historical contacts that keep crossing on new and existing social networks; wrote about a few of @ftrain and mine's mutual connections a few years ago.

tl;dr (1) - personally less interested in the tec(h), more in the social connections.

tl;dr (2) - @ftrain; thanks for tilde.club which has set off a torrent of connecting and memories in all directions; appreciated.
posted by Wordshore at 9:28 AM on October 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


University of Chicago lets alumni keep their shell accounts. Here is my ~ page, originally created in 1995 with its last edit about 16 years ago: http://people.cs.uchicago.edu/~wiseman/. It's full of bittersweet nostalgia for me.

Sadly they've turned off finger access.
posted by jjwiseman at 9:45 AM on October 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


What's the reasoning behind the waitlist signup form asking for your full name?

The Unix passwd file wants your GECOS data:
  • User's full name (or application name, if the account is for a program)
  • Building and room number or contact person
  • Office telephone number
  • Any other contact information (pager number, fax, etc.)
Also don't forget to keep your finger file up to date.
posted by effbot at 9:59 AM on October 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Any chance we could get a MUSH/MUCK/MOO/etc. running on this thing?
posted by NMcCoy at 10:27 AM on October 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


I'm down with this. ftrain turned down my invitation to join my webring in 1997 *, at the time a very advanced webring using a custom CGI script and site indices. Vengeance will be mine.

* true story.
posted by fatbird at 10:28 AM on October 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


fatbird I think I was already in a webring.
posted by ftrain at 10:42 AM on October 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Isn't finger insecure? Shame, if so.

I was also going to suggest usenet to ftrain: many happy memories of rn on my first Unix account.
posted by bonaldi at 10:50 AM on October 4, 2014


Wordshore: "Am being mildly chastised from one of the doners "

What has this world come to when a kebab can chastise a person?
posted by Splunge at 10:52 AM on October 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


bonaldi: "Isn't finger insecure?"

It's such a simple protocol that it would be easy enough to write a secure fingerd, but after the Morris worm its reputation never really recovered.
posted by vanar sena at 10:56 AM on October 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Any chance we could get a MUSH/MUCK/MOO/etc. running on this thing?

Oh god, we can have a whole new generation of abortive attempts to create an awesome thematic modified MUD that actually ends up being just a stock CircleMUD with the starting rooms rewritten and a few custom creature names.
posted by cortex at 11:13 AM on October 4, 2014 [8 favorites]


University of Chicago lets alumni keep their shell accounts.

Well, on the CS servers, anyway. Not the shell accounts you get if you're just any random.
posted by kenko at 11:23 AM on October 4, 2014


For maybe four or five years after graduation I ran a dinky proxy from my U of C shell account that let me (and anyone else!) access the OED. Then I got a stern email from some admin and that got shut down. They didn't suspend my account or even delete the cgi script, though, they just moved it to a different directory and told me I'd better not even think about re-enabling it.
posted by kenko at 11:24 AM on October 4, 2014


Seriously though, someone install CircleMUD and let's do it.
posted by cortex at 11:26 AM on October 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


I always have MUD/MUSH/MOO/MUX nostalgia particularly badly around this time of year (fortunately, my favorite place to kill a little, afk a lot is still up). A mefite-populated effort would be fantastic.
posted by notquitemaryann at 11:57 AM on October 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


cortex doooo it it's like $10/month on DigitalOcean for a machine two hundred trillion times more powerful than the ones you remember
posted by ftrain at 12:32 PM on October 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


and then if you put a usenet spool on it we can hook it up to tilde.club
posted by ftrain at 12:33 PM on October 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I know better than to make myself an administrator for anything anyone else will rely on. Metafilter is basically the sole exception to my general rule of abandoning things when I get mildly distracted. I'm more of an ideas guy, specifically a shouting ideas enthusiastically into the crowd and hoping someone responsible will do the actual legwork guy.
posted by cortex at 12:37 PM on October 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


I WANNA JUMP ON THE FTRAIN!

(I mean... Umm... Not *that* way).

But seriously, this is something my friend and I complain about all the time. And we still use LJ. We also are working on a little href-randomizer thingy on our mostly defunct wow-guild page which we've taken over for our funsies. We long for the community.

I am not opposed to people coming in. I think the thing here is, if you want it? You have to build it. The reason FB and the like is so huge is because people are lazy and want instatainment. (as opposed to need to do way to instainmothers).

One of the glories of that late 90s perldom/page hackery is because we were left to our own devices. Things have changed, more slick, design, yada yada. Remember when we used to say "content is king"? And then we left it to all the other schmucks to make clickbait content for us, so we didn't have to create and we just consume and say stupid shit.

"Here's to the makers!"

Also - perhaps I can finally figure out how to get that gopher-based social network running again. Phlogs area thing, and they exist as a sort of network, but a more cohesive system would be nice. It could just be one more layer on the tilde.club :)

As a grand experiment, we can rebuild it, only this time, DO IT RIGHT! UTOPIA HERE WE COME!
posted by symbioid at 1:32 PM on October 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Man I miss Usenet.
posted by Skorgu at 1:48 PM on October 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Hmmm, I suppose getting an account and hosting a PDF zine on it would be bad form, but I could host the raw *.TeX files without trouble, right? That sounds fun and sufficiently old school to fit in.

Is there someowhere one can sign up in case more account become available?
posted by Canageek at 2:36 PM on October 4, 2014


MeFiMUSH.
posted by Sokka shot first at 2:41 PM on October 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


fatbird, was it the "Little Bastard" webring? Because I think I was in that.
posted by speicus at 3:06 PM on October 4, 2014


For maximum 1990s verisimilitude, you need to establish the tilde.club cluster of 10-30 computers and assign each of them hostnames according to some kind of scheme
garbanzo.tilde.club
lima.tilde.club
jelly.tilde.club
posted by NMcCoy at 3:28 PM on October 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


For this alone, tilde.club is worth it.
posted by Wordshore at 5:38 PM on October 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


I still have a local archive somewhere of the last time I had a ~site which was in grad school (circa 1995). That site got me an internship in college which got me my first professional job afterwards. And, frankly, that's still about where my web dev skills still lie, as evidenced by my once-weekly tweet of "f u div tag!"
posted by marylynn at 6:02 PM on October 4, 2014


"Tilde Club: Then as farce," quips Mr. Rusty Foster, his nose surely upturned.

pot, meet kettle
posted by pyramid termite at 6:13 PM on October 4, 2014


Actually, the CircleMUD website looks like it would be right at home on tilde.club.
maybe we should host a mirror?
posted by NMcCoy at 6:51 PM on October 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


At one point cortex and I were talking about what a MefiMUD would be like. There was talk of tying in wandering monsters to posts, making it so that you'd fight things like double-posts and noise comments, probably some talk of a "flag it" quest system (flagging a monster for targeting)..

Or, yeah. CircleMUD. Boot up dat ol' Midgard and let's k fido.
posted by curious nu at 9:38 PM on October 4, 2014


Though last time I was MUDing I was partial to ROM, due to the wider character customization. Every couple of months I skim mudconnector.com again but MUD development seems to have pretty much stalled out. Seems a shame!
posted by curious nu at 10:03 PM on October 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I still have my first web page, circa 1996 or 97. I feel like this would be a perfect place to restore it.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 10:46 PM on October 4, 2014


[fruit].artsci.wustl.edu

I cut my Unix teeth on [fruit].artsci.wustl.edu, which was a bunch of NeXT boxes.
posted by zsazsa at 10:49 PM on October 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I still have my first web page, circa 1996 or 97. I feel like this would be a perfect place to restore it.

And down I go through the rabbit hole of archives....

Correspondence with Delphi back in 94...

Mosaic history file...

Compuserve Favs file....
posted by mikelieman at 11:57 PM on October 4, 2014


fatbird, was it the "Little Bastard" webring? Because I think I was in that.

Yes. Good lord, are we all here? I know Nelson (Spaceman) reads Metafilter, he just doesn't comment.

fatbird I think I was already in a webring.

I'm not saying LB was better, I'm just saying that after Maggie Donea and Alexis Massie turned us down, we were feeling... fragile.

Seriously though, someone install CircleMUD and let's do it.

Let's recreate Poddington On Slossip so I can be the old British woman I always wanted to be.
posted by fatbird at 12:25 AM on October 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


Damn you all to hell. Now I've got this fucking plate-of-beans...


[root@orion tmp.find-old-files]# cat ./filedates.pl
#!/usr/bin/perl

use strict;
use warnings;
use v5.10;
use File::Find;

my %results;
find(\&process, qw( / ));

foreach my $key (sort keys %results) {
say "$key -> " . $results{$key};
}
sub process {
if ( -f $_ ) {
my $mtime = (stat($_))[9];
$results{ $mtime . q{:} . $File::Find::name } = scalar localtime $mtime;
} # if it's a file
} # sub process


posted by mikelieman at 12:51 AM on October 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Soooooo, can anyone point me to some fairly beginner-medium advanced tutorials on how to start my own micro linux server in the amazon cloud and then join tilde? Because I am a bit confuzzled, but this looks like fun so I'd like to join and also increase membership?
posted by Faintdreams at 3:47 AM on October 5, 2014


It finally happened, CabalBlue
posted by fullerine at 4:53 AM on October 5, 2014


tilde.club is lovely. It is a silly atavism, a moment of love for nostalgia. It has wall(1), and talk(1), and finger definitely works, at least locally on the box. It is also an expression of love for ftrain, an intentional community.
posted by Nelson at 7:59 AM on October 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Seriously, I was so bummed when all the real, actually useful unix shell accounts went away in the late 2000's.

JSYK, there are still Free Shell Accounts.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:08 AM on October 5, 2014


I pay Panix for shell & email. $100 year for it, including lots of installed software.

Faintdreams, you might like the resources linked to in this conversation, and you might benefit from skimming the Ops School curriculum. Have you ever worked on the command line before? Have you ever administered your own server? And how do you learn best? That'll help us give you better advice.
posted by brainwane at 8:58 AM on October 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


tss: For maximum 1990s verisimilitude, you need to establish the tilde.club cluster of 10-30 computers and assign each of them hostnames according to some kind of scheme

In the Penn State undergraduate unix lab circa 1994-1996, the machines were named after Crayola crayon colors, e.g. {aquamarine,blue,copper,...}.crayola.cse.psu.edu. The first problem with this was that people are lazy, so machines like red, green, and blue would have a dozen people on them, while cerulean, rawumber, and cornflower would be idle. Most CS majors would catch on to this immediately, but it was funny to see all the mechanical engineers taking the 101 course logged into red and complaining about high load.

The second problem was that they never cleared the name with Binney & Smith, and when they got word of it, they put the kibosh on the name. For a while I think it was simply [color].crayon.cse.psu.edu, and then I don't know what happened because I graduated. The other lab in the same building used, IIRC, names of planets from science fiction franchises.

At home, I use names of Simpsons characters, which is quite scalable and allows for logical grouping of machines (the Simpson family, Moe's regulars, police officers, etc.)
posted by tonycpsu at 11:18 AM on October 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


fatbird: I'm not saying LB was better, I'm just saying that after Maggie Donea and Alexis Massie turned us down, we were feeling... fragile.
Whatever happened to these two? A quick search doesn't reveal much, if anything, after 2002 for Alexis Massie, and M. Donea appears similarly absent from searches.
posted by Bourbonesque at 11:42 AM on October 5, 2014




Whatever happened to these two?

Alexis Massie got married, settled down, and continued being an online presence as she got into teaching herself to draw manga. That was a decade ago and she just kind of faded offline. alexismassie.com is now a linkfarm.

I don't know what happened to Maggie Donea. She left the "persona" spotlight before Massie did, for no dramatic reason that I recall or can find. At a guess, both of them got tired of the work maintaining their cewebrity once it wasn't enough just to be an interesting confessional person with a good looking site.

Interestingly, fray.com is still sitting there, and Derek Powazek is still active.
posted by fatbird at 12:55 PM on October 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


While I calmly wait for my artisanally hand-crafted login, I tried anonymous FTP, but alas.

20 years ago I remember FTPing to a server in Australia from the US for the first time and being astonished that such magic was possible.
posted by nev at 1:22 PM on October 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh, back at the insurance company, we used transformers. Rhinox. Rattrap.
posted by mikelieman at 1:25 PM on October 5, 2014


Thanks, fatbird! Your original comment led me on quite a sidetrack, leaving me searching my rusty memories of the early web for names. Fray/Powacek, yep. Glassdog/Lance Arthur, still around. Noah Grey, check. Zeldman, of course, but I never knew he had these interviews with 'web celebs' circa 1998-99.

I suppose all this is straying somewhat from the original topic, but I submit that tilde.club is exactly about these kind of serendipitous digressions. I assume. Still on the waitlist. :)
posted by Bourbonesque at 1:48 PM on October 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


For maximum 1990s verisimilitude, you need to establish the tilde.club cluster of 10-30 computers and assign each of them hostnames according to some kind of scheme, e.g.:
[bird of prey].sccs.swarthmore.edu
[spice].cs.swarthmore.edu
[fruit].artsci.wustl.edu


I'm sure I've told this story before, but when the Berkeley CS department announced the name of its new building as Soda Hall, the CS Undergraduate Association made a land-grab and claimed soda.berkeley.edu through the central campus IT department before the department got around to it. The name was promptly assigned to the CSUA's primary login server, and some rule about machine names or the other prevented the department from ever using it as a machine name on the cs.berkeley.edu subdomain. (The EECS department does have the name cory.eecs.berkeley.edu, named after the EE division's Cory Hall building.)

Undergrads being undergrads, most iterations of naming schemes have since been based on other drink components: {scotch,tonic,vodka,gin,rum,coke}.csua.berkeley.edu. There's an old one written in the CSUA log book that I particularly appreciate for each machine being named after a word that forms a portmanteau with the previous one: soda → scotch → tape → worm → hole.

Put my name on the waiting list for tilde club, as it's been a few years since I occupied a terminal for non-work-related purposes. Hopefully ftrain can get us in soon!
posted by spitefulcrow at 3:25 PM on October 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


So did someone get that MUD running yet? I didn't know how bad I was jonesin'.
posted by curious nu at 5:16 PM on October 5, 2014


Anybody interested in access to the alt.religion.kibology MOO, running over 10 years now, should memail me.
posted by nonane at 5:39 PM on October 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


Unfortunately I missed out on the great age of Unix command shell web page making. It seems like it might be fun to try though, now on the second go-around.
posted by JHarris at 5:45 PM on October 5, 2014


finger ftrain@tilde.club worked.

I tried it. There there be dragons. Also I guess I now have to finally figure out how IRC works.
posted by jessamyn at 6:14 PM on October 5, 2014


I'm working on the MUD. You can (m)email me about it if you want more info. Will post more when I have something working....

oh, this is old code.
posted by freyley at 9:01 PM on October 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


tildemud.evidenciary.com 4000

(I tried ROM, because oh my god the memories, but it didn't want to play nicely. Fortunately, someone has kept CircleMUD relatively up to date on code)
posted by freyley at 9:23 PM on October 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


If you go straight north from the Temple of Midgaard, you get to the area of the newbies. I'm happy to hand out equipment, gold, coins, spells, or anything else you want when I'm online - just ask Jack.
posted by freyley at 11:00 PM on October 5, 2014


Having trouble getting tf to play nice with the prompt and now I am off for the day. I shall MUD it up later this evening.
posted by curious nu at 5:53 AM on October 6, 2014


Mad Men 1.13: "The Wheel".

Don: Well, technology is a glittering lure. But there is a rare occasion when the public can be engaged on a level beyond flash – if they have a sentimental bond with the product. My first job I was in house at a fur company, with this old pro of a copywriter, a Greek, named Teddy. Teddy told me the most important idea in advertising is “new.” It creates an itch. You simply put your product in there as a kind of calamine lotion. He also talked about a deeper bond with a product: nostalgia. It’s delicate, but potent. Sweetheart. [starts slide show featuring photos of Draper's family.] Teddy told me that in Greek, nostalgia literally means the pain from an old wound. It’s a twinge in your heart, far more powerful than memory alone. This device isn’t a space ship, it’s a time machine. It goes backwards, forwards. It takes us to a place where we ache to go again. It’s not called a wheel, it’s called a carousel. It lets us travel the way a child travels. Round and a round, and back home again. To a place where we know we are loved.
posted by Wordshore at 6:05 AM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


back in the day, before everyone and their grandma were friends on Facebook, how did these personal websites handle privacy? Did you old-timers just worry about it less? Or was it because everyone who could get on the net had some kind of shared trust that what happens on the net stays on the net?

The more unhappy I get with facebook and twitter and instagram, the more I want to have just one place, rebent.com or something, where I can collect all my personal and professional writing, where I can talk about games, about holidays, about friends, etc. An online journal that, because I am narcissistic, I can tell people "Oh yeah check out my stuff at rebent.com."

and I don't want my coworkers to read about my videogames

and I don't want my gamer friends to read about my politics

And I don't want my etc. to read about my etc.

So, what do you do?
posted by rebent at 6:33 AM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Just less people to see it, mostly. And real names were few and far between.
posted by curious nu at 6:40 AM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah - I don't think people even really remember how much the net has taken off since, the mid-00s. Like we talk about "the 90s" as being the start of the big take-off (I mean, you know -more commercial companies did it and non-colleges had easier access), but even those who did have access didn't really use it like they do today. I knew people "used" the internet but they didn't know what "blogging" was. I talked about livejournal, blogger and it was a foreign thing to these people... And that was in the early 00s. Now put that back to the late 90s when it was just home pages and 'nyms, as curious nu. And just the geeks and students were really into it (mostly). It just ... I think those of us that complain are complaining about "Eternal September", but it really has changed since smartphones, and I think that ubiquity along with Facebook (really it's amazing how much facebook changed the game - myspace sorta did, too, but facebook in terms of reach to old people just it's fucking mindblowing, really)... It's just all that shit and the growth. I mean, we used to be fascinated by watching a video of a coffeepot in an office in MIT doing it's thing. It's like a baby tripping balls when it sees a bright shiny candy wrapper! WOAAAAAAAAAH! In many ways we're more "sophisticated" now, but in many ways, much less so.
posted by symbioid at 6:47 AM on October 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


how did these personal websites handle privacy?

They didn't. Occassionally you'd see a site go password-protected, but it was mainly like any blog: You were putting something out into the world, without expectation that only certain others would see it. To a degree, you could expect the community to be limited to a more technically literate set that would exclude your grandmother, but no one's ever come up with a good way to reliably segment your potential readers that was also easy and unlikely to cause conflict. The closest I've seen is LiveJournal, where you could require someone to be signed in and whitelisted--and that caused tremendous battles itself.

So, what do you do?

I dated a woman who had four different bloglike sites (that I was aware of). One was life updates for everyone; one was photography; one was sexual exploration; and another was grad school drama. She relied on handing out individual domains to a manageable number of people, and a few times had to disappear a site and recreate it elsewhere to reset that list of approved readers. Not even remotely feasible on a large scale.
posted by fatbird at 7:17 AM on October 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


how did these personal websites handle privacy? Did you old-timers just worry about it less?

Personal websites are public. No privacy. Mine are still online, at least back to 1996, and everything there is public. Even if it's oversharing (although I'm no Justin Hall).

I want to have just one place, rebent.com or something, where I can collect all my personal and professional writing, where I can talk about games, about holidays, about friends, etc

That is a fantastic idea, still seems perfectly normal to me, and is way better than being a sharecropper on Facebook or whatever. If you have no computer skills at all, wordpress.com or even about.me are good places to set that up. If you have a bit of skill it's better to have a custom setup on your own domain name, which you can do for $5 or $10 / mo and just a little bit of skill. I think WordPress is the publishing platform most people use for these sites.
posted by Nelson at 8:45 AM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


tilde.club has shifted my search for old stuff; found reference to a 1996 ~ account in a mailing list archive. Feel very strange reading it.
posted by Wordshore at 3:25 PM on October 6, 2014


I have the feeling I'll do something dumb with a server soon.
posted by Pronoiac at 3:31 PM on October 6, 2014


Another result of that same conversation is that ~[username] on MetaFilter now redirects to your profile.

Less obvious for those of us with multiword usernames, or with usernames that contain other characters. But I think URL-encoding it (with for example this tool) probably would do the trick.

And lo, yes it does: www.metafilter.com/~We%20had%20a%20deal%2C%20Kyle. Ugly though.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:43 PM on October 6, 2014


On the topic of a tilde.club mud, I've tried out freyley's server and while CircleMUD is all sorts of nostalgic for me I'm not sure it quite suits the tilde.club style. I feel like a MOO-type thing, where the system is designed to be collaboratively built upon by everyone, might work better.

(Would it be appropriate to branch the MUD discussion to MetaTalk, or is it not sufficently about-MetaFilter for that venue?)
posted by NMcCoy at 7:44 PM on October 6, 2014


On the subject of MUDs, MOOs, etc, I am working on getting Evennia up and running. Will update here or the MetaTalk when I do.

I'm also happy to give accounts on tildemud's server to people who want to try to get old codebases I'm not familiar with running. I spent a good hour working on ROM after getting Circle up, but no go.
posted by freyley at 8:04 PM on October 6, 2014


Oof, that was a doozy of a mis-read of the settings.py

Anyway, Evennia is up and running.

telnet (or tf or tt++) to tildemud.evidenciary.com 4001
or
http://tildemud.evidenciary.com:8000

I don't yet know how to give people builder privileges - find me somewhere there or on email and tell me how and I'll happily do so.
posted by freyley at 9:00 PM on October 6, 2014


Looks like the web login doesn't quite work? Looks like it's based on MUSH-type code. Wonder how easy it is to get it MUD-y.
posted by curious nu at 9:38 PM on October 6, 2014


Anyway off for the evening, looking forward to trying it out some more after reading some of the docs.
posted by curious nu at 9:50 PM on October 6, 2014


I'm also considering trying to get SMAUG up and running, though that'll likely have to wait till later in the week.
posted by freyley at 10:06 PM on October 6, 2014


Rather than keep relaying tilde.club stuff he writes on here, ftrain is worth following on the twitters, and his tilde.club diary is here - a long post from a few days back on it that's an interesting read.
posted by Wordshore at 1:19 PM on October 8, 2014


I got inspired and made a thing:

tilde.bird
posted by cortex at 3:05 PM on October 8, 2014 [3 favorites]


Springing off of which, I decided we need an arcade collecting various games and such on the site, and so:

tilde.arcade
posted by cortex at 1:47 PM on October 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Is there any update on new users being allowed in? Or is it kinda static for now?
posted by curious nu at 3:20 PM on October 9, 2014


There's a lot of stuff that needs stabilizing first, but I know they take the waiting list seriously as a "to do" item and not just a panacea.
posted by jessamyn at 3:32 PM on October 9, 2014


This makes me feel so old, in kind of a good way. And I'm not that old. These cool sets of Unix skills that are entirely wasted in most of the internet are really beautiful when put to use.
posted by odinsdream at 3:34 PM on October 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


ftrain's post on Medium about tilde.club is great. An excerpt:

I’d taken this thing on myself and was paying to keep it going. But look at it another way: I was getting paid in web pages. I am a man who loves web pages. Not an activity feed, not structured tweets or organized blog posts, no brand messages, just pure raw weird signal. Like walking down a street in a new city at night and seeing all the signs, blinking and bright and in languages you don’t quite understand.
posted by Cash4Lead at 8:17 AM on October 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


Librarians.
posted by Wordshore at 4:47 PM on October 10, 2014


Addictive and compelling as the web is and has been for 22 years or so, am utterly drawn to Tilde Club like a moth to a lightbulb every time I'm online at the moment.

The twitter account for Tilde Club is a good place for a random link couched in nostalgia.
posted by Wordshore at 5:37 AM on October 11, 2014


I'm wondering, when my name finally comes up on the waitlist, what the heck I can put up? Maybe I shouldn't have applied until I came up with something interesting? There's so many great things up already. (Or maybe I'm overthinking this. Hmm.)
posted by JHarris at 6:13 AM on October 11, 2014


You can help me work on the arcade. Write a tiny tiny roguelike.
posted by cortex at 7:11 AM on October 11, 2014


I'm actually excitedly and hopefully (it may not happen; I may be 10,000th in the wait queue; it may all collapse) awaiting my account. Have got plans based on library and information science nostalgia, preservation of the past, a previous website or two I was employed* to make before dreamweaver 0.1 appeared, the subsequent retro html, and anticipating revisiting previously interesting decisions e.g. emacs or vi. And also looking forward to wiring Paul's neighbor a few bucks for sliding under his door to keep this particular train fueled.

*I still cannot believe I was paid to create and do stuff like this. Or, that. Different times.
posted by Wordshore at 7:50 AM on October 11, 2014


Write a tiny tiny roguelike.

I will do this thing. Because it is an awesome thing.
posted by fatbird at 9:51 AM on October 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


My current project is to create a super generalized JS arcade cabinet that people could in principle skin for arbitrary JS games. I feel like it's biting-off-more-than-I-can-chew territory but it seems like a lot of fun and might promote more people jumping in to try their hand at writing tiny little Javascript games.
posted by cortex at 9:59 AM on October 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


disclaimer: get off my lawn but listen to yet another oldie tale before you depart

So back in Computer 2 in my final semester of senior year, when floppies were big and hard drives but a gleam in their inventor's eye, we used to hang around the Computer Lab after school ostensibly doing our homework (writing Basic programs in DOS 1.0) but in actual fact waiting for Klaus to finish writing the game so we could play. This was before Galaxian showed up iirc.
posted by infini at 11:39 AM on October 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh dear...
posted by Wordshore at 12:06 PM on October 12, 2014


Hey I made another game after waking up at 3 a.m. yesterday thinking "WHAT IF LYNCH'S DUNE HAD BEEN A SMASH AND THERE WERE A BUNCH OF SHITTY ARCADE TIE-INS" and it's called Shai Hulud, and it's basically just Dune meets Snake right now but next I'm gonna add multiplayer to it so it's like Dune meets Tron.
posted by cortex at 4:41 PM on October 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


...and it's called Shai Hulud, and it's basically just Dune meets Snake right now...

I scored 46 (proof) but could not see how to add myself to the high score table and was all the sadz :-( :-( :-(

Fun game, though.
posted by Wordshore at 2:53 PM on October 14, 2014


Scrap last comment; I see how it's done. I'll just stand outside the window of tilde.club, looking in at the people having the funs inside.
posted by Wordshore at 3:27 PM on October 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


No, that right there is totally how it's done. (Or email, or tweeting, or just declaring having gotten a score which I'm willing to count as credible without proof if it's not breaking into the top three or whatever.) Basically there is no right way to do it and the whole thing is ridiculous. You're now in second place.
posted by cortex at 6:33 PM on October 14, 2014


Le sigh. Still no membership of tilde.club. Back to knocking out some HTML by hand under Windows 93 while I wait...
posted by Wordshore at 3:22 PM on October 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


There's like a dozen like-minded sites lumbering into existence as well, with loose federation beginning to happen in fits and starts (e.g. inter-server newsgroup communication between tilde.club and tilde.town); just head over to one of the others and sign up! totallynuclear.club has over a hundred members and they seem like good people!
posted by cortex at 4:22 PM on October 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


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