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Yarchive - Notes from the hinterland.
May 19, 2010 1:25 AM   Subscribe

Yarchive is one man's collection of UseNET posts on the topics of Air Conditioning; Aircraft; Bicycles; Cars; Chemistry; Computers; Electrical, Electronic; Environment; Explosives, Pyrotechnics; Food; Houses; Guns; Jokes; Medicine; Metalworking; Military; Nuclear; Telephones; Physics; Risks; Security; Space mostly from a select group of authors. It has been updated several times since it first appeared here in 2001 and it never fails to sucker me in for hours every time I stumble upon it from a Google Search.

My favourites include The formating is old school but then so is UseNET. The complete archives are available as a series of compressed files so no need to wget if you wish a local mirror.
posted by Mitheral (37 comments total) 76 users marked this as a favorite

 
By touching a connection on the servo pre-amp, I was
acting as an antenna and picking up KQV radio, which was about 1/3
mile away from our shop. The head carriage was acting as a speaker,
somewhat hard to understand without a paper cone.


For a design project in undergrad, my group decided to build a magnetically levitated train. Being in second year and not knowing anything about PID, we ended up creating a feedback circuit that looked a lot like an AM demodulator. So, the same thing happened, except it was actually a pretty sensitive receiver. Under the right trim you could make the train levitate nicely right up until a big drum hit came over the radio, and then it would bounce right off the track.
posted by Chuckles at 1:44 AM on May 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


So this is The Curated Usenet? Wonderful! There is, after all, gold in those wild hills.
posted by krilli at 2:41 AM on May 19, 2010


Plus nothing defines a gentleman quite as succinctly as what he chooses to build his collection out of.

(Perhaps he some may choose to collect HAMBURGERs here, but I'm serious - this Gentleman's Pruned, Curated and Preserved Usenet is a thing of beauty.)
posted by krilli at 2:44 AM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thank you. This will entertain and enlighten me for days and days.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 4:39 AM on May 19, 2010


This is good! If I had a Kindle or similar this collection would certainly find a home there.
posted by Harald74 at 4:57 AM on May 19, 2010


It's a great site. It has been a several-times-daily stop on my personal tour of the web for years. I think I stumbled onto it from rec.bicycles.tech, since Jobst Brandt is a frequent and knowledgeable contributor there and much of Yarchive's bicycles section consists of material written by him.
posted by FishBike at 5:22 AM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


+10 Internet points for the submitter!
I am a Usenet geek but I never saw this archive before.
There are far too many people who are unaware of Usenet. I am also sorry to say that Usenet has fallen into a fair amount of disrepair.
I still need to find someone who is more Usenet knowledgeable than I. I have a few questions.
posted by Drasher at 5:33 AM on May 19, 2010


(I am also sad because I had thought about making an fpp of this months ago, but then saw it had already been posted way back when. I'm still learning what counts as a dupe in that regard and what doesn't. Not that it should matter who posted it, anyway... but you know how it is.)
posted by FishBike at 5:38 AM on May 19, 2010


Holy cow. The page on automotive MSD ignition solved a problem I've had for eight years.
posted by notsnot at 5:51 AM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Great great post; I haven't bookmarked much on Mefi lately but this was a no-brainer.

I will say, though, that the house link (or the title of the 'house' link [on the site, not in your post]) seems broken.

posted by rudster at 6:49 AM on May 19, 2010


Usenet was the internet for many years (other than email and FTP). It encapsulated everything that has since diverged - blogs, twitter, Metafilter, www, etc.. so it contains a huge amount of content because it's where everyone hung out. At some point MeFi will die. Wikipedia will die. Replaced by something new, better. What happens to the old content? Well.. look at Usenet. It all seems like a giant waste of time. A temporary moment of existential angst.
posted by stbalbach at 6:50 AM on May 19, 2010


Related news, which I thought would have been at least buried up in the links: Duke will be shutting down its UseNet server come May 20 (Slashdot).
posted by JoeXIII007 at 7:19 AM on May 19, 2010


I miss Usenet culture. We still haven't had the Death of Usenet, more of a slow degerative decline. Except for the trading of porn movies and stolen music, that's going gangbusters.
posted by Nelson at 7:41 AM on May 19, 2010


"I'm still learning what counts as a dupe in that regard and what doesn't."
I was a little hesitant but I figured
  1. It's been over a decade.
  2. APOD and Big Picture get posted all the time for single images and the awesomeness that is the Perfect Bank Robbery Tool alone warrants the repost.

posted by Mitheral at 7:48 AM on May 19, 2010


Needs more Kibo.
posted by straight at 7:56 AM on May 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Well, I may be doomed to haunt the Internet Archive for eternity, but at least I made some funny comments.
posted by LogicalDash at 7:57 AM on May 19, 2010


OK, I need some Advice. What is the best free Usenet server? The best cheap one?
posted by LogicalDash at 7:59 AM on May 19, 2010


I just saw that, JoeXIII007. Sadness. Even though I haven't really used Usenet in years, it was where I first socialized online with people I didn't know in real life. I've gone back and checked a few of the groups I used to hang out in and they're pretty much desolate wastelands of spam now. I've heard the non-alt hierarchies are doing better though.

Related rant: DejaNews was so much better than Google Groups it's not even funny. *sigh*

Random trivia: It looks like the talk.origins archive is independently run now, but I remember when it used to be hosted on some server at Texas A&M. It was one of the first times I realized there might be a few smart Aggies. *g* (Though, the wisdom of trying to debate with Creationists could be argued.)
posted by kmz at 7:59 AM on May 19, 2010


Mmm... Old school net -- my earliest net friends were found via usenet (rec.music.christian)

I've thought about how maybe we should make a gopher protocol based social network. Only the real true geeks would use it. It could be like the old days.

Anyone?
posted by symbioid at 8:00 AM on May 19, 2010


I always hear the Jobst Brandt bike posts read in the voice of Werner Herzog. "You are lubricating the bearings WRONG!"
posted by fixedgear at 8:35 AM on May 19, 2010


Usenet not UseNET
Or it's a reference I'm not cool enough to get.
posted by floam at 8:38 AM on May 19, 2010


The thing that blew me away about USENET back then (early 90s) was the FAQs. In those pre-wiki, pre-blog days, it was unheard of and utopian to have so much good info packed in such a small space. In some ways, the signal-to-noise ratio of the best FAQs has been unequaled.

I looked around for some just now, bit it's not obvious where to find them. Faqs.org purports to have them, but I didn't find much. This page of Occultism, Mysticism, Religion, and Magic FAQS is a lot closer to what I remember.
posted by msalt at 8:38 AM on May 19, 2010


> I always hear the Jobst Brandt bike posts read in the voice of Werner Herzog. "You are lubricating the bearings WRONG!"

What encapsulated Jobst Brandt for me was a post, either on Usenet or a mailing list, in which he uses basic physics and the compression and spring capability of steel frames and properly-inflated bicycle tires to prove that it's impossible to bunnyhop over railroad tracks if one isn't clipped onto the bike. It was followed by a cascade of people stating simply that they do it all the time. If only YouTube had been available then.
posted by ardgedee at 9:18 AM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I didn't realize how much I missed seeing .sigs with UUCP paths in them.
posted by jquinby at 9:18 AM on May 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Good find. I am now inspired to write something more than 140 characters.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:43 AM on May 19, 2010


The thing that blew me away about USENET back then (early 90s) was the FAQs. In those pre-wiki, pre-blog days, it was unheard of and utopian to have so much good info packed in such a small space. In some ways, the signal-to-noise ratio of the best FAQs has been unequaled.

And my favorite example of that was the alt.folklore.urban FAQ (which went on to become snopes) with its one-line summaries of urban legends, each with a one-letter judgment, backed up by a dozen pages of footnotes if you challenged it. For example:

F.*You can make as much ice faster by starting with warmer water.
T.*Boiled water freezes faster than ordinary water at same initial temp.
F. Large telescope mirrors often become distorted due to glass flow.
F.*You can see glass flow in the windows of old buildings.
T. It don't matter whether or not you define glass as a liquid. It still don't go.
T.*MRI used to be called "Nuclear MRI", but "N" was dropped due to nuke fear.
F. Mime has heart attack during act. People think it's part of act; he dies.
T. ...It happened to Tommy Cooper (though he's not a mime).
T.*Craig Shergold, UK cancer kid,sought get-well cards,overwhelmed with 33 mil.
T. Crotch seam rivet in original Levi's dropped due to pain from standing near fires.
F.*Bath water drains the other way round in other hemisphere, due to Coriolis.
T. Coriolis force affects fluids if you take incredible pains to isolate it.


Read more: http://www.faqs.org/faqs/folklore-faq/part3/#ixzz0oOjl2oFc
posted by straight at 10:45 AM on May 19, 2010


I have a colour-changing USENET coffee mug from Joel Furr. That is all.
posted by GuyZero at 11:35 AM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I suppose that technically it's this mug as the previous message described how he'd never make another batch due to supplier issues.
posted by GuyZero at 11:39 AM on May 19, 2010


I didn't realize how much I missed seeing .sigs with UUCP paths in them.

The sysadmin at the place I worked back in the day had us linked to one of the local universities via UUCP (using a Telebit Trailblazer). He graciously allowed me to link my home Mac as well, so I had quite the bang path :)

I recall him complaining about the size of the daily USENET feed, which at the time had grown to 80 meg compressed (!). Seems all so quaint now.
posted by tommasz at 12:52 PM on May 19, 2010


Seems all so quaint now.

It does, and frankly, I'm a little saddened by it all. msalt said it best above - USENET, circa the late 80s-early 90s really was the best of the Internet. I remember setting up rn in the university Mac lab (anyone could get a shell account in those days), and posting a question to...I think it was rec.music.cd, asking for help ID'ing a song based on a few dodgy clues from a CMT video I'd seen in the distant past. The next day, I had several answers, all correct, from various parts of the country. My mind reeled.

It was fun as can be tracking that post down when Google imported all of the archives awhile back.
posted by jquinby at 12:57 PM on May 19, 2010


Man this takes me back. Rec.bikes.tech, home of Jobst Brandt. I learned more about wrenching from those posts (as well as the unsinkable Mr. Brown) than from anywhere else. Zinn is good and all, but if you want really good wheels, read Brandt.
posted by bonehead at 1:11 PM on May 19, 2010


Lots of posts in the AC section by George Goble, who was known for lighting BBQs with enthusiasm. That was one of the few videos on the web back in the mid 90s.
posted by jewzilla at 3:40 PM on May 19, 2010


"If I had a Kindle or similar this collection would certainly find a home there."

I'm strongly considering turning this into an ePub. If I wind up doing it, I'll post a link here.
posted by potch at 5:14 PM on May 19, 2010


Wow
posted by exogenous at 5:40 PM on May 19, 2010


Amazing how Jobst Brandt monopolises the bikes section -- and with good reason too. After reading his posts on rec.bikes.* I bought his book and decided to build a wheel. For some reason I jumped in at the deep end, with the back wheel for my mountain bike. No fancy truing stands, just a spoke wrench, the bike, and his book -- and that wheel is still true today.

I decided that if I ever moved to the SF Bay Area I would seek him out and buy him a beer. I'm ashamed to admit that I've been in the Bay Area for 15 years now and still haven't done that.
posted by phliar at 5:50 PM on May 19, 2010


My all-time favorite comp.lang.c thread.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 6:18 PM on May 19, 2010


Mr. Lexica and I met on rec.arts.bodyart, so I have fond feelings for Usenet.

Although when I think about Usenet these days, it generally winds up like this:
Me: Bah! I was on Usenet before the green card lawyers spammed the globe!

Imaginary Younger Conversational Partner: What, grandma?

Me: Get off the damn lawn!
*sigh*
posted by Lexica at 10:06 PM on May 22, 2010


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