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... the internet is totally bonkers

Homophobia and competitive tickling. Journalist David Farrier explores the "quite weird" world of Competitive Reality Endurance Tickling.
posted by Catch on May 7, 2014 - 72 comments

Why the Web Won't Be Nirvana

"After two decades online, I'm perplexed. It's not that I haven't had a gas of a good time on the Internet. I've met great people and even caught a hacker or two. But today, I'm uneasy about this most trendy and oversold community. Visionaries see a future of telecommuting workers, interactive libraries and multimedia classrooms. They speak of electronic town meetings and virtual communities. Commerce and business will shift from offices and malls to networks and modems. And the freedom of digital networks will make government more democratic. Baloney. Do our computer pundits lack all common sense? The truth [is] no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works." A view of the Internet's future from February 26, 1995 at 7:00 PM
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 12, 2013 - 41 comments

Maybe chemtrails were deployed to boost cartilage gel sales

A Brief History of Chemtrails traces the popular conspiracy theory to its origins on Usenet and Art Bell. How To Debunk Chemtrails collects resources about the theory. Jet Pilots Fear Chemtrail Attacks suggest the belief may be more than a harmless theory.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants on Apr 11, 2013 - 107 comments

Downloaders delimma

Long-time favorite usenet indexing site NzbMatrix has closed its site as part of a recent sweep of DMCA related takedowns on similar sites. Other recent shutdowns include Newzbin, Newzbin2, and NZBsRUS. [more inside]
posted by TomMelee on Dec 9, 2012 - 50 comments

Everything is fleeting

"It feels strange to be active and highly visible on the Web for 15 years but it was only when I joined Facebook that someone from elementary school or high school ever contacted me." In which on Ev Williams's platform, Mr Haughey compares his experiences of Facebook and Twitter. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Dec 1, 2012 - 109 comments

Markovian Parallax Denigrate

But back in 1996, users of the proto-Web community Usenet got spammed with messages that reached an almost transcendent level of bizarre—a weirdness so precise it implied the influence of a very human intelligence. “Markovian Parallax Denigrate,” read the title of each post, followed by a mountain of seemingly meaningless word spew:
Unraveling the Internet’s oldest and weirdest mystery
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 20, 2012 - 68 comments

The Last Thing You'll Ever Desire

Derek Smart has been making games for over 20 years. He sold his first games in plastic baggies at hobby stores. Yet his longevity is somewhat of an anachronism. Many gamers today don't even know who is is, in spite of the fact that his games have sold well enough to keep his company in business since 1992. And the games themselves, well they're mostly terrible. Especially his first, Battlecruiser 3000AD. The Verge takes an in-depth look at the hotheaded perfectionist millionaire game developer whose impenetrable, terminally overhyped games sparked one of the most legendary flamewars in internet history.
posted by Rhaomi on Oct 23, 2012 - 35 comments

Oh my god! There's an axe in my head!

Back in the far distant past of the internet (round about 1993, it seems), back when Usenet was actually a bunch of popular discussion groups, the newsgroup alt.gothic had a simple post made by one Yohaun, a short list of translations of the phrase "Oh my god! There's an axe in my head!". Responses contributed translations in more languages. Now, nearly 20 years later, this list continues to exist and grow. [more inside]
posted by hippybear on Jul 17, 2012 - 54 comments

Purity tests - just how pure are you?

Purity tests! From the olden days of Usenet: A purity test attempts to gauge how "pure" you are within some realm of experience by having you answer a list of questions regarding which acts, etc. associated with the subject you have engaged in. Generally, for each "yes" answer you lose a purity point. The result is scaled to tell you what percentage of purity you still retain. [more inside]
posted by marble on Nov 10, 2011 - 75 comments

Old Usenet

Feeling nostalgic? olduse.net is Usenet, updated in real time as it was thirty years ago. Also available over NNTP. [more inside]
posted by kmz on Sep 16, 2011 - 15 comments

they simply forgot about it

How a handful of geeks on Usenet defied the USSR. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Mar 14, 2011 - 39 comments

I Was Teenage Hockey Message Board Jailbait

"I Was Teenage Hockey Message Board Jailbait," by Katie Bakes of Deadspin.
posted by Avenger50 on Jan 27, 2011 - 88 comments

"Google for Usenet" Shut Down

Regrettably the Newzbin website has to close as a result of the legal action against us. Once the premier Usenet indexing site and the inventor of the NZB file format, Newzbin has officially closed its doors after losing a court battle against several Hollywood studios. Gossip suggests that Newzbin is in dire financial straights. [more inside]
posted by cosmic osmo on May 20, 2010 - 36 comments

Colin Douthwaite Logs Off

A posting last month to RISKS on the topic of posthumous emails brings to mind the story of Colin Douthwaite. Mr. Douthwaite, an active USENET user, passed away in March of 1999 after some prolonged medical difficulties. His son Ian's farewell message to alt.ascii-art inspired a small flood of original memorial works and a much larger flood from members' personal archives in his memory. [more inside]
posted by mkb on Nov 7, 2009 - 7 comments

The Rise and Fall of the first dot.com.

An entertaining history of ClariNet, which its founder Brad Templeton describes as the first dot.com. Lots of good reading linked on that first page.
posted by Joe in Australia on Jun 9, 2009 - 2 comments

The Internet dies a little bit

Goodbye alt.* Andrew Cuomo claimed that his office found child porn on 88 newsgroups--out of roughly 100,000 newsgroups that exist. In a press release, he took credit for [Verizon's] blunderbuss-style newsgroup removal by saying: "We are attacking this problem by working with Internet service providers...I commend the companies that have stepped up today to embrace a new standard of responsibility, which should serve as a model for the entire industry." Verizon eliminates the entire alt. subset of usenet. Today, the alt.* hierarchy is by far the most populous on Usenet.
posted by caddis on Jun 12, 2008 - 143 comments

The Whitburn Project: 120 Years of Music Chart History

120 years of Billboard data. Eternally curious blogger Andy Baio starts a three-day analysis of the data in the Whitburn Project, "a huge undertaking to preserve and share high-quality recordings of every popular song since the 1890s. To assist their efforts, they've created a spreadsheet of 37,000 songs and 112 columns of raw data, including each song's duration, beats-per-minute, songwriters, label, and week-by-week chart position." It all happens on good ol' Usenet--here's a FAQ.
posted by dbarefoot on May 15, 2008 - 19 comments

End of endless September

The end of the endless September. "America Online on Tuesday confirmed that it will stop supporting access to newsgroups." Thus ends what many labeled the greatest plague upon the Internet, the (triple posting) barbarian horde that descended upon Usenet when AOL added Usenet access for its members.

This is when Usenet returns to utility, readability and civility. Right?
posted by NortonDC on Jan 25, 2005 - 53 comments

hyper text.

manifestos and apartment tours i can't stop sifting through the 1995-1997 archives for the newsgroup alt.usenet.manifestoes (which its moderator was kind enough to save and from which the entire unibomber manifesto can be downloaded) some 'graffiti from alt.religion.kibology' also resides here as does a hypertext tour of his apartment. Back up to the main index for some other um, nicely-organized presentations.
posted by cadence on Jul 18, 2004 - 2 comments

Another average day on Usenet...

The Official Ray Gordon FAQ. From the 'Eeeek! Usenet!!' files vol. MCXII. With a a lot of legal stuff going on for added zing. [via lightningfield.com]
posted by i_cola on Jul 3, 2003 - 7 comments

First mention of AIDS on Usenet

The first mention of AIDS on Usenet was in the net.singles group back on December 20, 1982. In it, seven people grasp for information about the disease -- how it's transmitted, how long it takes to start to show symptoms, and what those symptoms could be. It's a window both into the early days of AIDS knowledge and the early days of the Internet, and a fine example of people using 'net-based community groups to acquire information and ask questions.
posted by delfuego on Dec 1, 2002 - 6 comments

Mooch, Jackie, Mooch!

Our Next Contestant In "The Great Internet Mooch-O-Rama". Little Jackie is sad. Why is she sad? Because people have been mean to her. Why have they been mean to her? Because they don't understand the financial plight which has driven her to spam Usenet groups in a desperate plea to...well, to be slightly more comfortable than she already is. [more]
posted by tpoh.org on Nov 17, 2002 - 37 comments

EBay in patent dispute.

EBay in patent dispute. EBay is currently involved in a patent dispute with someone who claims to have patented the idea of online auctions in 1995. EBay believes it has found prior art in a USENET post from 1994.
posted by CrunchyFrog on Sep 30, 2002 - 7 comments

Edith's Huge Interface. Some kind of Usenet spamming strategy that I don't understand provides a rich resource for band names, random subject lines, and Mefi taglines. "Hey, I'll annoy the robot!"
posted by stupidsexyFlanders on Sep 18, 2002 - 28 comments

Read it sideways.

Read it sideways. The first smiley was posted to usenet on September 19, 1982. Almost twenty years later, the original posting is uncovered on an old tape backup (after a search that smiley-inventor Scott Fahlman has dubbed the “Digital Coelacanth Project”). Of note: Mr. Fahlman thinks that AOL’s and MSN’s penchant for replacing the smiley-string with little pictures “destroys the whimsical element of the original.”
posted by sherman on Sep 13, 2002 - 26 comments

Here's a simple example of a potentially interesting art project. Fill a Usenet post with words specifically chosen to create art based on Google's search word highlighting. Not sure if it's art or spam, but I am waiting for the first ASCII artist to step up to the plate and do something complex like the Mona Lisa.
posted by willnot on Jul 21, 2002 - 10 comments

Trygve Lode

Trygve Lode,a Usenet veteran, has one of the funniest sites out there. Check out his Unnatural Enquirer. My favorites are The Philosophy of Kissing, Evil on a Budget, and the minimalist Spycam vs. Spycam. Who is this guy?
posted by vacapinta on Jun 16, 2002 - 8 comments

yEnc

yEnc tightens up Usenet binaries. It is controversial but good. Newsreaders are evolving too. I like this one. If you don't know what this is about, maybe you shouldn't know.
posted by xowie on Mar 27, 2002 - 14 comments

Just who is Dean Stark?

Just who is Dean Stark? A legend of usenet? Some kind of monster? Or perhaps the victim of a huge conspiracy? The answer may shock you...
posted by Settle on Mar 13, 2002 - 25 comments

It looks like Google groups is finally out of beta.

It looks like Google groups is finally out of beta. As well as the archive they bought from Deja, they have also added posts dating back to 1981. The timeline here demonstrates this feature, showing the first mentions of MS-DOS, AIDS, and Madonna on Usenet.
posted by viama on Dec 11, 2001 - 67 comments

The life cycle of a list

The life cycle of a list - this isn't new, but i was wondering if anyone agrees with it. From my limited experience, i would have to say it holds true for any lists i have been on.
posted by semper on Dec 10, 2001 - 10 comments

Can anybody tell me what exactly a TalkBox is, how it works, and how it's different from a vocoder? I've heard that they're dangerous in some way, but I'm willing to risk bodily harm in order to get my voice to sound like Roger Troutman.
- "Taliban" John Walker Lindh, 1997

The Weekly Standard dug through Usenet and pulled out 60 postings from everyone's favorite "mixed up kid". This got me thinking, if you went nuts and ended up on front page of every newspaper in America, what would your digital paper trail look like?
posted by joemaller on Dec 10, 2001 - 24 comments

Think having the past six years of your Usenet excesses archived and available at Google Groups is embarrassing? Intent on creating "the most complete archive possible" of netnews posts, Google is looking for collections of posts prior to 1995; they already have most of 1992.
posted by tranquileye on Aug 30, 2001 - 12 comments

Maybe this idea is just too postmodern.

Maybe this idea is just too postmodern. But then a usenet group about a discussion group would never work would it? Best keep using Metatalk then . . .
posted by feelinglistless on Jul 18, 2001 - 16 comments

Gharlane of Eddore is dead.

Gharlane of Eddore is dead. I wish this were only a rumor, but it doesn't look like it. One of USENET's legends, a man known only by a nom de plume borrowed (with permission) from an E.E. "Doc" Smith character, is gone. Read the USENET discussion following the announcement.
posted by webmutant on Jul 12, 2001 - 5 comments

RIP Jim Ellis.

RIP Jim Ellis. Jim was one of the co-founders of Usenet. Today's a sad day, between Michael's death and Jim's... Why is it that net pioneers die so young...
posted by TNLNYC on Jun 29, 2001 - 7 comments

Jim Ellis, co-creator of usenet died today. He was 45.
posted by rebeccablood on Jun 28, 2001 - 7 comments

Keith Henson, usenet's foremost Scientology basher

Keith Henson, usenet's foremost Scientology basher flees to Canada, gets arrested, and has now been freed and might be granted political asylum. More Henson info here.
posted by skallas on Jun 10, 2001 - 3 comments

These

These are the coolest people ever. I have been using them for newsreading for about a year now; today my pc got fried, got a new hd and all, I've lost my login/pass, asked them again and got a prompt reply. The service is really good, the severs are fast, faster than att's @home, stuff shows up in matter of minutes. It's things such as these that make you remember, if for a second, that not everything's a part of some big corporate whore-machine.
posted by tiaka on May 3, 2001 - 11 comments

google restores deja view

google restores deja view google restores usenet archives; according to the article, it's a better search engine than before.
posted by bliss322 on Apr 27, 2001 - 23 comments

MS gets an 'A' for effort.

MS gets an 'A' for effort. Office XP, built with the draconian 'product activation' feature to prevent piracy, has been leaked to USENET. This version does not require an activation key, and the serial number has already been sewn into the installation.
posted by Dirjy on Mar 14, 2001 - 14 comments

Deja.com sells "Precision Buying Service."

Deja.com sells "Precision Buying Service." So all they've got now, on the hompage at least, are the USENET archives. And I don't think the older ones were added back either. I'm at a loss -- what's their biz plan now? Will they sell the archives as well and have . . . nothing?
posted by jwells on Dec 12, 2000 - 3 comments

Deja.com is putting its archive of Usenet news, covering a period from 1995 to the present, up for sale. As you might have noticed, for some months now Deja's archive of older (pre-1999) news has been unavailable. They had claimed the situation was temporary, but now it appears to be permanent. This leaves me with something of a sick feeling. While much of late-1990s Usenet is junk, it has both practical and historical significance. The notion that archiving Usenet is not commercially viable does not bode well for saving other parts of the Internet's history.
posted by tranquileye on Oct 19, 2000 - 12 comments

Keep the Deja Archive Alive!

Keep the Deja Archive Alive! Help encourage Deja.com to bring back their pre-1999 Usenet archive by signing the petition.
(from Search Engine Watch)
posted by Aaaugh! on Oct 4, 2000 - 0 comments

Remarq.com has been acquired

Remarq.com has been acquired and squashed by Critical Path. "Critical Path will continue to offer RemarQ services" but "Critical Path will no longer provide free, Web-based access to newsgroups at RemarQ.com. " Augh! The best web-based usenet service is no more! I *loved* their convenient and fast interface. Now I'm back to awkward & clumsy Deja.com for free web usenet... unless anyone has a better idea?
posted by Tubes on Aug 16, 2000 - 9 comments

A new feature from Deja.com

A new feature from Deja.com "will automatically link mentions of product names in discussion threads to a commerce area on its site." Is it really useful, as Deja claims, or does it imply endorsements for the linked products by the authors of the posts?
posted by phichens on Jul 26, 2000 - 7 comments

Simpsons Feud

Did anyone watch the Simpsons Sunday night? Did you notice how bad it sucked? Maybe it was on purpose, as a response to the feud going on between the show's writers and the alt.tv.simpsons newsgroup.
posted by jkottke on Feb 6, 2000 - 18 comments

alt.callahans

alt.callahans is the usenet group we were talking about, Matt. How could you go wrong with lines like this?
Setting a bag of Susie B's on the bar, Freddie winks at Mike. "A round for the house, if you please, kind sir. It would be hard to come up with a better toast than the one just raised, so I'll just add a wish for you all." You truly can't go home again. or can you?
posted by CrazyUncleJoe on Feb 3, 2000 - 3 comments

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