cloud.tomasino.org/apps/forms/

I've put together a survey about the Small Internet (#gopher, #gemini, individual webpages, small community sites) and I would love your input. If you are a small internet user, please spend a few minutes and fill in your thoughts. I'm especially interested in the open response questions. This will help inform an upcoming conference talk I'll be giving at mch2022.org

Also, please boost this on fedi as much as possible and feel free to re-share on other social networks and in other communities. The more responses the better.

#smallweb #smallinternet

The thing I really noticed first about Plan 9 was how much it reminded me of the windowing environment on the DMD 5620 terminal. You can absolutely see the lineage back to the Blit / Jerq terminal in Plan 9.

I still have no idea what I'm doing in Plan 9 (really 9front) but I have slightly more idea than I did a week ago. It's very much a "Fish Out Of Water" scenario here folks, Unix has been in my blood since 1992 and when something looks vaguely Unix-like, it's hard to break out of the finger memory.

I have replaced stock Plan 9 with 9Front on my Thinkpad so I can attempt to use wireless. I am definitely a UNIX boy out of my element though!

cryptocurrency 

"Cryptocurrency still a strong buy" says major cryptocurrency holder.

"Cryptocurrency is durable" says major cryptocurrency holder.

"Now is a great time to buy" says major cryptocurrency holder.

These sorts of statements always get reported without any scrutiny by the financial press, who are worse than useless. It would be funny if it weren't so tragic.

I should probably play with Plan 9 at some point in my life. Can I put it on a (really old) Thinkpad?

Good news! I found a taker for all of my hard drives. They're going to a good home.

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... alright, I've posted these to Craigslist for free. Hopefully someone will want them and come take them off my hands!

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Why yes, I do believe it is time for me to recycle a box full of full height SCSI and MFM hard disks that I have not touched in 15 years.

The Cyberpunk Computer, longer read 

Text version:

The Cyberpunk Computer

by Lee Felsenstein, February 1990

The “Cyberpunk” overly-personal computer design is both a computer and a metaphor. The equations read as follows:

PHYSICAL: Not very powerful

METAPHORICAL: Requires imagination and cunning for proper use.

MEDIUM-DENSITY (720 x 256) MONOCHROME GRAPHIC DISPLAY: Invites a “high-suggestivity” approach to symbol presentation. An image language waits to be developed, perhaps similar to Kanji (oriental ideograms) based upon Western metaphors.

NO CABINET; THE CYBERPUNK IS MADE UP OF A SERIES OF CIRCUIT BOARDS THAT PIGGYBACK THROUGH STACKING CONNECTORS: Group acquisition. Pieces exchangeable as desired. Procured in pieces by people with low disposable income. Community resource. Scroungers always welcome.

PERSONAL/PORTABLE “BAT” CONFIGURATION (HANGS FROM THE BELT). USES COMMONLY AVAILABLE MONOCHROME VIDEO DISPLAYS AND LCD PANELS: Assumes common availability of video displays and laptop computers for cannibalization. Application of post-capitalist “junkyard world” concept.

NOT NECESSARILY COMPATIBLE WITH ANYTHING: For use by people who consider themselves outside the “mainstream” and who don’t particularly want in.

OPEN ARCHITECTURE: Rewards self-sufficiency in a context of mutual self-reliance.

The concept of the Cyberpunk design is natural enough to anyone who went through the early days of personal computer development. “Computer Power to the People” was our slogan back then — never mind that the people weren’t clamoring for it. We knew that Americans could handle the most complex gizmos provided that they believed that the gizmos are actually simple and that it’s only a bunch of self-serving elitists trying to convince them otherwise. Ten thousand of us sent in $2 for the plans to the “TV Typewriter” when a how-to-build-it article appeared in Radio Electronics in 1973. The editors considered twenty letters a large response to such an article. Something was moving! Even IBM came around to our “open architecture” way of sharing information. They had to. The closed architecture personal computer they first fielded was a failure.

Somewhere along the line, though, the suits got hold of it and rebuilt it in their own image. Software companies “shook out” and restructured themselves along the lines of Soviet state industries — vast hives of seeming activity with miserable kluges appearing as products, accompanied by overblown propaganda that only the truly naive could believe.

What I’m now proposing is that the true believers of personal computing pick up the thread — after the parade has gone by — and resume development in the post- IBM, post-Apple universe. Those companies have levitated to the higher spheres of cost and usership, leaving us mere mortals behind. At least we can learn from their mistakes.

There’s room for a simple, elegant design with about a megabyte of memory, using components found in the litter of the junkyard that we’re inheriting. It will have bit-mapped video good for LCD or CRT display, making use of old monochrome monitors and abandoned laptops. It will be modular so that people can create many different variations to their whim. It will invite the creation of elegant, expandable operating systems with an object oriented approach to language and control structures. It will accommodate the most advanced communications peripherals (LAN controllers, radio modems, IR links, store-and-forward communications) reduced to their essentials. It will be usable in a personal, portable environment as well as gussied up sitting on a desk.

It will develop the reputation of being an attractant for unqualified kids with antisocial attitudes. It will be seen as an impractical, underpowered design that can be made to do a few nice tricks, but is definitely “unprofessional” and thoroughly irrelevant to the bigbucks world.

That’s fine, big-bucks. Just keep making the junk and throwing it away. We’ll catch you later.

In the meantime, it’s time to do some REAL marketing research. If you would be willing to send $15 for the plans (inflation, y’know) when such plans are ready, write to me at the following address to indicate your willingness - SEND NO MONEY, at least until we tell you to. An adequate response will start the project running.

Address: Dept. C, Golemics, Inc. 2831 7th Street, Berkeley CA 94710. •

A 1980s print ad for "Computer Chronicles" in Popular Computing, which was also one of the show's presenting sponsors.

Now that the World Wide Web is just an application platform and no longer gives a damn about hypertext, what say we reinvent hypertext and do it better?

In an alternate universe I have a PhD, but not in this one. Sometimes I wish I could tap into that universe.

I have now successfully escaped my Turing tarpit.

Last week I made a small instruction set and memory map. This week I got a #forth running on it. It took about 1 KB.

I did this because I wanted to make a #forth teaching tool like #jonesforth but without the x86 dependency.

It is currently very ugly, so now I'll be cleaning it up. I also will make some changes to the instruction set because it has some design flaws. But it works! That's satisfying.

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Nothing like seeing an open source project you contribute to go down in flames to the point where you have to pull your changes out of it... sigh.

Okay, I'm curious, when did you guys first hear about/join Linux? Please boost for a wider data pool. :boost_love:

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Mastodon @ SDF

"I appreciate SDF but it's a general-purpose server and the name doesn't make it obvious that it's about art." - Eugen Rochko