Ego-Historical-Surfing on groups.google.com, now with 20 year s of Usenet

Gerald Oskoboiny gerald@impressive.net
Wed, 12 Dec 2001 12:04:40 -0500


On Tue, Dec 11, 2001 at 11:08:21PM -0500, Rodent of Unusual Size wrote:
> * On 2001-12-11 at 22:56,
>   Meltsner, Kenneth <Kenneth.Meltsner@ca.com> excited the electrons to say:
> > 
> > Didn't mention Kibo, though.
> 
> That's an interesting question.  How many FoRKs have actually
> *met* Kibo?  I met him back in 1997.. (or was it '96?)

I met him once, at a talk.bizarre party in Williamsburg VA in Feb '93.

kinda related, in Jan '94 a few of us were trying to figure out ways
to put a big archive of talk.bizarre online; at first we were going
to make an email-bot interface to it, then someone mentioned this
new gizmo called HTTP...

here are some fun related bits:

http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=MJD.93Aug9121247%40saul.cis.upenn.edu
    aka <mid:MJD.93Aug9121247@saul.cis.upenn.edu>

| From: mjd@saul.cis.upenn.edu (Mark-Jason Dominus)
| Newsgroups: talk.bizarre
| Subject: Imminent Death of the Usenet -- Your help needed
| Message-ID: <MJD.93Aug9121247@saul.cis.upenn.edu>
| Date: 9 Aug 93 16:12:47 GMT
| Sender: news@netnews.upenn.edu
| Organization: University of Pennsylvania
| Lines: 95
| Nntp-Posting-Host: saul.cis.upenn.edu
| 
| 
| 
|    As of this weekend, I have something more than 95,000 talk.bizarre
| articles salted away in various places.  This includes nearly every
| article that has arrived here since October, 1990.  It is probably
| between thirty-five and fifty percent of all the talk.bizarre articles
| ever written.
| 
|     Right now most of the articles are packed away on tapes where nobody
| can get at them.  If we bought a disk, I could put the articles on the
| disk, index them, and make them available for anonymous FTP.
| 
|     If we had the archive on a disk, we could have a mail server.  You
| would be able to send mail that said something to the effect of: `please
| send me the article that Bill Bill posted in 1991 about the really green
| car', and a computer program would find it and send it back to you.
| 
|     If we had the archive on a disk, we could have a double-blind
| article review group: people would get a package of twenty articles in
| the mail, with the headers and signatures stripped off, and would send
| back a note: ``Articles 12 and 16 were good, and the rest were a
| waste.'' After we'd been doing this for a while, you could send mail and
| ask for all the articles that got more than seven votes, and you'd get a
| collection of very good talk.bizarre articles in the mail.
| 
|     Last year when I was at the USENIX conference there were rumors that
| such and so person had an archive of all of Usenet, all the way back to
| the beginning, and that they were getting ready to sell CD-ROMs of it.
| This year, people made announcements that the project was well under way
| and the CD-ROMs would be out soon.  If we had the archive on a disk, we
| could buy a CD-ROM and fill in the articles I'm missing, the ones before
| October 1990.
| 
|     All we need to do is buy a disk.  A talk.bizarre regular who works
| for a hardware company can get us a big disk very cheap.  (They've asked
| me not to say who it is, because the employee prices are confidential.)
| For $875 or so we could get a 1000 megabyte disk; for a little more we
| could get an even bigger disk.  This would hold the talk.bizarre archive
| for a long time to come.  100,000 articles are only about 200
| megabytes.  The index would use a little more space.  It's not much
| cheaper to get even a much smaller disk, so the 1000 megabyte disks are
| the way to go.
| 
|     I have permission from the computer science department to attach
| such a disk to a computer here at the University of Pennsylvania and to
| make the contents available for FTP.  But we need to come up with the
| disk first.
| 
|     In short: Everything is all ready, except for the money.  
| 
|     When I was in California last month, I spoke to a lot of people
| about this project, and everyone was enthusiastic and offered to donate
| money.  Now is the time to do it.
| 
|     I will be happy to answer any questions I am able to.  One question
| immediately suggests itself: Ranjit said:
| 
|         ``What do you want to archive it for, anyway?''
| 
|     There is an awful lot of crap there, but there is a lot of good
| stuff mixed in with the crap.  Every once in a while there comes an
| article so astonishing, so peculiar, so remarkable, so beautiful, or so
| warped that it would be a tragedy if it were lost forever.  It was this
| feeling that led me to start the archive in the first place.
| 
|     If only one percent of the articles I've saved are worth re-reading
| at all, that is still one thousand articles.  One thousand really good
| articles is quite a lot.  I suspect that the total is more like three
| thousand, and that there are probably fifty or a hundred real jewels.
| 
|     If we had a disk, we could sift them out.
| 
|     This is not a joke, practical or otherwise.  It is a request for
| money.  Twenty bucks would be nice, but send what you like; I'll keep
| all amounts confidential.  If there's extra money, I'll pay interest on
| it and hold onto it against the day when we can buy a CD or something
| else, or I'll return it proportionally to the people who paid it in.
| 
|     Send $20 if you can, $100 if you're able, $5 if you're not.  I will
| keep all amounts, except the total, confidential.
| 
|     Please send checks or money orders to
| 
|         talk.bizarre wasteful archive
|         M-J. Dominus
|         POB 8166
|         Philadelphia, PA, 19101-8166
| 
| Make them payable to Mark-Jason Dominus.  Please remember not to send
| cash though the mail.
| 
| and it wasn't a fucking POEM, anyway.
| --
| 
|    Nihil tam absurde dici potest, quod non dicatur ab aliquo philosophorum.
| Mark-Jason Dominus                                  mjd@central.cis.upenn.edu 
| 

(incidentally, mjd was one of the first people to put really cool stuff
on the web, IMHO.)

-- 
Gerald Oskoboiny <gerald@impressive.net>
http://impressive.net/people/gerald/