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Net Archeologists, bring your Pickaxes!

Date/Time Permalink: 03/22/06 05:17:56 am
Category: LINKS and Lists

I've stayed up all night. And you will, too. Because you will follow this link and discover one of the most fascinating sites on the Internet: Better than the wayback machine, this is a true archive of the history of the entire 'Net, both before and after the web, through the storage of text files, which, aged 20 years, have the same historical record of the Net encrypted within as hieroglyphics on the walls of pyramids do of ancient Egypt. Except that (excluding words like "hosehead" and references to TRS-80s) they're still translatable by the modern reader.

If it doesn't sound interresting, it's because I'm not telling it right. Here's some findings I've unearthed:
ASCII-art - don't miss the nudes!
Anarchist writing, Cookbook, Abbie Hoffman, and all!
Science Fiction Reading lists, critiques, reviews, analysis, and fanfic from hell!
Cracker section - the wisdom (?) of 2600 and CCC and AOHell, and sundry cracking/phreaking tips: some clever and well-informed, some hilariously stupid.
Phreakers get their due as well!

Uh, huh, I've not scratched the surface. All I know is that it all meshes together after awhile, and I've seen in the past few hours the notebooks of Lazarus Long, the original BOFH issue one, "advice" on getting free stuff that qualifies as the fastest express-route to a jail cell I've ever seen, a detailed guide to "draining" (exploring urban subterrainian drainage networks), Practically a book's worth of David Letterman's Top Ten Lists, 20 funny ways to interpret the abbreviation of the PTL club (religious scandal of the 80's), BBS archives from around the world, a pedantically-complete taxonomy of farts,... Where do you stop? At midnight, when the family's long in bed? At two am, halfway through a package of fig newtons washed down with Dr. Pepper? You never come to the end of it, no matter how fast you read. You just go on and on, with your mind swirling with the cumulative effects and asking you the question: "If we were once this primitive, how did we ever advance?"

phosphor screenshot

What's the screenshot? Oh, nothing. Just the xscreensaver interface, where I have picked "phosphor", which prints text in old-fashioned green-on-black with customizable fading, and can take any text-output program you give it. It's default program is fortune - bor-ing! I like to click the settings button and set the speed to the faster side of 3/4ths, the scale to 1, and the fade to minimum, and save a bunch of ASCII-art from in a directory, and then type the program argument to phosphor's settings box as "cat /path/to/my/ASCII-art/*". But hey, you do what you want to! And don't let my recommendations of ASCII images sway your choices in what to display..

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