All the data you can eat

Alt.internet: Usenet rises again

Jason Norwood-Young
Jason Norwood-Young

Listen here you whippersnappers! Back when I was a young lad, the internet wasn’t Facebook or Google or 4Chan. Hell, it wasn’t even HTML. It certainly wasn’t just port 80. It was a time of great variety and exciting frontiers. We had IRC. We had FTP. We had Gopher, goddamit. And, rising above them all, a fount of knowledge, wisdom, and porn, we had Usenet.

Usenet, for you newbs, was a massive, sprawling, fragmented, distributed discussion board that covered science, culture, programming, religion, and everything in between. And now Ontarian Jozef Jarosciak has restored some of the earliest Usenet posts — 2.1 million stored on 141 magnetic tapes. The story of how he extracted the millions of records from the UTZOO Usenet in outdated formats (using Python and 7Zip) is here, or just jump straight into the archives.

Jason Norwood-Young
  • Journalist, developer, community builder, newsletter creator and international man of mystery.

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