OldUse.Net: historical recreation of Usenet as it was 30 years ago

OldUse.Net is a historical, realtime re-creation of the Usenet experience, as it was in the heroic green-on-black era of the Internet. That is, it is a command-line-driven interface to Usenet posts, synchronized with Usenet 30 years ago, and every day that passes here in 2011 sees another day's worth of posts from 1981 added to the archive ("unless I run out of inodes again," notes the creator). There's also an NNTP interface, nntp.olduse.net, for those of you with newfangled newsreaders.

To be on usenet before 1993, you had to be in some way special or lucky. This was before the September that never ended. You were aware of this Usenet or Internet thing that most of the world had not heard of, and went to some lengths to get on it. If we could gather together many of the people who were on the net at a past point in time, that would be interesting company to be in.

"The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there." — L.P. Hartley

Visiting foreign countries is a neat thing to do. Mostly to meet and interact with different people, but partly just to be there and see how things are done differently.

The foreign country of internet past is archived away in various places, from the Wayback machine to Google's usenet archive. But we can't visit those archives in the same sense we can visit the current internet today. It takes effort to find things; "new" posts are not popping up to be read; there is little serendipity. In contrast, Olduse.net provides a way to visit this foreign land.


(via Making Light)