Tag Archives: Gopher

What? No More USENET Provided By Verizon?

I’m a little behind on this subject. Seems Verizon dropped its USENET service over a year ago.

Well, I guess I’ve been busy doing other stuff. I could have sworn I accessed a couple of my favorite newsgroups just a few months ago. Hmmm… maybe I did it at Google Groups and just think I did it in Thunderbird via Verizon’s USENET service. Either way, it sucks. What’s the world coming to? First, all the Gopher servers shut their doors, and now the ISPs are dropping their USENET service. *sigh* The world just keeps moving on.

When I first came online back in 2000 (Yeah… I was a late comer to the party), I found USENET. I was absolutely astounded by the size of it. It was a world all its own. It was still pretty active back then, too. There is an amazing amount of information and useful data still on those servers here and there around the world. Google Groups can provide you free access to many of them that are still up and running. Back when I started trolling USENET newsgroups, there were other free providers. I think Google is the only free one in town these days.

Other than a short stint cruising local BBSs back in the early 80s on a 300 baud modem,  USENET was my first real experience with online communities. Remember pen pals when you were a kid? That was where you had a friend in some foreign country that you corresponded with via paper/ink and the mail services. You younger folks probably won’t remember that. They had pen pal programs set up in our schools when we were little tikes. Nowadays, you can just fire up your ‘puter and be yakkin’ with your Russian bud, Yuri, on XChat in a matter of seconds. COOL, huh? That’s progress.

Sadly, progress is also what’s killing USENET (and already killed Gopher). It’s in its twilight time right now, I do believe. Too bad. I sure had a lot of fun on USENET a decade ago. Times have changed. Now we have online boards and forums or Facebook and Twitter, et. al. Man! It’s a whole lot different. Some of it is better; not all. Texting is BS. Tweeting is BS. If you want meat in your online interactions, you’re going to have to do boards or what’s left of USENET. You can’t get much if you have a character limit when posting.

Anyway, getting back on topic…

Yeah, Verizon dropped USENET. But that’s OK. I found a cool little extension for T-bird that allows me to read my favorite USENET newsgroups within tabs inside the email client. Works like a charm! One day, after I’ve reached my goal of financial independence thanks to your donations, I’m going to donate some $ to each and every one of those folks who wrote the COOL extensions that I use in FF and TB. Seriously! They deserve something for coming up with this stuff.

Off to read soc.history.moderated for a while.

Later…

~Eric

Image credit: Google Groups –> Google.com