(   )
                          (    )
                           (    )
                          (    )
                            )  )
                           (  (                  /\
                            (_)                 /  \  /\
                    ________[_]________      /\/    \/  \
           /\      /\        ______    \    /   /\/\  /\/\
          /  \    //_\       \    /\    \  /\/\/    \/    \
   /\    / /\/\  //___\       \__/  \    \/
  /  \  /\/    \//_____\       \ |[]|     \
 /\/\/\/       //_______\       \|__|      \
/      \      /XXXXXXXXXX\                  \
        \    /_I_II  I__I_\__________________\
               I_I|  I__I_____[]_|_[]_____I
               I_II  I__I_____[]_|_[]_____I
               I II__I  I     XXXXXXX     I
            ~~~~~"   "~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thu, 10 Dec 2015

Making Gopher Search More Useful

The floodgap server has a decent gopher search service [0][1]. Unfortunately, it does not do full-text search. You can help make the search more useful by making your gopher filenames and selectors more descriptive. So, for example, say you create a gopher document on Linux security. Instead of creating 'sec.txt' name it 'sysadmin_tips_for_linux_system_security.txt'. Then you will see your document in searches for those component words. If you use a gophermap, create some nicely descriptive display text, something like 'Linux Security Tips for Sysadmins'.

Here is a concrete example - I posted the Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom novels on my gopher site. The selector is as follows:

read more after the break...

posted at: 21:32 | path: / | permalink | gopher, search, tips, veronica

Tue, 08 Dec 2015

Low Tech

I enjoy reading the weekly posts over at The Archdruid Report. Very thought-provoking. Last week's post [0] was on the aggression and anger many face by admitting to eschewing a "modern" way of life in favor of simpler, older technologies. The comments to this post are full of interesting anecdotes.

As a child I read voraciously, in fact all through my 20s. Then the family happened, along with suburbia, a house, two cars and programming/sysadmin jobs, and somehow the digital screen took over my life, for a time. It's very easy to fall into that lifestyle, and in fact there is enormous social pressure to do so. I hear others describing the affects, and I've seen it in myself and in my own children - after many years of sound-bytes and feed-checking in a hyper-connected culture it becomes difficult to concentrate for long periods of time, particularly to finish books. I find myself constantly wanting to check my email or blog feeds. I have stayed away from facebook, thankfully. I grew up in the 70s, when it was common as a 10-year old to spend all day outside, running home briefly only for meals and then hurrying back outside to explore/play/fight/run/ride until dark. At night I would read in bed via flashlight. I still remember those days, and surely the experiences shaped who I am. Will my kids remember their childhood, spent in front of a screen watching youtube videos, playing minecraft or call of duty? Does the push for computer use in schools really benefit kids? Is it merely different today, sometimes good, or actually harmful?

For myself, I find I feel better physically and mentally when I cut back on technology. I have been trying to roll back my own consumption of TV in favor of reading physical books. I keep my 'smart' phone in my office rather than at my bedside (unless I am on-call). I use a rake rather than a leaf blower. I still enjoy using older technologies like slide rules and paper journals. Since 2009 I have again been playing old-school tabletop pen-and-paper RPGs, albeit sometimes via google hangouts (technology is not all bad, especially when it enables real social interaction). I try to limit my kid's use of social media and TV. That's just me, and again, maybe the internet culture is all just different and won't be harmful at all as the current generation grows up and enters the workforce. Or, maybe we're creating a generation of chronically depressed, unfit, barely-literate uber-consumers. Time will tell.

posted at: 17:47 | path: / | permalink | hyper-connectivity, lowtech, retro