Every so often I feel drawn to my #DEC #vt510 terminal. Tonight I've spent an hour or so reading email and browsing the web (yes, with #eww) on it. Despite, or perhaps /because/, its limitations, something about it seems familiar and comfortable.

And I'm writing this toot using the #cli program called #toot, from my amber 80x25 screen on a vt510 that's nearly 30 years old. toot reminds me of IRC in a way, and I think that's a good thing.

@jgoerzen 2/ Why does it feel comfortable and familiar? My first computers were a TRS-80 and then a PC clone. I never used an actual vt510, and only rarely used serial terminals at a library. But I did have a modem. Watching a screen draw is familiar. And doing everything in text is familiar. Perhaps it is the lack of polish, the complete silence of the device (other than my keyboard)?


@jgoerzen 3/ Maybe there's a sense of nostalgia, though clearly not for a simpler time; DOS was, I dare say, a lot more complex to make work than Linux, despite a far smaller feature set. Everything from lying about your HDD geometry to making your programs fit in 640K was difficult. Microsoft's monopoly in DOS and Windows felt unsurmountable then.

But there were no metrics being gathered and reported. Nobody was watching my every keystroke and GPS ping.


@jgoerzen 4/ At university, I and many, many of my CS classmates used terminals or X terms to access a pair of Sun servers. Timesharing! The collective power of those servers, of course, is far less than that of the Raspberry Pi my #vt510 is connected to now.


@jgoerzen 5/ I used the Internet before the web existed. Kevin Driscoll's interview on Tech Won't Save Us made the point that many people don't understand that the web is just one application that runs on the Internet.

My first Internet experiences were pre-web -- text. FTP, telnet, pine, and then the wonders of #Gopher!


@jgoerzen Hey, I'm looking for people who remember the Gophersphere from the '90s. It would be great if you would write your point of view on that time. You could look on the other answers on my gopherhole.


@szczezuja Thank you for the push to do that. It's been on my list for awhile - I will try to get to it this week!

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