Gude to Staring with Gopher (alternate net protocol).

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candide
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Gude to Staring with Gopher (alternate net protocol).

Post by candide »

Here is a short guide for getting started on Gopher. Some of this is also covered in my journal, but I imagine it is good to have a step-by-step guide in one place.

Step 1: get Lynx browser
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynx_(web_browser)

http://lynx.browser.org/

Alternate step: use floopgap as an http proxy
https://gopher.floodgap.com/gopher/

Here’s why I don’t like that step, even though it is as easy as a mouse click away: it adds a computation step, so it uses more resources than either the same page rendered as html (if rendered the same way) or the gopher page. Also, some of the resources I am sharing in step two take html pages and strip them to gopher. Well, if you read on the proxy, that means what you are seeing went html > gopher > html, and I just find that kind of absurd. But whatever. YMMV.

Step 2: read gopher stuff.

I most recommend the SDF “phlogs” (haha gopher logs). This is home to plenty of content in Gopher that isn’t about Gopher, something that used to not be the case with Gemini (another alternative protocol).

gopher://gopher.club/1/phlogs/

If you want to ferret out more stuff for yourself, including using the Veronica search engine (prepare to not be exactly amazed) the next place to look is the floopgap gopher site:

gopher://gopher.floodgap.com/

Once you’ve made gopherland a place you are willing to spend some time, you can extend you stay with some ways to replace content you would see in other places:

gopher://hngopher.com/
Hacker News port

gopher://gopherpedia.com
gopherpedia -- Wiki port

gopher://gopher.floodgap.com/7/groundhog/us/zipcode
Weather. It will ask for a zip code and consult a database.


Step 3: connect with human beings

Dust off ye old email. Keep in mind we don’t have “like buttons” in gopher land, and even hit counters are pretty rare, so a short “I appreciate what you write” is good for most of the people who contribute to the medium. You’re probably not going to get all that long of a response, but at least you have given an affirmation that the person isn’t writing into a void.

I at first thought there would be a vibe totally hostile to getting an email from gmail or some other email ran by a big badie tech company, and for that reason I only email people with my SDF email, but as I’ve spent more time in the space, I don’t think many people care all that much. I think it is more of a hobbyist space than a revolutionary space.

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unemployable
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Re: Gude to Staring with Gopher (alternate net protocol).

Post by unemployable »

Good to know if it's ever 1991 again.

candide
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Re: Gude to Staring with Gopher (alternate net protocol).

Post by candide »

I'm so glad to live in 2020s, with the constant peanut gallery.

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Re: Gude to Staring with Gopher (alternate net protocol).

Post by unemployable »

I mean Usenet's still around too, although I'm not sure what it's good for other than piracy.

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Re: Gude to Staring with Gopher (alternate net protocol).

Post by candide »

Maybe this wasn't directed at you? Also possible that no one seeing the thread said to themselves "I wonder what unemployable's gut take on this is"? Also, hear me out here, maybe you have added nothing to anyone interested in the subject and have just been rude and annoying for no benefit other than sticking to brand.

But hey, you like your media social. Love that personality.
Last edited by candide on Sat May 06, 2023 10:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Gude to Staring with Gopher (alternate net protocol).

Post by unemployable »

Well I'm rather fascinated that gopher still exists. Is there a modern use case or marketing pitch for it? WWW is inherently redundant and resilient, so it's not as a backup to that.

OutOfTheBlue
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Re: Gude to Staring with Gopher (alternate net protocol).

Post by OutOfTheBlue »

Thank you, Candide, for sharing this. I had tried Gemini but not Gopher.

candide
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Re: Gude to Staring with Gopher (alternate net protocol).

Post by candide »

You're certainly welcome, @OutOfTheBlue. If nothing else, it is a fun, free thing to play with.

What client do you use to view Gemini? I used GemiNaut when I was still on Windows. (Playing around on SDF is what led me to finally make the Linux plunge).

For those who want to follow the activities of the Gemini space through html proxy:

https://portal.mozz.us/gemini/warmedal.se/~antenna/

I have this as one of my quick link on Lynx, and since that is the only way I engage with the space currently, and I don't have a Linux client recommendation that I have tried, I limited the "guide" part to just Gopher... And then I know nothing about Spartan, other than its existence.

Update:
Noodled around on proxy above, and saw that it supports Spartan:

https://portal.mozz.us/spartan/spartan.mozz.us/

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Re: Gude to Staring with Gopher (alternate net protocol).

Post by jacob »

It seems like there's a gopher extension for dillo (a tiny footprint browser). This may come in handy on this project viewtopic.php?p=272271#p272271 which incidentally runs on BunsenLabs linux.

avalok
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Re: Gude to Staring with Gopher (alternate net protocol).

Post by avalok »

Thanks for this candide. I have spent some time with Gemini this past week, but am yet to browse any gopher holes. Will be sure to check it out; might make gopherpedia my go-to over Wikipedia.

I wish the weather forecast worked outside the US. Maybe I could set up my own somehow. For now I have https://wttr.in.

sodatrain
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Re: Gude to Staring with Gopher (alternate net protocol).

Post by sodatrain »

Wait, what?! Fascinating to find a Gopher protocol post. I checked out your journal link briefly and I think the lynx browsing is a clever idea to moderate internet usage. But what is your motivation for Gopher? is there much going on with it currently? Like is there fresh content? Are you still using it a year later?

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Re: Gude to Staring with Gopher (alternate net protocol).

Post by jacob »

In case anyone (in the US) wants a "primitive" [mostly text] computer, I'll offer my Asus Eee laptop + adapter + 15" 4/3 monitor + VGA cable. The laptop runs on 12V, so you can power it with a standard battery (car battery or solar installation), because why not?

It's currently installed with BunsenLabs linux. You pay shipping. In case of competition, it'll go to the one with the most forum posts.

candide
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Re: Guide to Staring with Gopher (alternate net protocol).

Post by candide »

sodatrain wrote:
Thu May 30, 2024 3:08 pm
Are you still using it a year later?
I'll be honest, I am not using gopher much right now, but then again I'm not using https all that much either -- other than podcasts while doing tedious chores (and then chess.com to beat up on Martin when I haven't finished the podcast before running out of chores)... I haven't even posted here in over a month, and have not been lurking either.
is there much going on with it currently? Like is there fresh content?
There is fresh content in gopher and gemini, but to cobble together enough content to make lynx a replacement activity for a visual browser, I have found that it is necessary to use http(s) sites as well. There is a wide world of sites that play well with lynx, and I have posted lists of some of those, but having gone that far, I find it preferable to get away from the computer and read books.

There are a few people writing in the small web spaces that I vibe with as human beings, but no one is going as deep and/or set up a foundation in a subject as well as what you can find in good books.
But what is your motivation for Gopher?
I just saw something about it mentioned on Ran Prieur's blog. After poking around at it for a bit, I learned about SDF.org, and joined it to get an email. Then, with an account, I played around until I learned how to post there.

loutfard
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Re: Gude to Staring with Gopher (alternate net protocol).

Post by loutfard »

Candide, I guess your gopher quest was/is about looking for higher signal/noise ratio information online, meaningful communication, quiet and community without suffering dopamine poisoning.

I am searching for my path in that direction, making plenty of mistakes in the process. My strategy centers around decoupling direct feedback loops. At the tactical level:
- no smartphone
- no large social media platforms
- minimal synchronous online interaction in a web browser
- email using a non-web browser email client
- web content pulled in non-interactively as much as possible
- reading web content on an offline e-reader
- listening to web content on an offline mp3 player
- watching web content on an offline laptop
- a clear manual on how to interact with me in the digital world:
- nextcloud to send me large files
- email > other online protocols
- urgent practical matters: sms > phone
- urgent and important touchy feely interaction: meatspace if possible > phone > sms > online
- video based direct interaction by extreme exception only

This is a work in progress. I'm slowly evolving towards an architecture as follows:
- a personal non-interactive online gateway. It gathers communication I want to consume and sends out my messages.
- offline receivers. an e-reader, an mp3 player, a media playback laptop
- offline senders.
- In its simplest incarnation, just an email client and some offlineimap shenanigans.
- An offline command queue to pass to the the gateway in batches would also be nice: getting a specific article, (un)subscribing to a podcast, ...

candide
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Re: Gude to Staring with Gopher (alternate net protocol).

Post by candide »

loutfard wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2024 4:03 am
Candide, I guess your gopher quest was/is about looking for higher signal/noise ratio information online, meaningful communication, quiet and community without suffering dopamine poisoning.
All those things appeal to me, but I more of backed into it by at first being curious... From that list, other than "community," I would say books have turned out to be better.

It appears there was a bit of a pandemic peak of people being chatty and sending emails in response to gopher posts.

Community is a tough one.

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