Tuesday, January 3, 2012

(empo-tymshft) A little more on Usenet

I've written about this in other forums, but my history on the Internet goes back to the early 1980s. Of course there was no World Wide Web at the time, but the predecessor to yesterday's Usenet was out there. However, as I noted in two MySpace posts from 2007, the intellectual quality of Usenet in the early 1980s was equivalent to the intellectual quality of the Internet today.

October 9, 2007

...I started working on my presentation from my home computer. However, the only part that would interest most of you would be a reference to a 1982 Usenet posting of mine in which I talked about Wall of Voodoo.

Come to think of it, even that wouldn't interest you...

Ten days later:

Got to have a bit of fun in one of the public presentations. Though I did not resurrect the Paddy O'Furniture jokes from the Reed College Usenet days, I did find an old Wall of Voodoo post written by a Reedie back in 1982 (said Reedie shall remain nameless). Incidentally, this goes to prove that Google stores EVERYTHING. Be warned.

For a little more information on Usenet in the early 1980s, see the second of the eight things in this post.

And here's the (in)famous post from 1982:

Newsgroups: net.records
Path: utzoo!decvax!cca!hplabs!hao!menlo70!sytek!zehntel!teklabs!reed!bred@sri-unix
X-Path: utzoo!decvax!cca!hplabs!hao!menlo70!sytek!zehntel!teklabs!reed!bred@sri-unix
From: bred@sri-unix
Date: Thu Nov 18 10:19:00 1982
Subject: Wall of Voodoo album
Posted: Sun Nov 14 23:46:25 1982
Received: Thu Nov 18 10:19:00 1982

Just bought Wall of Voodoo's latest album "Call of the West"
(I.R.S.) a few weeks ago. The group uses synthesizers, etc.
while still maintaining a western American feel both in music and
lyrics (such as the lyrics in "Lost Weekend", about a couple who
just lost their life savings in Las Vegas, and "Factory", about a
factory worker). I'm not sure whether the album's being played
on many radio stations, having only heard it on Reed College's
(Portland OR) radio station KRRC. Wall of Voodoo has recorded at
least one other album, "Dark Continent", but I haven't listened
to it yet.

Questions: has anyone else heard this album or the previous one?
Opinions? How long has Wall of Voodoo been around?

John Bredehoft (...!teklabs!reed!bred)

P.S. At least one other person likes this album; the KRRC copy
has mysteriously disappeared...

A few comments on this post for people who are more familiar with the "new" Usenet of the late 1980s and 1990s.

First, the group net.records is correct. Usenet was in its infancy at this time, so a simple groupname such as net.records worked fine.

Second, the intricate paths to get to sites are correct. My username was "bred" and I was in the "reed" domain, but to get to reed, you had to go through teklabs and a few other places to actually reach me. Nowadays, most of us don't worry about the paths that our messages take to reach the outside world.

Third, yes it could take several days for a message to propagate across the (huge) network. I don't know the priority that Reed College used to exchange messages with other sites, but it certainly wasn't updating every few seconds. So you wouldn't have used the 1982 Usenet to comment on an earthquake.
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