Date: Wed, 20.06.12 12:28
a neat little test of utf-8
> ML> this uses a web browser to view the messages as they are stored on
> ML> that site...
> MK> Right. That one as well as many other so-called BBS's over the
> MK> past decade. However if you prefer we could throw in telnetable
> MK> BBS's into this mix if that suits you better except I doubt there
> MK> are any that could claim to be compatible with fts-5003.001. I
> MK> won't even mention dialup ones given they died out in this part of
> MK> the world well over a decade ago.
> forget fts-5003 for a minute and telnet your backside over to my (or any
> other telnet capable) BBS... VT100 or ANSI unless you happen to have a
> terminal that also does RIP ;) you can also do nntp to my news server...
> you should have access to the necessary information if you have a
> fidonet nodelist...
I would like to point out that Fidonet is only qualified as a transport network
in its own documents. If I have read the specifications correctly, Policy 4
and the other accepted standards documents only specifically define the
transport layer and the fields of a packed message. The 'Presentation Layer',
as it is called in the standards documents, only suggests an early, simplified,
local storage method as well as how to present such data to the user, that even
I believe that Fidonet needs to advance, the old software is that, old. While
it may work just fine and might even continue to work; users ae not going to
immerse themselves using the 'old ways'. I've run a BBS for 20+ years, and
some years ago, the daily calls became myself, and a couple of dedicated users
- and those users came for my MBSE builds and extensions. The last 5 years or
so have no 'callers' to the BBS forcing me to rethink the BBS paradigm.
For the BBS, file downloads are a thing of the past; the Internet has made it
far to easy to drop a link to the author's official distribution - saving space
and offering a somewhat more secure software distribution - at least something
that doesn't get mangled along the way. (I always hated those BBSes the put
the README.BBS, README.AD, or pasted a huge ANSI picture in the zip header --
you never really knew if the package was authentic or not.
I my rethinking of the modern BBS recalls that Fidonet was created in the early
80's, some 30 years ago - before home users had access to a multitasking OS, a
GUI OS, before the Internet, in most cases even before networking. Fast
forward to 2012, I'm betting that most of the hobby nodes in the nodelist are
running on an OS at least released in 2003 or later (to include Windows XP,
Linux distributions, and OS/2). Even in 2003, Unix had X-Windows, Windows was -
well - windows, OS/2 was always GUI, and even MacOS was getting the modern OS
treatment -- do we think the users of today's operating systems really want to
view plain text in a terminal emulator with keyboard only controls and only
communicate with ASCII?
As a computer professional, I want to stay on top of the ever evolving computer
industry and keep up with the advances of the modern user experience. My BBS's
focus has always been to advance the craft of modern computing. I would like
to think my favorite hobbyist network is willing to advance in the same way.
Food for thought, how many of us have cell phone? How many of those are
smartphones, 20%, 30%, 40% ? The latest report puts smartphones at 40% of the
cell phone market (in the North America) - can smartphone users access Fidonet
in a reasonable manner out of the box? - no. A whole market is lost to Fidonet
because we haven't been adapting to the user. Now one could argue that
terminal emulators exist on several smartphone platforms - true, but does the
average user want to read or even post messages via 3.5" or 4" screen - more
over that, on the go? Probably not.
And what is coming on the horizon - more tablets, smaller computers, higher
resolution displays for both mobile and desktop systems. Apple might have beat
the other system manufactures to the gate with the 220+dpi display in a laptop
- but don't think they'll be the only ones before the end of Q3. Do you really
want to read text in a fixed-width font in a box with no button controls on
such a system? Unlikely.
For that reason, I've put my efforts into getting a secure NNTP server alive at
my system to allow at least some modern client access to the Fidonet message
base. It is only a stepping stone to my end goal to allow complete desktop and
mobile computer access via modern client applications. I'm thinking of a
complete IMAP gateway with push notifications (using the IDLE command) as the
next step. Originally, I started a full web interface. I had it working; but
I feel that something more client/server would be more efficient for the user
experience and more mobile battery friendly.
Do these advances make my system any less Fidonet, I don't think so. If fact,
I believe it advance our hobby network into the 21st century. I few Fidonet as
a store and forward network run by hobbyists seeking to give the users a way to
communicate with topic based interest groups across the globe. Without those
users, our craft will die and only be a page on Wikipedia under former global
message networks before the Internet. I would like to think that we can
achieve so much more.
Oh, and to readers in the Northern Hemisphere; Happy First Day of Summer! --
and for those of you in the Southern Hemisphere, Happy First day of Winter!
* Origin: -=[ Space Station Alpha ]=- (1:266/420.0)