"Why Phlog?" by William Stone III <wrs@wrstone.com> http://www.wrstone.com Updated Thu Jan 19 18:54:13 UTC 2017 Copyright (c) 1965-2065 William Stone III ----- A phlog is a type of daybook, similar to a blog, that runs off a Gopher protocol server. These phlogs are typically hosted from home servers running some sort of UNIX operating system because a user account on the server is usually required to update the content. - Wikipedia Why would anyone intentionally choose the Gopher protocol to host one's content? Isn't it 2016? Can't you host HTML on SDF.org? Can't you drop it into S3 or GitHub? Aren't there a frak-zillion free blogging platforms, on SDF.org and elsewhere? All of these options are available. However, there are issues which most bloggers overlook when choosing their platform (or have it imposed on them by an employer). The primary issue is data survival. Storage changes. The way you store data today will not be the same way that you store it in ten years. Information technology simply advances too quickly. This was driven-home most starkly a few years ago when I recovered a novel manuscript for author L. Neil Smith. Being a science fiction writer, Neil was an early adopter of computers. The manuscript in question had been written on a pre-Wordstar word processor. The underlying operating system was CP/M. The files were stored on 5.25" floppy disks with a weird proprietary architecture. I was able to recover the manuscript, but only through much effort. In the process, it lost all its proprietary formatting. Plain ASCII was the only thing left. Since almost the beginning of computing, the only thing that's stayed the same is plain, old, simple ASCII. Consequently, I've decided to head off obsolescence by saving my phlog in simple, flat ASCII files. My intent is to consolidate everything I've written into my phlog. This happens to translate easily into Gopher. The protocol is perfectly-designed for text. Using a few UNIX commands, I can write new entries as text files, and they become live immediately. I'm also a big supporter of SDF.org. I've had a MetaArray-level account since it existed; and an ARPA account a decade before that. SDF offers Gopher as well as numerous other services, including conventional Web hosting. SDF.org is also very much a community for command-line jockeys like myself. If the command-line is your native environment, create a free account and run the "bboard" command. All you need to open a free account is: ssh new@sdf.org (If you're in IT and are not a command-line jockey, create a free account and learn it. You can't do all that cool Mr. Robot stuff if you don't know the command-line.) Gopher hosting at SDF.org ensures reliability. As they are simply flat ASCII, I leave the backups to the system. In the decades I've had an account, SDF has never lost my data. I can also back up to numerous other cloud services; either to or from SDF.org. Finally, I'm moving to Gopher because the US Federal Government has created a "Ministry of Truth." That's not what they called it, but that's what it is. This represents a dramatic departure from the US' lofty goals of freedom of speech. It can only result in Web sites and bloggers being takien off the Internet. By making my blog and content more "under the radar" than before (on a platform that has to date lasted almost thirty years!), perhaps my content will be available longer. Sure, it's not as pretty as Wordpress. At the end of the day, how much of a graphical interface do you need to read text? Believe it or not, they used to do it with dead trees. -30-