We had pre-WWW

Before we had the web that we know and love we had Gopher. During those days, in order to create an online document you would only be able to link basic things like directories, internal/external URLs, images, sound, generic binaries, zip files and text. All you would see is a wall of text - no inline media, no flashing ads, no animating CSS. Just text.

gopher via lynx

Textual Creativity

Since we had no distractions, we could only be creative with things like ANSI and ASCII art. Most importantly, we had to write good content. There was nothing else to distract our senses so the focus was only on the text.

Modern Web

In modern browsers our current plethora of tools to design and animate content end up distracting users from the text - or encourage the lack of text. Who can read a wall of text if there are ads flashing, CSS animations animating, audio blaring, JavaScript functionality interrupting and/or limiting our browsing experience?

This isn’t to say that what we are doing now is bad thing - we have come a long way with the tools, power and control that only happened after we gained better hardware, software, engineering that improved over many years of trial and error.

But part of me, being one who questions our current position in technology and playing the role of the artist wants to know what we can do without all these options all the time. What can we do with almost no tools? Can it be just as engaging if not more?

Revisiting Gopher

I decided to set up a Gopher server for meatspacers who wanted to be a part of that experiment. Fortunately, this can be viewed by both a Gopher browser and HTTP (but the rendering does look a lot better through a browser like Lynx).

There is also a Github repository which automatically updates on the server when new changes are made.

What’s the Point?

The point of this is to start blogging periodically on the Gopher server. The point is to try and avoid being distracted by anything other than text to get a thought or message across. The point is to try and see how far and creative we can go with as little features as possible. There is freedom in the lack of superficial choice.