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[gopher] digital divide was Re: Gopher-Project Digest, Vol 69, Issue 26

巫白雪 <wubaixue@gmail.com> writes:

> Elegant and practical solutions which could address
> the "digital divide" like Gopher are derided by the cool kids in
> Silicon Valley as "laughably old", apparently because there is no
> money in basic infrastructure and wider infotech support.

Yes!  This was definitely my impression when I worked and lived in
Silicon Valley.  It seemed that many tech people lived in a bubble.
They were always connected, and they always had the latest and greatest
hardware.  The stuff they build has this baked-in assumption that
everywhere else on earth is as hyperconnected and flush with new tech as
the valley.

As for me, I got started on the Internet in late 1993, during the heyday
of Gopher.  I'm blind.  At the time, I was really enchanted with the
technology I found.  I had a device that was something like a PDA with
speech output.  It could emulate a dumb terminal.  I'd hook it to a 2400
baud modem, dial a provider, and go cruising the net.
I spent many a late night wandering Gopherspace, and it seemed that the
world was at my fingertips.

Fastforward to 2016.  Some technologies have come a long way.  For
instance, I can use my smartphone as a navigation aid.  It has offline
map data, because I don't otherwise want or need a mobile Internet
connection.  This is a real boon, and I can't overstate it.

But in terms of access to information, in some ways, things actually
seem to be getting worse.  My favorite example is checking my
bank balance.  My bank's site is heavily JavaScripted, and it seems to
be pretty particular about which browsers it supports.  It did not work
well at all with mobile browsers running on a newish Android tablet.
JavaScript is even being used for sites that are mostly static these
days.  For instance, some *.blogspot.com blogs are unreadable without
it.  And then there's this abomination called wix.com.  For an example
of a Wix site, look at http://www.arg0.net/encfs.  It's basically
static.  I really don't see much excuse for all of this, but the cool
kids in web development all seem to be drinking the client-side
scripting / Ajax kool-aid.  Things like this make me really miss the days of Gopher, when
it really did seem that I had the world at my fingertips.

-- Chris

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