Usenet is a worldwide distributed Internet discussion system established in 1980 which I have been using on and off since 1988 (before the advent of the Web). Google Groups host an archive of Usenet posts dating back to 1981, including this one which I posted to comp.lang.postscript in November 1988 while I was at Dartmouth College in the United States. On returning to England in 1990 I was without Usenet access until I started working at the University of Hertfordshire in 1999 where I eventually started posting again (mainly to comp.sys.sun.admin). The UH news server didn’t work very well so by the time I left my job there in 2005 I had already got myself an account at the German Usenet provider News.Individual.NET who run a pretty tight ship. In April 2005 they started charging 10 EUR per year which I have been happy to pay ever since. I read and post using a command line Usenet client called slrn which I installed on my iMac using MacPorts, but I am currently only subscribed to three groups. Over the years I have learned about NNTP (the Network News Transfer Protocol) and picked up a lot of the culture and history of Usenet but I am about to leave it all behind. Why?
I guess it is all part of an ongoing attempt to simplify my online life and spend less time sitting in front of my computer. The only Usenet group I really engage with now is comp.sys.mac.system, where I have made about two thousand posts over the past six years. At the moment the group is fairly calm but it does seem to attract trolls and I have often become involved in heated arguments, which I could do without. In future if I need to ask a Mac related question I will do so in the appropriate Apple Discussion Forum (see my User Profile). I don’t know if any of the csms regulars will miss me and some might even be glad to see the back of me, although I do believe I have made a positive contribution overall. I don’t think Usenet is dying but after nearly 22 years I have had enough of it and feel it is time to move on. So long, and thanks for all the fish.