A Decade of Usenet posts coming to Mac GUI Vault

24 Nov 2009 7:09 pm

[ Excited Mood: Excited ]

A decade's worth of historic Apple II and Mac posts on Usenet is coming to Mac GUI Vault's collection in the coming weeks.

As it turns out, I only acquired these posts literally 24 hours ago. As
you might know, Google's stock of old Usenet posts from 1981-1991 came from
the UTZoo archive from the University of Toronto. Later on in winter of
1991, a fellow named David Wiseman who maintains the computers at the
University of Western Ontario drove over to collect the 141 magnetic tapes
of Usenet posts. He then had some graduate students and others help get the
data off the tapes and onto modern hard disks. This process took nearly 10
years, since there were times when the progress was slow, or people just
got tired after a bit. Anyway, in 2001, Google went around looking for old
posts and they too came across the UTZoo archives at UWO. At Google's
urging, the rest of the magnetic tapes were finally copied on to disks, and
the whole archive of some 2 million posts was compressed and sent to Google
via FTP.

However, I found that David Wiseman has a personal web page where he
describes a bit of his involvement in the whole process. Near the end of
the page he stated that he was willing to give the archive to anyone who
says "please" first. This was in December 2001.

I found this page just last week and figured that I had nothing to lose,
so I sent him an email asking if I could have the archives for use in my
Mac GUI Vault project, which is all about collecting software, photos, and
information on vintage Apple II and Macintosh computers. That was last
Monday, 8 days ago. I didn't get a response, so I sent another email
literally 25 hours ago. He probably missed the first email, since he
replied to this one and said yes (obviously) and provided a link to
download the full 2.1 GB archive from the University of Western Ontario's
server (he offered FTP as well, but that was only as a backup).

Two hours later, and I had the complete UTZoo archive, containing posts
dating from February 1981 (though these are not Usenet posts, just internal
netnews University stuff) all the way up to about midnight of July 01,
1991.

I hope that by sometime in December, I'll have all of the old Apple II and
Mac posts sorted and online. The best part (besides the fact that these are
the uncastrated, original posts, and they're all here) is that even though
binary posts were archived by Henry Spencer at the University of Toronto,
Google chose not to put any of them online. That means that there are
thousands of binary posts for the Apple II and Macintosh (as well as other
machines, of course) which haven't seen the light of day in literally 20
years.

As you can imagine, I'm really excited to get these online! Mr. Green

Author Message
programmer16
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Joined: 10 Nov 2005 5:16 pm

Location: Illinois, USA

PostPosted: 30 Nov 2009 4:15 am    Subject:
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Sounds like a jackpot find for Mac GUI Vault Smile

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Dog Cow
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Joined: 11 Dec 2004 5:20 pm

Location: USA

PostPosted: 30 Nov 2009 4:36 am    Subject:
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Indeed. I am well on the way to having these posts online next week, so look for the announcement then!

I am also on the look out for more posts from the early 1990's onward, since I must admit, it was a bit disappointing to be at 1991 and have the posts just stop there. Sad

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Dog Cow
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Location: USA

PostPosted: 30 Nov 2009 4:47 am    Subject:
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Some stats on the UTZoo archive...

I had been curious, but didn't have enough disk space on my Mac to expand all the tape archives at once. Now I am on a bigger Mac so I have downloaded the archive and have opened all the tapes.

Grand Totals:

Total Files: 2,104,992
Total Disk Size: 10 GB


How these were obtained:
Total files was obtained by running

Code:
find "./news/" -type f | wc -l


Total disk size was obtained by running
Code:
du -hc


Just as an add-on, the Finder reported 10.15 GB on disk for 2,136,877 items. Note, however, that directories are included in this count of items. The Unix commands should be more accurate.
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