Rocking the Web Bloat: Modern Gopher, Gemini and the Small Internet
2022-07-25, 20:00–20:50, Clairvoyance 🔮

The web is a mess, bloated with data-gathering trackers, predatory UX, massive resource loads, and it is absorbing everything it touches. The Small Internet is a counter-cultural movement to wrangle things back under control via minimalism, hands-on participation, and good old fashioned conversation. At its heart are technologies like the venerable Gopher protocol or the new Gemini protocol offering a refuge and a place to dream of a better future.

Join me and be reintroduced to Gopher in 2021 and learn what this old friend has to offer us in a world full of web services and advertising bombardment. We will also explore the new Gemini protocol and how it differs from Gopher and HTTP.

We will explore the protocols themselves, their history, and what the modern ecosystems are like. I will briefly review the technical details of implementing servers or clients of your own, and how to author content as a user. Discussion will cover limitations, grey-areas, and trade-offs in exchange for speed and simplicity.

Through these alternative protocols we'll see the small internet in action.

James has worked in web technologies since the early 2000s. He has experience across industries including pharmaceuticals, government, oil, and consumer advertising and in that time has been a developer, designer, user experience architect, dev-ops engineer, data analyst, experience design innovator, digital strategist, and more. For several years he managed teams at multiple offices across multiple cities in the eastern United States as the technology director. Today he freelances as a web developer and digital strategist. James was also a nuclear electronics technician in the US Navy and spent time as a Jesuit while exploring a religious vocation.

James is a Gopher evangelist and operates a public-access *nix system called Cosmic Voyage. It is an open community for amateur writers to share in a semi-collaborative science fiction universe while exploring command line skills. He is one of the operators of the Tildeverse, a collective of like-minded "tilde" servers in the style of Paul Ford's tilde club. You can find him all over the web and in IRC.

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