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    OK you are living my retirement dream :) Playing with old computers and devices and software - JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN.

    Thanks for the write-up!

    (You’re really making me wish I weren’t in the middle of a death march for work. I’d love to be writing networked BASIC programs on my Atari 8 bit for the Fujinet :)

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      Clarification from OP : I’m not the original author. Shared the link as I found it cool.

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        I’m doing this today. Why bother to wait for retirement?

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          Yeah. Clearly I need to get back to something like work/life balance, but I’m not there right now :)

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        Being too young to have used this kind of devices, I find them really fascinating and would be curious to know what it would looks like to work without a screen, only with a printer, to read emails, browse Gemini, etc.

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          Old fart here. This was the extent of my connectivity until I went to college, though I used a mix of hardcopy (DECWriter, Teletype) and screens (ADM-3A, VT-52, Apple ][…)

          300 baud is slower than my full reading speed, but close enough that it feels comfortable to read along with. It’s kind of interesting to read stuff that’s magically appearing beneath your eyes. (But 110 baud is painful. The amazing sounds and aesthetics of the Teletype almost make up for it though.)

          BASIC, naturally, worked well with this medium. That’s why every statement has a line number: so you can replace or insert them easily. I don’t remember doing any text editing on dumb terminals (a la TECO or ed) but it sounds painful.

          I spent a lot of time on BBSs my senior year; they were a lot of fun, except for the frustration of busy signals. It felt kind of conversational … a conversation with the BBS, I mean, since it moved at a speed closer to speech.

          I’d never go back to this, though. Nostalgia aside, it’s so painfully slow and limited.

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            I tried TECO, and it was terrible. Will never go back.

            On the other hand, I used the Unix version of QED on a daily basis for a few years, back in the day, and it was great. I used to switch between VI and QED, and use QED for editing jobs where VI would be just too painful. ED is like QED with most of the useful features removed – it isn’t worth using. I stopped using QED when I lost access to it.

            I still use the Unix shell and the CLI extensively. I recently rediscovered QED on github and installed it again on Linux, but I haven’t used it much since it’s no longer part of my habits.

            I haven’t read mail using the CLI since gmail came out, but you can still get the mail tool in Linux distro repos. I remember being quite productive with it.

            What made printing terminals cool was the general feel, as @snej describes, plus the fact that you had a permanent hardcopy of your terminal session that you could keep if it contained something worth going back to. Video terminals at the time were restricted to 24x80, so you could only see 24 lines of text at once, but you could look at 100s of lines of text on the paper coming out of your printing terminal. I had access to 1200 baud Decwriters way back then, much faster than the 300 baud or 110 baud that @snej mentions (but still slow).

            The slowness of printing terminals forces you to slow down your brain and be patient, and that was maybe a less stressful way of working than modern interfaces. I wasn’t being constantly being subjected to notifications and advertising and juggling hundreds of tabs and windows. No distractions because a printing terminal restricted you to doing one thing at a time. Nobody was writing million line programs back then, either. Computers had a lot less memory, code had to be smaller. At 66 lines per page, a million lines is 30 reams of paper at 500 pages per ream. At 10 seconds per page (assuming 1200 baud), that’s 70 hours to print out the code base. Madness. Programs were much smaller, and could be understood by a single person. Tooling and hardware was more primitive (at least for me, I didn’t have access to Smalltalk machines or Lisp machines), but languages and programs were much simpler and you worked at a slower pace. We didn’t have the complexity caused by the accretion of 50 years of legacy software layers piled on top of 1970’s Unix.

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            You can simulate this experience on a UNIX machine by using export TERM=dumb or similar.

            I don’t know about browsing gemini. Do gemini pages require an addressable cursor?

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              gemini would be well suited to dumb terminal output or line printer experiences, especially if your client numbered links in documents for easy selection. Hmmm… ideas!

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                gemini would be well suited to dumb terminal output or line printer experiences, especially if your client numbered links in documents for easy selection.

                There’s a line-mode browser for Gemini, gmnln, available here: https://sr.ht/~sircmpwn/gmni/

                Somebody also wrote a Gemini plugin for the line-mode browser edbrowse: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26116372

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                I’ve build my own gemini/webclient which doesn’t need any adressable cursor. The output is displayed in less an you need to type the number next to a link to follow it.

                See https://notabug.org/ploum/offpunk/

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              I love that this loud printer is called “Whisper”.

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                It is in fact extremely silent. Widely used dot matrix printers like those from Epson is what loud is.

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                  If you think the Whisper is loud then you would need a hearing protector to use an ASR 33 Teletype.