A low-overhead internet document transfer protocol developed in the early 90s.
February 6, 2024
On a whim about two weeks ago, I decided to finally start redoing the Somnolescent Gopher server. Gopher is such a throwback, nostalgic thing for me–it was one of the first things we got set up for Somnol right when we first got hosting all the way back in December 2018. Alas, the Gopher had not been touched since 2021, outdated and rather embarrassing for me, so I ripped it all out and got it reassembled. Still working on it, but I think it’s coming out absolutely killer. You can visit it at gopher://gopher.somnolescent.net if you have a capable client, or you can use this HTTP proxy link if you’re just looking at it in your browser.
While Gopher is highly neat, among the culty hipster retro tech geeks, it’s a known quantity. There’s new Gopher clients every year, and Gemini clients oftentimes double as Gopher clients thanks to the similarities of their protocols. Not so with the true subject of today’s post. Today’s topic has no modern server software support (before us, anyway), and accessing it is even tougher, practically requiring Windows 3.1 or a *nix box with Docker and the whole setup around that. I’ve spent the last week doing a deep, deep dive into a protocol so obscure, there’s less than ten servers for it still in existence. And we’re one of them now.
Say hello to SomnolCCSO, my friends. I’ll tell you how we made it happen and how you can try it out for yourself.
December 1, 2023
Normally at this time, I’d be bringing you the next installment of First Draft, but I just had no desire to work on it this past month despite having a wallop of an album to do it on–chalk that up to working 35 hours a week at retail, I suppose. Instead, given that it’s December and that means the Somnolescent retrospectives and prospectives start rolling off the line soon (five years of the group being officially reborn on the 20th!), I figured I’d ramble a bit about the group instead, and more specifically, updating things around here.
We fell off the site stuff a little over lockdowns, and when things opened back up, obviously, we were more concerned with going outside and getting on with life than updating our silly animal people pages. This has left some of them out-of-date, sometimes woefully so. I think we’re all feeling the desire for it again–dcb_v5 just launched in October, fwd_v2 has just launched–so let me tell you about my own plans to update Somnolescent’s web presence. There’s a lot.
May 6, 2023
If you were to ask me my favorite part of the Somnolescent site network, archives would be it. archives started back in 2020 as cold storage for file hoards, but more and more, it’s become my obsession to use it as a living museum of all the websites that the Somnolians have built over the past six years or so. We’ve had so many cool ideas for pages, so many memories around our sites, so many neat looks and layouts for them, that I feel personally responsible to keep it all intact. I want it all as browsable, speedy and functional as the day we unveiled them.
archives has been eating tremendously well this year. All of Caby and dcb’s sites from the Neocities days are finally present on there, patched, restored, and usually fully functional. I just finished restoring dcb_v2, a BeOS-styled site that used an embedded Gopher proxy to display Gopher menus in lieu of pages, last month. Now that’s fully functional again, using locally-stored copies of the proxy’s output back when our Gopher looked like that. I’m supremely proud of it–and just happy to have it to click around again!
Only counting full sites (not components of sites or subsites), we’re up to 54 of them. That’s a lot of sites! And I built half of them, probably! There’s so much on archives, you might not know where to start, and that’s what I wanna spotlight. Here’s five cool, nostalgic (if you’re of a certain age and web background) sights from Somnolescent’s past you can go visit on archives right now, just as if it were still live on our sites today.
December 25, 2020
Things were much different around Somnolescent when I wrote 2019’s yearly recap. For one thing, I was stuck in a dirty bedroom in Ohio, but mostly, the group was still growing, still trying to sum together our edges. We were close, but still guarded. Emotions were high. We knew there was more to get out of the bulb.
And yeah, here we stand! Five days ago passed the two-year anniversary of Somnolescent. We’ve never been more confident, comfortable, productive, focused. We have someone new aboard. We’re constantly expanding our empire and exploring new ground–I even just took up drawing somehow!
While we’ve been mostly good about our monthly recap series this year, Christmas always marks the time to gather it all up and speed through it–and we still have a ton to get through. There’s art and philosophy buried in the pile too! It’ll be fun. Come celebrate!
November 30, 2020
We’re getting real close to the end of 2020 here, lads, and suffice it to say, Somnolescent is going out with a bang. I mean, what don’t we have to show off? New sites, another story, things brewing for ages finally released, infrastructural improvements, blog posts! It’s a goddamn clearinghouse of material–that I will now recap for your pleasure.
May 30, 2020
You feel that? That sunshine on your shoulders and that crisp, clean air in your lungs? That’s spring in full bloom, my friend, and that means flowers! Flowers, gardening, growing season, chamomile–wait, what the fuck dug all these holes?
December 28, 2019
The first official year of Somnolescent has had me figuring out little webmaster things I’d previously had no experience with. So far, it’s been really good, no doubt helped by our excellent hosting and a little bit of common sense on the part of all the Somnolians.
Nevertheless, we’re really only just getting started here. As the world continues to churn around our collective, I’ve a few major upgrades I’d like to perform on our internal and external server infrastructure going forward. I’ll explain more under the cut.
June 27, 2019
Every now and then, I see new Gopher clients and sites popping up. And that’s great—we’re keeping this protocol alive for the next generation. However, I can’t help but think some of the methods of doing so is restrictive, only getting the “Gopher is a list of links” part. Back when NCSA Mosaic came out, […]
April 30, 2019
The story of how I lost everything because I trusted the marketing.