Twitter is famously unstable, routinely going down for hours at a time. Jason Kottke has, jokingly, established a decentralized, ASCII-based Twitter. I got a kick out of this because, seriously, this is basically what we all used to do in the days before the WWW. We’d maintain
.project files in our home directory, which anybody could view with the
finger command. finger would give basic user information (name, e-mail, phone number, and last login date) and then display the contents of those files, and you could put anything you wanted within those files. I, like many people, kept my .plan and .project files up to date, and anybody on the internet could see it by issuing the command
finger email@example.com. There was a soda machine and a coffee pot that were famously accessible via finger, each of which would report their current status. John Carmack refused to have a blog until 2005, using only a .plan to keep people updated on Quake, Wolfenstein 3D, Commander Keen, etc. It was a great system, and it made me a little sad when fingerd was gradually phased out.
So we’ve come full circle: Jason Kottke has reinvented finger. I think it’s great.