Retro Computer – Modern Internet

Like many geeks I love old technology. I also like to push my technology to new heights and, if possible, make it usable in the modern world. Nearly all of my old computers are networked and, theoretically at least, able to browse the Internet. In practice though Gopher is the most usable standard nowadays since SSL tends to render most email servers and websites unusable. Even if it didn’t, Javascript has changed almost beyond recognition from its nascent days in mid nineties – and don’t even think of rendering HTML5!

I have some thoughts on how one might work around these issues. Whilst Facebook will never be usable on an old computer (and some might say that that’s no loss), simpler websites like Wikipedia and the various retro computing interest pages should be viewable if stripped of SSL and, perhaps, stripped of their more modern code.

Email is yet another problem and one that I have made some progress on solving. Using my code (C++, tested on macOS – but it should work on Linux as well) you can now receive email on your vintage computer. It even has (somewhat hacked and messy, I must admit) code to strip emoji.

Sending is more problematic.  It can send.  Sort of. Maybe. Occasionally.  Mostly it just messes it up.  I don’t have time to solve that problem now though.  Maybe another day?

If you’re interested, if you want to try it, and especially if you want to chip in, you can download it from GitHub here.

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