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On physicality At the bottom

Found at: zaibatsu.circumlunar.space:70/~solderpunk/phlog/on-physicality.txt

On physicality
--------------

At the bottom of the front page of Yin Feng's gopherhole is the
disclaimer:

=====================================================================
This Server may be powered-down during lightning storms, which
are common in my region. It will be restored when the weather passes.
=====================================================================

Even before Yin Feng's recent return to active phlogging, I have
stopped by his gopherhole before and I have always found this
notice *deeply charming*.  It is positively quaint, and I don't
mean that in a patronising or condescending way.

I love this warning because it is a cloud burster.  We are
increasingly encouraged to think of computing as such ephemeral
and intangibile, which happens "in the cloud".  The internet is
just some kind of magic and the stuff we read on it is "just out
there somewhere".

But this is not true.  Yin Feng's gopherhole is not "out there".
it is, in its entirety, confined to well less than one cubic
square meter of space, located in the same house as Yin Feng the
human being, plugged into the very same 110V or 240V power circuit
as the toaster.  Possibly, if standing in the right place, Yin
Feng can *hear* it.  Certainly, it could be lifted up and turned
upside down.

My own personal server was once like this, living under my desk,
until I moved overseas and migrated it to a VPS.  This is very
convenient, in that I can move house without any downtime and I
don't have to worry about blackouts brining down my site.  But at
the same time, I kind of miss my server being a physical thing
that I had actually seen and touched and felt some kind of
connection to.  Something I had direct physical ownership and
control of.

I mentioned recently that I had a surplus Raspberry Pi and that I
might install a gopher server on it.  I had been hoping to host it
at home to recover some of this feeling.  Alas, as I mentioned
even more recently, my home internet connection is not direct from
the phoneline but part of some kind of building-wide LAN.  I have
no access to the actual internet-facing hardware so I can't set up
port forwarding.  So there goes that idea.


AD: