Once upon a time, Usenet newsgroups were the Twitter, Facebook and forums of the online world. All the early Internet community makers were there, and important announcements such as the arrival of Mosaic by Marc Andreesen broke there first. Then the inevitable happened, and Usenet slowly imploded. That could have been the end of it, but everyone assumed this fairy tale would come with a Hollywood ending after Google got involved and waved a magic wand over the Usenet archive and turned it into [URL="http://groups.google.com"]Google Groups[/URL]. Unfortunately, not a lot happened in the years since February 2001 when Google acquired …

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With the exception of Digg, all the major social networking sites had more women than men. I wonder why? Why do you think so? Personally, I know I have been on social networking sites since 1992 via Usenet and IRC. Yes, you might not have heard of these two, but this is way before Google came to the picture, kiddos. [url]http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/2009/who-rules-the-social-web/[/url]

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In an example of throwing the bathwater out with the baby, a number of ISPs are dropping the alt.* hierarchy, or Usenet altogether, ostensibly to comply with a demand from New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo that they [URL="http://www.daniweb.com/blogs/entry2584.html"]rid the Internet of child pornography[/URL]. Some observers, including the [URL="http://www.zeropaid.com/news/9638/EFF+-+Blocking+UseNets+Alt+Hierarchy+Would+Violate+First+Amendment"]Electronic Frontier Foundation[/URL], believe that the ISPs are actually making the move to help save money on servers and bandwidth, and are using Cuomo's demand as a convenient excuse. Verizon and Sprint are taking down the alt.* hierarchy, AT&T will block all alt.binaries.* groups, while Time Warner Cable and AOL are shutting …

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Andrew Cuomo, New York Attorney General, has been fighting one of those fights that you sadly cannot win: to rid the Internet of child pornography. Believe me, as a father of four I would love to say that it was possible but as a technology journalist with some 20 years experience of writing about the online world and the people who inhabit it I know that it isn't. It would take a sea change in terms of international cooperation, both legal and political, for starters and that's without even thinking about the technological hurdles that would need to be jumped. …

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The End.