Thank you. Thanks to everybody who has expressed their appreciation.
Over the last few days, I've kept going back to it.
But I keep coming to the same conclusion. For the most part, expectations
have changed. Much of the downloaded bytage from a modern forum lacks
utility. I wasn't kidding when I said the byte overhead of a message with no
content is over 7,200 bytes. It's actually higher than that, because of the
payload of the avatar; my routine doesn't follow those links.
But it remains true that most of us are using connections thousands of times
faster than what was available thirty years ago. I would downshift
Compuserve to 300 baud (about $5 per hour) when in chat mode. Today I am
paying TimeWarner/Spectrum for a 300 megabit download connection -- literally
one million times faster.
So, the time to download a message is comparable to what it used to be, and
for many of us it's even shorter, even with those thousands of bytes. The
incremental cost of downloading a message is exactly zero. So, all that
bloat has no economic cost to me, either in time or money.
The natural result is that people aren't parsimonious in their forum
conversations. They use formatting, emojis, and most especially they include
So, I'm stuck. I have the downloading functionality working well. But
whenever I think about representing those HTML messages, I get stuck.
TapCIS is a keyboard-driven smart teletype, designed and tuned for showing
ASCII messages off-line.
To create something for SIG-III, I'd have to come up with something similar,
but it would have to be a keyboard-driven smart HTML renderer, tuned for
showing Web pages off-line. And that's a bridge too far. And, frankly, with
Mike O's deployment of "New Since Last Visit (View All)", it wouldn't provide
much added value. And to keep it useful, I'd have to keep up with thousands
of developers working on Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Apple Safari,
Firefox, and Opera (among others) as the HTML standard gets extended. (Makes
me tired thinking about it. One thing about ASCII: it was *done*. No changes
in it since 1963!)
And even if I did that development, it'd just work on Windows. Not the Mac,
not your iPad, not your iPhone, nor any Android device.
So, this time, my assessment is that it'd be too much work to the benefit of
too few people.
I *am* feeling maudlin about shoveling dirt over TapCIS's coffin. But it's
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