Seflin Freenet

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Broward County is somewhere in Florida.

I make no claim as to knowing much about it; I do not think I have been there, though possibly I was unknowingly whisked by the area on a Florida trip, as a young child, when my knowledge of geography was rudimentary at best. But I digress.

The Broward County's Seflin Freenet has had a most profound influence in my life, although I still to this day don't know where it is.

Being the enterprising hacker that I was, in early 1998 I spent much time figuring out how to get an open telnet shell out of my Toronto Freenet jail, just so I could go play on my latest and I guess first Internet-based addiction: Moon Gate, a MUD, or more generally known as a Text Based Game.

Originally we (Karl Knechtel and I, mostly) were using these 3 wonderful facts:

  1. Toronto Freenet allowed telnet into Uof T?'s library system
  2. From Uof T?'s library system you could get open telnet, with a Uof T? library card
  3. Oh look, we have Uof T? library cards.

And thus we were happy. Although the lag was bad, and sometimes caused untimely deaths on Moon Gate. Then, like all good things, they cut us off.

So off we went searching for a new way to play Moon Gate. For free, of course. Then we discovered the Seflin Freenet. Seflin, much like Toronto, had a freenet. Seflin Freenet, much unlike Toronto Freenet, didn't have very competent administrators.

Toronto Freenet forbid you from telneting. Completely. The common trick of opening lynx, hitting 'g' for go, and typing telnet:// urls failed miserably.

Seflin, upon logging in as 'guest', started lynx and put you in this little secluded web page about Seflin Freenet. They expected you not to leave this little world, so, they banned hitting 'g' for 'go', stopping users from typing in arbitrary URLs. Fine.


  1. They had one external link on one of their pages: Altavista.
  2. Altavista, when you type a URL into their 'add page' box, created a link to it on the return page.
  3. Golly, telnet:// links worked from Seflin Freenet.

So how does this affect me in any way shape or form?

We got tired of having to go through this procedure whenever we needed to telnet (every twenty minutes, the Seflin Freenet timelimit). So we simply used the lynx 'a' command to add the pages to the user bookmark page, and 'v' to view them later. Great.

Except our link kept on disappearing, and kept on getting replaced by other links. Not right away, but perhaps later in the day or the next day. So we'd delete those links and add ours back. And again they would disappear. And the moment we'd add them, they'd disappear again.

So one day I got decided to go talk to the person who was deleting my link, and maybe talk them out of doing so. I figured the person who deleted my link was the same person adding the new ones, so I followed a link, and ended up on Enchantment Under The Sea, hosted on none other than Dune Internet?.

The rest is history, and continued in the logical places (Enchantment Under The Sea, duh!).

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Last edited March 5, 2004 6:45 am (diff)