Finger me. Yes, you read that right. Finger me!

No, I’m not talking about using those fun little digits on your hands. And no, the finger I’m talking about won’t exactly turn you into goatse.cx man, but it certainly could help you figure out what those friends you’re supposed to have are up to.

The finger I’m talking about allows you to read a fun little file called a .plan. What’s a .plan? Well, it was Livejournal before Livejournal. The blog ? shorthand for weblog ? before the Web.

Instead of being used for its original purpose, it’s been misused as a place where people complain about tests, their ex’s, life, the universe and everything.

Strangely ? or perhaps not so strangely ? there has been a certain sentimentality associated with the .plan. I have many memories of reading friends’ .plans late at night and laughing at stupid quotes, feeling sympathy for those who have been having problems and just catching up with friends I haven’t seen in what feels like ages.

On a larger scale, for at least a decade, college students have used the .plan as a means of procrastination.

I’m not just talking about students at UR ? students around the country have utilized the .plan to help improve grade curves everywhere. People wasted time playing with it like they waste time on AOL’s Instant Messenger now.

And they’d waste time reading other peoples’ .plans, be it the .plans of their friends or their enemies. Anyone and everyone was fair game, as long as they had a .plan.

I know of at least one alumnus who still fingers everyone on mail every so often, seeking out the few remaining .plans. I’m sure that a very few people have even spent more time playing with this text file than they have associating with other people during their college years.

This is a sentimentality I know well ? I hate to admit it, since it merely reaffirms my overwhelming geekiness, but it’s true. I also feel, however, some happiness that technology is continuing to march onward, moving to more flexible and less difficult and intimidating systems that effectively accomplish the same task.

Often, I feel like a few of my friends are the few who still regularly maintain a .plan. I’m sure there are others, but they are a dying breed.

Even I, a long-time .plan user, am planning to move over to the blog this weekend, with a little bit of luck. And with web mail replacing older mail systems, it’s getting hard to find new people who know what telnet is, much less how to use Unix.

So, in the interest of technological progress, my .plan, I bid you a fond farewell. It certainly has been fun getting to know you.



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