The Internet Gopher?

I retired after a 30 year career in the food industry and was present at the birth of the World Wide Web. I crawled and tottered with it until it grew up too much and left me far behind.

I launched the National Harmonica League (NHL) web site in 1998 and was Chairman of the NHL and Editor of Harmonica World for about 15 years. This openned up many doors into music, musicians, concerts, video editing and a wish to document the story of the harmonica.

My Early Projects

They came from my early involvement with the Internet and the Food Industry.

These have been dormant since my retirement 2004.

My Current Projects

These include my archive work on harmonica music and performers which includes restoring audio and video recording and collecting magazines and books about the harmonica..

The Opportunities of the Internet

Written around 2000/2 and frozen in time.

meerk meerkl

When I retired a few years ago in 1996, I found myself being asked by various people to use the Internet to help them find out about this or that, and I became the proverbial office "go-fer". At that time the best known search engine for the Internet, as opposed to the rapidly growing WWW, was the mascot of Minnesota, the Gopher. It was inevitable that I became the Internet Gopher.

When I was looking for an image for my new identity I found it hard to find what I wanted. Gophers are secretive and tend to live in the dark, a bit like the Internet. The advent of the WWW has brought light, sound, and movement, and I happened to see the BBC documentary about the life of a pack of meerkats. They also tunnel, but they live in more of a caring community and network together. Best of all they love light and sound, and they stand on their hind legs and search the horizon for useful information (usually about birds of prey). Far better suited to searching the new high speed, graphic environment of the web. So now you know why the Internet gopher looks more like a meerkat.

I love the idea of the Internet as an "infinite", poorly indexed, global library, slowly taking shape in what used to be the baby's bedroom of our house. Full of surprises. I spent over 30 years being paid to do research and solve problems, and now I have retired I can continue in my own time - finding information for people - keeping up with computer and internet technology - teaching myself to write web pages - learning computer languages again. The Internet culture is one of sharing, and so one part of this site is about the Surfing Toolkit which I am putting together as I do this. It is a summary of my experience with bookmarks, offline browsers, search engines .............

I have always networked throughout my career, and the Internet is the greatest present a networker could ever be given. I always stress, when helping people to understand the Internet, that it is a great way to link people together. My home is in the UK, but distance and location are suddenly less important. Time stands still. Early bird Europeans talking to insomniac East Coast Americans. Computers in Australia bouncing back replies in a minute or so. This might explain the second part of the site.

I have tried to pull together, and give back to the Food Industry and Culture that has supported my career, the communication resources I use to network and keep up to date with the things that interest me. Talking Food is a review of mailing lists, newsgroups, newsletters, and interactive web sites, which are concerned with all aspects of food, particularly the food industry. I hope this will help others to find ways to get what they want out of the Internet. I have added some links to articles I have collected and written on my Food and Internet page

Finally, these pages are set up to convey information, not to astound you. I have done what I can to make them simple, fast loading, and easy to navigate. Some pages are long but virtually all text. This is the quickest way to navigate around a large collection of resources. There will doubtless be errors and omissions, but please feel free, or even obligated, to pass on resources or tools I have omitted or am unaware of, so that the collection can grow. The one certainty is that what I write today will be out of date by tomorrow, so don't expect the pages to remain the same.

This page and contents, © 2019, all rights reserved.

Roger Trobridge, The Internet Gopher,