A bum in a Google cap. Now there's a sign of the times, I think as he shambles toward me. He looks pretty much like any other tattered street person in San Francisco - long, windblown dirty-blond hair with a beard to match. Unbuttoned shirttails flapping in the afternoon breeze.
Jorn Barger. It takes me a moment to recognize the name. Barger is an online legend I've been following for a decade. He was the unstoppable Usenet poster who could carry on simultaneous debates about Ibsen, Chomsky, artificial intelligence, and Kate Bush. He was the keeper of the James Joyce FAQ. Barger's prolific posting made him famous, if not popular, in the protoblogosphere.
A few weeks later, I find out that Barger has recovered his domain - and Robot Wisdom pops back up online. I hunt him down for a pint at a local pub and he tells me he's moving on, this time to Memphis. He says he avoids the need for a job by living on less than a dollar a day. "I was carrying a cardboard sign when we met that day," he tells me. "I wasn't sure if I should show it to you. I figured if things didn't work out with Andrew I could pick up some change." On his panhandler sign, Barger had written:
Coined the term 'weblog,' never made a dime.
Monday, July 04, 2005
Paul Boutin Wired:
at 8:53 am