You just found the best(TM) collection of hacking ezines on all of the intertubes!
A lot of the zines are from the 80s and 90s, but not all of them. Hacker ezines are not as popular as they used to be, they still exist though.
This collection contains newsletters, bbs texts, ownages and so much more. Since everything is ordered by name the zines are completely mixed. If you do not like what you read, stop reading. Most of the zines are in nice and easy to read plain text. Not all zines are released as plain text though, some are released as pdfs and archives. Booo. But I decided to include them as well if the content is good enough. I try to keep the original names of the files and directories. Since I do not always get the zines from the real source but other collections I can not guarantee that it is always correct. I also do not modify the zines. Since I do not modify the zines, this is a content/trigger warning explaining that readers may encounter graphic and disturbing descriptions amongst the content. It was not I who created said cotent but the author. If one is concerned with the content, please discuss it with the original author.
If you want to send me more zines or information use e-mail:
By Alex Swain <[email protected]>
With great help from John Labovitz [email protected] *
Whatever Ramblings The Weekly Something or Rather
gopher.locust.cic.net /Zines/WhateverRamblings gopher.locust.cic.net /Zines/Weekly ftp.etext.org /pub/Zines/WhateverRamblings ftp.etext.org /pub/Zines/Weekly
In print: Whatever Rambings #12
$3.00 ppd to: Twisted Image 1630 University Ave. Suite #26 Berkeley, CA 94704
For updates, this FAQ is located at:
NOTE: Any text surrounded by <> indicates a resource. If a resource is not directly mentioned, it will appear in Chapter 10.
1] Introduction 2] The Concept 3] File Formats 4] The Content 5] Distribution 6] Considerations 7] DIY Ethic 8] Advantages 9] Disadvantages 10] Resources 11] Conclusion
I will go into this assuming the reader knows what a "zine" is, whether in general, in their own definition, or in some sort of obscure surreal way. It doesn't really matter, as long as you have an idea what one is.
In the last three or four years, as the Internet has expanded by ten-fold, the proliferance of E-Zines has grown to a rather decent size. General consensus is around 350 actual "regularly- published" 'zines, and maybe several dozen that have infrequent printings.
You can put an Electronic Zine on the Internet. E-Zines exist mostly (if not entirely) because of the Net. The interest in electronic publishing was (and still is) highly attractive to the small press community, which tends to suffer greatly from lack of any exposure. The Net offers exposure that most zinemakers would never otherwise receive. Most sites for Electronic Zines are accessible to millions of people, literally.
In this article/FAQ I will cover all the things you'll need to know to publish an E-Zine on the Net. If you have previous zine experience outside of the Net, you should find this an easy read. And if you have no experience whatsoever and have interest in starting one up, this should provide invaluable. But hey, don't quote me on that.
When one creates a zine, electronic or otherwise, they begin it with a concept in mind. This beginning will be the hardest part to put together. Not implying that you HAVE to pick a concept, but you have to have an angle. Your angle may just be your own personal views on the world around you, or it might document the inner workings of an obscure 9th century cult. Whatever you choose to create, make it a unique offering, once that can be distinguished from the other gazillion zines out there. Just remember, what you want to print is completely up to you, and I recommend letting your creativity direct you.
Before beginning an E-Zine, you have to determine what file format you'll be using. Just as in the print world you decide the size (8 1/2x11, 5 1/2x8 1/2, etc) you have many options regarding what medium you want to use.
a) ASCII Text - ASCII text is the world standard for
computerized text. There isn't a single machine in
existence that can't read or write ASCII text. ASCII text offers one safe guarantee: anyone will be able to read it with
little or no trouble. This means that any word processor, text editor, or operating system will take kindly to it. ASCII text offers no special editing or display
b) Hypertext - Hypertext is non-linear text. Instead of simply reading a document from start to end (like ASCII text), hypertext lets you 'branch' or 'link' from one document into different documents. This could be used for something as simple as a table of contents, where selecting a title of an article would link to that article itself. Or it could be used to cross-link various documents together, by finding common words and phrases, or even pictures.
Hypertext generally requires additional programs (interfaces), which usually use the mouse or cursor keys to 'navigate' around the hypertext. There is no generic 'hypertext' program, but the concept has been designed into systems like the World Wide Web (see below), Microsoft's Windows Help, and Apple's Hypercard.
c) HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is the language used to
create all those beautiful pages on the WWW. HTML uses hypertext and adds the ability to add graphics, sound, and color. As of this writing, HTML is the craze among the Internet. It is a relatively simple language which incorporates Hypertext and the ability to present full color graphic images, sound, and an interface that allows the user full reign over what he wants to access. HTML is an excellent medium for E-Zines. In fact, some HTML-written E-Zines are far superior to their print counterparts. Editors can review CD's and include 30-second sound clips of the band. The clincher here is this: In order to publish an E-Zine using HTML, you must have 1) A SLIP, PPP, or dedicated Net connection, or 2) Someone willing to give you space on the Net for your zine, you need only one of these -- either you get your own connection, or you find space at someone else's machine. And #2 is getting easier and easier to do nowadays. And 3) Enough patience and time to learn the basics of the language. You also need a HTML editor which is your program to create the pages. There are many writers out there that are available as shareware. Writing good documents using HTML is considered an art to many, and although you need not have a steady background in graphic design, it helps to have a general understanding of graphic layout. HTML simply put is the closest to an actual print zine you can get. It is beyond the scope of this "how to" to explain the HTML language. For more info on HTML and how to get started, head to:
d) Desktop Publishing formats: What SOME editors of print
zines do is simply copy their DTP files directly onto the Net without any form of conversion. So what one sees is the editor's product prior to pressing. This is a risky venture because this assumes that the reader has access to the software used to create it. And if the reader doesn't, he won't be able to even skim the E-Zine. The idea of using a DTP format (Aldus Pagemaker, Quark Express, etc) is not necessarily the best way to go on the Net. One advantage, however, is that the recipient may print out the file, and with a little work, can own a relatively exact copy of the original product. This advantage will never be attractive enough to warrant DTP files as a standard format. One possibility is generating the DTP file into PostScript, which then can be printed out by any PostScript-compatible printer or via widely available PS viewing software.
e) Other formats: There are a million plus word processor
formats out there, maybe more. It is this editor's opinion
that no E-Zine should enter the Internet in Microsoft Word
format, much less Wordperfect, XY write (ouch), or Perfect
Writer format (for CP/M machines). Its a bad idea, period.
Although most word processors offer conversion from one
format to another, its just not a smart idea to "tell"
people what they must use. Swim downstream and go with the
flow, which as of the last twenty years (or more?) has been
ASCII. Of course you can use any word processor you fancy,
just remember to convert it to something universal or else
you'll have problems. Hypercard for the Mac is a Hypertext-based reading and writing program. Hypercard is platform-specific. Windows Help format is also a consideration. It is by no means a popular E-Zine format, but any IBM PC or Clone computer running Microsoft Windows (which is a LOT btw) will be able to read it. It also offers a Hypertext-based format, as well as graphics, etc. Amiga Guide is a platform specific editor that is similiar to Windows' Help format. The PDF format (ala Adobe Acrobat) is cross-platform and requires a (freely available) viewer.
E-Zines have to be about music. Kidding, really. The whole idea of zines is that there is no idea. You can (and should) write about anything you fancy. I will assume the reader already knows this and I apologize for my bad humor. This same point was explained in Chapter 2. This particular re-emphasis is in case you didn't absorb it the first time around. "Freedom to copy someone else" is not in the Constitution, by the way...
This, as well as with print zines, is the most difficult part. However, not nearly as difficult as you might have imagined. There are several methods of distribution for E-Zines:
a) Listserv's - Listservs are automated daemons (programs) that operate through an email address and take subscription requests 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (assuming they are operating correctly). They operate by the interested party "subscribing" to the E-Zine via Email. The Listserv sits and waits for people to send it mail. When someone sends it mail and says "subscribe x" where x=zinename, it responds by adding their email address to a list. When the maintainer of the Listserv (you) is ready to put out an issue, you send it to the Listserv which subsequently automatically mails a copy to every user that has previously subscribed. A user is essentially on a mailing list, and remains on the mailing list until he tells the Listserv "unsubscribe x" at which point he is removed from the database file. Mailing lists and the Listservs that have been running them have been around for a long time, and number in the thousands. Listserv's are hands-down a great way to maintain a consistent readership. The reader spends two minutes subscribing to your publication and no longer has to exert effort tracking it down every time a new issue comes out. To use a Listserv you must either 1) Own a dedicated email address, a Listserv program, and ability to get it running or 2) Use a co-existing Listserv and ask the maintainer if you can add yours to their database. There are some complications pertaining to Listserv's so I point you to :
http://www.micro.umn.edu/OneStop/ListServ.html for further
b) Sites: On the Net are several sites that store and archive E-
Zines. Some of them big, some of them small. These sites exist
partly to give you a home for your E-Zine. Depending on the
site, the administration will create a directory for you where
you can store your material. Nearly every E-Zine has a "home"
where users can go and retrieve the publication. Allow me to
emphasize that it is out of the kindness of the administrators
hearts that you're allowed space for your work. The general
control the editor has over their location varies. Some sites
allow users to edit, erase, and self-maintain their publication,
others give you a place you FTP it to and they place it for you.
The situation typically means that you self-advertise your E-
Zine by stating where one can find it. There are widely-
published lists that detail every known E-Zine, what they're
about, who runs them, and where to find them. Some of these lists detail all (known) E-Zines, where they're archived, and what they're about (in the editors words). One such list is run by John Labovitz and is available at:
http://www.ora.com:8080/johnl/e-zine-list, ftp.etext.org /pub/Zines/e-zine-list gopher.etext.org /Zines/e-zine-list
See Chapter 10 for more information. Most of the bigger E-Zine archiving sites are "mirrored". That is, another site (which can be anywhere in the world) will echo all information found somewhere else. This is what makes E-Zines so readily accessible. The more "mirrors", the more widely known the original site is. Therefore a key place to have your publication is where many "mirrors" of the site exist. Generally though, its the popularity of the site that affords the greatest readership. As in, Tower Records is a much better way to get your zine recognized than merely at your local record store. Many Net providers offer their customers the option of purchasing publicly-accessible space on their site for a cost. As well, many schools that give out student accounts generally will allow a student a space to maintain their zine. Generally Web pages take a little bit more convincing because of the tremendous bandwidth they require, although depending on how high the graphic content of the publication is.
c) Other: Generally speaking, you can plaster your zine all over the Net. Many related newsgroups such as <alt.zines> are crammed full of zines that editors opt to post as a message. This isn't the real use of newsgroups, but it doesn't appear to be an abuse either. Some slick E-Zine makers append their zine to their signature file. This can get pretty annoying. What i've done in the past is send my E-Zine as an attachment file to an email message. This worked well for about two weeks. It works, but after the 50th or so person wants you to send him a copy, you spend half your life in Pine. You may opt for one, or all of the above methods for distribution. Just as one person may run around naked giving his 'zines away, another man might mail them with his clothes on. People in zineland already know the importance of distributing their zine in any possible conceivable way.
If you have a print counterpart, make sure to advertise your E-Zine inside it. You'd be surprised how many people have Internet access these days.
** The Internet is VERY big no matter how you slice it. It is quite possible to use the Net for ten years and never come across something you would have really enjoyed. Because of this you have to viciously advertise and plug yourself where and whenever you can. Chances are that the people that will find your zine will probably happen across it when searching for other things or just plain travelling around.
In the print world, zines take on alot of their characteristics from what they look like. They have a human touch, they express themselves well, and they're full of typos, badly photocopied photos, and upside-down pages. When's the last time you got to read Time magazine upside down? There are advantages. Print zines also instill a real feeling of culture that big-time 4-color deals couldn't get if they tried. The E-Zine world, sad as it may be, is pretty sterile. There's no human touch, everything (unless you're planning a Web route) is straight text and seems dry as a bone. It takes an experienced "ASCII manipulator" to make plaintext E-Zines look good. Not implying that its hard! For example:
** Welcome to Cool Zine Issue #1 **
as opposed to..
Hey, I never said I was a good ASCII writer. You get the idea.
There are several character-set manipulators for PC's that allow a much better selection of graphic symbols. Although I've never seen it done, it might be worth writing a zine with one-such-editor (or edit the tables yourself) and include it with the E-Zine.
a) So next the consideration here is, "What do I have to say that will captivate the readers attention?" I have no answer for that, and if I did I'd probably lie anyway. Understand that E-Zines, because of their lack of material presence, need an extra boost in the literary department. That is, if the reader isn't getting off, he's bound to move on somewhere else. Being descriptive is the only way around not having pictures and drawings. After you write something, go back and pretend that you're the innocent reader of the text. Can you see it? Is it concise? Does it flow? These particular considerations should not be compromised at all.
b) Who should plan a Web route? Anyone who feels that the visual content of their E-Zine is very important. That is, one who publishes lots of cartoons, photos, and emphasizes visual quality of the product. Anyone who is truly serious about replicating a co-existing print zine that involves alot of hot-shot paste-up and whatnot (no insult intended). The disadvantages to Web zines are important to understand: delivering them via Email (in any form) is not logical, period. Also, you are being specific to who CAN read your WebZine. Only Web users will have access to it, and although the size of the WWW is growing immense, it is still not universal. One option to cover this (although quite tedious) is to give the option to read the E-Zine as ASCII by means of (semi-laborious) conversion and/or sometimes re-writing.
Zines have certainly followed the DIY course. From as early as Samuel Johnson's literary papers (I like to call them zines), people have been doing it all by themselves. Infact in Berkeley (back in the 60's) the student zine-editors would shun away the school's money so they didn't feel any obligation to print anything they didn't want to. Pure independence. I'm not going to get philosophical here, just wanted to point out that E-Zines are almost no different from print zines when it comes to concept. That is, if you're running full-page Elektra ads in your E-Zine, you're going to get slack; guaranteed.
The Net in general has a feeling of anti-commercialism, although the WWW is quickly leaning towards a highly-commercialized enivoronment. That is, nobody wants to see ads from big companies plastering newsgroups, regardless if its related. You may recall a few years back when a Law Office husband/wife team blatantly posted advertisements ALL over the Net. They were subsequently banned from the majority of Internet providers in America, and they were victims of vicious hacker revenge tactics. And now they're capitalizing on all of this by writing books on how to 'Spam' effectively. With regards to zine-advertising, don't worry about it. Just be tactful where you advertise. If you have a sex-related zine, targeting sexually-related newsgroups isn't such a bad idea, as long as the vibe is there. Don't go posting messages on comp.x.x groups for a zine on punk-rock, take it to alt.punk or thereabouts.
As of this writing, the only form of E-Zine advertising that i've seen was of other E-Zines or people that supported the editors' endeavors. I haven't seen a E-Zine yet get sponsored by a record label, nor have I seen a zine try to paste-up a Dischord ad in ASCII. Although I'm against E-Zine advertising, you can do it if you so choose.
Theoretical readership of 35 million. Thats kind of cool. Cost is negligible (coffee and cigarette money is about it..) U.S. Postal Service doesn't get your business.. Kinko's and your local Printshop doesn't get your business.. E-Zines are free. I've noticed that those with email accounts tend to be more interested in replying to letters they would have otherwise thrown in a milk crate. Hence, you will get more feedback than via snail mail. If you have a print version as well, you can offer sample E-Zine issues to increase physical sales.
You don't make any money (like you did in the first place..) There's no final physical product except a floppy disk. The mailman no longer means anything to you. And the rest are pretty obvious.
There is only one main place that i'm aware of that guarantees most people a place for E-Zines, and that is the Etext Archives. Otherwise, you'll have to do what most people do and beg for space.
The main worker at Etext is named Rita and if you're REALLY nice and REALLY patient, she might give you some room. She is very liberal and will accept most any publication regardless of its content. Email her at [email protected].
http://www.etext.org/ gopher.etext.org /Zines/ gopher.locust.cic.net /Zines http://thule.mt.cs.cmu.edu:8001/sf-clearing-house/zines http://www.ora.com:8080/johnl/e-zine-list ftp.etext.org /pub/Zines/e-zine-list gopher.etext.org /Zines/e-zine-list http://www.micro.umn.edu/OneStop/ListServ.html
ZINES-L (mailing list) [email protected] (The Scent of a ZINE) To subscribe send mail to [email protected]. In the message body type "subscribe ZINES-L [your-full-name]". To unsubscribe type "unsubscribe ZINES-L [your-full-name]". Zines-L runs on a Listserv.
alt.zines - Usenet newsgroup rec.mag - Usenet newsgroup #zines - (On IRC sporadically)
ftp.oak.oakland.edu /SimTel/msdos/winhelp - PC only ftp.oak.oakland.edu /SimTel/msdos/textutil - PC only ftp.oak.oakland.edu - /SimTel/msdos/editors - PC only http://www.pcweek.ziff.com/~pcweek/WebTools.html http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/jsc/help.html http://www.eit.com/web/www.guide ftp.sumex-aim.stanford.edu <-- InfoMac archive (has everything under the sun for Mac)
I wrote a relatively decent article in the May 1995 issue of Internet World about E-Zines on the Net. Maybe you'd want to check that out. But hey, I'm not forcing you! I'm not positive, but it may appear on the Net as well. Internet World's site is:
By the time this FAQ gets properly circulated, its safe to say that every student at any school that has Net access will probably be given the chance to publish his/her material via the schools site. If you're in such a situation, feel free to contact your administrator. After all, you're paying for it even if you don't use it.
Electronic Zines are now in their infantile stages. By comparison you see that there are roughly 16,000 print zines in existence, maybe more. On the Net we're talking maybe 500 (and thats pushing it). I'd estimate approximately one quarter of all E-Zines have print counterparts. Right now E-Zines are beginning their entrance to the Net. In two years as more zinemakers realize the potential of publishing on the Net, the number of E-Zines will probably triple or quadruple. Think of it this way: in 1990 there were roughly 6,000 print zines, by 1994 that figure almost tripled. Publishing zines on the Net is the single best thing that has happened to the small press since the invention of the photocopier.
Take advantage of this powerful resource and get writing!
--> Thanks goes to John Labovitz [email protected] for proofing, editing, writing, re-editing, and re-proofing this FAQ.
--> If there's anything in this FAQ that you think is missing and/or think deserves criticism, email me. Please send all NEW resources to be added in future revisions.
--Alex Swain [email protected]