The time Newsweek predicted the Internet wouldn’t catch on

I wish I could take credit for discovering this classic gem, but I found it on Reddit. Still, for those of you who don’t know a TL;DR from a TIL, behold the wonderful ignorance that was 1995.

Why the Web Won’t Be Nirvana (Newsweek, Feb. 26 1995)

Here are my favorite quotes:

“Do our computer pundits lack all common sense? The truth in no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM (I linked this term, in case you are too young to know what one is) can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works.”

In response I give you NYTimes.com, Khan Academy, and Facebook.

“How about electronic publishing? Try reading a book on disc. At best, it’s an unpleasant chore: the myopic glow of a clunky computer replaces the friendly pages of a book. And you can’t tote that laptop to the beach.”

How many of you are reading this on a tablet, smartphone, or ultralight laptop? That’s a trick question, I know that no one is reading this (I have the data) but in theory you COULD be reading it at the beach on one of those devices.

“Lacking editors, reviewers or critics, the Internet has become a wasteland of unfiltered data. You don’t know what to ignore and what’s worth reading.”

Wikipedia.

“Then there’s cyberbusiness. We’re promised instant catalog shopping—just point and click for great deals. We’ll order airline tickets over the network, make restaurant reservations and negotiate sales contracts. Stores will become obselete. So how come my local mall does more business in an afternoon than the entire Internet handles in a month? Even if there were a trustworthy way to send money over the Internet—which there isn’t—the network is missing a most essential ingredient of capitalism: salespeople.”

The salespeople? That’s what we’re going to miss? Minimum wage retail jockeys? Are you kidding me (and I can say these things having spent A LOT of time working retail)?

The next time you’re tempted to poke fun at a new technology, just remember that your comments will be archived for nerds like me to make fun years in the future when you’re wrong.

Unless we’re talking about Snapchat. I’ll never understand that (outside of sexting).

Where is the awesomeness?

Later today we will see the newest iPhone. We may see a new iPad Mini (although TechCrunch thinks we won’t). So why am I not more fired up? Following along with the liveblogs on Engadget or Gizmodo used to be one of my favorite ways to procrastinate at work. I used to tweet about everything they would say as it came out.

Maybe it’s because I know I won’t be getting the new phone (not up for an upgrade this round). Or maybe it’s because I know that no matter what they reveal tomorrow, it won’t be that much better than what I have right now. A slightly bigger screen? Cool, but not a game changer. LTE? faster would be nice, but not blowing my hair back. A better camera? A sharper screen? New dock connector? Please.

These are evolutions not revolutions.

A few years ago it felt like everything was getting awesomer every day. New apps were literally changing the way we live, new devices were radically blowing away their predecessor, and new websites were creating new forms of entertainment.

But now? Now everything feels very blah. Read TechCrunch and you see headline after headline about some new mobile CRM platform or yet another app to modify your photos. You see newer, sometimes better, versions of things we already have. Facebook is boring (although maybe that’s a reflection of my and my friends’ life stage).

Where is the awesomeness?

The digital toys and tech that used to get me so fired up has become a part of my everyday life and now I need more. It’s like a drug. I need another Uber. I need another Hulu. I need another first generation iPhone.

And yet, I don’t need “another” anything. I need a NEW. I need something I can’t even imagine.

Has the pace of innovation slowed? Have we mastered everything there is to master? Every so often someone comes out with a stupid prediction like that and quickly proved wrong. In the past, the technology itself was rapidly changing as we moved from analog to digital. But as digital technology evolved the revolutionary-ness of it slowed. Today’s computers aren’t that different from the first Macintosh. They’re faster, more powerful, have WAY more features. But if you brought someone from 1984 to 2012 and showed them a computer they could probably identify it. I doubt the same would hold true from the average person from 1964.

So what do we have to look forward to? What are you looking forward to most?

The Future is Ours

This is awesome. Watch it full screen and crank up the volume.

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/44658040]

Avoiding dangerous neighborhoods

Switching agencies has forced me to change my business travel habits a little bit. Instead of frequent trips to NYC where I am chauffeured around in the finest taxis the city has to offer, I’ve been driving to more “local” clients. Local being Hartford, CT or Framingham, MA. And because these are not bustling metropolises (metropoli?) I’ve found myself spending a lot of time in Zipcars.

And because I have a terrible sense of direction, especially in places I have never been before, I have been relying on my GPS app on my phone. A Lot.

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