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An oldie but a goodie, here is a hilarious flashback to a 1981 news report on a handful of newspapers testing out the latest in technology, the Internet:

Follow me below the fold fore another hilarious blast from the past news story on the mysterious internet.

It's hard to believe that 13 years later the internet was still a total mystery to many in the media business, but sure enough, fast forward to this 1994 Today Show segment in which a very confused Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric discuss the internet:

Reporter demonstrating the internet in 1981 news story.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Ah, the TRS-80 (bottom pic). (13+ / 0-)

    It deserved more respect than it got.  One of the first real mass-market attempts.

    CP/M, IIRC - before MSDOS (let alone Windows).

  •  The 1981 video wasn't about the Internet (15+ / 0-)

    (the term "internet" didn't even exist yet). It was based on a proprietary service called CompuServe (or Compu$erve, as some called it.)

    Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

    by Nowhere Man on Mon May 26, 2014 at 07:09:19 PM PDT

    •  Although Usenet existed (6+ / 0-)

      A friend of mine was at college, connected to Usenet, and saw a user across the country logged in as 'dek' playing some version of spacewar.  He figured out it was Donald Knuth, busy not writing Vol. 4 of The Art of Computer Programming.

      •  Usenet wasn't the internet, it was UUCP (6+ / 0-)

        UUCP was a Unix to Unix transmission system that did not require IP to work; Usenet worked primarily as a store-and-forward system. Sometimes it took a full week to get replies to messages posted on usenet groups.

        Yes, I was there, yes I am older than the hills.

        Some people are intolerant, and I CAN'T STAND people like that. -- Tom Lehrer

        by TheCrank on Mon May 26, 2014 at 07:34:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, I'm aware of that. (2+ / 0-)

          Which is why I didn't say that it was.

        •  Gentler, more laid back times (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BusyinCA, Elwood Dowd, foresterbob

          I was using UUCP for tech support with the vendor of the OS I was running on my PC back in the '80s. Ask a question via email, wait until the designated time for the modem to dial out, and then check the logs to ensure that the message had been successfully sent. A day or so later I'd log onto my PC and see a message telling me that I had mail containing an answer from one of the developers. I knew someone in the CS department of the Univ. I worked at and, after a bit of schmoozing, had even arranged to get a bang address by which I could receive actual email. When I left the Univ. I used UUCP to move files back and forth between home and the system at work. When AT&T and the others finish screwing up the internet, we could all go back to this though it really wouldn't be able to support moving around cat videos. Of course, we'd all need to go back to land lines, though, and find modems. And hang on to a PC that still knows about serial ports (or use a USB-to-serial adapter).

    •  Yeah, that confused me, too (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      whizdom, Dirtandiron, dinotrac, Blue Bronc

      I was using ARPANET (and MILNET) for mailing lists and newsgroups by then and we didn't call anything an "Internet" until near the end of the decade.

      "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

      by wader on Mon May 26, 2014 at 07:46:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yup. The internet itself did exist, sort of, but (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      don't know if the name did.  I say "sort of" because TCP/IP was still two years off and I don't know how much the earlier protocol allowed the kind of inter-networking that is the hallmark of the modern internet.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Mon May 26, 2014 at 08:16:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It was the ARPANET in 1981 (0+ / 0-)

        The concept of "internet" dates back to 1974 or possibly 1972, when Louis Pouzin invented it (in France!).  TCP/IP dates back to 1974 (TCP version 1; IP was part of it until v4 in 1978).  The ARPANET split off MILNET around 1982 and the union of the two was called the Internet.  They mostly used NCP until 1983 when TCP/IP replaced it.

    •  Yes, No Internet (2+ / 0-)

      I think the term "internet" existed, because internets existed, but the "Internet" didn't.

      The giveaway they're talking about CompuServe was that the data went to Ohio.

      But the news report itself just says it's about delivering the newspaper by computer. And, it correctly predicted that someday newspapers and magazines would come by home computer. (I suppose it isn't quite "all" of them yet, but if you stretch "home computer" to mean iPad, then I basically do get all my magazines by computer, and to the degree I get "newspapers" I get them on either the iPad or a home computer.)

      Frankly, the thing that shocked me the most was the rotary phone! In red!

    •  Correct. Nowhere near the seminal research. n/t (0+ / 0-)

      Isn't it a good feeling when you see the paper in the morning, it says 'Axe Slayer Kills 19' and you say, "They can't pin that one on me!" - Jean Shepherd

      by razajac on Tue May 27, 2014 at 12:35:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Don't hate on CompuServe (0+ / 0-)

      Or X.25, or IPX.  All WANs need a little love.

  •  So basically this is what the internet will become (4+ / 0-)

    For content producers who don't fork over lots of money if the FCC and telecoms kill Net Neutrality.

    •  Can't kill a policy that isn't even operative (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      K S LaVida

      Remember what started this whole mess.  ISPs throwing a hissy fit over torrents and downstream line layers pissed about their previous settlements (or settlement-free arrangements) with upstream peers netting all that streaming video bandwidth rent.  

      Ultimately, net neutrality is a fight between a bunch of big corporations over who wins the lotto and who pays the bill.

      •  Yes, but it's also a fight to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nautical Knots

        remember history.  Back at the start of the last century the railroad barons started expanding into other markets and shipping their coal, food, and machinery at cheap rates for their own affiliates, while charging everyone else higher rates.

        As the competitors started to die out, the railroads were regulated: forced to establish across the board pricing with no favorites.

        •  Apples and meatballs (0+ / 0-)

          Its one thing for the transportation industry to muscle into natural resource exploitation--that shit's so close to home that it's natural as pie to go vertical.  But let's face it, in the late 1990s, we watched completely unregulated gatekeepers for millions of Americans online--make the deliberate decision to knock down barriers to their networks.  Did they do it out of the goodness of their hearts?  No.  They did it because they couldn't generate content nearly as quickly and with as much diversity as millions of smaller firms and individuals doing the same thing.  They couldn't afford the time and effort to build every single possible destination in house, so they gave up decided to make their money as toll collectors.

          That essential calculus hasn't changed.  Verizon, Comcast, AT&T don't want to create content.  They want to be sending peers for high-bandwidth content, and barring that they want a cut of the payments data centers and their customers fork over to say Century or Cogent when they luck out and score a big fish like Netflix.

          •  Comcast doesn't want to create content? (0+ / 0-)

            That $40 billion NBC acquisition was just a slipup?

            •  Completely different medium (0+ / 0-)

              And even then, Comcast purchased what?  Eleven O&O stations.  Contracts with production houses and affiliate news and event mongers generate most televised content.  

              That's besides the point.  Do you really think Comcast wants to own, operate and/or manage every website?

              •  Why do YOU think they bought NBC? (0+ / 0-)

                And please stop with the nonsensical strawmen.

                The whole point of gutting net neutrality principles and common carrier obligations, is you don't NEED to own every web site. Just like the rail barons didn't need to own every hog butcher or steel mill.

                They just owned the ones that got a sweet deal on rail transport.  Comcast will just own the video distribution business that gets cheap fast pipes.

                Anybody who wants to run a boutique web site competing with that will be welcome to keep their quaint little businesses.

                •  To make money (0+ / 0-)

                  Strawman.  I think that word doesn't mean what you think it means.

                  Your railroad barons sought to drive out competition everywhere along the vertical stack.  Of course they wouldn't need to own every hog butcher or steel mill; they just needed to drive the ones they didn't own out of business.  The point is they corner the market.

                  What good does it do Comcast to corner the market on Internet content?  They get it all for free as it is.  All they have to do is allow it to flow through the consumer, and maybe get some protection money from Cogent while they're at it.  Comcast doesn't give a damn about your boutique website, because your boutique website is a drop of piss in the ocean.

        •  Bottom line (0+ / 0-)

          I think net neutrality conflates a chimerical concern--traffic discrimination (let's face it, DK is all in favor of TOUs where it concerns content we don't much like)--with two other (albeit related) issues: peering and last mile delivery quality.  Attempting to address all three as a coherent whole has proven to be a mess.  Verizon/Cogent or Verizon/Big Content negotiations on peering present a different set of problems from Verizon's reluctance to upgrade lines from backbone to the customer.  Verizon, or Cogent, or a data center refusing to originate or honor requests based on content due to say consumer pressure raises its own gatekeeping challenges.  

  •  In the early 1990s, (7+ / 0-)

    I visited my brother, who had a son in junior high and another in high school. One of them was using this newfangled service called Prodigy to access his homework and send it to his teacher.

    That was my first exposure to the internet. My initial reaction: I couldn't see how a service like that could possibly be of much value to me.

    I caught on quickly, though. By 1994 I had internet access and an email address. And I had begun using another newfangled technology called GPS.

    •  In 1989 I was on Prodigy, (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Puddytat, grover, foresterbob, sawgrass727

      and it was a huge help.  I was an independent contractor, an instructor for businesses using distributed data processing.  I had to write manuals and develop teaching aids, and I found out how to do what I needed to do and learned an enormous amount from people also on Prodigy.  There were other documentation specialists on the service, and the chat rooms were a godsend.

      "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing" - Edmund Burke

      by SueDe on Mon May 26, 2014 at 08:50:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I had Prodigy. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BusyinCA, Elwood Dowd, foresterbob

      My best friends had AOL.

      They moved overseas. Long distance calls were expensive. But we couldn't communicate between Prodigy and AOL.

      I ended up signing up for AOL and having both for the longest time until the intertubez were available.

      Good times.  

      © grover

      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Mon May 26, 2014 at 10:37:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Prodigy AOL Compuserve (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      In the Denver area we had to wait for cable to be laid to get anything.  The day the cable was installed, 1990 or 1991, I had all three biggies and the family was taught how to use these.  Four computers built, setup and networked allowed my family the luxury of overwhelming dialup and then cable.

  •  "In the future (12+ / 0-)

    we can copy it onto paper and save it."

    "The oppressors most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed." - Stephen Biko

    by gjohnsit on Mon May 26, 2014 at 07:22:23 PM PDT

  •  Minitel came first n/t (5+ / 0-)

    "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

    by Old Left Good Left on Mon May 26, 2014 at 07:25:38 PM PDT

  •  The people were such dweebs. (0+ / 0-)

    The original internet users in the news business in 1981? Ohmigod. Polyester. And those haircuts.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Mon May 26, 2014 at 07:28:15 PM PDT

  •  RIME, FidoNet (10+ / 0-)

    I ran a two node GAP-based BBS that tossed mail for both.

    In 2014, that BBS is still listed on the (deprecated) FidoNet.

    And yeah, I had an internet DNS address before Google and Yahoo, when only Network Solutions was passing them out.

    Good times.  Too bad I wasn't a visionary or had VC funding.

    •  Zadatz - (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      foresterbob, JeffW

      We must be close in age.  I ran a Fido RemoteBBS system with DB doing the mail tossing for me and (for a while) another system.  Also had three other 'nets (forums) coming in thru the system, as well.  I think I was the first female sysop in this area.  

      Every year, I hosted a Hallowe'en party for my bbs users.  Was always in an apartment doing that time - and one year's party saw people 5-deep in the bathroom anteroom! (LOL)  Hosted the first National "Gathering" for one network just after we moved into our 3-story house.  That was so much fun!!  

      Got my domain, also, from Network Solutions when they were the only game in town.  Still have it with them, tho am thinking of moving it, as I don't like this new Co. who bought them out.  

      My career has been mostly in the Tech field, since it started to be something beyond CS, anyway.  And self-taught. Nothing like seeing flames and smoke coming out of the motherboard to shorten the learning curve! (gryn)

      In the 80's, I registered with a headhunter and when asked what I wanted to do, I told them I'd really like to design websites.  He had no idea what I was talking about, let alone where I'd look for a job in it!  Ah... the good old days, eh?

  •  1981 isn't the "internet" (4+ / 0-)

    Sorry, not the actual internet. Any on-line service does not equal The Internet.

    TDK, getting HuffPo'd and Buzzfed to death.

    Some people are intolerant, and I CAN'T STAND people like that. -- Tom Lehrer

    by TheCrank on Mon May 26, 2014 at 07:32:40 PM PDT

    •  The network in the clip, that is, ain't it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happymisanthropy, Dirtandiron

      The Internet was around, it just wasn't the thing represented in the clip.

      Some people are intolerant, and I CAN'T STAND people like that. -- Tom Lehrer

      by TheCrank on Mon May 26, 2014 at 07:33:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Internet as it existed in 1981 (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JeffW, Dirtandiron, sawgrass727

        consisted of a dozen (or perhaps a couple of dozen) dedicated Internet Message Protocol (IMP) routers linked to DARPA funded research companies, universities (mostly in the US) and military sites.  Over the next decade it was gradually extended to more US universities, then only in the late eighties to overseas univerities and finally commercial companies with no DARPA connection, something that was very controversial at the time.  The very earliest commercial ISPs didn't start appearing until the late 1980s.

        quis custodiet ipsos custodes -- Juvenal VI, 347-8

        by golem on Mon May 26, 2014 at 08:19:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So? (0+ / 0-)

          ARPANET wasn't the only game in town, and in 1981 ARPANET wasn't even the "Internet" as we know it (if by that we mean a network on the TCP standard).  

          The history of the Internet is the history of an amalgamation of wide area networks, many operating with different switching protocols, and marshaling them into a transmission and addressing standard.  We can call ARPANET, Merit and NSFNET the seeds--and in early 1990s even the backbone--but that's about it.

          •  The final two things that made the Internet (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            high5, rduran, Nautical Knots

            really take off (and arguably become "the Internet") were the adoption of a presentation layer protocol (HTML), which  made rich content MUCH more accessible, and the invention of spider-based search engines.  Before those, connectivity was working but the audience was too small to change the world.

            •  Here's some golden history... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              The birth of the web

              And make note of this was a European endeavor... :)

              Dissolve Israel; stop distinguishing between jew and non-jew in Palestine.

              by high5 on Tue May 27, 2014 at 04:07:38 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I wonder about that (0+ / 0-)

              You had markup, HTTP, and a web crawler by 1993; and the Internet remained mostly and academic, big business and government play ground.  So did the tools grow the audience or did the audience--once ISPs started to take off--grow the tools?  After all, email alone was a pretty damn good reason to get online.

              On the other hand, the rapidly increasing amount of stuff on the web probably played a significant role in convincing the walled gardens to open the gates.  Can't beat not having to pay to write a bunch of custom services for various content providers.

          •  TCP/IP v4 went final in Jan 1980 (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            in RFC 760 and 761.  It was developed as a DARPA project in the mid 70s and adopted by CSNET, a precursor to NSFNET from its inception in 1981.  ARPANET was dragged kicking and screaming on board on "Flag Day" in 1983, becoming a subset of the nascent Internet (note caps).  My point was that this wasn't something that any individual or private company could sign up to in 1981.

            quis custodiet ipsos custodes -- Juvenal VI, 347-8

            by golem on Tue May 27, 2014 at 10:26:20 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  No argument there (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              My issue was with the notion that we couldn't or shouldn't consider other WANs at the time "Internet."

              •  "an internet" v/s "the Internet". (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                In the late 80's and early 90's I had access through work to, in turn, the Xerox and DEC corporate internets via XNS and DECnet respectively.  But even that early it was clear that only the burgeoning TCP/IP internet was "the Internet" with a definite article and a capital 'I'.  Link layer point-to-point technologies like X25  or dialup didn't really count as "internet" in and of themselves, though they clearly formed a key part of several disparate internet stacks.

                Anyway, it's clear you know your stuff, and I'm really just quibbling about semantics at this point.  Thanks for making me research the minutiae of my networking youth ;)


                quis custodiet ipsos custodes -- Juvenal VI, 347-8

                by golem on Tue May 27, 2014 at 01:55:04 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Tecnical definitions (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The "internet" is a short-hand term for inter-operating networks. At the time of this video, there were several different technologies for networking computers together, all based on proprietary communication standards. This video is referring to only one which I believe others here have identified as Compuserve.

        The "Internet" however, was a much broader idea that was only then being developed: an integration of the multitude of communication standards into a single seamless interface that would allow the non-technical users to use any system to access material on other systems even if both used different technologies to communicate. This required a few different elements:

        1. Inter-operating gateways that could understand multiple communication protocols and translate between them.

        2. Standardized user-interface components that would present a common experience to users that hid the details of the underlying implementation.

        3. A common content description format that would allow the representation of different pieces of information in a way that the UI components could render in a common fashion.

        All of the elements for this existed in 1981, but they were still mostly experimental and would require a huge effort before they would reach the critical mass necessary to create the thing we now know as the Internet.

        BTW, the reason Al Gore got in trouble for his comments about his role in the formation of the internet is because so many were confused about the difference between the technology and the effort it took to integrate it. Gore never claimed to have invented the technology behind the Internet (which went back to the 1960s). He only claimed that he was a major backer of the effort to integrate these systems to produce the seamless system described above. And he was fully justified in that claim. There was no on in Congress who understood the potential for this technology and did more to make it happen than Al Gore. Which is why it still pisses me off that he gets grief because someone people turned his comments into a joke.

        •  It is CompuServe (0+ / 0-)

          Specifically, the electronic newspaper experiment.

          The Internet idea is as you broadly described it; linking various different networks together.  CompuService peering with TeleNet is an Internet by any definition.  A federation of X.25 networks is an Internet. What we forget is that ARPANET was not the only attempt to realize the Internet vision.  It was just the successful one, and in 1981 it hadn't even embraced the key transport layer innovation that would form the basis of the stack we all know and love today.

          As it stands, it's probably pointless to speak of an "end result" that is the "Internet," as the stack may change, fracture, and reform into something new years from now despite the longevity of many of its underlying components.  Still, it's great to look back and see how the Internet evolved into what it is today.  Especially stories and technologies that are often forgotten due to their obsolescence and eclipse.

  •  We had computers at work by there was no (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    foresterbob, Dirtandiron

    non-work related thing we could do with them, so they didn't interest me at all.

    "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Mon May 26, 2014 at 07:41:56 PM PDT

  •  An Apple with a modem in 1981 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    turdraker, foresterbob, rhauenstein

    Was my first computer- was it a II-C?  I just remember that you had to put in a 5 1/2 inch floppy "boot disk" to get going.  We had no idea what the modem was useful for. Got it through a nonprofit grant program from Apple to network with some other organizations.  We hooked it up once and proved that it worked, and that was that.  It got us four free computers from Apple and a trip to California to be trained how to use them - good deal!

    •  Our first modem... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...was the kind with the two cups that you put the phone receiver in.  Good times, good times.

      And I also started with an Apple IIc at home, though I fondly remember the Texas Instruments TI-99A from my grade school classrooms.

      Article 196. Health care is a right of all persons and an obligation of the State, guaranteed through social and economic policies that provide...universal and equitable access to programs and services....

      by SLKRR on Tue May 27, 2014 at 06:11:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  and then there was BITNET (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Liberal Thinking

    ....because it was nether there nor time

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "If we appear to seek the unattainable, then let it be known that we do so to avoid the unimaginable." (@eState4Column5)

    by annieli on Mon May 26, 2014 at 07:43:07 PM PDT

  •  Ah, the good old Trash 80 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jen Hayden, JeffW

    BTW, Youtube has every episode of the old PBS series "The Computer Chronicles."

  •  Maybe in another 33 years republicans (3+ / 0-)

    Will finally have this whole 'internet' thingy figured out.  Maybe...

  •  I Remember The Internet Before Amputee Porn (6+ / 0-)

    No really, I remember someone telling me that you could find anything on the new World Wide Web back in 1994.  I said "OK, find some amputee porn," but they couldn't.  Now it gets 24,000,000 Google hits.  Oh brave new world!

    Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

    by bernardpliers on Mon May 26, 2014 at 07:51:07 PM PDT

  •  Hooray!!! for Web TV ... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rduran, CSPAN Junkie, foresterbob

    ... I miss the beeps and the boops and the static. Life was simpler then.
    Now I get pissed off if there are a couple of three second pauses till the video loads enough to get ahead of the playback.

  •  Ah, it'll never catch on. (0+ / 0-)

    I live under the bridge to the 21st Century.

    by Crashing Vor on Mon May 26, 2014 at 08:02:40 PM PDT

  •  I think my local paper was involved (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, foresterbob in Bakersfield.  They were primarily interested in providing agribusiness news, as I recall--I attended one of the public demonstrations.

    They had a pretty large presence on the Internet, with a nearly unmoderated blog attached.  Total disaster...

    America, we can do better than this...

    by Randomfactor on Mon May 26, 2014 at 08:07:43 PM PDT

  •  I must really be old (4+ / 0-)

    I remember what a pencil is and still keep the ancient secret of how it's used well guarded.  Does anyone remember when stamps had a kind of minty flavor?
    Does anyone remember stamps?

    Jesus only performs miracles for people with enough time on their hands to make that crap up.

    by KneecapBuster on Mon May 26, 2014 at 09:08:19 PM PDT

  •  Is That So? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Boy, when you see that you just want to shut up and not comment on anything. Imagine what the "Internet" (such as it is) will be showing people we said 35 years from now.

    "Wow! Look at this! People talked about politics on the Internet in 2014!"

    "That's right, son. They didn't have brain implants back then."

  •  I Have Some Papers Archived from 1981 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    here4tehbeer, foresterbob

    In Steve Newman's defense, that was about the time my company gave me a 300-baud modem so I could dial in to our computers. You could just about watch the characters as they were typed on the screen. The idea that everyone would have a computer, let alone be able to send video fast enough to want to do it, was hard to conceive.

    But when was the last time you printed something on paper to keep it?

    For that matter, when was the last time you kept anything, knowing that you could google it if you needed it later?

  •  My favorite part was (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    foresterbob, sawgrass727

    when they put the one guy's name up and under that, the headline "OWNS HOME COMPUTER". Did he walk around saying, "Yeah, that's me, I'm the guy that owns a home computer. Maybe you've seen me on the news?"

  •  Ah, the good old days of net neutrality /eom (0+ / 0-)

    No one is coming to save us, the future is in our hands.

    by koNko on Tue May 27, 2014 at 04:43:46 AM PDT

  •  First semi-conductor memories on my UNIX machine (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I was running a UNIX ARPANET machine in the 1970's (been on the net now for 37 years) and remember buying the first semiconductor memories for our PDP 11/45. It was 900ns cycle, blazing fast! We still had some core memory on that machine too.

    Ah, the good 'ol days!

  •  Gumbel and Couric are scary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The 1981 report is actually pretty impressive, apart from the horrific hourly charge and the handset-style phone modem, and the breezy "it's a few years off" (more like 25 to 30) from the reporter on when this would become the norm.

    But for Couric and Gumbel to roll that out in 1994?  

    That's your trad media, folks.  It regressed after 1981, pretty badly.

  •  Knight-Ridder Viewtron was another service (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    A friend was an news editor for Knight-Ridder's online  Viewtron service based in Miami.   It offered more features and had a better interface than the Compuserve service shown in the video.

    Viewtron differed from contemporary services like CompuServe and The Source by emphasizing news from the Miami Herald and Associated Press and e-commerce services from JC Penney and other merchants over computer-oriented services such as file downloads or online chat. Intended to be "the McDonald's of videotex", Viewtron was specifically targeted toward users who would be apprehensive about using a computer

    Viewtron also offered airline schedules from the Official Airline Guide (OAG), real estate research from Century 21, e-cards from Hallmark, product information from Consumer Reports, educational software from Scott Foresman, online auctions, financial services from American Express and EF Hutton...

    At its height, Viewtron was operated in at least 15 cities by various newspaper companies. After six years of research and an investment reportedly in excess of $50 million, Viewtron never turned a profit, and Knight Ridder did not expect it ever would be profitable. Viewtron closed on March 31, 1986....

    After Viewtron went national, its subscriber base quickly grew from 3,000 users to 20,000. Despite its rapid growth, Viewtron soon learned that the majority of users dropped their subscriptions after six months, and the most used areas of the service among the remaining users were not Viewtron's news feeds, but the email and live chat....

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