Are You Ready for the Internet? (1994) [video]

219
41
2 days
(youtube.com)
by sintax

Comments

enos_feedler
2 days

It's amazing just how quickly you can catch the under estimation of the internet's potential. Within the first sentence, starting with the word "imagine", the largest image that could be conjured is related to viewing content created offline, rather than creating and sharing it within the internet itself. In the furthest stretches of the imagination, the prediction still falls very short. No criticism to anyone in 1994, it's just fascinating how difficult it is to peer far into the future.

willhinsa
2 days

I think Bowie's prediction for the impact of the internet was not too far off the mark. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaHcOs7mhfU

drexlspivey
2 days

Also check out Arthur C Clarke (author of the 2001 Space Odyssey) predicting internet connected personal computers and remote work in 1974

https://youtu.be/OIRZebE8O84

revolvingocelot
2 days

The parent comment is 6 minutes, but the full 15 minute interview (about more the the internet) is worth it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLf6KZmJyrA

solomonb
2 days

Has Jeremy Paxman since then reflected on this discussion publicly?

revolvingocelot
19 hours

No idea, sorry.

blast
1 day

Two years earlier, he dismissed it as "just a tool like a typewriter": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmxOq9STmQM, so it's interesting how he evolved. He does already say that he liked immediate feedback from comments about the show the night before, so the point about the audience was already there.

This is consistent with Bowie's genius to be more an early adopter type than a visionary type. A hell of an early adopter.

paul7986
2 days

Napster came into existence in '99

Julesman
2 days

This video certainly isn't the most profound take on the future of the internet at that time. By this point people were predicting just about everything we have now. Mainstream coverage of that has always sounded out of touch.

enos_feedler
2 days

I sort of arrived at this as well in my comment above. This is mainstream media with a more outsider take vs insiders actually building stuff on the internet. I still don’t think anyone really had the vision of everything today.

unity1001
2 days

> the largest image that could be conjured is related to viewing content created offline

Its because 1990s world was still the feudal, one-way world in which large corporations dominated everything and the users 'knew their place' and consumed content and products. Occasionally, a corporation would stoop low as to ask users' feedback to improve their product. And people would praise and elevate that corporation as being 'caring for their customers'. That was it. The extent of users' say in anything.

Early Internet still reflected that world order. It was a one way street in which the people consumed what the corporations produced. There weren't even comment forms under any article in any prominent publication. After all, who are you, a lowly pleb, to comment under an article in which a glorious, 6-figure columnist from the 'right background' wrote. Know your place.

User-generated content lived in the fringes of the Internet in those days. It was the plebs' place. The unwashed.

Then comes blogging. Social media. User-generated content starts to dominate and becomes de-facto content. Everything turns upside down. We are living in its aftermath, in which its even hard to imagine how one-way the early Internet was.

bcrosby95
2 days

> Early Internet still reflected that world order.

Early internet had little to none of that world order. Those corporations are slow to act and tend to be last to the party.

I think you're conflating people from that world order and how they interpreted the internet, with how the internet actually was.

> User-generated content lived in the fringes of the Internet in those days. It was the plebs' place. The unwashed.

User generated content was a large majority of the content of the early internet. Usenet. MUDs. Email. Forums. Random people's university websites.

enos_feedler
2 days

I was going to say this as well. Even pre internet my first inclination from dialing BBS was how do I make one of these? How can I get a dedicated phone line in my bedroom? From there, chatting with people who called my board, then moving to IRC which was all UGC. Bots, scripts, file hosts etc. distributed servers.

I think my take away is more that these large “visions” of what the internet could be were made by outsiders from an outside vantage point. They had difference answers to the question of what the internet could be. The insiders were too busy playing around on it to think about answering that question.

unity1001
23 hours

> Early internet had little to none of that world order. Those corporations are slow to act and tend to be last to the party.

Those corporations dominated the Internet. It was NYT et al who was doing the publishing and the users doing the reading. Large, incumbent corporations dominated online sales.

That they were slow to react to the changes and therefore the user-driven Internet eventually took over from them for that reason do not change the fact that the early Internet was literally a one-way street.

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yazzku
2 days

> Its because 1990s world was still the feudal, one-way world in which large corporations dominated everything

Unlike today, right?

axus
2 days

GeoCities started taking off in early 1996, at the same time NYTimes.com started publishing. Of course there was AOL and personal webpages before that.

kurthr
2 days

I hear "knew their place" and all I can think of is that they knew they were watching ads... now many people think that all their content is free (like information wants to be ;^) not realizing they are are the product being sold.

It's not like tiktok/Insta or the news/blog promotional articles are anything but ads... people just don't "know their place" any more.

pjlegato
2 days

Exactly the opposite of this happened. Almost all content on the early-mid 90s web was user-generated. The bulk of it was personal "homepages" with low production values describing hobbies or technical interests.

Very few large corporations had even heard of this crazy new "Internet" thing in the 90s, and even fewer cared. Almost none had a corporate webpage even listing their address and phone number, much less produced any content at all.

Many had the .com domain name corresponding to their corporate brand registered by domain squatters they later had to buy it from. Some didn't even notice for years.

unity1001
23 hours

> Exactly the opposite of this happened. Almost all content on the early-mid 90s web was user-generated

I guess its because I combined content creation + publication under the title 'content that people are misunderstanding.

Large companies created the content, they published it, they dominated the views. The user generated content being seen by a few hundred people a month in a forum or a personal homepage on the fringes of the Internet did not make any dent in their monopoly at the time.

ryanbrunner
2 days

> Early Internet still reflected that world order. It was a one way street in which the people consumed what the corporations produced. There weren't even comment forms under any article in any prominent publication. After all, who are you, a lowly pleb, to comment under an article in which a glorious, 6-figure columnist from the 'right background' wrote. Know your place.

I think this is a fair statement for the world wide web (although there were pretty notable standouts, particularly in the very late 90s), but every other protocol was far more democratized with very little corporate influence, and those protocols were far more relevant in 1994 than they are now.

goatlover
2 days

The PLATO system had online user feedback in the 70s, and users were able to add content, including making their own lessons and games. Helps that it was an educational system, running on connected networks at different universities.

jdkee
2 days

"Its because 1990s world was still the feudal, one-way world in which large corporations dominated everything and the users 'knew their place' and consumed content and products."

I would say that describes the online world now, not at the internets adoption in 1990s.

unity1001
23 hours

No, today small business run ecommerce, user-generated content dominate large swath of the Internet. Even what Amazon does is providing a venue for small or medium businesses to sell.

registeredcorn
1 day

This is might just be me misremembering things, but I have a vague memory that, when the "internet trend" was starting to feel less like a trend, and more something that had some staying power, people had a concern of looking ridiculous in the same way they had a generation before, during the nuclear age. "People will be driving nuclear powered cars on the moon!" etc.

Mix in the fact that there was a trend of children making headlines for breaking into various high-tech or secretive areas, and it seemed more like something that didn't have much cause to be respected.

poszlem
2 days

Kind of makes me wonder what would those people say if we played them Bo Burnham's Welcome to The Internet from 2021: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1BneeJTDcU

pkdpic
2 days

I bet that lady would be pretty amped up about the streaming video quality. And all the Bill Clinton saxophone videos she could watch on there.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CRatTuWdT_Q

Also thanks for getting Bo stuck in my head for the rest of the day. That song has all the answers.

cainxinth
2 days

As early as 2003, popular culture was catching on to the fact that the ‘information superhighway’ had some potholes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTJvdGcb7Fs

dredmorbius
2 days

Issues with the Internet date to its origins ... and inventors. Paul Baran in the 1960s, amongst others, whom I've compiled here:

<https://toot.cat/@dredmorbius/105074933053020193>

Sources / instances date to the 1980s or earlier, addressing specifically the false assertion by many that "nobody saw this coming".

cainxinth
22 hours

Vernor Vinge saw it coming too. In his 1992 sci-fi novel “A Fire Upon the Deep,” set in the far future, the internet is called “The Net of a Million Lies”:

https://www.tor.com/2009/06/11/the-net-of-a-million-lies-ver...

justinlloyd
2 days

I aspire to having a video wherein I am wearing slippers that has had 90 million views. I think I have a new way that I will define success.

april_22
2 days

And I am even more excited by thinking about what the internet will look like in 2031

irrational
2 days

Based on past experience, it is going to look a lot like the internet of today. Things just don't move that fast that 9 years will make much of a difference.

adrianN
2 days

Like the internet today, but with more ads, more sponsored content, and more AI generated submarines.

pkdpic
2 days

Those submarines are going to be pretty sweet.

dredmorbius
2 days

For those unfamiliar, not as wet as you might think: <http://www.paulgraham.com/submarine.html> <https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13993>

AndrewUnmuted
2 days
losvedir
2 days

Wow, the phrase "information superhighway" really brought me back. I hadn't heard that for quite some time!

desindol
2 days

Fun fact: Because of this phrase (In German „Datenautobahn“) the German digital ministry is docked to the ministry of transport…

sn41
2 days

This makes sense. Cloud computing should be part of the Meteorology department!

photochemsyn
2 days

The Department of Agriculture would beg to differ - clearly the oversight of server farms should be their responsibility.

boole1854
2 days

Unless the servers are doing machine learning, in which case that falls under the Department of Education.

RedShift1
2 days

Are these servers communicating internationally? The department of foreign affairs would like to have a word.

Sohcahtoa82
2 days

Department of Labor might have had something to say about crypto mining.

therein
1 day

How about OSHA? Mines fall under our purview.

mseepgood
2 days

Shouldn't it be linked to the agricultural department because of the phrase "Neuland"?

dredmorbius
2 days

I recently learned that one of the major competition regulators in Germany is called the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur or BNetzA), which oversees electricity, gas, telecommunications, post, and railway markets.

<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Network_Agency>

Given my own relatively recent realisation that virtually all industrial monopolies can be considered (sometimes with some mental gymnastics) as networks, this is an interesting bit of confirmation.

gaius_baltar
2 days

But it can only manage policies for Layer 4 and above, right? :)

Eduard
2 days

Heavy "citation needed" here.

peteradio
2 days

That's amazing, I don't even care if its true.

instance
2 days

Check it out: https://www.bmvi.de/EN/Home/home.html

"Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport"

mtmail
2 days

It got its current name 2013. It was a merger 1998 of "Federal Ministry for Housing, Urban Development and Building" and the one responsible for transport. The urban development department was responsible for internet infrastructure not the transport one.

mcv
2 days

Shouldn't it be the ministry for infrastructure?

mr_mitm
2 days

Doesn't confirm the "Because of this phrase" part of the claim.

kevin_thibedeau
2 days

Reminiscent of how New York transferred responsibility for the state canal system to the electric power authority because of NYSDOT mismanagement.

jamiek88
2 days

In Texas the railroad commission is super powerful and responsible for oil and gas leases.

aspyct
2 days

OMG this is... quite the misunderstanding -_-'

the_jesus_villa
2 days

Ironically, I just ran into this phrase last week while reading an anthropology paper from the 90's ("Maya Hackers and the Cyberspatialized Nation-State: Modernity, Ethnostalgia, and a Lizard Queen in Guatemala")

Whenever I hear this phrase it reminds me the part in the book Cryptonomicon where the pretentious humanities professor feels so clever for asking "How many slums will we bulldoze to build the Information Superhighway?"

EvanAnderson
2 days

Oh, ugh... Memories of all the awful road metaphor headlines of the time are flooding back-- "Breaking Down on the Information Superhighway", "Traffic Jams...",

frank_nitti
2 days

Unfortunately that term brings an even more awful memory back for me and many others, as That enthusiasm was used for a brazen lie to the American public: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-book-of-broken-promis_b_5...

ulkesh
2 days

And, as evident in the video, its considerable overuse. I cringed watching this every time she said it beyond the first few times.

illys
2 days

I heard that so many times in the 1990's in France, "les autoroutes de l'information". I knew that politicians were running after what the USA do, but I did not realize that they were also translating and recycling the very same words.

I just realized it while watching that 1994 video :-)

Eduard
2 days

Google Trends shows "information superhighway" is getting midly more popular again in recent time: https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&q=informat...

Jimajesty
2 days

I've been reading Douglas Copeland's 1994 novel "Microserfs" recently and there's a bit where the main character starts reading up on actual highway construction in response to the information superhighway.

alcover
2 days

Is it as good as Generation X ? Also I'd love Coupland to reiterate and do a 'Generation Z' about zoomers and digital natives.

Jimajesty
21 hours

He did write a sequel of sorts to Generation X called Generation A in 2009. I haven't read it so I can't comment on it, though I suspect it is already 'of it's time' in the way that, say, Microserfs is. It's a fun novel to be sure, for something that emanates a huge "now-ness circa 1994" it's still very enjoyable today, but maybe that's because I can vaguely remember life back then. I'd wonder what a younger reader might think about it?

mikehollinger
2 days

1. This brought me back. When she clicked into the "mall" and the navigation was an imagemap with hotlinks [1] going off to a flower shop, I immediately thought of a website that some guy payed me to build back in the 90's when I was in high school. He bought SellMemphis.com, SellAtlanta.com, etc and wanted to create a directory for local businesses. Also - good on you, Philips Flowers, for keeping 1800florals.com in what must've been intense pressure from 1800flowers.com!

2. We still can't buy items directly in-stream. However, product placement is huge, and not just for consumer goods. Music featured in Stranger Things ends up trending on Spotify. Apple creates a playlist (in its own platform) for "Defiant Jazz," featured in Severance, also on its own platform).

3. Regulation (or lack of regulation) played out in an interesting way. We now have an interesting problem with digital infrastructure in the US anyway, where copper cables (still) only get you so far, wireless is the new expectation, and countries that -had- no comms infrastructure are by default more modern now than large tracts of the US, because they skipped past the "telephone poll" phase straight to cell towers.

[1] https://web.archive.org/web/19990208003609/http://branch.com...

cypress66
2 days

Cell towers are not a replacement for wired connections. There's only so much data rate you can have for a given frequency bandwidth[1]. Wires (or fibers) work around this because the medium isn't shared. Each wire has the entire spectrum for itself.

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shannon%E2%80%93Hartley_theo...

mikehollinger
2 days

Oh absolutely! I guess I'm confusing my own point - which is / was that in some places cell towers are showing up -before- wireline connections.

uni_rule
2 days

I suppose it is easier to run one major fiber line to a cell than it is commit to FTTH. Still I though this was a half-deserved dig at how outside of cell-service many more rural parts of North America still top out at decades old ADSL, and the places that do have good broadband are often via cable tv infrastructure (DOCSIS). I suppose if someone did build new infrastructure from scratch they would just start at LTE/5G and laying fiber to the premises, why start anywhere else?

Izmaki
2 days

> We still can't buy items directly in-stream.

The only reason this isn't a thing yet is because consumers don't ask for it and companies don't want heat for making their entertainment "all about the money". We will definitely see something like that soon, is my bet. Perhaps not "AI" which is able to inspect the scene from a video feed and recognise items for your convenient weekend shopping (say you wanted to purchase the vase used in movie X, or the drapes from tv-show Y). But we're not far off...

alt227
2 days

When I pause Netflix, why dont I have the option to purchase the clothes they are wearing on screen?

sjm-lbm
2 days

The much more wild thing is that Amazon Prime Video doesn't do this. The overall interface and concept is not far from the "X-Ray" view that Amazon already has... and, of course, they have a built in retailer you could order from.

JohnJamesRambo
2 days

Why don’t I even have the option to have friends on Netflix and make lists of movies I watch that I think they would like?

crtasm
2 days

Netflix doesn't want to look bad when they see things on your list that are no longer available. I guess they could hide/remove them but then it looks bad to the list creator.

dredmorbius
2 days

This has been tried ... numerous times. I recall a brief-lived CBS Interactive site / app in the late aughts. Went nowhere.

Most such interaction now occurs within extant social groups. Much as you'd watch a TV show or go to a theatre with friends, most people now discuss films on their self-centric social media. FB / Instagram / Reddit / Twitter, etc., usually with at least some people they know directly.

Conversing with absolute strangers has far less appeal.

JohnJamesRambo
18 hours

Well I mean Netflix has a bit more reach than CBS interactive haha.

dredmorbius
8 hours

Well, CBS Interactive is a branch of CBS, the broadcaster.

A decade and a half ago, its reach was greater than Netflix's.

My point wasn't the scale of the hosting network but the failure of broadcaster- (or program-originator-) centric "interactive" television concepts. I think the trope existed even when Neil Postman was writing his books ... not sure if this shows up in Amusing Ourselves to Death or Technopoly, or both, though I think it does. They're 1980s / 1990s. Postman died in 2003 though, so if it was him, it was early in Internet time.

Wikipedia lists attempts dating to the 1950s, though these were not networked interactions. Those existed, however, by 1977.

<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interactive_television>

SourPatch
2 days

They had this feature (sort of). I don't remember if you could recommend movies to others, but you could have friends and see each other's viewing history.

micromacrofoot
2 days

This is one of those features that people think they want, and would cost Netflix a ton of money, but would ultimately become filled with spam and would only have a small number of power users. It's a big money pit that does little to retain users and generate revenue. "More social" has been pitched to Spotify countless times and it would likely face a similar fate.

jamiek88
2 days

Yep just like all apples attempts. If iTunes can’t even leverage its install base (ubiquitous back then) to make Ping a success (remember Ping?! I was one of the dozens of active users) around music or Game Center social features around games then I don’t see why it’d be any different for video.

JohnJamesRambo
18 hours

Why would that cost a ton of money?

micromacrofoot
17 hours

why would building an entire social network cost a ton of money? it’s an entirely different product - dozens of features and content moderation just to get something simple out there…

c0mptonFP
2 days

Gotta drink a verification can to enable it

scyzoryk_xyz
2 days

Ubik ... Safe when taken as directed.

paxys
2 days

Because those aren't mass manufactured clothes sold at retail but something the costume department threw together specifically for that scene.

fikama
2 days

Becouse Netflix is not from China (I heard that chinese tiktok has exactly this option) - just a fun fact

lm28469
2 days

It's just advertising, American's instagram has it too

illwrks
2 days

Imagine the admin required to setup and manage something like that...

If implemented now, what about in 2032 when you're watching re-runs from 2022?

What if the store goes bust or styles change?

TYPE_FASTER
2 days

Deepfakes will solve this

Display advertising will show you products that you have expressed an interest in today.

Streaming video has ad slots similar to traditional linear TV because it's what people are used to. There is the opportunity to do much much more.

What I could see happening is content changing to be tailored to the viewer. This would both decrease subscriber churn in the increasingly competitive streaming space, as well as add a feature to advertise via the content itself.

You like the pants? Point your remote at them to purchase with a single click. Honestly, I could see Amazon sponsoring streaming content for that purpose. AWS has streaming services and Amazon has been doing the logistics for decades.

slfnflctd
2 days

> the opportunity to do much much more

I envision clothing & hairstyles being changed in the same video from one year to another, or even customized per viewer demographic. Admins could simply toss some product links over and let the ML do its thing.

Of course, this would require a ton of standardization of product types and categories, which I could see being difficult to get consensus on. Perhaps one company/consortium would corner the market and just use human labor to fill the gaps where automation isn't ready, much as is often done today.

Joker_vD
2 days

Surely that's a job that ML would handle easily?

brazzy
2 days

Set up an API that allows anyone to tag videos and earn a commission in sales based on that tag. Let them figure out where it makes sense to invest the effort and how to automate it.

Spam would be a huge problem, of course.

mudrockbestgirl
2 days

Because we got NFTs instead.

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nuker
2 days

I built a retro 486 PC, bought a modem and could not find any dial-up ISPs in Australia. The 19xx prefix is not dial-able using VoIP line that I set up (we don't have POTS lines anymore).

prox
2 days

Well, you can built a new internet! Just find some more computers to connect to!

mynameisash
2 days

I would - unironically - love to build an 'early internet' where we could dial in (or just emulate it via an intentionally low-bandwidth, high-latency layer over home wifi). Go back to chat rooms, islands of communities centered around a particular topic.

myth_drannon
2 days

There is a device you connect to your computer port and it can emulate dial up. It connects to your wifi but your computer sees it as a modem, then you type regular AT commands and instead of a number it connects to telnet BBSs.

Cyberdog
2 days

You're in luck - here's a list of still-operative dial-up BBSes: https://www.telnetbbsguide.com/bbs/connection/dial-up/list/b...

leto_ii
2 days

I realize I'm going way against the grain of other commenters, but this video has made me aware of how little progress has actually been made since then. I mean, the core ideas of the modern internet services we're relying on were already there back in 1994.

Aside from much slicker devices, much higher bandwidth, much broader reach and a few new things around the edges, how much change have we actually seen? I'm of course being a bit facetious - speed, convenience, reach are all very important. But when it comes right down to core "mind blowing" new tech, how much have we actually improved on 1994?

prng2021
2 days

Dynamic websites is a core idea of the modern internet and that concept did not exist in 1994 internet. JavaScript did not exist.

Modern internet is also real-time and largely community driven. Even the notion of these did not exist in 1994 internet. Websockets did not exist. Social networks did not exist. Video conferencing did not exist. Collaborative document editing did not exist.

The ideas of wearables and always connected devices (smart watches, speakers, thermostats, lights, etc) did not exist in 1994.

The idea that you could create virtual worlds, ie a metaverse, where anyone and everyone could interact by talking and even manipulating objects in the virtual world did not exist in 1994.

The idea of aggregating user behavior across every connected device they use, site they visit, physical location they visit, and generating a prediction of their likes/dislikes and future behavior in order to tailor the actual user experience to each individual (targeted advertising, your personal google search results, etc) is a mind blowing core idea of the modern internet which did not exist in 1994.

ctoth
1 day

> Dynamic websites is a core idea of the modern internet and that concept did not exist in 1994 internet.

CGI and other forms of dynamicity absolutely existed in 1994[0].

> JavaScript did not exist.

IT just needed 1 more year!

> Modern internet is also real-time and largely community driven. Even the notion of these did not exist in 1994 internet.

Check out MUDs and MOOs. Lambda was 3 years old in 1994. Wired called online virtual worlds "the addiction of the '90s[1]."

> Websockets did not exist.

But Berkeley sockets did (although you might have had to do some tinkering with Winsock on Windows!) , and I'm curious what you can do over a web socket that you can't do over a traditional socket.

> Social networks did not exist.

MUDs and mOOs again.

> Video conferencing did not exist.

Intel actually released a "kit" to enable this on regular Windows PCs in 1994. Cost a pretty penny though[2]!

>Collaborative document editing did not exist.

The first instance of a collaborative real-time editor was demonstrated by Douglas Engelbart in 1968, in The Mother of All Demos. Widely available implementations of the concept took decades to appear. A piece of software called Instant Update was released for the classic Mac OS in 1991 from ON Technology[3].

> The ideas of wearables and always connected devices (smart watches, speakers, thermostats, lights, etc) did not exist in 1994.

Proto wearables absolutely existed in 1994[4].

X10 was developed in 1975 by Pico Electronics of Glenrothes, Scotland, in order to allow remote control of home devices and appliances. It was pretty cool, too, the modules had big honkin relays in them and would go 'clonk' when you switched them!

> The idea that you could create virtual worlds, ie a metaverse, where anyone and everyone could interact by talking and even manipulating objects in the virtual world did not exist in 1994.

Seriously though, check out what LambdaMOO and similar things were[5][6].

> The idea of aggregating user behavior across every connected device they use, site they visit, physical location they visit, and generating a prediction of their likes/dislikes and future behavior in order to tailor the actual user experience to each individual (targeted advertising, your personal google search results, etc) is a mind blowing core idea of the modern internet which did not exist in 1994.

Now this, you're right about. Personally I could 1000% do without.

[0]: 1993: CGI Scripts and Early Server-Side Web Programming. https://webdevelopmenthistory.com/1993-cgi-scripts-and-early...

[1]: Johnny Manhattan Meets the Furry Muckers. https://www.wired.com/1994/03/muds-3/

[2]: Intel to Unveil Kit for Video Conferencing. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/business/1994/01/25/i...

[3]: Collaborative real-time editor. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collaborative_real-time_editor

[4]: The 1994 Smartwatch That Syncs with a CRT. https://blog.adafruit.com/2022/03/16/the-1994-smartwatch-tha...

[5]: Virtual(ly) Law: The Emergence of Law in LambdaMOO. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1083-6101...

[6]: Fly Me To the MOO: Adventures in Textual Reality. http://linguafranca.mirror.theinfo.org/9405/moo.html

prng2021
20 hours

If you’re going to frame things like that, the internet itself wasn’t revolutionary at all. It was merely combining various decades old technologies, working proof of concepts, and research papers.

Do you also believe smartphones are merely an evolution of the first mobile phone from 1973?

ctoth
18 hours

This comment thread started when you pushed back against someone who said:

> when it comes right down to core "mind blowing" new tech, how much have we actually improved on 1994?

You provided examples of core ideas that you thought did not exist in 1994, I showed you how several of them absolutely did.

If I had to make a list of core technologies that didn't exist in 1994, it might consist of things like

CRISPR-Cas9, deep neural networks, electronic cigarettes, self-driving cars, personalized genetics, artificial meat.

Stuff that had either not been conceived of or required technology that didn't exist at the time. Even then, you can find precursors to all of those things since tech development is path-dependent.

But seriously, dynamic websites and online social communities and the like existed then :)

As for smartphones there's a pretty clear lineage that includes early bag phones, pagers, primitive handhelds, Nokia bricks, The Danger Hiptop/Sidekick, Blackberry, and so on.

Check out this ad campaign from 1993[0]:

[0]: AT&T - 1993 "You Will" Ad Campaign https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvZ-667CEdo

prng2021
10 hours

Of course there’s a precursor to all technologies. Of course smart phones have a clear lineage. Of course everything in existence has a precursor and lineage.

I stand by everything in my original reply. The modern video conferencing tools, collaboration tools, dynamic websites, etc absolutely could not have been made with 1994 technology. I remember that time period well and there were so many revolutionary technologies and ideas missing.

With all the knowledge you have today, could you go back to 1994 and recreate a Facebook or YouTube, serving 1B+ users with real-time interactivity using CGI and Berkeley sockets? No, that’s just laughably absurd.

irrational
2 days

World Wide Web (or WWW) is too long to say and "The Web" never really caught on, but the Internet is not quite accurate. It feels like we need a word to differentiate IP from HTTP. Though, since we haven't come up with one yet, I guess we will just have to live with the WWW being called the Internet.

antiterra
2 days

What exactly is your requirement for ‘the web’ catching on?

It’s used very often on ycombinator in submission titles and comments. I see it used by millennials and gen z on Discord, though more commonly as an adjective, eg ‘oh is it just web or is there an app?’

Sometimes they drop ‘the’ and it becomes “hey i saw this on web.” Online Korean comics are usually just called webtoons instead of manhwa. It’s used on corporate sites, ads, hotel amenities descriptions and in references to ‘the dark web.’

What more do you need?

caseyohara
2 days

"Web" absolutely caught on. Web browser, web site, web app, web designer, web developer, web cam, (we)blog, web comic, surfing the web. These are all words most people know and use.

thrdbndndn
2 days

I have a vague idea about the difference between WWW and the Internet but never very sure.

For example, I assume all the "apps" don't count as WWW? But some services (most?) have their web versions, so it's kinda hard to distinguish.

irrational
2 days

It has to do with what protocol they are using to communicate with the server/cloud/whatever. If they are using HTTP/S (hyper text transfer protocol) then it is web/www. Otherwise, it is some other protocol. For example, email (technically) uses SMTP (simple message transfer protocol).

However, all of these run on top of the Internet Protocol (IP). So, everything is internet, but not everything on the internet is http.

Apps are almost certainly using HTTP under the hood to communicate with their servers, so technically they are a part of the web, which is a part of the internet.

joegahona
2 days

For a while, I remember "The Net" being used. It sounds very wrong now.

jbb_hn
2 days

Probably due to that provocative movie on cable TV by the same name.

It had that girl from the bus.

nilsbunger
2 days

That movie showed ip addresses with fields greater than 255!

jvolkman
2 days

And the hottest band on the internet.

mmh0000
2 days

I love the Seinfeld joke!

krapp
2 days

>It feels like we need a word to differentiate IP from HTTP.

We really don't, because technical accuracy isn't relevant to the vast majority of people, who aren't discussing protocols to begin with.

And anyway,I think people stopped referring to "the internet" in general once it became ubiquitous enough that it became more useful to refer to specific sites instead, or genres of services like social media. I think the only time people use "the internet" anymore is in reference to their ISP, eg: "the internet" going down.

1970-01-01
2 days

Related are the AT&T "You will" commercials.

     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2EgfkhC1eo
wing-_-nuts
2 days

Anyone else pained by the fact that it's 28 years later and we STILL don't have fiber deployed widely? My parents are paying $65 / mo for 5mb dsl, and it's the best option they can get a stones throw outside of the city limits. Pathetic when you compare it to municipal broadband deployed everywhere with powerlines like in Chattanooga, TN

capableweb
2 days

Yeah, absolutely ridiculous how slow the US has been regarding rolling out low-latency fiber. Granted, smaller countries could do it easier but even so, consumer fiber-optic connections have been around since the 2000s, and still it seems like it's mostly only available in bigger cities in the US.

formerkrogemp
2 days

A lot of the billions of dollars earmarked over the decades for telecom and cable companies was spent on dividends and buybacks rather than fiber rollout as intended.

thakoppno
2 days

We live a mile from facebook headquarters in the middle of silicon valley and our neighborhood just got fiber 6 months ago.

cm2187
2 days

Funny to see the BBC complaining about "letting the market forces" build the internet. The said market forces didn't do too bad.

tambourine_man
2 days

Considering that ARPANET and CERN were both government funded, I’d say market forces had little to do with it.

HarHarVeryFunny
24 hours

ARPANET was basically military and educational, and was pre-web. I remember using a 300 baud acoustic coupler to dial into a university computer c.1980; there really wasn't a whole lot you could do with it back then - just simple text-based stuff like telnet (remote login) and command-line based e-mail (SMTP) as well as FTP. Even things like IRC, Usenet, Archie, Gopher all came later.

While the commercial internet, allowing companies and consumers to connect, grew out of ARPANET, it obviously was commercially funded, with backbones built out by the telecoms, etc. I think for most people today the term "internet" is essentially synonymous with "web" - stuff they can do in their browser, which of course came a lot later. HTML and HTTP were only invented c.1990, and this was the beginning of the internet as people today know it. Even then, a lot of people only saw the internet as filtered through AOL.

beardyw
2 days

Yes, it was a government initiative to create a decentralised network. Getting ready in 1994 was over 20 years late.

Fun fact: Queen Elizabeth sent an email in 1976. Or more likely she pressed a button.

fundad
2 days

Not to mention BBC

jimbokun
2 days

Didn't Europe, with their combined industry and government coordinated plan, leap frog US connection speeds, where things were left only to the market?

tannhaeuser
2 days

Err, for a while, they didn't. But soon enough new gatekeepers and middlemen (GAFA, Paypal) returned which not only had we hoped to get rid of, but even paid public money (ARPA, CERN, W3C) and established net neutrality legislation for, in vain.

Bayart
2 days

Without nationwide regulation to homogenize the network, it looks like it can be very perfectible (looking at the US).

mizzao
2 days

You mean the oligopoly of big tech?

cm2187
2 days

If it was government controlled, it would be even less diverse. Think of the original AOL, but country wide.

throwaway787544
2 days
jedberg
2 days

I like the not so subtle dig at John Major's total lack of policy regarding the internet in 1994.

laxd
2 days

Disappointed to not find a flower shop at branch.com:1080

exodust
2 days

http://web.archive.org/web/19961020151638/http://branch.com/

Even the order form is still there, ready for your credit card. There's a link on the order form, "credit card concerns"...

> "...we feel that using a credit card here may be more secure than using it at your local restaurant. We don't know. We haven't had a problem in this area."

I guess "we don't know" covers them just in case things go wrong!

retro64
2 days

Pity - I used your link and tried hunting for the Mother's Day bouquet she was looking at but it wasn't archived.

laxd
2 days

Even if it worked, ordering flowers from port 80 just wouldn't be the same.

formvoltron
2 days

Wow this episode was a goldmine for anyone back then listening hard enough. In this little episode she told you to make:

winamp youtube amazon spotify

Also back then the Apple Newton had already been created and shipped. Also NeXT.

Comment was deleted :(
SMAAART
2 days
throwaway787544
2 days
shever73
2 days

I miss programmes like Tomorrow’s World.

brudgers
2 days

Related?

Ed Krol's The Whole Internet

https://archive.org/details/wholeinternetuse00krol

ghaff
2 days

I have that on my bookshelf. I particularly like that there's one chapter near the end on this new-fangled WWW thing.

justinlloyd
2 days

I watched this live when it first aired. My Miracom 9600 being my gateway drug to Usenet, Gopher, IRC, and the warez scene I was a part of.

How far we have come. The future will be interesting and exciting, if we can get past this current hump of monolithic "controlled experiences" that Facebook/Meta/Google/Amazon/Twitter/etc want to push on us.

TheDudeMan
2 days
rmatt2000
2 days

Here is one of my favorite videos from the early days of the web. Two popular morning television hosts discuss the at-symbol and ask "what is internet, anyway?"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlJku_CSyNg

jedberg
2 days

The irony of watching this on my high speed fiber based internet connection while the host talks about the future where one can watch high quality video on high speed fiber connections.

The future is now!

Comment was deleted :(
igortg
2 days

Funny thing that sending an e-mail to the president (Brazilian president) was one of the first things I did when got online (1995). It was basically Playboy website and this till I found IRC :p

jamiek88
2 days

Hahaha, brilliant. As a kid in UK IRC then Napster freed my mind from isolation due to my geekiness. There was one other kid in school into programming then getting online there was whole world.

We didn’t even have free local calls so being able to chat with a F/14/California was mind blowing! Funny how many of them there were…

theden
2 days

Maybe it's nostalgia, but there's something calming about CRTs...

FartyMcFarter
2 days

As I remember it they were a pain to look at for long periods.

Maybe there was some upside to that though, encouraging people not to stay on the computer for too long...

chrisco255
2 days

They're great fun on moving day! Very calming to lug a 50 pound crt up three flights of stairs!

thepostman0
1 day

They were nice to sit near on a cold day.

euroderf
2 days

The amber ones had excellent contrast, unsurpassed IMHO.

Loeffelmann
2 days

I just imagined the static feeling of touching them with your hand. Damn nostalgic...

B1FF_PSUVM
2 days

Putting the back of your hand close enough to the screen could be a hair-raising experience ...

shahahmed
2 days

i liked her light dig at the british govt for not having a modem or a policy on the internet. funny how different it is now with all the european regulation of the internet.

chrisco255
2 days

Yes, thank you Europe for the cookie popups.

Eduard
2 days

Blame the industry for doing so much tracking and at the same time not developing an industry standard for automating user consent decisions.

phelm
2 days

Interesting that the copper wires stuck around, UK's fibre optic rollout still ongoing not to be completed til 2026 or later

someweirdperson
2 days

Inventions like mp3 probably helped to reduce the pressure to upgrade.

uni_rule
2 days

I think it would have more to do with Fiber to the Node allowing ISPs to only half-upgrade their infrastructure and still achieve workable broadband, even if having the foresight to do straight fiber would have been a much better goal to work towards at the time.

Comment was deleted :(
gfodor
2 days

“Recipes” - it’s always, always there in these kind of things, and makes me laugh every time.

madrox
2 days

Not only will you get your recipes, you'll get to hear part of the author's life story before every ingredient!

mr_sturd
2 days

Port explicitly specified in at least one URL. Was HTTP without a standard port back in '94?

capableweb
2 days

> On March 1990 they published the document RFC1060 (https://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc1060) where they listed the well-known ports at that time. In that list there wasn't a protocol assigned to port 80. It went from 79 to 81:

    79       FINGER     Finger                                
    81       HOSTS2-NS  HOSTS2 Name Server                     
> So, at that time port 80 was officially free.

> In 1991 Tim Berners-Lee issued the first version of HTTP in a document about HTTP 0.9 (http://www.w3.org/Protocols/HTTP/AsImplemented.html) where he stated:

>> If the port number is not specified, 80 is always assumed for HTTP.

> Then in July 1992 was published RFC 1340 that obsoletes RFC 1060 (https://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc1340) where appears:

    finger           79/tcp    Finger                            
    finger           79/udp    Finger                            
    www              80/tcp    World Wide Web HTTP               
    www              80/udp    World Wide Web HTTP       
> That document makes official the port 80 as www or http. [...]

From https://superuser.com/a/996843

So at 1994, 80 is pretty much the default, but sometimes it was specified anyways, just like some addresses you see around still prints/shows http:// / https://. Not everyone know what part of the URI is important or not.

Steltek
2 days

I figured that it was someone's idea to get above the 1024 mark when all they had was a shell account and people weren't using :8080 yet. It could also be that "virtual hosting by name" wasn't a thing yet so a single computer hosting multiple sites had to break it out by port.

justinlloyd
2 days

That is correct, there was no way to have multiple hosts on the same machine. One of the start-ups I helped build (engineer #2) in early 1997 (which still exists today in some form that many young, single men have spent quality time alone with) had a landing page, so that if your browser did not provide the host header, it would give you an index page of all the salacious sub websites/sub-domains available that you could then click on - it was an image map, naturally. We were very careful to keep the heterosexual and the homosexual offerings on physically separated servers so that customers did not complain about "accidentally" clicking on content that they didn't want to see. Latest versions of Netscape at the time supported the host header, but Internet Explorer very explicitly did not. And IE was the default for many people just getting online for the first time outside of AOL/Compuserve.

paulgb
2 days

I think you’re right that it’s about virtual hosts. AFAICT the Host header first appeared in this 1997 RFC: https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/html/rfc2068#section-14.23

kolleykibber
2 days

She mentions that this was all downloaded previously. They prob have a local server/DNS.

incanus77
2 days

I don’t remember why, but many engineering schools, including the one I was attending, used 8080 for department websites. I feel like that was the second most common that I saw.

ok123456
2 days

Yes and it was 80.

anderspitman
2 days

They were not, in fact, ready.

thevulcanlogic
1 day

curious how most of the services present nowadays in Internet were already planned in 1994...makes you think where is the innovation?

andreygrehov
2 days

Is there anything like Tomorrow’s World today?

thepostman0
1 day

Not really, there's BBC Clock, since most things involve computers.

timnetworks
2 days

personal information in professionally produced video before the first minute is out. it's not even the anchor, probably just staff.

standardUser
2 days

Narrator: "They weren't"

Comment was deleted :(
SubiculumCode
2 days

The answer is no. We were not ready for the internet. Its made people crazy.

antihero
2 days

It'll never catch on.

therealmarv
2 days

I'm also deeply sceptical.

ffhhj
2 days

Something I'd have prefered about URL's is a numbering system instead of superdomains, that would allow allocating different sites at the same domain name. For example:

* amazon.1 is the index of sites

* amazon.123 is Amazon Inc.

* amazon.878 is some roof installation company

* amazon.111 is a courthouse in Brazil

ck2
2 days

For some reason this made me flashback to the summer of 1981 when MTV first went on the air

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8r-tXRLazs

Spot the mainframe cabinet and wait for the full wall Moog

(they actually showed non-stop videos back then, it was awesome, nothing like it before)

buildsjets
2 days

Music videos and live performances are about 99% of my YouTube consumption, so it's been a great MTV replacement for me.

euroderf
2 days

They went like the first two or three years without commercials. Hard to believe now.

OkayPhysicist
2 days

Or, viewed another way: they played nothing but commercials (for albums, concerts, and merch)

euroderf
7 hours

A wag once observed that the purpose of TV programming is to keep you in your chair for the ads. Product placement blurs this line. So commercial-free MTV was all "product" placement, all the time ?

ngcc_hk
2 days

Around that time is it the plan to move to iso/osi 7 level. Is there migration to that? Is a chairman of a little known committee called ietf …

That is my memory. There is some sort of gov standardisation towards that. Read some ietf papers in u and very confused by that direction.

everyone
2 days

All the websites shown probably implemented way better than most modern ones?

meijer
2 days

Definitely simpler. You could just "View source" and understand everything.

dis-sys
2 days

well, 28 years after airing of this report, most UK & EU internet services are now provided by a few American companies. for other smaller countries in Asia and Africa, things are probably worse, they are pretty much denied for their digital sovereignty with all essential online services, privacy data and sometimes the infrastructure itself completely controlled by those few companies.

uni_rule
2 days

Which companies? Unless you mean websites and not the ISPs themselves, in which case, fair.