The interwebs

A few rules of thumb:

1. Videos from 1990-2000 about the internet will always be hilarious.

2. Videos from 1980-1990 about the possibility of having (something resembling) an internet will always have a certain cute factor.

3. Videos before 1980 about the possibility of having (something resembling) an internet will always be amazing.

To demonstrate these rules, I have started to make a YouTube playlist. It’s still a random list, but I will keep adding new videos and ordering according to the rules above. Examples of the rules:

1. Moms on the net

2. 1981 Electronic newspaper

3. Douglas Engelbart’s Mother of All Demos from 1968, talking about ARPA and networked information sharing.

Of course, computers and internet were foreseen at least as early as the 19th century. For instance, Charles Cutter wrote an article in 1883 in the Library Journal called ‘The Buffalo Public Library in 1983’ and said: “The desks had … a little key-board at each, connected by a wire. The reader had only to find the mark of his book in the catalog, touch a few lettered or numbered keys, and [the book] appeared after an astonishingly short interval.” (Source: this great video called The Web That Wasn’t, a Google Tech Talk by Alex Wright)

Or just look at this 1879 cartoon from Punch talking about Edison’s telephonoscope which depicts a family talking to their family far, far ways on a giant videophone device.

Anything missing? I know there is, just leave your suggestions in the comments or on my Twitter.


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