"This newscast from KRON in San Francisco in 1981 has been making the rounds recently. It's labeled 'primitive Internet report,' but what it presents is actually one example of the many pre-Internet efforts that the newspaper industry made to try to plan for an online future - and stake out its own turf in that forthcoming world. ...
In the video, you can hear [Dave] Cole say, of the 'Electronic Examiner' he was demonstrating, 'We're not in it to make money.' At the end, the announcer points out that an entire edition of the paper takes two hours to download, at a $5/hour cost - making this 'telepaper' little competition for the paper edition. 'For the moment at least,' the reporter declares, over the image of a sidewalk news vendor hawking the afternoon edition, 'this fellow isn't worried about being out of a job.'
Though the piece does say that 'Engineers now predict the day will come when we get all our newspapers and magazines by home computer,' its underlying message is - Don't worry. This crazy computer stuff isn't going to change anything much for now. And indeed it took 10 years for any sort of online service to become even remotely popular. Almost 30 years later, newspapers are still in business; some are even still sold by guys on sidewalks. It has taken this long for the technology to transform the newspaper biz in a big way. ...
But even as the downloads sped up and the connect-time costs dropped, the industry held onto that approach, instead of coming to grips with the fundamentally different dynamics of a new communications medium. What had made sense in the early days over time became a crippling set of blinders. The spirit of experimentation that the Examiner set out with in 1981 dried up, replaced by an industry-wide allergy to fundamental change.
'Let's use the new technology,' editors and executives would say, 'but let's not let the technology change our profession or our industry.' They largely succeeded in resisting change. Now it's catching up with them."
(Scott Rosenberg, 29 January 2009)
"Sven Birkerts, a modern-day Luddite, is feeling uneasy about all this rapid cultural change. He longs for the slow elegance of print culture. So much so, in fact, that the cover of his new book, [The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age], features a fuzzy caramel-colored snapshot of a naturally-lit library which houses the endangered species of digital modernity: a leather armchair draped with an afghan, droopy lace curtains, and shelves of softened leather hard-backs coveting thick yellowed pages and the tidy, immutable thoughts of yesterday's literary prophets.
Birkerts is terrified that his warm dusty paradise is being ransacked, and the remaining rubble is merely forgotten or misunderstood in a world distracted by garish, pulsing iconography."
(Amanda Griscom, 1996)
Amanda Scott Griscom (1996). "Trends of Anarchy and Hierarchy: Comparing the Cultural Repercussions of Print and Digital Media", Brown University.
"Après 30 ans d’existence, le Minitel s’apprête à tirer sa révérence. Les plus jeunes ne verront même pas de quoi il est question, mais ceux qui étaient au collège ou au lycée dans les années 90 s’en rappelleront peut-être pour avoir recherché dessus leurs résultats aux examens du brevet ou du bac. Le Minitel, ou l’ancêtre d’internet ! Invention 100 % française, le 1er réseau dans l’histoire des télécommunications à permettre la “connexion de terminaux permettant la visualisation de données informatiques” disparaîtra le 30 Juin 2012, et avec lui la machine à l’origine du fameux “36-15″. Définitivement la fin d’une époque.
After 30 years of existence, the Minitel is preparing to take its final bow. The youngest will not even see what it is about, but those who were in college or high school in the 90s will remember perhaps have looked over their test scores. The Minitel, or the ancestor of the Internet ! 100% French invention, the first network in the history of telecommunications to allow ”terminal connection to visualization of computer data” will draw his bow on June 30, 2012, and with it the machine behind the famous “36 - 15 “. Definitely the end of an era."
(Vincent Laserson, 31 May 2012, De Jeunes Gens Modernes)
"Internet Archaeology seeks to explore, recover, archive and showcase the graphic artifacts found within earlier Internet Culture. Established in 2009, the chief purpose of Internet Archaeology is to preserve these artifacts and acknowledge their importance in understanding the beginnings and birth of an Internet Culture. We focus on graphic artifacts only, with the belief that images are most culturally revealing and immediate. Most of the files in our archive are in either JPG or GIF format and are categorized by either still or moving image, they are then arranged in various thematic subcategories. Currently, a major focus of Internet Archaeology is on the archiving and indexing of images found on Geocities websites, as their existence has been terminated by parent company Yahoo; who discontinued GeoCities operation on October 26, 2009. Internet Archaeology is an ongoing effort which puts preservation paramount. Unlike traditional archaeology, where physical artifacts are unearthed; Internet Archaeology's artifacts are digital, thus more temporal and transient. Yet we believe that these artifacts are no less important than say the cave paintings of Lascaux. They reveal the origins of a now ubiquitous Internet Culture; showing where we have been and how far we have come."
Via Chelsea Nichols [http://ridiculouslyinteresting.wordpress.com/2011/11/26/internet-archaeology-the-best-of-90s-internet-graphics/]
"Terms like 'Internet café' or 'cybercafé' bring us right back to the 90s along with phrases like 'web page' or 'digital divide', which were invented to describe new hybrids involving analog and digital, virtual and real as well as the present and near future.
It's not that these terms have grown obsolete. It's rather that these 20th-century phenomena they once described have outgrown their terminology. They were born as metaphors, but over time turned into idioms, and their analog parts were the first [to] lose their original meanings. People who did not witness the emergence of the web do not fully understand why browser content is still called a 'page'. It's has also become unclear what public internet access facilities have in common with cafés, yet we continue calling them 'internet cafés' or 'cybercafés'."
(Olia Lialina, 2012-01-10)