A Look Back In Techdirt History

from the learning-from-history dept

Here we go with another look back in Techdirt History.

Five Years Ago::

Once again, some things rarely change. While in the present we’ve been highlighting how lobbyists seem to control telco policy by playing musical chairs, five years ago, we were already warning that President Obama’s supposed “ban” on lobbyists wasn’t working. And speaking of broadband policy, the big broadband players were doing everything possible to shut down muni-broadband, which is partly why they have so little competition today.

Five years ago, we were already warning about how Congress was seeking to do a cybersecurity power grab to increase surveillance powers and take away your privacy. That sounds familiar. We were also mocking Mark Penn, who’s now a very senior exec at Microsoft, but who was then just a “pollster” and “political strategist” using totally bogus statistics to mock bloggers. Notably, it was some bloggers who pointed out the problems with his stats. It seems worth pointing out here that Microsoft management regularly points to Penn because he has “statistical expertise”, though it’s been obvious for years by those who actually understand statistics that he doesn’t.

On the copyright front, the EU approved yet another copyright extension while the copyright lobby flipped out that a Finnish firm wanted to rent textbooks. Because copyright.

Oh, and noting an end of an era, Yahoo shuttered GeoCities — which was my very first home on the web.

Ten Years Ago:

The EFF launched its patent busting project. Ten years later, I think we can say that it was fairly successful, though it never really expanded beyond its initial patent targets. Meanwhile, we were still debating patent reform — those were the early days of an attempt at patent reform, which kicked around Congress for about 7 years before the useless America Invents Act came about.

Ten years ago was also when Diebold began to abuse copyright law to try to censor leaked documents that highlighted that its voting software had serious problems — which also revealed a lot about how Diebold was aware of the problems and still let its e-voting machines be used.

On the copyright front, the FBI was raiding schools for file sharing, the MPAA was writing open source (?!?) software it wanted universities to use to track down file sharing, and the RIAA was admitting that its silly amnesty program for file sharers was a joke.

Separately, we were imagining a day when mobile phones might replace your car stereo and you could use mobile phones on planes. Huh.

Fifteen Years Ago:

Not that much seemed to happen really. The biggest news was probably the initial announcement of Webvan, the online grocery store that became one of the most famous case studies of the original dot com bubble era. We also had stories of Netscape trying to interfere with Mozilla and Unwired Planet becoming Phone.com. That might not seem like a big deal, but the same company went through a number of business model and name changes, eventually landing back on Unwired Planet, where it has become a big and annoying patent troll.

Thirty Years Ago::

I was in elementary school, but 30 years ago this week, the Apple IIc was released!

Filed Under: ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “A Look Back In Techdirt History”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous Coward says:

We were also mocking Mark Penn, who’s now a very senior exec at Microsoft, but who was then just a “pollster” and “political strategist” using totally bogus statistics to mock bloggers.

So he is well qualifies to use statistics as a political strategist trying to influence government policy in the direction that business wants, just make up the numbers to suite the case being made.

tracyanne (profile) says:

Re: Re: 30 years ago

No, and I don’t still get paid for any code I wrote back then, either 😉

The DGs used a version of Unix, and we used SED to edit our COBOL code. The Digital machine ran RSTS-E, the grown up version of CP/M, and we coded in BASIC 2+. We programmed in COBOL on the WANGs, I’ve forgotten what the editor was called.

BBC BASIC was a really nice BASIC, streets ahead of MS BASIC and even later Visual Basic, except for the OO extensions in VB.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...