This Week In Techdirt History: September 6th – 12th

from the bug-or-feature dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2010, we got another look at ACTA when the latest draft leaked and, as expected, it was mostly bad news. So bad, in fact, that a majority of EU Parliament members signed a declaration against it, though it wasn’t clear at the time if that would make any difference. At the same time, emails released under a FOIA request gave us a closer look at just how much the USTR pushed to keep ACTA as secret as possible.

Craigslist was under attack, and caved this week by shutting down its Adult Services section (and replacing it with a black bar that read “censored”). Some people, at least, were beginning to stand up and point out that forcing Craigslist to do this actually helps the criminals it’s supposed to stop, but the anti-Craigslist “public interest” groups kept up their ongoing media attacks. Of course the real source of the attacks was Attorneys General, especially Connecticut’s Richard Blumenthal who, it turned out, didn’t even have jurisdiction over prostitution.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2005, still two years away from the first iPhone, Motorola released its much-hyped “iTunes Phone” — and it sucked. At this time, the market for smartphones still hadn’t been carved out by the well-designed iPhone, and most people simply didn’t want phones with lots of features (or just didn’t know it yet), nor were they sure why they really needed a mobile data plan, and the future of mobile music downloads looked bleak. Of course all this renewed conversation and speculation around the possibility of a real Apple-made “iPhone”, while the company was releasing its iPod Nano (and being weakly answered by Sony’s revamped Walkman.

There were plenty of other emerging technologies to wonder about, too. People didn’t seem all too interested in interactive television, and business travellers apparently had no desire to make use of wi-fi hotspots (one of those things would rapidly change). New technologies meant to stop identity theft seemed like they might actually be making it easier. Companies were slowly coming to grips with the fact that personal work surfing can’t be stopped (and isn’t bad anyway). And in news that shocked absolutely nobody, it turned out young men like shiny new gadgets more than older women.

Fifteen Years Ago

Speaking of interactive television, Microsoft tried it back in this week of the year 2000 as well (and nobody thought it’d work then either). And speaking of gadgets, how about a Casio wrist camera? (Apparently it was pretty cool.) Robotic pets and conversational online bots were on the way, as were human-implantable tracking chips… Some people were debating who should receive the dubious title of Most Downloaded Woman.

Microsoft seemed like it might be (slowly) starting to change, and so for that matter did Bill Gates. In the younger dot-com world, we unsurprisingly discovered that the majority of internet advertising is bought by dot-coms, while some preferred to just bankrupt themselves with Superbowl ads (perhaps because being young and rich doesn’t always make you happy).

Sixty-Eight Years Ago

The word “bug” as a term for an engineering problem predates computers, but there’s a folk etymology for use of the term in the computing world that is based on a true story (though the details are often presented wrongly). On September 9, 1947, an error in the Harvard Mark II (an electromechanical computer) was traced to a literal bug: a moth that had gotten trapped inside a relay. The moth was attached to the log book with the note “first actual case of bug being found”, and now resides in the Smithsonian.

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Comments on “This Week In Techdirt History: September 6th – 12th”

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16 Comments
Sheogorath (profile) says:

Craigslist was under attack, and caved this week by shutting down its Adult Services section (and replacing it with a black bar that read “censored”). Some people, at least, were beginning to stand up and point out that forcing Craigslist to do this actually helps the criminals it’s supposed to stop […]
Indeed. I remember seeing a TV programme about a guy who was known as the Craigslist Killer and how he was caught because he used Craigslist to attract his victims. Can you imagine how long it would have taken to catch him if he had had to use the darknet?

Anonymous Coward says:

"Mild" M asnick hot in this one! Threatens to ban "average_joe". Some "free speech" advocate: attacks, then forbids answer!

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100904/23124610907.shtml#c955

Masnick clearly partisan abusing administrative position, which pretty much voids Section 230 protections for all time. Examples like this against dissenters abound, but I bet not one scolding of a fanboy can be found. Besides that, Masnick just looks feeble. More so since failed to follow through on threat even after average_joe defied him.

Heh, heh. Epic hijack too, all the fanboys drawn off-topic to rabid ad hom supporting their cult leader.


Seventeenth attempt to get this in after trying two days! Saturday before any other comments could be seen; later that night, several appeared, but none of my ten attempts! This “public comment box” is locked down to me all weekend — probably due to my comment that morning.

So this is to show that a) Techdirt censors behind the scenes and/or b) has the power to and actually okays comments so is thereby the publisher of them.

And I’ll get it in eventually! Why does Techdirt persist in doing what it derides others for?

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Another misinformed notion from Out_Of_The_Blue

Masnick clearly partisan abusing administrative position, which pretty much voids Section 230 protections for all time.

You are wrong. Dead wrong. Mike could delete comments and ban users all he wants and still remain protected by Section 230.

No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of—

(A) any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected…
Source

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