from the the-less-things-change dept
Five Years Ago
This week in 2011, much of the news on the Wikileaks front was centered on Twitter, which the government had ordered to reveal information on people connected with the site. This drew the ire of Iceland officials (among others), and not unlike the recent domain seizures, the government’s approach was full of mistakes. But, at least, we learned that Twitter would stand up for its users rights. Of course, that wasn’t the only attack Wikileaks faced: customs officers were intimidating Wikileaks volunteers, a congressional rep was asking the Treasury Department to put the site on the terrorist list (a request that was thankfully refused), and one bold man from Florida was suing Wikileaks for personal distress. On the flipside, the EFF was debunking the myth that the leaked cables didn’t help anything while On The Media was seeking out the anonymous senator who killed a recent whistleblowing bill and the press at large was starting to realize that Bradley Manning was being tortured.
Also of note this week in 2011, we covered the beginnings of a now-infamous incident when Sony got a restraining order against George Hotz for jailbreaking the PS3.
Ten Years Ago
Netflix was the unstoppable giant this week in 2006, and it was still just focused on mailing DVDs — which unscrupulous postal workers would occasionally steal. The main victim, however, was clearly going to be Blockbuster. Google was trying to wow the world with a new online video offering, but it was sadly all about copy protection and not very impressive. MySpace revealed that it had its own video strategy in the works, which explained why it had recently started blocking YouTube. This dismal state of affairs even led some to wonder if AOL was the one with the most interesting and innovative video offering. That title certainly didn’t belong to the world of mobile TV, which was wrecked by fragmentation and walled gardens like so much mobile content.
Meanwhile, efforts were still underway to plug the analog hole, and Tim Lee pointed out that the most insidious effect might come from the exception for so-called “professional” equipment. We bemoaned the fact that DRM was still endearing itself to artists as Sony’s CEO attempted to brush off the recent rootkit fiasco.
Fifteen Years Ago
In these early days of 2001, calls for regulating the internet were much simpler — and even more absurd. Case in point: one novelists request that everything online be officially labelled as “true” or not. Case in point the second: a legislative attempt to deem the actions of spiders and other online bots as “trespassing”. But hey, this was a time when one of the biggest intellectual property questions on the internet was the legality of “framing” content from other sites. Blogs, which were still often given their forgotten full name of weblogs, were still new enough that a different news organization would “discover” them every few weeks, leading to strange ideas like blog-based print magazines.
Also this week in 2001: we heard the very first murmurs of what would grow into immense hype about “IT”, also known as “Ginger”. Remember that? Yeah, it turned out to be the Segway. Hurrah.
Eighty-Nine Years Ago
With all the obligatory and uninteresting hype surrounding the recently-announced Oscar nominations, perhaps it’s worth noting that the Academy was founded on January 11th, 1927 by Louis B. Mayer and a room of his 36 hand-picked guests. If I understand correctly, those people all became immortal in their 60s and continue to choose every Oscar winner to this day.