from the tides-of-time dept
Five Years Ago
This week in 2011, Egypt was wracked with protests, and the government responded by shutting down the internet. China was trying to stop people from talking about the uprising while Al Jazeera was trying to spread coverage far and wide by putting it under a Creative Commons license. We took a look at the impact of the shutdown, and then later in the week Egypt finally turned it back on.
Meanwhile, in a more insidious form of internet shutdown, Homeland Security was going nuts with the domain seizures, even as its affidavits continued to expose how much it was twisting the law and raise major legal questions. The week’s big seizure was Spanish website Rojadirecta, which made us wonder if there would be an exodus from US-controlled domains, not to mention how the US would react if Spain started messing with American websites. Senator Wyden was demanding an explanation, and Homeland Security was not doing a good job on that front.
Ten Years Ago
After the recent announcement that Nikon would no longer sell film cameras, it felt like yet another end of an era this week in 2006 when Western Union announced it would no longer offer telegrams. This was, after all, a brave new era of broadband weather balloons (maybe, someday) and really expensive connected ovens. Perhaps that also explains why companies were so eager to plug the analog hole with terrible technology, though the real reason was probably to squeeze out amateur creators.
Also this week in 2006: the RIAA sued yet another person without a computer, we looked at the unusual idea of applying trespass laws to computers, and we started catching on to the role of East Texas in the patent world.
Fifteen Years Ago
Rumours were flying about the acquisition of Yahoo! this week in 2001, which some thought would herald the end of the internet while others just wondered if Disney would be the buyer. Such rumours would likely make the “most popular stories” lists that news websites were just discovering. Alongside them, you might see stories of eBay hijinks, ranging from the artist who tried to sell his whole life to the scammer who sold a very literal listing of a Playstation 2 Original Box to one unlucky buyer.
Long before the Apple Watch, Timex made a watch that could check email; long before Obama’s highly digital campaign, some asked if 2000 was the first “net election”; and long before smartphone-aided comparison shopping was the norm, it wasn’t clear if it would ever catch on in the US where people still didn’t seem to care about wireless.
One-Hundred And Thirty-Two Years Ago
The Oxford English Dictionary is the gold standard of the English language, and my personal choice of dictionary whenever possible. It was on February 1st, 1884 that the first dictionary fascicle (look it up, in a watchacallit) was published with its full title: A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles; Founded Mainly on the Materials Collected by The Philological Society. Of course, it was just Volume One: A to Ant.