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!

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2014 @ 2:03pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    zip, Apr 26th, 2014 @ 3:17pm

    GeoCities

    The closure of GeoCities was quite a shock, though its continual decline under Yahoo ownership was not. Another multi-billion-dollar internet property up in smoke. Facebook's time will come.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    tracyanne, Apr 26th, 2014 @ 5:29pm

    30 years ago

    I was programming on Data General, Digital and Wang Minis and Mainframes, and I owned a Sinclair ZX81 and a BBC Micro.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    zip, Apr 26th, 2014 @ 7:50pm

    SPAM again

    Is it just coincidence, or do Techdirt's Saturday series "A Look Back In Techdirt History" have a profound weakness for spam?

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140412/08195126891/look-back-techdirt-history.shtml#c266

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Apr 27th, 2014 @ 6:37am

    Re: GeoCities

    I wondered whatever happened to it. Now I know.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Apr 27th, 2014 @ 6:38am

    Re: Wang Minis

    Nah...too easy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Apr 27th, 2014 @ 6:49am

    Speaking of history...

    The Atari landfill was excavated yesterday.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2014 @ 7:13am

    Re: 30 years ago

    Do you have the Old Files?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    tracyanne, Apr 27th, 2014 @ 8:00pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, Apr 27th, 2014 @ 8:22pm

    Re: RSTS-E, the grown up version of CP/M

    Considering that RSTS/E only allowed 6.3 file names, while CP/M had 8.3 ...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    tracyanne, Apr 28th, 2014 @ 1:37am

    Re: Re: RSTS-E, the grown up version of CP/M

    :P

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Annonimus, Apr 28th, 2014 @ 3:27am

    Phishing attempt

    The trending towards insanity article that is not on Techdirt has two phishing programs that activate when you open the page according to my security programs.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    tracyanne, Apr 28th, 2014 @ 3:37pm

    Re: Phishing attempt

    does nothing on my system. NoScript blocks all javascript, java and flash by default, I also have java disabled.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Apr 28th, 2014 @ 4:14pm

    Re: Speaking of history...

    In fact, I'm surprised Techdirt doesn't have an article on this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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