This Week In Techdirt History

from the way-way-back dept

Another week of history to look back on:

Five Years Ago:

Let's kick this one off with a bang. Five years ago, the CEO of Sony Pictures, Michael Lynton said, in public, "I'm a guy who doesn't see anything good having come from the internet. Period." Believe it or not... he's still in that job today. And we wonder why Hollywood seems to have so much trouble learning how to embrace the internet. On the more optimistic side, we wrote about the amazing power of people on the internet making all sorts of great content. Those two stories show quite a bit of contrast in outlooks.

We also wrote about an Obama advisor who was all excited about how the FCC would be under Julius Genachowski. While we had been skeptical previously, we were briefly hopeful that maybe some good tech policy would happen... though our hopes were quickly dashed by reality.

These were the days before Prenda and Malibu Media, so instead we were talking about ACS:Law, which was basically Prenda's role model over in Europe. It was discovered that Elsevier had a whole division publishing fake medical journals to keep big pharma happy. Oh yeah, and the early days of the lawsuit that would eventually kill off gene patents.

Ten Years Ago:

People were still arguing that no one would want a camera in their phone. The FBI was worried about an evil reclusive millionaire who turned out to... only exist in a video game. Perhaps that's because the $600 million computer system they were building (which was already way over budget) was useless at finding terrorists (that story went on for a few more years, and eventually the system was scrapped entirely -- but not before some computer science experts suggested going on a crime spree the day the system launched...).

Also ten years ago: IBM talked about its plans to launch a web-based office suite in those days before Google Docs came along. Oh yeah, and blogging pioneers Movable Type basically priced themselves out of the market, opening the door to Wordpress to become the blogging platform of choice for many.

Fifteen Years Ago:

Sony decided to sell robotic dogs. I thought the idea sounded crazy, but the Aibo was a big deal for many years. Also the remains of Pointcast were sold off for $10 million. If you weren't around in the mid-90s, you may not remember this, but Pointcast was the "big" internet company with its "push technology." At one point, it was rumored to have turned down an acquisition offer of $500 million. More to the point, this $10 million sale came just two years after a Wired cover story arguing that the web was dead and push technology like Pointcast would replace it. Oh, the good old days of hype. Finally, kicking off yet another bad decision, Yahoo was trying to expand into the enterprise portal business.

That's all for this week in Techdirt history...

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Roger Strong (profile), May 17th, 2014 @ 1:14pm

    Pointcast

    My favorite Pointcast moment: To attract more Canadian users, they held a raffle for a Volkswagen Beetle and spammed it out to every Canadian who had ever tried their service. The rules stated that it was open to US residents only.

     

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

  2.  
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    Michael_P_Shipley (profile), May 17th, 2014 @ 3:19pm

    Lynton was 90% right.

    90% of the internet IS crap.

    Spam, site rips, porn, hackers, trolls, pedophiles, Bill Gates. All crap.

    Why is the internet 90% crap? Because the internet was created by the US govt., where all packets are created equal, like all good communists.

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2014 @ 4:38pm

    Re:

    But at least 10% of the Internet is not junk vs nearly 100% of the mainstream media being junk.

     

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

  4.  
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    Michael_P_Shipley (profile), May 17th, 2014 @ 5:39pm

    Re: Re:

    Correct.

     

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

  5.  
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    LAB (profile), May 17th, 2014 @ 6:18pm

    Dear Michael Lynton:

    Did you not watch how the sale of music and its delivery has changed over the years? Bandwidth is now big enough to download movies in minutes. Adapt, give the people what they want or perish......

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2014 @ 5:17am

    Re:

    Accuracy of the numbers aside, does Lynton acknowledge his part in making it so? It is funny when those ignorant of the world around them deem it their responsibility to criticize that which they do not understand.

     

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

  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2014 @ 5:25am

    Could it be that Lynton is still upset about how their rootkit fiasco was exposed? Thank you Internet.

    Uhoh look, shenanigans are leaking and the stranglehold on media has been lost - the horror!

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2014 @ 5:51am

    Re:

    If broadband providers get their way you will be stuck overpaying for a slow and capped connection and content will cost a fortune because content providers will have to pay extra to have toll lanes. This may hurt services like bittorrent and peer to peer since everyone will be given a much slower connection for the 'slow lane'.

     

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

  9.  
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    Anonymous, May 18th, 2014 @ 6:49am

    Re:

    Well, then, go start your own freaking internet.

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2014 @ 7:32am

    Re:

    90% of everything is crap, not just on the internet. Sturgeon's Law is more inviolable than the laws of physics.

     

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

  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2014 @ 8:49am

    Re: Re:

    with blackjack and hookers

     

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

  12.  
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    zip, May 18th, 2014 @ 10:26am

    futility

    Pointcast's "push technology." was nothing but a news headline streamer. Yet, like so many other simple ideas, this was somehow worth a half-billion dollars during the height of the internet bubble.

    "People were still arguing that no one would want a camera in their phone."

    I personally hate cameras, but at least a buyer still has a choice with cellular telephones. Try buying a laptop computer made in the last few years that does NOT have a camera -- it seems the only camera-less notebook PCs available have been expensive 'business' models. (Indeed, my "must-have" feature in a notebook PC was to be camera-free, and I'm still looking for one after 5 years of futile shopping)

     

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

  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2014 @ 8:46pm

    Re: Re:

    A book store is a good example. Almost no porn, no tolerance for customers who are bullies or trolls, all content unique, published by professional editors. Its curated, clean, and safe. The internet, however, being a communist creation, is a cesspool of predators, trolls, bullies, and pervert posting dick shots. It treats all content "equally and fairly," with no filters, so its terabytes of crap.

     

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

  14.  
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    Ninja (profile), May 19th, 2014 @ 3:12am

    Sony decided to sell robotic dogs. I thought the idea sounded crazy, but the Aibo was a big deal for many years.

    And so far no politician managed to have a higher intelligence than those.

     

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

  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2014 @ 5:46am

    Sock Puppet Accounts?

    So looking back at those articles, did anyone notice that the snowflakes matched for every comment on the camera phone article, and most of them matched on the millionaire super villain article (I haven't looked at the other articles yet)? Is this a problem with the snowflake code or was this really just one person talking to themselves?

     

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

  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2014 @ 7:21am

    Re: Sock Puppet Accounts?

    I've noticed that before too; the gravatar or w/e generator might have been faulty at some point, or the uniquely identifying data got wiped by an update. I'm just guessing though, no idea.

     

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

  17.  
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    Easily Amused (profile), May 19th, 2014 @ 9:01am

    Re: futility

    Get yourself a corporate surplus laptop. Most of the designs that Dell,etc. tailor for large bulk corporate buys are webcam-free (especially for government contractors, as a lot of them operate in areas where cameras are forbidden).
    The only downside is that these machines also usually have only the native video capabilities, no dedicated cards. They are almost all short-term leases which then get sent to wholesalers to get new harddrives and reconditioned. You can pick one up very cheap.

     

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

  18.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), May 19th, 2014 @ 1:40pm

    Re: Sock Puppet Accounts?

    So looking back at those articles, did anyone notice that the snowflakes matched for every comment on the camera phone article, and most of them matched on the millionaire super villain article (I haven't looked at the other articles yet)? Is this a problem with the snowflake code or was this really just one person talking to themselves?

    We added the gravatar stuff at a much later date, by which point the original log files for where those comments came from were wiped out. So the program just used the same gravatar for all of those comments. Not sock puppets. Not the same person. Just a result of being done after the logs were wiped on those comments.

     

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

  19.  
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    Mike Acker (profile), Jun 29th, 2014 @ 4:52am

    Cash Cows

    ="And we wonder why Hollywood seems to have so much trouble learning how to embrace the internet."

    throughout history executives will attempt to preserve cash cows at all costs. they all fail.

    digital photograph was developed at Kodak. but Kodak was making a fortune on film and processing and chemicals. Can't have this digital crap around. Now, Kodak ain't around much anymore and the same will happen to other idiots who are attempting to save their precious cash cows.

     

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


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