Techdirt

by Leigh Beadon


Filed Under:
history, look back



This Week In Techdirt History: Techdirt Was Born!

from the twenty-years-of-techdirt dept

As you likely know by now, we're celebrating Techdirt's 20th anniversary this week. We've got a podcast episode about our history as well as some limited edition gear featuring a revamped version of the very first Techdirt logo:

And today, instead of our usual history round-up, we're taking a look back at the very first post — which was actually not a post originally, but a newsletter, containing a selection of tech news from the week.

On that day — August 23rd, 1997 — there was a fair bit of buzz around the so-called "Internet 2" being built by various universities and researchers, and the first item in the first Techdirt used that as a basis of comparison for a new distributed supercomputing project in California. Next there was a quick list of headlines, with one amusing and notable detail: in describing Apple as a competitor to Microsoft, it was at the time not inappropriate to put "competitor" in irony quotes.

Later, the newsletter includes some predictions. The first was that a new web portal called "Snap!" from CNET would fail — though some news stories from later years suggest it didn't happen quite as quickly as expected, the difficulty I had in finding any information about it today suggests the prediction came true eventually.

The second was right on the money: Mike predicted that Netscape would stop charging for its browser, Communicator. Five months later, not only did Netscape announce that the browser would be free, it launched the Mozilla Open Source project and shared the code with everyone.

The word "meme" hadn't morphed into its specific modern internet meaning just yet, and so under a category entitled Meme Watch the newsletter noted something more in line with the original notion — a particular idea popping up again and again and spreading from place to place. In this case it was the habit of comparing every standards battle in tech (DVD, HDTV, wireless connectivity) to the famous VHS versus Beta showdown of the 1980s. While not a useless analogy, it was certainly overused and oversimplified — and the nuanced nonsense of these standards fights would provide plenty of Techdirt fodder in the years to come.

Finally, the newsletter ends by noting that the FBI had released all its files related to Elvis Presley — yes, though the saga of Elvis and the FBI feels like mostly common knowledge now, it was only revealed in full in 1997.

And that's all for this anniversary week, folks! Once again, be sure to check out our post and podcast about our history, and pick up some original Techdirt logo gear before Sunday, September 3rd!


Reader Comments

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  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 26 Aug 2017 @ 12:36pm

    Happy birthday, and may you have many more.

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

  • identicon
    Darkhog, 26 Aug 2017 @ 2:55pm

    You know...

    You should go back to the original logo. It's a little more... splashy than the current one. I like splashy.

    Yeah... do that. The one you use now is too sterile considering the usual subject matter that you are publishing now. Maybe change color to brown-ish one, but that's all.

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

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 26 Aug 2017 @ 4:06pm

      Re: You know...

      Nah. Ayyadurai's cockpuppet has already said "Techshit" far more than necessary as it is. Changing the logo to a brown splatter might encourage more of that.

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Aug 2017 @ 5:42pm

        Re: Re: You know...

        I heard that even Shiva is reconsidering his criticism of Techdirt. Now that the censorship of Americans has stopped, maybe he will drop his lawsuit too.

        Could happen!

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 Aug 2017 @ 12:59am

          Re: Re: Re: You know...

          You say so many things, Hamilton. It's a shame you can't prove any of them.

          What does remain, though, is the drivel you posted online for all to see and evaluate the sort of individual Shiva has in his corner. It's... elucidating, to put it nicely.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Aug 2017 @ 6:48am

      Re: You know...

      I would like to see the neqest logo green and gold like a circuut board that casts a brownish shadow, and splashy!

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Aug 2017 @ 6:54am

        Re: Re: You know...

        Sorry.. all thumbs.. the newest logo could be sitting in a scale of justice one sided outweighing an empty basket??

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

  • identicon
    Wat Tyler, 26 Aug 2017 @ 7:56pm

    Congratulations

    I've been reading Techdirt for somewhere between a few and many years now and what you say nearly always makes sense from the perspective of this left-wing anti-authoritarian UK reader. Thanks and congratulations to everyone involved in bringing it to us.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Aug 2017 @ 9:49am

    Logo

    The logo should be a flaming globe that spins.
    Also, can't want for the anniversary of This Week In Techdirt History

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

  • identicon
    Abhinavdas, 27 Aug 2017 @ 10:34am

    Congratulation Techdirt

    You people have came acrossed so many barriers, yet you provided very good Info's of all time. But, I would like to suggest you people to re-skin the site for some time because it seems old. I hope you people will update the site in future to make the best.

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

  • icon
    Flakbait (profile), 27 Aug 2017 @ 11:04am

    HBD

    Maybe you enjoy them,
    Or think that they're a bore,
    But I'm glad you had a first one,
    And wish you many more.

    Happy Birthday!

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


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