Stepping into my personal Wayback Machine: or, 1984 Revisited

I’ve been reading the Summer 1984 issue of the Whole Earth Software Review. Some unbelievable quotes, makes me feel truly humble. Read them and see for yourself.

From Richard Dalton’s editorial titled “Enabling Computers”

  • ” A very liberating environment where you bump into electronically-linked communities of people you didn’t know were out there. Where your physical limits or disabilities don’t count. And an indicator of how revolutionary the whole computer thing may turn out to be”.

From an article called Telecommunications by Art Kleiner:

  • …Mike Greenly writes articles about the computer industry on The Source, a nationwide dial-up network. “The difference between me and a print journalist is (1) my coverage is immediate (readers had info on Steve Jobs’s launch of Macintosh just minutes after he’d finished speaking) and (2) readers can interact with me. They tell me what they’d like me to report on, and we swap information.”
  • …People play games, order products, use large-computer systems, retrieve public-domain (free) software, spin mutual fantasy stories, seek romance and stock quotations, and track their bank statements through computer networks.

Art Kleiner writing on The Personal Effects of Networking:

  • Some people move on to addiction: signing on a dozen times a day………[…..]…. Fortunately, addiction is usually short-lived. You get overwhelmed by overload and cut back, learning to filter out material. You don’t have to lose appreciation for the physical world; you can become more sensual elsewhere to compensate for the hours spent online. You can use the telephone more sparingly, scheduling calls and exchanging agendas for them in advance.

Robert Cowan on Virtual Business:

  • I believe we will soon see the emergence of “electronic store-front firms” wheren potential users will look through a computer network’s directory for service providers and contract with the most appropriate one. That provider might be located on a farm in Washington or in the heart of New York City. Geography is becoming less important as our focus shifts to […..] .. human intelligence and creativity.

Charles Spezzano (a diehard IBM PC man seeing his first Macintosh) on Breaking The Chains That Bind:

  • My real conversion to Mac, however, wasn’t spurred by anything the salesman showed me during the demonstration. I realised it on the way home. Mac has sex appeal, like an Italian sports car: it’s compact, stylish, soft and quick looking. Even without knowing exactly what I’d do with it, I’d like to have Mac sitting on a table in my living room…..[…]If I could get near it, that is. My wife and daughters would love this machine. They respect the PC, but no one loves anything made by IBM. I think that may even be an official psychiatric perversion.

From Learning/Playing by Robert Scarola:

  • The following articles and reviews all discuss products that offer a vision, selection or experience of an alternate reality. Some of these products are at the cutting edge of learning simulations and games in which the computer is an active player. Others are designed to make learning specific skills less painful, or even fun. At the moment, there are very few high-quality learning simulations for adults or for kids. But necessity is the mother of invention and I have no doubt that, even as I write this, somewhere out there in the twilight zone twentieth-century wizards are envisioning new, dynamic grand illusions and translating them into technological realities.

Art Kleiner on piracy:

  • Software piracy just brings already contradictory issues into sharper focus. If information is not free, what are public libraries? And what’s to prevent a public library from lending software?

Alfred Lee on the same subject:

  • In the state I lived in it used to be “unethical” for civil engineering firms to bid against each other for highway and other contracts. Now it is a violation of statute for the engineers to follow their ethics. Most of the software I have ever handled is accompanied by a lot of fine print alleging that by using the program — or by previously having torn open the cellophane wrapper — I have consented to a “licensing agreement”. This stipulates, usually, that I will use the disk on my own computer only and will notify the vendor and relicense my program if I change computers. Yes, an ethical question is being raised when I read that. Those lying sons of bitches and their California lawyers are trying to con me and every other God-fearing patriot out of our rights as Americans — namely, the copyright doctrine of “fair use”.

1984. What more can I say? Thank you everyone who made today possible.

One thought on “Stepping into my personal Wayback Machine: or, 1984 Revisited”

  1. Comment still exists in coComment!!:

    It’s something of a shame that a whole generation later, we still haven’t sorted out the copyright problems noted back then – we’va actually made it worse. “Plus ca change …’

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