Sunday, July 26, 2009

Google's Legacy + Retro Social Media

1. Is Google making us smarter or dumber?
Two articles with opposing viewpoints:
* "Is Google Making Us Stupid?"
* "How Google Is Making Us Smarter"

2. "Social Media in the 1990s"
Compares modern social media with their precursors from a different era.

Mentioned in a comment as an omission, bulletin board systems:
"A Bulletin Board System, or BBS, is a computer system running software
 that allows users to connect and log in to the system using a terminal
 program. Once logged in, a user can perform functions such as uploading
 and downloading software and data, reading news and bulletins, and
 exchanging messages with other users, either through electronic mail or
 in public message boards... Early BBSes were often a local phenomenon,
 as one had to dial into a BBS with a phone line and would have to pay
 additional long distance charges for a BBS out of the local calling

I was a member of a few BBSs in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  Around
the mid-1980s, Telecom Australia (now Telstra) provided a subscription-
style service for dialup access to an information directory, called

Here's a scan of an old newspaper advertisement explaining "Australia's
National Videotex Service":

The French were using something similar even earlier, "Minitel":
"The Minitel is a Videotex online service accessible through the
 telephone lines, and is considered one of the world's most successful
 pre-World Wide Web online services. It was launched in France in 1982...
 Minitel uses dumb terminals consisting of a text based screen, keyboard
 and modem. Simple graphics can be displayed using a set of predefined
 graphical characters."

These services provided pretty much the same sort of information as
teletext does, but at no cost, via a television.  Unfortunately, it
seems Channel 7 will shut down the Austext service on 30 September 2009: