This video of Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel discussing the internet in 1994 could probably best be described as astonishing. I mean, I know it was all new and changing very quickly, but really, Bryant? You don’t know what the @ symbol is? Did the internet invent the @ symbol?
I find it jarring to hear them talk so ignorantly about the internet. Jarring! Can you believe we all used to be like that? Also, can you believe how insufferable Bryant Gumbel seems? I bet Katie Couric hates him.
[All over the place today, but I first saw it at io9]
Update: And the guy who uploaded this originally has been fired. This man should be celebrated, not punished! Also, I don’t know if he works for NBC or not, but if he does, and they’re the ones who fired him, they’re idiots. It’s much easier to capitalize on something like this than it is to run from it, not that there is even anything to run from here. They should have thanked him. Plus, the only people who really look even slightly bad in this are Couric and Gumbel, and they both work for different networks now.
Another Update: Yup, it was NBC. Sigh.
Image via Wikipedia
For years my wife and I have meant to sit down and write out a point by point summary of the various ways we interact with technology and/or receive culture. For instance, if we had done it for 2010 I would have mentioned that it was the year I first started tweeting and first used full-body, motion-controlled video games and pretty much abandoned buying physical CDs of music. I think we forget sometimes how briefly we’ve been using technology that we now take for granted. YouTube has been in my life for less than five years, HD television for less than four. Ten years ago I didn’t have a cell phone; today I don’t have a landline. I think it would be fascinating to go back and look at annual updates of this information to get a clear picture of how quickly and dramatically all of our lives have changed.
The video below approaches this concept from a different angle, by taking a look not at how we’ve adopted new technology, but at how quickly we’ve forgotten about old gadgets, in this case by having young children attempt to identify some old gear from the Eighties. Granted, some of this stuff probably couldn’t have been identified by the average person when it was new, even, but the concept is interesting. Plus, one of the boys thinks that a 3 1/2 inch floppy disk is a camera, so that’s hilarious.
Two other hilarious things: 1) the term “floppy disk,” and 2) the fact that some Canadians speak French.
In a somewhat related note, Gizmodo has an interesting piece on technologies that probably won’t be around in ten years. I agreed with most of it, but I think it’s a bit odd to include digital music players (iPods) on the “survivors” list for the same reason eBook readers made the “doomed” list, namely a lack of versatility. They’re probably right, though, mostly because people like music more than they do books.
Image via Wikipedia
Do you ever think about how people from the past would react to present day technology or culture? I do. I think about this ALL THE TIME. I once spent an entire car ride from Chicago to Champaign, Illinois pretending to introduce musicians from different eras. Yes, I realize how dorky that sounds. Think about it, though: “Django Reinhardt, have you heard the latest track from Mr. Kanye West? Allow me to introduce the two of you.”
It’s even crazier with technology. Can you imagine Benjamin Franklin being dropped into the middle of my living room as I’m playing NBA 2K11 on my Xbox 360? Literally nothing in that situation would make sense to him, including the game of basketball. I suspect he would just instantly go insane.
Well, apparently I’m not the only one fascinated by this sort of thing, as evidenced by this flowchart from Fast Company magazine that describes the likely outcomes of attempting to explain the Internet to a 19th Century British street urchin. It’s funny enough to be worth a click.
Image by David July via Flickr
While you’re reading that I’ll be over here thinking about how, in a lot of ways, my iPod Touch is more technologically impressive than the 24th Century tricorders from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Again, yes, I realize how dorky that sounds.
The future, everybody!
Image via Wikipedia
I’m pretty excited about 3-D television. 3-D television! In your living room! And soon we won’t even need to wear the ridiculous glasses! Why are people not on board with this? Everyone seems so ambivalent. My wife seems sort of repulsed by the idea of owning a 3-D television, and she tried one, at Harrod’s in London, and thought it was great. I don’t get it.
Until this post in the NYTimes ArtsBeat blog, though, I hadn’t given much thought to 3-D gaming. I mean, I was fully aware of the upcoming Nintendo 3DS, but I’m not much of a handheld gamer. I have no reason to play a mobile device, seeing as I rarely leave my apartment.
If you still think this 3-D thing is a gimmick, though, go read the post. Author Seth Schiesel got to watch (although not play, unfortunately) a bit of Call of Duty: Black Ops in 3-D. He says, amongst other things, “I simply have never had an entertainment experience quite like it. In its way it was one of the most impressive 20-minute demonstrations I have seen.” And, “I immediately felt as if I would be missing something important playing it, or any other game, in the old 2-D fashion.” The future: we’re getting there!
Don’t let the title of this post fool you. It’s not that I’ve never enjoyed streaming something through Netflix; that’s a feature I use regularly. It’s just that it seems like nothing I’m ever really, really excited about watching is available. I always decide I want to kill some time by streaming something and then struggle to find something worth watching, as opposed to deciding what I want to watch and then being pleasantly surprised by its instant availability.
That changed today with NBC Universal’s announcement that they’re going to allow Netflix to stream a ton of their content, including Battlestar Galactica, 30 Rock, The Office, Friday Night Lights, and, the kicker…