Wow, we REALLY didn’t know what the Internet was.

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.

Technological Ephemera

3.5" floppy disks

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.

[Via Urlesque]

FIFA Through the Years

If you have ten minutes to kill and have spent any time over the years with EA Sports’ FIFA video game series, this post over at Deadspin includes the following video which you’ll probably find fascinating.  (If you’ve never played FIFA and don’t care about the evolution of video games, absolutely do not watch it, it would probably be ten of the most boring minutes of your life.)

I remember pretty much all of these games, but the mid-Aught years of ’04, ’05, and ’06 in particular bring back very visceral memories for me.  This game has taken countless hours of my life, and somehow I remain completely terrible at it.  I can barely execute a successful cross.

For a more wide-ranging trip through the history of video games, I also stumbled across this nicely succinct video, which hits quite of few of the highlights from 1972 to 2007. (I originally typed “1792 to 2007,” which, I guess, is equally true, if a bit misleading.)

There are a few in there I don’t recognize, but I’m surprised by how many of these I’ve played, particularly once it gets to 1992.  Earthworm Jim!  Remember Earthworm Jim?!

[First video via Deadspin]

Explaining the Future to the Past

Benjamin Franklin

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.

Starfleet Mark IX Science Tricorder Open

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!