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A Look At the "Information Superhighway," As It Looked In 1985

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the before-civilian-gps-mind-you dept.

The Internet 241

jfruh writes "AT&T's video library is a treasure trove of future-looking films from the past, and this one is no exception. Combining what might be the first on-film use of the phrase 'information superhighway' with predictions of Siri-like services and sweet '80s computer graphics, this offers a valuable look at how close we came to our past's future."

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Welcome to the Information Age (-1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#40434413)

Damn, in 1985?

We really didn't even get this until about 1995!

The next wave didn't latch on until the rise of Windows XP (patched a few times) circa 2002.

Re:Welcome to the Information Age (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40434473)

You're retarded if you think XP had anything to do with it.

Seriously, what's with the quality of posts here these days? I need to quit reading, but habits are strong...

Re:Welcome to the Information Age (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40434623)

Agreed. I actually have slashdot pointed to localhost in my hosts file on all my computers except one laptop...that I'm on now. Part of the problem is I've yet to find a good replacement that is more like the slashdot of ye olden days.

Re:Welcome to the Information Age (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 2 years ago | (#40434765)

I was doing a lot of this in 1985, including running on what would become the internet. If I'd had the money, a satellite phone (the only kind running at the time IIRC) would have merely put me back about 3K.

Re:Welcome to the Information Age (2, Insightful)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435129)

3K which was almost enough to pay for 4 years of university at the time.

Re:Welcome to the Information Age (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40434983)

We really didn't even get this until about 1995!

Sure we did. I was here in the early 80's, and know people who were here in the late 70's.

The AOL crowd showed up in the mid 90's and essentially destroyed the original internet culture. This was not an improvement.

Re:Welcome to the Information Age (4, Insightful)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435699)

Actually AoL was/is a self contained network, so it wasnt really on the internet.
It did provide a gateway to it, and when I was on it in 1993, I found out after a year that it wasnt the internet like I thought. Instead AoL was nothing but a controlled network with a filtered and censored gateway to the real internet.
Then i got a real ISP and enjoyed freedom ever since.

Re:IBM is the Information Age. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40435011)

In 1990 IBM was baking RAS technologies into its POWER processors, INTEL would not start building reliable processor unitil late 2010.

Re:IBM is the Information Age. (3, Interesting)

jimmydevice (699057) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435735)

In the early 80's, Intel was working on the IAPX432 object oriented processor. This was a secure, mainframe class architecture that was quite revolutionary.
Unfortunately, It was also slower then anything else available and was killed. due to industry disinterest, Mostly Intel's
Too bad Intel didn't later revisit that path when the technology allowed this kind of architecture to be implemented to it's full potential.
We would probably be programming in Lisp or Smalltalk now and the web would be a totally different place.
We will probably see ISA extensions that support those ideas in the future.

Also recommended: Douglas Adam's Hyperland (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40434479)

http://archive.org/details/DouglasAdams-Hyperland

Sort of a let down (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40434495)

For a video made in the 80s, there is a dearth of embarrassing haircuts and/or clothes.... Come on 1980s!

Re:Sort of a let down (2)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 2 years ago | (#40434599)

But they did manage to include that embarrassing quote "If cars advanced as much as computers." Of course, he neglected to mention the whole part about how "it would randomly stop working, we'd have to restart it, and we'd think it was totally acceptable."

Re:Sort of a let down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40434645)

That was perhaps the origin of what became a Bill Gates joke... "Bill" repeated what the AT&T guy said, then the GM guy came back and reminded him about blue screens and rebooting six times a day.

(For the younger crowd who didn't experience it, 16-bit Windows was almost hilariously unstable and only succeeded in the marketplace because Mac OS at the time was no better. Most users of Windows 3.x and Windows 95 had to deal with regular system and application crashes, often several per day).

Re:Sort of a let down (3, Interesting)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#40434845)

Ahhhh.. yes Windows 3.x. The reason the reset button was moved to the front of the machine.

No seriously. It used to be a big red momentary switch on the back.

Re:Sort of a let down (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40434949)

I'm pretty sure that was prior to Windows 3.x. 2.x or 1.x maybe. I got a 386 in 1988 or 1989 and it had it on the front, but we didn't get a mouse for at least a year, by which time it was a logitech mouse bundled with a 'logitech edition' of windows 3.0. Had a little logo on the splashscreen and everything.

Re:Sort of a let down (2)

VMSBIGOT (933292) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435045)

Stupid side note to this; The startup screen was a .rle file that was on the install disks. When you ran setup it copied this file, along with the code section and the string file into Win.com. You could do the same with a "copy /b win.bin+win.str+winlogo.rle win.com" from a DOS prompt.

Re:Sort of a let down (3, Informative)

azalin (67640) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435875)

That trick could done through all 3.x versions. Create a .rle bitmap with the right size. Replace original file (prior or any time after installation) and you had your own custom startup logo.

Re:Sort of a let down (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435193)

What are you talking about? My 286 had a reset button on the front of the machine, long before Windows 3.x was out.

Re:Sort of a let down (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435469)

The PC AT was the first machine released which was eventually capable of running Windows and its reset switch is nonexistent, you have to BRS it and the BRS is on the side just like the PC and the PC XT.

Re:Sort of a let down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40435257)

Ahhhh.. yes Windows 3.x. The reason the reset button was moved to the front of the machine.

No seriously. It used to be a big red momentary switch on the back.

Try again, anybody familiar with old computers can tell you that you're lying.

Here, see some examples here:

http://www.frontier-electronics.co.za/early_computers.htm

Maybe people just realized that buttons in the back were a bad idea. Even my power buttons are in the front now, for obvious reasons.

Now what happened to that old metal key they used to have, that I don't know. Seriously, I can't even recall their names.

Re:Sort of a let down (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435887)

I wasn't lying, just being facetious.

GP mentioned how often they crashed back then, and it did bring up memories of early Windows machines.

I don't remember exactly when the buttons migrated from the back to the front. The red push button at the back though is a very clear memory for me. On that particular computer it could crash quite often if you hit multiple keys on the keyboard at the same time.

Now, I had almost forget about the keys. Normally they are only on rackmount servers these days to lock up the front. Back then though I remember the keys actually interrupting the power supply.

Re:Sort of a let down (1)

burne (686114) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435963)

No, the lock disabled the keyboard by switching off power to the keyboard.

Re:Sort of a let down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40434895)

Apparently you're also in the younger crowd or have forgotten the state of the hardware in the day.

Re:Sort of a let down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40434855)

But they did manage to include that embarrassing quote "If cars advanced as much as computers." Of course, he neglected to mention the whole part about how "it would randomly stop working, we'd have to restart it, and we'd think it was totally acceptable."

People do, they just don't realize how much they put up with in their vehicles.

Seriously, that flippant response while rhetorically working on emotional terms, fails when you look at it logically.

Most computer crashes? About as inconsequential as the cylinder misfiring or the windows not opening smoothly. Or the door jams not fitting. For the people who needed things to run smooth, they ran smooth. Most people were just not going to bother with that. They wanted something cheap.

So they paid the price.

Not bad, but they were dead wrong about one thing (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40434513)

They (AT&T, Xerox, IBM, and multinational companies of similar stature at the time) thought that the global information infrastructure would be centralized, monolithic and closed. Businesses and consumers would have to choose a provider that would provide the whole enchilada.

This was the backdrop for Japan's Fifth Generation project (referenced by the AT&T video around 13:30) and was met with a certain amount of panic in the US at the time.

Re:Not bad, but they were dead wrong about one thi (4, Insightful)

trdrstv (986999) | more than 2 years ago | (#40434627)

They (AT&T, Xerox, IBM, and multinational companies of similar stature at the time) thought that the global information infrastructure would be centralized, monolithic and closed. Businesses and consumers would have to choose a provider that would provide the whole enchilada.

Not surprising. They figured "the internet" would be run like cable TV... hell Cable TV providers are still trying to make that happen.

Re:Not bad, but they were dead wrong about one thi (1)

rs79 (71822) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435563)

they had ihnp4 as an example. what other conclusion could they have come up with?

(the guy at 1:29 looks like Jim Fleming who signed of on it's replacement, ihnpss)

Look at this in context it makes sense (3, Insightful)

jsimon12 (207119) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435353)

1985 was only 1 year after the Ma Bell breakup and while the Macintosh was out IBM still dominated the PC business. So when you look at this in the context of the times it makes sense that they would think the network and infrastructure would be closed because that was the way things were during the time period. I am glad they aren't like that though I think with AT&T reformed and Apple controlling the whole experiance things might go back to the "Ma Bell" days :(

Re:Look at this in context it makes sense (1)

rs79 (71822) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435577)

"1985 was only 1 year after the Ma Bell breakup and while the Macintosh was out IBM still dominated the PC business."

Well, yeah, but the PC business was only 2 years old. Soon IBM would have its first competitor: compaq.

pdp11's, vax, sun, apollo, and any number of microprocessor based business systems abounded. the PC wasn't so certain in 85. I was able to avoid the wretched things till 88 or so.

Re:Not bad, but they were dead wrong about one thi (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435935)

Of course, as computer scientists we can say with utter certainty that the scare tactics at the end of the film were utterly unnecessary: the claim that countries other than France had Minitel ('video terminals in the home') fell apart rapidly [wikipedia.org] , and expert systems and knowledge inference, the messiahs of 80s AI research, utterly failed to amount to anything. Even the Japanese Fifth Generation Computer System flopped due to a lack of market. In retrospect it's obvious that the end of the video was corporate propaganda meant for government consumption; perhaps even amusingly so. (And a little sad that TFA calls it 'preaching'.)

The US was so far ahead in educated population at that point in time that the risk was always close to nil, no matter what national posturing was made, and the proof is in the import/export business: of the manufacturers who sold and supported machines in the US, the only non-American company was Bull—and they inherited their product line from Honeywell, who had bought it from GE, who had co-developed some of their most important offerings with MIT. So much for 18% of the US computing market, Japan. (Unless they meant Nintendo? Or the razor-thin manufacturing margins? Or components?)

Still, it's cute to think of the US and Canada as competing...

The strange world of futurist (5, Interesting)

IgnitusBoyone (840214) | more than 2 years ago | (#40434531)

I've always found it interesting, how projections get the basic concepts right, but they completely miss on the piratical implementation of things. In TNG everyone caries around a small computing pad, but they seem to keep several of them from different reports and do not have any internal communication systems unless they download from a master main frame

Early on one of the interviews talks about full volumetric holographic displays by the end of the centuries, but ignores the middle ground of real time video transmission on existing displays. And the artistic renderings through out the video's keep displays as simple monochrome 13inch displays, because no one seems to imagine a high resolution color display, but they can predict the need for a network based communication network to transmit idea's.

The basics of the video are valid and a good projection to modern times, but all of the interpretations of how it will be implemented show a limitation based on 1985's existing tech. You see this same limitation in the early 1950/1960's articles on the world of tomorrow.

Re:The strange world of futurist (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#40434629)

Exactly. I watched the original Alien again movie the other day and the "mother" room is full with nothing but a million little light bulbs and a tiny monochrome text only display. Not bad for 1979 though.

Re:The strange world of futurist (4, Interesting)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435219)

then again, thank about designing a computer with display that would need to function for decades while everyone was in suspended animation, be rad & temp hardened, be absolutely robust and not fast or fancy. I can't imagine anything BUT a command line system with only sufficient res to make characters

Re:The strange world of futurist (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 2 years ago | (#40434881)

There was a big miss with basic computers as well. It was assumed in many of the classic sci fi books that hard stuff, like calculations, would be done by hand while easy stuff like cleaning the house would be done by robots.

The distressing thing is that this misconception still pervades the teaching of automation. Hardly ever do I see stationary machines doing useful work. Mostly what I see are moving machines engaged in meaningless activity that has no application in the real world, unless you are talkng about roomba, which very few people own.

So yes, Star Trek was off with the PADD, but at least they had computers and robots mostly doing what computers and robots do. We can't even get that far in what we do.

Re:The strange world of futurist (3, Insightful)

FrankSchwab (675585) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435157)

Hardly ever do I see stationary machines doing useful work. Mostly what I see are moving machines engaged in meaningless activity that has no application in the real world

Ever seen an NC mill, lathe, waterjet, etc?

Re:The strange world of futurist (2)

azalin (67640) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435905)

Are you only referring to household toys, or are we talking robots/machines in general? While I do admit that household robotics is mostly expensive toys (like the roomba) the amount of highly sophisticated and very useful robotics elsewhere is enormous.

Re:The strange world of futurist (3, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435201)

hey completely miss on the piratical implementation of things

Not sure if that typo was intentional or not, but you did hit on a big issue. The world of the future they envisioned was also one where they still controlled all content distribution.....They never really thought about the implications of people being able to store and transmit massive video libraries on their own....

Re:The strange world of futurist (1)

harley78 (746436) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435767)

I thought you meant the "miss" part.....Kitchen etc? Is that the woman's new role?

Re:The strange world of futurist (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435377)

Really though, in this movie the things they got right were the things that were already implemented. This was 1985, after all, a lot of people were already passing images over the net. When they started predicting, they went wrong.

Re:The strange world of futurist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40435809)

Really though, in this movie the things they got right were the things that were already implemented. This was 1985, after all, a lot of people were already passing porn over the net. When they started predicting, they went wrong.

There. FTFY

Re:The strange world of futurist (4, Informative)

nickersonm (1646933) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435443)

That's an excellent point - there seems to be a certain timeframe beyond which futurists fail to consider the implications of progressive implementation. On only slightly shorter timeframes, they can actually do quite well - for example, AT&T had a series of "You Will" ads in 1993 [youtube.com] that were strangely accurate in predicting modern technology. Presumably it has something to do with extending an existing technology in a logical way rather than trying to determine the intermediate uses of new concepts.

Re:The strange world of futurist (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435867)

That is one of the things that made '2002' such a great movie: flat screens, Skype-like communication with pictures and more stuff that was quite inconceivable in those days.

1985 was a good year (4, Funny)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#40434547)

Not mentioned was the first test run of the flux capacitor.

Unfortunately, it was strapped to a DeLorean so it did not have a lot of credibility at the time.

Re:1985 was a good year (1)

cffrost (885375) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435195)

Not mentioned was the first test run of the flux capacitor.

Unfortunately, it was strapped to a DeLorean so it did not have a lot of credibility at the time.

If you're gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style? Besides, the stainless steel construction makes the flux dispersa
NO CARRIER

Where's China? (4, Interesting)

Amiga Trombone (592952) | more than 2 years ago | (#40434617)

One thing stood out for me was that of all the nations discussed as possible competitors to the US, China wasn't even mentioned once. This was made less than 30 years ago. Just goes to show you how quickly the unexpected can happen.

Re:Where's China? (2)

LinuxInDallas (73952) | more than 2 years ago | (#40434673)

The 80s were Japan's rise. I don't recall hearing about China until the 90s.

Re:Where's China? (3, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#40434915)

And the 90's was Japan's fall. Oddly enough if the 2000's were China's rise, this decade will probably be China's fall.

Re:Where's China? (4, Interesting)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435163)

Thats already starting to happen, growth is slowing in China, who copied Japans economy right down to the bad debts. And just as in Japan, as long as the economy was growing fast the debts really didnt matter, but that era is coming to a close. China bulls are in for a rude awakening when they find out that China is, in fact, not made of magical economy elves that prevent the economy from ever shrinking.

Re:Where's China? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40435235)

Japan never fell. By most accounts of social welfare, they're doing just as good as at their peak. What Japan did was sacrifice corporate growth for social stability. That means it's a crappy place to invest, and it doesn't make nearly as many millionaires as the US, yet they have better healthcare, wage stability, etc. They've been able to eke out just enough productivity, year-by-year, to maintain their extremely high per capita wealth.

I'm not saying Japan is better than the US in any particular respect. But the idea that they fell is patently ridiculous and easily falsifiable by using any metric other than ones most remote from measuring human welfare.

Where's Japan? (2)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435313)

The key question is whether Japan has as flaky a job base as the US? Yeah, it's tough for new entrants to get jobs, but once in, they don't fear losing it, except for performance related reasons. That, more than anything else, keeps their society stable.

Re:Where's Japan? (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435569)

Yes, because they have really tough rules on migrant workers, and really hard ass rules on immigration in particular. If I could pack up today, and move there I would. The real problem though is the job climb, Japan though is suffering from the same issue that Europe is. Too many people entrenched, and everyone entering are stuck in temp jobs.

Re:Where's China? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435085)

Parts where made in the UK, US for the mil, people leaving the mil, gov where selling their unique skills....
South Korea, Japan, other parts of SE Asia where all setting up to supply the world as good, safe, cheaper, trusted non communist production zones as needed.
The US got smarter and went one cheaper - China - lol all the way to the bank.
The deal was done under Nixon, it just took a while for the average person to understand role of communist production zones while not liking communist Russia.....
Japan was the only threat with RAM and the skills to write a useful OS.
US free trade deals killed that.

Re:Where's China? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40435191)

Please look up "were" and "where" and then use the words correctly. Otherwise people will just ignore you as a semi-literate ignorant person.

Re:Where's China? (0)

rs79 (71822) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435585)

His facts are dead on and insightful. I can parse the semantics thanks, and don't give a shit about the syntax.

Re:Where's China? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40435891)

Mr. Jones related an incident from "some time back" when IBM Canada Ltd. of Markham, Ont., ordered some parts from a new supplier in Japan. The company noted in its order that acceptable quality allowed for 1.5 per cent defects (a fairly high standard in North America at the time). The Japanese sent the order, with a few parts packaged separately in plastic. The accompanying letter said: "We don't know why you want 1.5 per cent defective parts, but for your convenience, we've packed them separately." -- Excerpted from an article in The (Toronto) Globe and Mail

Re:Where's China? (0)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435171)

Amazing what ditching Marxism and adopting a market-based economy will do.

Re:Where's China? (1)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435297)

They've ditched Marxism? What they have is a bastard child of Feudalism and Maoism, where private companies are allowed to do whatever they want, so long as the People's Government is allowed to horn in on whatever % of the action they feel like.

Re:Where's China? (2)

azalin (67640) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435933)

I think you should really look up what Marx really wrote. Hint: It doesn't have that much in common with any of the real live communist regimes. Also what China labels itself and what China really does are not necessarily the same.

Telecommute (4, Interesting)

LinuxInDallas (73952) | more than 2 years ago | (#40434659)

The intro actually used the word telecommute when talking about how computers were in the home. Was that a word in common usage at the time? I was only 12 at the time banging out BASIC programs copied from magazines so I wouldn't recall lol.

Re:Telecommute (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 2 years ago | (#40434753)

Considering we were already "commuting" to shared computers in 1985, yes, telecommute wasn't a foreign concept.

AT & Whom? (1)

in4mer (181985) | more than 2 years ago | (#40434665)

Wait, is this the same AT&T that didn't officially admit until somewhere in the 'aughts that packet switching was actually a viable technology?

The same AT&T that couldn't possibly understand why telephones would replace the telegraph?

The same AT&T that tells Congress that competition among telcos hurts consumers?

Something doesn't seem quite right, here.

Re:AT & Whom? (2)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435159)

It's simple, this was the distant future brought to you by AT&T Internet where all communications are approved by AT&T and their corporate buddies who pay big bux for the right to have a server. And not to worry, it'll all be done with short haul Frame Relay feeding into long haul SONET. All paid for in your monthly bill from AT&T. All safely in the hands of corporate America.

And absolutely none of that crazy Communist Egalitarian peer2peer packet switching nonsense in sight!

Re:AT & Whom? (1)

rs79 (71822) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435593)

Yes and they wern't sure how they'd use SONET, the only thing they were sure of was tcp/ip would almost certainly have no place. In 1991 the ITU go the USG to ban any network communications with and for the government in anything but OSI protocols.

Despite the fact they never existed. "they sounded great on paper though!"

Re:AT & Whom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40435917)

It's simple, this was the distant future brought to you by AT&T Internet where all communications are approved by AT&T and their corporate buddies who pay big bux for the right to have a server. And not to worry, it'll all be done with short haul Frame Relay feeding into long haul SONET. All paid for in your monthly bill from AT&T. All safely in the hands of corporate America.

And absolutely none of that crazy Communist Egalitarian peer2peer packet switching nonsense in sight!

And don't forget that biggest winner of all for Digital Telecom: ISDN (popularly known as "It Still Does Nothing").

Re:AT & Whom? (1)

FrankSchwab (675585) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435183)

The same AT&T that tells Congress that competition among telcos hurts consumers?

Well, they were right from a technical point of view, but not from a cost point of view.

Phone service now is far cheaper than when AT&T was in control of long-distance, and has far more unique providers (Multiple long-distance providers, Skype, Cell Phones, VOIP, etc). But, the quality of phone calls is vastly inferior to what AT&T was selling. Get on a landline, and talk to someone on a landline someday. No dropped calls, no half-second latency that causes one person to talk over the other, etc.

Re:AT & Whom? (1)

rs79 (71822) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435605)

Skype is better than any landline.

There's pretty good reasons for that.

Re:AT & Whom? (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435901)

Really? I knew your mobile phone system was fucked up but that Skype is better than landlines in the US is a surprise to me. I live in Europe and I know quite a lot of people who don't use Skype because 'the quality is not good enough.'

Reminds me of Ontario Science Centre circa 1975 (5, Insightful)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | more than 2 years ago | (#40434667)

The Ontario Science Centre in the mid-1970s was wicked cool. The glimpses into the future were all there for you to touch and play with. (The Philips Coffee Machine was one of my favorites). Sadly, science museums have devolved into environmentalism and global warming preaching which by comparison is about as much fun as watching the organic, free-range, fair-trade grass grow.

Re:Reminds me of Ontario Science Centre circa 1975 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40435401)

Sadly, science museums have devolved into environmentalism and global warming preaching...

Science museums have always had an agenda for recruiting young minds to a cause.

That's the whole purpose of science museums. The best thing to put in a science museum today, IMHO would be any scale of chip fab. Show everybody it's not just a magic black box that makes all their gadgets work. Explain the pieces of a computer to them; I understood it when I was that age.

Environmentalism and GW has enough coverage, and it's sooo depressing. "Hey kids, this is science, and you're all doomed!".

Re:Reminds me of Ontario Science Centre circa 1975 (1)

rs79 (71822) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435619)

The science center opened in 1970. Lasers you could watch burn wood, computers you could use yourself and more cool things than you could do in a day. It was, and remains, utterly inspirational.

Re:Reminds me of Ontario Science Centre circa 1975 (2)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435657)

The Ontario Science Centre in the mid-1970s was wicked cool. The glimpses into the future were all there for you to touch and play with. (The Philips Coffee Machine was one of my favorites). Sadly, science museums have devolved into environmentalism and global warming preaching which by comparison is about as much fun as watching the organic, free-range, fair-trade grass grow.

Check out the Miraikan [jst.go.jp] in Tokyo, or the Exploratorium [exploratorium.edu] in San Francisco to see a Science Museum that doesn't hit you over the head with environmentalism. Just say away from the California Acadmy of Sciences in San Francisco since just about every exhibit in that museum talks about how whatever that exhibit is about is dying because of climate change.

Globe model (1)

n2505d (759637) | more than 2 years ago | (#40434679)

Spinning in the wrong direction...

Re:Globe model (1)

GumphMaster (772693) | more than 2 years ago | (#40434857)

This all feeds in to the "We never went to the Moon" conspiracies. Surely if we had been to the Moon everybody would know which way the Earth spins. ;)

Re:Globe model (1)

GrahamCox (741991) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435719)

I noticed that too. I guess they didn't have the technology back then to spin it the right way. Cut them some slack...

From another point of view... (4, Interesting)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#40434681)

Can films be used as prior art to invalidate patents?

Re:From another point of view... (2)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435237)

Can films be used as prior art to invalidate patents?

So if somebody invented the matter replicator right now you wouldn't think they'd deserve a patent on it?

Re:From another point of view... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40435681)

They wouldn't deserve a look & feel design patent, no.

Re:From another point of view... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40435347)

No. Because they dont showcase working inventions. They've faked it.

Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40434757)

When I think of ATT and its company-produced advertising (of which there are tens of hours: there's a short for that), think forward-looking, but not exactly what the material predicted. How long afterwards were we consumers able to get 45Mbps? [youtube.com]

While we are at it, peeking through the channel, almost the same ATT a quarter-century back had a combined live-action+animation short [youtube.com] which predicted that 86ing those old telephone EXchange NAmes (telephone exchanges carrying 10000 lines were large and expensive, plus, ATT thought remembering seven numbers was difficult; ergo, according to Ma Bell, they felt they had to be named: e.g. REpublic 7, NAtional 8, DI. 7, EX. 3, [...]) meant that our keypads would lack letters beside the numbers [youtube.com] (Commercials screaming phonewords every other minute? Texting-on-the-flip-phone-from-2002 addictions? Mr Digit could've cured 'em all!) and would even yield Outer Space Dialling!1! [youtube.com]

(At the same time, I'm so astounded at Bell Labs, which while they were a zealot for IP actually employed talented people. Remember, if you are using C/C++...)

Captcha: stupidly: as in my tendency to look like I almost strayed off the topic.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40434801)

s/people./people, they actually contributed a lot to technology./g

s/back/from the 1985 video mentioned above/g

The captcha I had to type before is looking more poetic each minute.

New captcha: conquers. Like ATT did and still wants and continues to do to the home and cell phone business through "interesting" means, even after the breakup.

Al Gore was right on top of that! (1)

mbadolato (105588) | more than 2 years ago | (#40434763)

Al Gore didn't go into the Senate until 1985. so inventing the Information Super Highway (née, Internet) must have been the very first thing he did when he got in office!

Re:Al Gore was right on top of that! (2)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435533)

He was a congressman for 9 years prior to being elected to the Senate. He was boring the pants off everyone about the Internet since the 70s! The actual quote containing his infamous claim was:

During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.

1985 was my 3rd year on the internet: (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40435033)

1983, at my university, was my first exposure. I'd say the original internet lasted from its inception until about 1992 or 3, where the Eternal September utterly destroyed the original internet culture.

True, the resources available online now are drastically beyond anything at the time - I mean, graphics, over the internet! - but despite that, the loss of the original culture is not a good thing. Now that everyone and his dog is aware of it, we have politicians trying to censor and control it, hundreds of millions of idiots supporting centralization of everything onto a few services like Facebook, the Closing of the Net where people move away from open and free protocols to proprietary and undocumented ones (a thing the original culture would never have stood for), and more.

Yes, there's far more here now. No, it is NOT a better internet now.

Re:1985 was my 3rd year on the internet: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40435965)

I miss the Anonymous FTP Lists. Although today they'd probably ban them for copyright violations.

Did anybody notice... (1)

Circlotron (764156) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435091)

...in the introduction that the earth was rotating backwards?

Re:Did anybody notice... (1)

youngone (975102) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435217)

No, I didn't, but I did notice the huuuuge gap between Alaska and The USSR.

The values are gone (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40435099)

Too bad the American values he extols have been completely crushed under the weight of an enormous, all-consuming centralized government that has the hubris to pick industries (Solyndra, and others), reject capitalism even though that's what made the country great (killing the goose the laid the golden egg), and stomps all over individual rights - all of which it had been increasingly doing so since this video, long before Obama, though Obama has doubled down.

As such, individuals have now bought into it, gladly sucking on the government feet and unwilling to relinquish grabbing entitlements even though self-reliance would yield better individual results in the end, as it has for the prior 200 years.

This country needs a huge dose of tough love.

major oversight (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435227)

Not one mention of lolcats? Wow, they were way off, as lolcats have taken over the entire internet.

Cold war (1)

goldgin (1218596) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435259)

He talks as if every other country resides on a different enemy planet. If people talked like that now they would be considered terrorists...

That globe graphic did my head in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40435287)

That map projection that morphed into a globe was horrible - since when is the center of USA also on the equator?

And in 1985 (2)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435319)

quality of life was better. Kids actually went outside and played on a regular basis. Physically playing, not 3DS or iPad games... or facebooking each other on the "information superhighway".

They rode bicycles without a helmet -- nanny state hadn't passed mandatory helmet laws for bicycles back then -- and didn't die! And no, 60% of kids weren't obese and didn't have diabetes back then.

Re:And in 1985 (1)

tbird81 (946205) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435651)

Was quality of life better?

I'd love to be a kid nowadays!

Re:And in 1985 (2)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435727)

quality of life was better. Kids actually went outside and played on a regular basis. Physically playing, not 3DS or iPad games... or facebooking each other on the "information superhighway".

They rode bicycles without a helmet -- nanny state hadn't passed mandatory helmet laws for bicycles back then -- and didn't die! And no, 60% of kids weren't obese and didn't have diabetes back then.

Actually, one of my friends in the early 80's fell off his bike and hit his head, and while he didn't die, he ended up spending a few days in the hospital (he was trying to show us how long he could ride a wheelie). He hit his head hard and lost consciousness.... there was a bloody spot under his head. Fortunately this was when neighbors actually knew each other, so the rest of us ran to the nearest neighbor's house (leaving him laying alone on the road!) and she called for help (but not 911 since that predated 911 in our town, most people in town had a bright orange sticker with the EMS number on their phone - something like "257-0257"). And many people still had to literally "dial" the phone.

He suffered a serious concussion but escaped more serious injury. Had he been wearing a helmet it's likely that he would have just gotten back on his bike.

I think bike helmet laws for children are a good thing and as an adult, I always wear my helmet on my bicycle and my motorcycle.

Re:And in 1985 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40435853)

Well I know someone who rolled out of bed and hit their head, so I think that helmets should be compulsory in bed too.

Re:And in 1985 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40435765)

You forgot the "and get off my lawn!", gramps.

Did anyone else notice...? (2)

mianne (965568) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435559)

One thing they definitely got wrong in this production was the direction the earth rotates on its axis.

Get Real! (4, Interesting)

gnu-sucks (561404) | more than 2 years ago | (#40435827)

Alright, so let's say the example in the video took place today:

Company 1 in Europe has an idea for a part and contacts Company 2 in America to produce it:

1) Company 1 googles and finds the name of a company in America to produce the part. They call the American company and it takes two hours to wade through the phone system menus and leave several voice mails and wait for a reply.

2) Company 1 can't give any details without a signed NDA, and because of requirements from the company's lawyers, the NDA has to be faxed over, signed, and faxed back.

3) Once they agree to work together, company 1 wants to send company 2 a copy of the design.
3a) The email bounces because it was typed wrong due to international spelling differences
3b) Once the email stops bouncing, it is picked up by a spam filter and nobody ever sees it
3c) Since the email had a large attachment, microsoft exchange choked and the server admin had to come in on the weekend and rebuild the databases
3d) After that, Company 1 decides to just put the file on an internal FTP server.
3e) Company 2 isn't able to use FTP in windows without downloading a program from the internet, which involves getting permission from the IT department, registering the program with the developer, convincing the anti-virus software to allow the ftp program to run, etc etc
3f) The server at Company 1, an older machine not frequently used, isn't firewalled correctly by an unintelligent cisco firewall product, and fails to correctly open the reverse datastream. The files never arrive, as the connections hang.
3g) Company 1 gives up and uses Dropbox.
3h) The files arrive at Company 2, but they are also intercepted by some Russian and Chinese hackers that easily evesdropped into their dropbox using a script inserted several months ago to look for interesting keywords.

4) Many months pass, and finally the prototypes are shipped over to Europe, where it is discovered, the Americans did not convert metric units to English units correctly for each portion of the project, and nothing screws together.

5) The hacked data is leaked to the highest paying competitor.

The other futuristic situation, about the doctor, is equally obnoxious these days if you factor in HIPPA, incompatible data formats, and even lower IT standards.

Let's face it, this started off as a great idea and became something quite different.

Thought experiment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40435923)

Replace the guy in the video with Mitt Romney. Damned funny.

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