Comedy gold: 1981 news report explores magical journalistic breakthrough

posted at 1:15 pm on January 29, 2009 by Allahpundit

Via Breitbart, it’s 10 months old but new to me. Stick with it, as it gets funnier towards the end as they touch on the economics of this promising new medium. Hauntingly prescient exit quotation: “We’re not in it to make money.”

Breaking on Hot Air



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The 80’s were ok. It was the late 70’s that blew! That’s when DISCO came in. Liesure Suits! Disco! Dick heads! My favorite hang out in Iowa City went from a long-hair hippy bar to a DISCO joint over one summer in 75. When my buddy and I stumbled back into it one night we almost had a nervous breakdown…

sabbott on January 29, 2009 at 4:02 PM

I had one of the first IBM personal computers. Modem….what modem? The first services that I was able to sign up for was Prodigy.

The 1980s music was before rap and was better in my opinion.

SC.Charlie on January 29, 2009 at 4:04 PM

Many at the time were not into it for the money. Then the killer application came Visicalc

SC.Charlie on January 29, 2009 at 4:12 PM

Rap was the early 1980s: Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Sugarhill Gang, Kurtis Blow… You know, before rap blew.

Beagle on January 29, 2009 at 4:14 PM

The computer class at my high school consisted of one keyboard, one phone-cradle modem and a teletype machine. What code we typed in went by modem to the Denver Public schools mainframe and then the results came back to us on the teletype.

Flint Stone on January 29, 2009 at 4:16 PM

That old guy in the clip said it’d be a great benefit to print out the online paper for later reference. That was all before they found out the resourcefulness of the memory hole.

Coronagold on January 29, 2009 at 5:05 PM

Exxon made computers in the ’80’s.

BHO Jonestown on January 29, 2009 at 5:21 PM

So are Ron Jeremy’s, and he’s a porn star too. You might want to enhance that description a little.

Oldnuke on January 29, 2009 at 3:37 PM

I don’t have to prove my sex-I have a man already!
You are just jealous! LOL!

Badger40 on January 29, 2009 at 5:27 PM

I really love the end. The Drive By Media getting it wrong again.

Big Orange on January 29, 2009 at 5:30 PM

“Owns home computer”

mikeyboss on January 29, 2009 at 5:31 PM

What is actually hilarious about this is in the underlying truth to the whole news article: They basically let themselves fall behind the curve. They (print media) did nothing to shape the beast that has ate them.

It is kinda like the scourge of Islam in some dark way.

jdubya on January 29, 2009 at 5:31 PM

Wow- a TRS 80 (aka “Trash 80”) from Radio Shack, and acoustic coupler (at maybe 1200 baud, tops).
I remember my Dad bought a TRS 80, had to “boot” from a cassette tape (15 minutes) and told me that one day, that he upped the memory to 16k of RAM. bragging rights indeed!
And in 10 years, or less, people will look at what I have as basically flint and steel.

Amendment X on January 29, 2009 at 5:52 PM

What your people call magic, my people call technology.

5u93rm4n on January 29, 2009 at 6:02 PM

Service in Ohio is Compuserve. I still have an active mail account with them. The account is 23 years old! It was the only service you can log into from around the world. The civilized forum and life of a Sysop!

MikeRossTky on January 29, 2009 at 6:17 PM

Shall we play a game?

badpenguin on January 29, 2009 at 6:17 PM

CompuServe Ahh…. Before we wrote “Micro$oft”… we wrote “CI$”… usually on a 300 baud modem while logged onto a competitor, like GEnie…

darkpixel on January 29, 2009 at 6:30 PM

Ah for the days of the 110baud modem, teletype and APL!! Learning on an IBM mainframe from junior high in the ’70s, using one of the last of the teletype terminals before they went to AppleII’s then an Atari 400 with 300baud modem at home in college… fun was had! I remember getting the reams of paper from my father who worked at Westinghouse where they only used one side of the paper… and employees could take home the results by the box load.

Fast forward to 1994 and NYT, WaPo and many another were telling those of us at Seybold Seminars that they would figure out this computer distribution idea RSN… got that at nearly every session of Seybold up to ’99… then something started to happen to those promises of ‘figuring it out’.

They didn’t hear the advice of Frank Ramano, just didn’t bother to listen to the man who was the RIT industry acknowledged guru of future technology. I know. I was there. The newspapers were already going down in circulation due to cable tv in the ’80s and that was after the buying spree of the ’70s to see many cities go to ‘one newspaper towns’. Now they cry as many cities are starting to move into the ‘zero newspaper town’ category.

They couldn’t figure out BIX or CompuServe or Prodigy… or email… actually they still can’t figure that last out based on what sort of non-responses you get from newspapers these days. This broadcast was the report of the large bore rifle that fired its shot at sub-sonic speeds. The impact hit just a bit later. Now the beast is stopping realizing its brain has been shot out. Soon, very soon, it will be extinct. Just like the penny broadsheets. Just like hand illuminated manuscripts.

Mind you the forums on the ‘net are only a smidge better than they were in the ’80s.

ajacksonian on January 29, 2009 at 6:49 PM

Acoustic coupling – ahhhhhh good times.

gbear on January 29, 2009 at 7:58 PM

Meh! That will never catch on.

ronsfi on January 29, 2009 at 9:04 PM

Didn’t see the first page, but did anybody else catch that “of the 2 to 3 thousand home computer owners in the Bay Area”? What amazes me is that I lived through that era and I’m not that old.

AZfederalist on January 29, 2009 at 9:29 PM

1982 I had an Apple II+ to run the inventory in my store. It saved me a ton of money as my partners were ripping me off. When I computerized the inventory it scared the crap out of them. Cut my losses a lot. I knew enough programming to throw an extra line into the inventory program that screwed it up so they couldn’t change anything when I wasn’t around. The fact that they couldn’t even run the computer scared them even more. Eventually, they were gone, thank god. The computer is still up in my attic, though. I’ll bet it still works, too.

trigon on January 29, 2009 at 9:31 PM

One of my good friends worked for a company called Mountain Computer. They built a bunch of specialty boards for Apple in the early 80’s like a clock board and a music synthesizer board. They also built a 20 meg external hard drive. The thing was bigger than a toaster and it cost about $2000 if I remember right. We used to laugh about that drive at the time because nobody would ever need that much hard drive space.

trigon on January 29, 2009 at 9:39 PM

A blast from the distant past. Good one Allah.

Zorro on January 29, 2009 at 9:43 PM