Videos

You are currently browsing the archive for the Videos category.

You hear that Iran has sentenced a female activist to a year in prison for attending a men’s volleyball game, and it seems like the same old, a country trapped in oppressive patriarchy and backwardness. But there are some hopeful signs, both with negotiations over nukes at the top and in life below the surface. It’s hard to trust but equally difficult to completely turn away. From “The Revolution Is Over” in the Economist:

“For now, Iran is disliked and mistrusted across much of the democratic world. Terrible things have been done in the name of its revolution. Some of its leaders have denied the Holocaust. They have locked up and tortured citizens who dared to challenge them openly. The country really could be set on having a bomb. But while the world has been cut off from Iran, it has failed to notice how much Iranians have changed. No longer is the country seething with hatred and bent on destruction. Instead, the revolution has sunk into the disillusion and distractions of middle age. This is not always a nice place, perhaps, but not a Satanic one, either.

To be sure, Iran is hard to fathom. It often makes visitors feel unwelcome. Journalists who have been able to obtain a precious visa still leave with a sense of uncertainty as few Iranians feel free to speak their mind. For years the government even refused to share information with the World Bank. John Limbert, an American diplomat held hostage in Tehran in 1979 who served his country until 2010, points out that ‘almost nobody in Washington has been to Iran in decades.’

Yet the country has unmistakably changed. The regime may remain suspicious of the West, and drone on about seeding revolutions in oppressor countries, but the revolutionary fervour and drab conformism have gone. Iran is desperate to trade with whomever will buy its oil. Globalisation trumps puritanism even here.

________________________

Iran just 35 years ago:

Tags:

Among people I’ve discussed art history with (and I’m far from an expert), Francis Bacon is the name who usually provokes the most visceral reaction–and often not a positive one. Here’s a long-form 1966 Bacon interview conducted by David Sylvester.

Tags: ,

Malcolm McLaren, the late rotter, introduces Conan O’Brien, in 1995, to his punkish insouciance.

Tags:

The Aloft Hotel in Cupertino currently employs a single robot butler to deliver sundries to its many guests, but soon there’ll be an army of such dumb smart waiters in all lodgings. As the poet of despair once sang: “The bell hop’s tears keep flowing / The desk clerk’s dressed in black.” From Matt McFarland in the Washington Post:

“The situation usually plays out like this. You’re unpacking in a hotel room and realize you forgot something. Rather than trek to whatever store might be near, you call the front desk and ask for a razor, toothpaste or whatever you need. The hotel then sends someone up with the delivery.

Except for the Aloft Hotel in Cupertino, Calif, which will begin using an R2D2-esque robot for such trips. Fittingly, Aloft’s parent company, Starwood Hotels, tests the latest technology at the Silicon Valley hotel. Guests can enter their rooms with a smartphone app and bypass the traditional check-in process at the front desk.

For now, only one robot will shuttle around the hotel’s hallways in a pilot program, but Brian McGuinness, global brand leader at Starwood’s Speciality Select Brands, expects multiple robots in the halls of all of Aloft’s locations by early 2016.

The robot, which Aloft is calling the Botlr, is capable of safely riding elevators and navigating winding hallways. Botlr uses a camera and sonar to map out the hotel so it isn’t smashing into walls or falling down unanticipated steps. An elevator was retrofitted to communicate wirelessly with Botlr. The elevator car alerts Botlr that it’s in the lobby and safe to board. Botlr then boards, and passes on what floor it wants to travel to.”

Tags: ,

Appropriately trippy 1979 ABC News report about the U.S. government’s attempts across three decades to not just know its citizens’ thoughts but to actually control them. There was a Truth Drug Committee, CIA experimentation with LSD and mushrooms on unwitting Americans and Manchurian Candidate-esque goals. Ultimately it aided the establishment of the 1960s counterculture.

Tags:

In his TED Talk, “New Thoughts on Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” Thomas Piketty has good and bad news. The good: Wealth inequality, although severe now, is not as deep as a century ago. The bad: The shrunken wealth gap post-World War II was an outlier, not a norm that will reestablish itself for any long period under the present system.

Tags:

In a 1974 People article, Joan Oliver profiled Peter Benchley after his novel Jaws had become a huge bestseller, but before anyone knew that its adaptation would forever change Hollywood. An excerpt:

“The book is the tale of a great white shark which cruises Long Island’s South Shore, gobbling up unwary swimmers, while a resort town’s police chief, civic leaders and citizens battle angrily over which is more important—the safety of the residents or the tourist-based economy of the swank community in its high season.

Jaws grew out of young Benchley’s fascination with sharks, triggered by family swordfishing expeditions off Nantucket. ‘We couldn’t find any swordfish,’ he recalled recently, ‘but the ocean was littered with sharks, so we started catching them.’

As Benchley became a successful journalist—reporter on the Washington Post, free-lancer for such magazines as Life and The New Yorker, an editor of Newsweek—his shark-watching continued. In the 1960s he capitalized
on his interest with two magazine articles, not long after a 4,500-pound great white shark was taken off Long Island’s Montauk Point. A few years later he was assigned to do a piece about Southampton—Long Island’s tony watering place. Benchley remembers thinking, ‘My God, if that kind of thing can happen around the beaches of Long Island, and I know Southampton, why not put the two together.’

The star attraction of Benchley’s book is the marauding monster whose savage attacks Benchley describes with horrifying clarity. On the fate of a child snatched from a raft, he writes: ‘Nearly half the fish had come clear of the water, and it slid forward and down in a belly-flopping motion, grinding the mass of flesh and bone and rubber. The boy’s legs were severed at the hips, and they sank, spinning slowly, to the bottom.'”

________________________

“I wrote a novel about a great white shark”:

Tags: ,

A trio of videos by (or about) Finnish philosopher, technologist and electronic music pioneer Erkki Kurenniemi. The first, about the next evolution, is from Mika Taanila’s 2002 documentary about the theorist, The Future Is Not What It Used to Be; the second is Kurenniemi’s own 1964 short, “Electronics in the World of Tomorrow”; and finally a demonstration of one of the DIMI synthesizers he created.

No, we’re not living yet in a world of fully autonomous driving, but Elon Musk tells Bloomberg TV about his very aggressive timeline for when that will occur, which suggests, I suppose, that smart cars will not necessarily need smart roads.

Tags:

At Grantland, Steven Hyden has a smart article about Los Angeles Plays Itself, one of my favorite movies. A documentary about the role of the “most photographed city in the world” in film and on television during the twentieth century, Thom Andersen’s long-form survey is brilliant, insightful and fierce. An excerpt from Hyden:

“An exhaustive, exhausting, funny, trenchant, and frequently cantankerous work of film criticism and social commentary, Los Angeles Plays Itself was envisioned as a double feature, Andersen said. When viewed this way, the first half plays as a witty observational comedy and the second half as an impassioned political docudrama. Andersen starts off by griping about L.A. movies the way only a longtime Angeleno would: He nitpicks Alfred Hitchcock for setting several films in the San Francisco area and none in Los Angeles, and Sylvester Stallone for taking undue ‘geographic license’ with local streets for the car chases in Cobra. It’s not just a matter of realism — though Andersen is a stickler for realism. He’s an unabashed L.A. partisan who bristles at any perceived anti–Los Angeles sentiment, starting with the nickname ‘L.A.,’ which he finds diminishing.

‘People who hate Los Angeles love Point Blank,’ he says of John Boorman’s 1967 psychedelic noir, though he does express sardonic appreciation for Boorman’s taste in garish decor, which ‘managed to make the city look both bland and insidious.’ He’s less forgiving of how filmmakers always put their villains in the city’s modernist architectural masterworks. The work of John Lautner has been especially exploited in this regard, finding favor among Bond villains in Diamonds Are Forever and Jackie Treehorn in The Big Lebowski.

If Andersen were just a provincial crank, Los Angeles Plays Itself would peter out well before the second act. But his eccentric narration also sticks some weirdly insightful landings, like when he compares the bare-knuckled fascism of Jack Webb’s Dragnet TV series to the austerity of Ozu and Bresson, or marvels at how the supposed dystopia of Blade Runner is actually ‘a city planner’s dream’ of bustling streets, bright neon, and easily traversable aerial highways. ‘Only a Unabomber could find this totally repellent,’ he observes.”

Tags:

Marshall McLuhan and artist and ace typographer Harley Parker enjoyed a bull session in 1967’s “Picnic in Space,” which focused on meanings that shifted as spaces changed, a process that has speeded up exponentially in the years since it was shot, as many brick-and-mortar forms have gone digital. Film informed by the work of Warhol, Lichtenstein and Godard.

Years before the World Wide Web was created and the Internet became a thing for us all, when we could all be found in a search engine, psychologist Theodore Roszak could see where things were heading: He knew the emergence of personal computers was fetishizing information and knowledge was becoming secondary. While he thought it fine that airplane reservations were computerized, he believed the algorithmic future posed a danger if info was more important than experience and morality. As he pointed out, “All men are created equal” isn’t supported by a body of fact but is as important as any linchpin of America. Of course, Roszak doesn’t mention that relying on an algorithmic-supported truth can also remove bias from an equation.

In 1986, Jeffrey Mishlove interviews Roszak about the oncoming information onslaught.

.

Tags: ,

Four years ago, I began telling you about Joe Angio’s Revenge of the Mekons documentary, which was then just in its Kickstarter phase. Now it’s a completed, critically acclaimed movie about the legendary punk band, has played numerous festivals and is ready to begin its run at Film Forum in New York, the city’s best cinema. It’s scheduled for five showings daily from Wednesday, October 29 through Tuesday, November 4. (Buy tickets online at the theater’s site; I’ll leave a link at the top of the front page so that you can get there easily.)

Revenge of the Mekons is a movie that combines rock music, independent filmmaking and journalism, the second, third and fourth worst career choices possible. (Fuck you, Radio Shack clerk!) It’s a profile of a complicated and revolutionary group which refuses to go away after 37 years and continues evolving and making great music. It’s also a testament to maintaining focus on what’s important regardless of changing fashions (and the same can be said of the film itself).

Take a look at the trailer.

In addition to watching an exciting film, you’ll also witness a number of special guests introduce various screenings, including Mekons Jon Langford and Steve Goulding, The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn and the great critic Greil Marcus. Jonathan Franzen, who’s featured in the movie, is not scheduled to introduce a screening because he has Jonathan Franzen money, so fuck you. But one of my favorite writers, Luc Sante, will present a showing because he does not have Jonathan Franzen money. You’ll recognize Sante as he’ll be the one dressed like a Bolshevik, muttering something about an 1890s Bowery barber who severed a customer’s tongue with a straight razor. Nice and normal, Luc.

And I promise that if you go see this movie at Film Forum, I will never, ever mention it again.

Until the home video release.

Thanks, Darren.

We sell Victrolas.

Might I interest you in a Victrola?

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Do people still consider Marshall McLuhan to be so many mumbles the way they did when he fell from grace, without cause, by 1980 or so? He wasn’t always right, but the theorist was no Nostradamus, whose writing needs to be spun like an angel on the head of a pin to appear to be right. McLuhan was more correct about the looming Information Age than anyone. From Paul Herbert’s Pacific-Standard piece, “The Medium Is the Message: 50 Years Later“:

“TWENTY YEARS AGO, IN the introduction to a re-print of Understanding Media, renowned editor Lewis H. Lapham wrote that much of what McLuhan had to say made a lot more sense in 1994 than it did in 1964, what with two terms of Reagan and the creation of MTV. Twenty years after that, the banality of McLuhan’s ideas have solidified their merit. When Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer, for example, compared the expansion of big data to the planet developing a central nervous system, that’s McLuhan. When Chief Justice John Roberts opined that an alien from Mars might mistake the smartphone as an integral feature of human anatomy, that’s McLuhan, too. In 2014, it’s hard to overstate McLuhan’s prescience.

‘People who don’t like McLuhan in the academic world are either lazy, stupid, jealous, or some combination,’ says Paul Levinson, a professor of communication and media studies at Fordham University, where McLuhan taught for a year in the late ’60s. ‘McLuhan wasn’t into commonsense, reasonable propositions. He liked looking at things in a poetic, metaphoric way.’

And it’s true: McLuhan had a penchant for speaking in riddles and rhymes that might baffle at first, but grow into epiphany if given the chance. His rhetorical style was hyperbole. He didn’t shy away from playing the holy fool, as Wired would later call him, and on a number of occasions claimed his mission was simply to probe the new terrain, not come back to camp with answers.”

__________________________

McLuhan with Tom Wolfe, one of his champions, in 1970:

Tags: ,

Those who still believe privacy can be preserved by legislation either haven’t thought through the realities or are deceiving themselves. Get ready for your close-up because it’s not the pictures that are getting smaller, but the cameras. Tinier and Tinier. Soon you won’t even notice them. And they can fly.

I have no doubt the makers of the Nixie, the wristwatch-drone camera, have nothing but good intentions, but not everyone using it will. From Joseph Flaherty at Wired:

“Being able to wear the drone is a cute gimmick, but it’s powerful software packed into a tiny shell could set Nixie apart from bargain Brookstone quadcopters. Expertise in motion-prediction algorithms and sensor fusion will give the wrist-worn whirlybirds an impressive range of functionality. A ‘Boomerang mode’ allows Nixie to travel a fixed distance from its owner, take a photo, then return. ‘Panorama mode’ takes aerial photos in a 360° arc. ‘Follow me’ mode makes Nixie trail its owner and would capture amateur athletes in a perspective typically reserved for Madden all-stars. ‘Hover mode’ gives any filmmaker easy access to impromptu jib shots. Other drones promise similar functionality, but none promise the same level of portability or user friendliness.

‘We’re not trying to build a quadcopter, we’re trying to build a personal photographer,’ says Jovanovic.

A Changing Perspective on Photography

[Jelena] Jovanovic and her partner Christoph Kohstall, a Stanford postdoc who holds a Ph.D. in quantum physics and a first-author credit in the journal Nature, believe photography is at a tipping point.

Early cameras were bulky, expensive, and difficult to operate. The last hundred years have produced consistently smaller, cheaper, and easier-to-use cameras, but future developments are forking. Google Glass provides the ultimate in portability, but leaves wearers with a fixed perspective. Surveillance drones offer unique vantage points, but are difficult to operate. Nixie attempts to offer the best of both worlds.”•

Tags: , ,

I don’t know if it will happen within ten years–though that’s not an outrageous time frame–but 3-D printing will automate much of the restaurant process, making jobs vanish, and will also be common in homes as prices fall. The opening of “Is 3-D Printing the Next Microwave?” by Jane Dornbusch at the Boston Globe:

“Picture the dinner hour in a decade: As you leave work, you pull up an app (assuming we still use apps) on your phone (or your watch!) that will direct a printer in your kitchen to whip up a batch of freshly made ravioli, some homemade chicken nuggets for the kids, and maybe a batch of cookies, each biscuit customized to meet the nutritional needs of different family members. 

It sounds like science fiction, but scientists and engineers are working on 3-D printing, and the food version of the 3-D printer is taking shape. Don’t expect it to spin out fully cooked meals anytime soon. For now, the most popular application in 3-D food printing seems to be in the decidedly low-tech area of cake decoration.

Well, not just cake decoration, but sugary creations of all kinds. The Sugar Lab is the confectionary arm of 3-D printing pioneer 3D Systems, and it expects to have the ChefJet, a 3-D food printer, available commercially later this year. Though tinkerers have been exploring the possibilities of 3-D food printing for a few years, and another food printer, Natural Machines’ Foodini, is slated to appear by year’s end, 3D Systems says the ChefJet is the world’s first 3-D food printer.

Like so many great inventions, the ChefJet came about as something of an accident, this one performed by husband-and-wife architecture grad students Liz and Kyle von Hasseln a couple of years ago. At the Southern California Institute of Architecture, the von Hasselns used a 3-D printer to create models. Intrigued by the process, Liz von Hasseln says, ‘We bought a used printer and played around with different materials to see how to push the technology. One thing we tried was sugar. We thought if we altered the machine a bit and made it all food safe and edible, we could push into a new space.’ More tweaking ensued, and the ChefJet was born.”

___________________________

Walter Cronkite presents the kitchen of 2001 in 1967:

Tags: , ,

You know that famous 1967 clip of a woman shopping online? Here’s a 21-minute segment of the film it’s from, “Year: 1999 A.D.” The Philco-Ford featurette follows the fictional Shaw family, led by the astrophysicist/botanist dad (played by game-show host Wink Martindale), who is employed on a Mars colonization project. Life tomorrow was to be computerized, monitored, networked, automated, centralized and quantified. It was supposed to be a bountiful technotopia “full of leisure.” If the Internet isn’t lying to me, McCabe & Mrs. Miller cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond shot it.

Wink recalls the film:

I previously posted the audio of the “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out” speech Timothy Leary delivered at UCLA in 1967, and here’s the video of the spirited LSD debate he participated in with Dr. Jerry Lettvin at MIT a few months later. In his remarks, Leary lambastes scientists and technologists devoted to manufacturing entertaining diversions. (Thanks to Open Culture.)

Tags: ,

Nobody calls anymore: It’s all texts, tweets and emojis. Phones are ever-more sophisticated, but most functions are silent. There are attempts, however, to remake the 135-year-old tool to fit the more fluid demands of what is becoming a post-voice world, though privacy may again suffer collateral damage. The opening of “Brave New Phone Call,” a just-published Medium piece by Steven Levy, the leading tech journalist of the personal-computing era:

“It is a gorgeous late summer afternoon, and I am sitting with Ray Ozzie in his spacious home office in Manchester-by-the-Sea, 30 miles up the coast from Boston. The software visionary who created Lotus Notes and who later succeeded Bill Gates as Microsoft’s chief software architect, is explaining to me how the humble phone call is not dying, as many might believe, but is busy being reborn.

It’s not an abstract subject for the 58-year entrepreneur. For the past few weeks I have been using the app his company is announcing today, called Talko. It’s a weird, almost magical, combination of phone calling, text messaging, virtual conferencing and Instagram-ish photo sharing. Depending on how you view it, Talko is three or 39 years in the making.

At one point, Ozzie wants to show me something on the app. We both pull out our iPhones and connect with each other; actually, in that moment, we reconnect to a conversation we’ve been having all month that’s been recorded and archived in the app. I think my editor might be interested in the discussion, so we expand the conversation to include him. He’s unable to join us at the moment—I should have known, because the app lets me see that he’s walking around somewhere on the West Coast—but I shoot a photo for him to look at anyway, and Ozzie and I continue talking. Later, my editor will listen to that part of conversation and see the picture at the moment we shot it. And he’ll have the option to comment, perhaps kicking off a longer discussion down the road, either by convening us together in real time or continuing in the same piecemeal fashion as today.

That’s a typical Talko phone call—mixing presence and playback for a totally new experience. God knows that the old experience of a phone call is getting tired.

A few days later, to note the irony of it all, Ozzie sends me a photo in the same ongoing conversation. It’s a plaque in downtown Boston, a block from a Talko engineering office there:

BIRTHPLACE OF THE TELEPHONE
Here on June 2, 1875, Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas A. Watson first transmitted sound over wires.

That phone call represented an amazing advance in communications. But Ozzie considers it equally amazing that in the 139 years since ‘Mr. Watson, come here,’ phone calls haven’t changed much.”

________________________________

Debut of the Picturephone, 1970:

Tags: ,

On the final day of the 2014 Major League Baseball regular season, here’s a repost of a ridiculous artifact from the sport’s past.

Bazooka Joe: Eye lost to knife fight on pier.

In 1975, Joe Garagiola hosted a remarkably stupid and wonderful bubble-gum blowing competition among baseball players, which was sponsored by Bazooka, a brand of gum favored by hobos during World War II. One entrant was Philadelphia catcher Tim McCarver, whose head was the size of a medicine ball. The moment the contest ended, the players went in search of the nastiest groupies they could find.

Why the fuck did the soon-to-be-single Bruce Jenner do it to himself? Here he is in 1976 becoming the greatest athlete in the world, before the divorces, the Village People, the cosmetic surgeries and the Kardashians–before he performed reverse alchemy, going from gold to plastic.

From a 1980 People profile of Jenner at 30, just as his first marriage ended: “At the 1976 Summer Games in Montreal, Bruce Jenner won the gold medal in the decathlon and became the great American Olympic hero—perhaps the last of the line, given the parlous state of the Olympics today. He was lionized shamelessly. He and wife Chrystie were invited to a state dinner at the White House. His was the face on the Wheaties box. He apparently learned from the amazing vanishing act of Mark Spitz. 

Today Jenner endorses everything from lines of shoes and sporting clothes to 10-speed bicycles and weight-lifting equipment. He has a syndicated sports advice column and a sky-high deal to advertise Minolta cameras. He didn’t pass his screen test for Superman, but makes his movie debut in June in Allan Carr’s Can’t Stop the Music (co-starring Valerie Perrine and the Village People). He has co-authored a spectators’ handbook to the Lake Placid Olympics. He has a sports commentator’s contract with NBC that will take him to Moscow if the American athletes go. He is negotiating with NBC to produce a couple of made-for-TV movies. He makes big bucks on the lecture circuit (‘I’ve just raised my price—it separates the men from the boys’), mostly from corporate audiences. And when others might grab for the Geritol, Jenner, at 30, feels on top of the world. ‘I’m very fortunate,’ he says smugly. ‘I now no longer have to do things I don’t want to do.’

But Bruce’s decathlon of life since 1976 has taken atoll. One casualty is his seven-year marriage to Chrystie, who worked as a United stewardess to see him through the grueling training that led to the Olympic gold. ‘Chrystie didn’t like the whole public scene,’ explains Bruce tersely.”

Ray Harroun won the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911, but he wasn’t alone. The automobilist will forever be crowned the inaugural winner, but fellow driver Cyrus Patschke also handled the wheel of his car, the Marmon Wasp, for a spell, a maneuver common to drivers in early auto races who wanted to take a breather. Ralph Mulford, another entrant who drove his vehicle all by himself for the race’s duration, was actually considered the more impressive driver, and protested Harroun being named winner. The complaint, though, wasn’t directed at Harroun employing a “relief driver,” but rather the fact that Mulford received the checkered flag first, and while he was running several extra laps just to be sure that he’d completed enough tours of the track, Harroun made his way to the winner’s circle. The historic moment had left Mulford in the dust.

An article about the soon-to-be-run race in the May 28, 1911 Brooklyn Daily Eagle, which featured the comments of driver Ralph DePalma:

____________________________________

In 1961, Harroun appeared on What’s My Line? fifty years year after his most famous moment:

Tags: , ,

Even by the oft-eccentric standards of your garden-variety cyberneticist, Warren Sturgis McCulloch was something of an outlier. Known for his purported diet of cigarettes, whiskey and ice cream, the MIT genius was the proud father of 17 adopted children. More than six decades ago he was extrapolating the power of then-rudimentary machines, concerned that eventually AI might rule humankind, a topic of much concern in these increasingly automated times. The below article from the September 22, 1948 Brooklyn Daily Eagle records his clarion call about the future.

_______________________

In 1969, the year before McCulloch died, his opinions on the Singularity had changed somewhat.

Tags:

On the day after the People’s Climate March, I think it’s clear that though we’ve yet to reach a tipping point in terms of green-energy use, hearts and minds have been won. Wallets and bank balances are soon to follow, as alternative power is going to keep dropping in price the way fossil fuels never could. From Vivek Wadhwa at the Washington Post:

“In the 1980s, leading consultants were skeptical about cellular phones.  McKinsey & Company noted that the handsets were heavy, batteries didn’t last long, coverage was patchy, and the cost per minute was exorbitant.  It predicted that in 20 years the total market size would be about 900,000 units, and advised AT&T to pull out.  McKinsey was wrong, of course.  There were more than 100 million cellular phones in use 2000; there are billions now.  Costs have fallen so far that even the poor — all over world — can afford a cellular phone.

The experts are saying the same about solar energy now.  They note that after decades of development, solar power hardly supplies 1 percent of the world’s energy needs.  They say that solar is inefficient, too expensive to install, and unreliable, and will fail without government subsidies.  They too are wrong.  Solar will be as ubiquitous as cellular phones are.

Futurist Ray Kurzweil notes that solar power has been doubling every two years for the past 30 years — as costs have been dropping. He says solar energy is only six doublings — or less than 14 years — away from meeting 100 percent of today’s energy needs. Energy usage will keep increasing, so this is a moving target.  But, by Kurzweil’s estimates, inexpensive renewable sources will provide more energy than the world needs in less than 20 years.  Even then, we will be using only one part in 10,000 of the sunlight that falls on the Earth.”

______________________________

1976: “It may hold the solution to the energy problem.”

Tags:

I posted this remarkable 1978 footage on the site a couple of years ago when it was briefly available. It shows the mysterious new world that was booting up inside the Palo Alto Byte Shop, one of the outlets in Paul Terrell’s early personal computer retail chain.

It makes me a little sad, though, that just for a brief, shining moment, the machinery and not merely the content, was in the hands of the users. Now it’s a top-down affair again, with consumers eagerly awaiting the next product announcement from Apple.

I don’t mean to disparage the amazing tools we’ve been handed, but I think that’s part of the problem: They’ve been handed to us. Perhaps our use of these tools would be more productive and less narcissistic if more of it had been the product of our own hands. Maybe the Maker culture will proliferate and change all of that.

Tags:

« Older entries § Newer entries »