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The Latest: July 19 1996
Holy Moley,where the heck has Rheingold been hiding? Did he get a life?
No way! Would I do that to you?
The reason I haven't been obsessively tweaking my web pages is because I went and jumped off the deep end. I created a company, raised some bucks, gathered a top-notch, worldwide, hell-bent-for-html crew, and we plan to spend the rest of our lives tweaking a WHOLE BUNCHA pages. I'm not ready to say much more about it, but if you check out Electric Minds you'll get a leetle taste of what the new thang is gonna look like. And you'll have the opportunity to put your address on an e-mail list so we can notify you when we are ready to fire up this new enterprise.
I'll tell you one thing about it: It will succeed or fail because of you. What we build next is entirely up to all of us. Stay tuned. When the time comes, hop aboard and join the fun.
June 2 1996
- Tomorrow takes a look at the introduction of the Internet in rural America, specifically, the San Luis Valley of Northern New Mexico, where Dave Hughes claims "The Net has been the biggest change-agent to hit the San Luis Valley since the pickup truck."
May 27 1996
May 8 1996
May 7 1996
- Is this the dawn of the post-human era? Are we leaving our bodies behind in our rush into cyberspace? These are questions worth asking today, especially by enthusiastic cybersymbiotes like me -- and readers like you, who are viewing this message through your web browsers. But nobody who has taken up the sword against the digital life has convinced me thus far that they know a cyborg from a hole in the ground. Mark Dery's new book, "Escape Velocity," changes all that. I interview Dery in the latest Mind to Mind.
April 27 1996
- MUDs and MUSES can be time-sucks, or they can be educational environments, depending on who wields the tool and why they wield it. Today's Tomorrow is about Pueblo, a MUSE in one of the poorest school districts in Phoenix, Arizona, where teachers and kids and parents use their text-based virtual realities as peer-to-peer teaching tools.
April 21 1996
- In 1983, I got my first bank loan to get an IBM XT with 64K RAM and a five megabyte hard disk. I bought a 1200 baud modem for $500 and started surfing, ten years before the World Wide Web was created. In 1984, the year the Macintosh debuted, I wrote this in Tools for Thought:
Online interactive communities are evolving right now, all around the world, through the wholly voluntary efforts of teenagers with modems, traveling business people with briefcase telecomputers, information utilities, computer bulletin board systems, and telecommunes of every stripe...
The dispersal of powerful computer technology to large segments of the world's population, and the phasing in of the comprehensive information-processing global nervous system that seems to be abuilding, are already propelling us toward a social transformation that we know very little about...
In the final chapter, Xanadu, Network Culture, and Beyond, I tried to look a decade ahead, to the era of hypermedia and networked nations. The last paragraph of the book still makes sense today. Indeed, it seems even more urgent now.
April 5 1996
- Today's Tomorrow is about the new technical capability that enables law enforcement to tap thousands of telephones at the same time, a technological advance that gave the FBI the technical power to multiply their ability to snoop on citizens' communications a thousandfold. Less than one thousand Federal wiretaps were granted last year; now, without many people noticing, the FBI demanded from Congress, and was granted, the power to build and a system capable of monitoring thousands of calls at once. The bill for installing the grandest surveillance machinery of all time is supposed to be charged to the taxpayers. It's known as Digital Telephony.
March 16 1996
- Mark Petrakis, advanced party scientist, inspired director, deranged collaborationist, human bean of many dimensions, blasts his way into Digital Zeitgeist and straight through Downtown Cybertown.The band's assembling. We're working our way to the jam.
February 21 1996
- Is online activism effective? Are many to many communications a hang-glider or the U.S. Air Force? The webwar against Mitsubishi by Rainforest Action Network is a case to watch, for Tomorrow watchers.
- If you are going to try to look ten years in the future, you get some things right if you are any good, and you get some things wrong, no matter what you do. Tools for Thought ages well, for the most part, as a 1985 forecast of what 1995 might be like. But my chapter on Knowledge Engineers and Epistemological Entrepreneurs missed the boat the real future happened to be on. Expert systems, ten years later, have not evolved to the degree some of us thought they would. The lesson I've derived: Look past the nomenclature.
February 18 1996
- On the day the Communications Decency Act was signed into law, I participated in the "24 Hours in Cyberspace" event. Through historic coincidence, those two events coincided. Rick Smolan, the organizer, faced a moral dilemma that night. His friend Dave Winer appealed to him to put some attention into the CDA protest. In response to Dave, I submitted an uncharacteristically hotblooded rant about democracy and journalism.
February 12 1996
February 11 1996
- Hallelujah and Shehechiyanu, I'm sitting on the lawn barefoot, laptop atop lap, once again, yeeeeeeHA! And it's not even mid-February yet. Swollen nubbins on the rose canes look ready to burst.
- With all this censorship bullshit in the air, I thought it was time to talk about some of the real people for whom the Net is a lifeline. The latest Tomorrow in online. Check it out and tell me if Marie Deatherage doesn't bring tears to your eyes.
February 10 1996
- Does the decentralized, ubiquitous nature of many-to-many communications make the Internet a perfect medium for disinformation? Luciano Floridi e-mailed me Brave.Net.World: The Disinformation Superhighway? his examination of this question, and gave me permission to post it here. It will leave you wondering where it's leading - a good thing to wonder these days. I'll leave a link stashed in the Virtual Worlds Linklist:
February 8 1996
- The background of my home page has been blackened for 24 hours, in protest of the signing of the notorious Communications Decency Act. An infamous day.
- Here's something unrelated: A new interview in Mind To Mind with John Duhring, who believes data-gathering in the clickstream is a sacred trust
February 4, 1996
- Several new goodies added today to the Virtual Worlds Linklist: A political diatribe about the California Ideology, in which Howard Rheingold is exposed as a utopian cult leader, a survey of 100 peer-reviewed journals in science, technology, and medicine, a book about Netizens, the Public Involvement Network, and an interview with Paul Virilio on the subject of cyberwar.
January 24, 1996
January 21, 1996
- January moves fast, doesn't it? I've been careening around the Western seaboard. For some of what I was doing, stay tuned during the commercials on Superbowl Sunday. Here's The Origin Myth of Wavey Davey, the latest Digital Zeitgeist report from London.
December 31 1995
- Whew! 1995 started out with the unveiling of my new travelling shoes. I guess I wasn't kidding about travelling! I took the Rheingoldian roadshow to Japan four times. Two separate trips to Europe: Paris-Amsterdam, and Geneva. New Brunswick. Atlanta. Banff. Toronto. Montreal. New York. La Jolla. Battle Creek. Burlington. Lotta miles. I guess a spent a lot of time tweaking Brainstorms, too.
I don't know who or what assigned me a planet where the sky is blue and the air is breathable, water is a liquid, food grows on trees, but I want to take the opportunity to say a big Thank You for A BIG FUN YEAR on Earth!
Apropos of tweaking Brainstorms, the last day of the year is an appropriate time for the latest report from My Guru, Justin Hall. Here's his view of the digital hotbed at Swarthmore
December 30 1995
December 23 1995
December 17 1995
If you do one thing for your country this year, do it now: Call President Clinton and tell him to veto S 652, the infamous Internet Censorship Act. Here's a Tomorrow column that explains why and gives you the right numbers to call and fax.
December 16 1995
- A bunch of new interviews with Rheingold by the Dutch, French, and Australian new-media press in Mind to Mind and a link to Mr. Rheingold's Neighborhood over in Salon, where my e-interview with Donna Hoffman first appears.
December 14 1995
- The Netizen Rally Against Internet Censorship happened today. I made a speech, took some pix, whipped up this report.
December 13 1995
- Demonstrations against Internet censorship will take place in New York, San Francisco, and Seattle tomorrow. I'll be speaking at the San Francisco rally, which takes place in South Park at noon, rain or shine. Over 20,000 people have reported to Voter's Telecommunication Watch that they faxed or called Congress. The protest has been extended for two more days. If you haven't called or faxed, it isn't too late.
- December, 1995 seems to be a time for citizens to hit the streets, in Europe as well as America: Annick Morel's lastest first-hand reports on the 18th and 19th days of the Paris strike include links to the latest Parisian strike-related websites.
December 11 1995
Tomorrow is the national day of protest against Internet censorhip. TUESDAY, DECEMBER 12 IS A DAY OF MASS ACTION. AMERICAN CITIZENS, FAX AND CALL CONGRESS BEFORE THEY FLUSH OUR RIGHTS DOWN THE TUBE! Check Voter's Telecommunication Watch for instructions and addresses. Check my Tomorrow column about Internet censorship if you want a quick briefing on the whole issue. If you send only one fax, send it to Newt Gingrich at 202-225-4656.
The latest chapter of Tools for Thought is up. This particular chapter is either a testament to my futurist instincts or my great good luck. The young unknowns I interviewed in 1983 for Brenda and the Future Squad included Brenda Laurel, who is now the well-known expert on the dramatics of human interface design, Jaron Lanier, the dreadlocked wizard who was instrumental in creating the virtual reality industry ten years later, and Scott Fisher, who was instrumental in jump-starting VR at NASA. Don't worry about my getting cocky. The next chapter will be the one where I looked at what an important trend expert systems and knowledge engineering was going to be. ;-)
December 8 1995
Paris might not be burning, but Parisians are. For on-the-spot reports and, of course, highly opinionated analysis, check out what Parisian Brainstormers
- Annick Morel and
- Lionel Lumbroso have to report.
December 4, 1995
December 3, 1995
November 28, 1995
- Four new juicy additions to the New Finds area of my virtual worlds resources list.: Two webconferencing communities, a linklist from a reader in Oslo, and a new rant about Jefferson and the Electronic Commons.
November 25, 1995
November 18, 1995
November 14, 1995
- Utopian Promise - Net Reality is a direct attack on the belief that the Net is "democratizing." I don't agree with the severity of this criticism (substitute the words "printing press" for all references to "Internet," to perceive one flaw in the argument), but I think every enthusiast of many-to-many communication ought to read it.
- I've also added a Cybercriticism category to my Virtual Worlds Resources page.
November 13, 1995
A couple of new developments. The first one is very serious.
- This isn't exactly Brainstorms, but it is new and Rheingoldian: Mr. Rheingold's Neighborhood debuts on Salon, the classy new webzine. My first episode features my review of Sherry Turkle's "Life on The Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet," a couple of excerpts, and a brief interview with the author. Look for a longer, unabridged version of the interview in Brainstorms in a couple weeks.
November 11, 1995
November 10, 1995
- Highways are growing intelligent. Or at least very well-informed. The price for shorter waits and fewer traffic jams, however, might be your privacy and mine, every time we get in our own cars and travel. The latest Tomorrow is about the need for privacy protection on intelligent highways.
November 5, 1995
In technology, as in other parts of life in the current universe, you can't get a sense of where you are going until you know where you came from.
November 2, 1995
- The award-winning and generally cool PBS program Frontline interviewed me at length for their recently broadcast program about cyberspace. Of course, most of what I said hit the cutting room floor, but you can read a transcript of the longer interview online. The CEO of Bell Atlantic said things about the way corporations will use the info our new media vendors will collect about us -- things that ought to raise the hair on the back of your head.
October 31, 1995
- As an incorrigible, congenital wearer of odd costumes, I appreciate the one day a year when I'm not the only person on the plane with planets and vines on my shoes. Within a month I'll begin posting transcripts of interviews I've been doing with various cyberfolk. Today, I'm the one on the hot seat: the transcript of a telephone interview of Howard Rheingold, conducted by David Kelsey, is on IBM Networking Forum of all places. I'll post a copy here after IBM has had its way with it.
October 28, 1995
October 26, 1995
October 22, 1995
September 26, 1995
- Just one more installment before I hit the road, another chapter from Tools for Thought. By now, a lot of people understand that the point-and-click computer interface of the Macintosh, Windows, and other personal computers was originally invented at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. Few people realize what a radical idea it was at the time. Chapter Ten, The New Old Boys From The ARPAnet tells the story of Bob Taylor, Alan Kay, Butler Lampson, and the others who created the first personal computers twenty years ago because that was the only way they were going to get them on their desks.
September 24, 1995
September 13, 1995
September 8, 1995
- The windows and icons on the screen you are looking at, the mouse in your hand, the idea of putting words on screen, of linking text and image and sound, the idea that computers could be used to extend the power of human intellect, was all invented by a young engineer by the name of Doug Engelbart as he drove to work one day in 1950. He saw in his mind's eye how computers and highly visual and tactile input-output devices could empower an entirely new system for collaborative work. And he's still at it! Read about The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Thinker, the latest installment in Tools for Thought.
September 6, 1995
September 5, 1995
September 4, 1995
September 1, 1995
- Breakthrough to new dimensions! I've revamped the Tomorrow menu to reflect recent expansions of Brainstormspace.
- Special new continuing feature is a hypercolumn, exclusively for Brainstorms, by scientist-author-web-publisher William Calvin: William Calvin Surfs The Science Scene.
August 30, 1995
- Hollywood and television have forever besmirched the term "hacker," but the people who first applied that term to themselves were not computer trespassers, but creative if eccentric geniuses who happened to invent in the nineteen sixties most of what is cool about interactive computing today. I knew someone who was a mascot of the original hackers at MIT, so I wrote about him in Tools for Thought. The latest chapter is up: Witness to Software History: The Mascot of Project MAC.
August 24, 1995
- Those of us who believe in the potential of virtual communities to help us build real communities and revitalize civic institutions owe it to ourselves to question our own assumptions. Neo-luddites such as Cliff Stoll and Sven Birkerts, however, have failed to reach deeper than a superficial analysis. The best critique I've found so far is Virtual Communities: Abort, Retry, Failure? published here with permission of the authors. For further reading about the shadow side of online life, I recommend "Resisting The Virtual Life," in traditional ink-on-dead-trees form from City Lights Press.
August 21, 1995
August 12, 1995
August 10, 1995
- Back from Tokyo in August, a case history in the urban effects of Global Warming. Here's another chapter from Tools for Thought. This one, Machines To Think With, is about J.C.R. Licklider, one of the few people in the world to see that computers could be used to help people do intellectual work.
- I succeeded in my quest for another chapter in the annals of Virtual Tokyo. This time I visited a Parisian-style websurf-and-sip-expensive Coffee joint, Cafe des Pres.
August 4, 1995
- Here's another chunk of Tools for Thought for you to think about for the next week: If you don't know the story of Claude Shannon and information theory, get thee to "Inside Information."
- I'm off to Tokyo again. Wot timing! This is the week that is so hot and muggy that a big part of the Tokyo population closes up the office and heads for the hills. I'll seek new sights for Virtual Tokyo,, QuickTake in hand.
August 2, 1995
My guru, Justin Hall, checks in with the first of his reports from the Justin dimension. It's a doozie. It's all about life in the Web age, about putting your life on the Web. You'll see why he calls it
August 1, 1995
Ahhh. A week on the river, completely out of range of all modern telecommunication technology. I've also been working on Snaketree for several weeks. Every Sunday when I'm in town, after finishing the gardening chores, I add some layers of glistening, viscous, toxic oil paint to the taut surface of a canvas. I've been doing it for years. Nowadays, however, I do something I never used to do. I interrupt my painting process every twenty or thirty brush strokes, pull out the QuickTake, and make a few digital snaps. It's up to about thirty frames now. When I'm finished, I'll make a little movie and upload it. Life is art!
Some newspapers are entering the Web age the right way. The latest Tomorrow is about the pioneering site from the Raleigh North Carolina News and Observer, NandOnet
What Was New & Rheingoldian, April - July, 1995
Howard Rheingold's Brainstorms