Five Years Ago
This week in 2010, as is so often the case, there were lots of stupid and/or troublesome moves in the entertainment world. Hollywood was still making up statistics about piracy for the AP to parrot, Warner Bros. was working on a confusing release strategy that favored Blockbuster Video, Universal Music was funding another propaganda campaign against file sharing, and Sony Music somehow managed to take down Beyonce’s official videos for piracy. Viacom’s true intent in its YouTube lawsuit became clear — pretending that the DMCA requires filtering — and the band MGMT, following a leak of its album, was blocked by its label from releasing the official version for free. Additionally, FIFA was attacking an airline over an ad that didn’t even mention FIFA, and the Olympics was trying to block ICANN from offering a .sports TLD. Amidst all this, we also wondered why the government can use the term “music piracy” in court.
This week also saw the full ACTA draft leaked to the public, raising serious constitutional questions. The UK was still grappling with the Digital Economy Bill, making extremely weak concessions to due process while some noted that it sets up a China-like censorship system. And while pushing for this bill that would enable kicking people offline, the government was also looking at moving all public services online.
Ten Years Ago
2005 was when Hollywood really started getting the FBI on board as its private police force. The movie business was even more confused then than it is now, with bizarre aims like trying to become more like the IRS, and muddled strategies like advertising on Grokster while also suing it. The Chinese film industry was realizing that movies are a social experience, while the US television industry was trying to figure out if TV really is. (Broadcast TV still wasn’t digital, by the way). People were acknowledging the deaths of plastic discs and newsprint and trying to figure out what would come next, Clear Channel was hopping on the podcast bandwagon, and the world was starting to notice the unexpected impact of Skype.
Fifteen Years Ago
This week in 2000, we were looking to the future. Some were discussing the new input devices heading towards the market, others were making better fiber-optics; Intel was showcasing VR, speech recognition and more while scientists were making unexpectedly fast progress on quantum computing; the convergence of phones and PDAs was on the horizon, as was the ascendance of ebooks. And China began taking its first baby steps towards the great firewall with a slew of new internet regulations.
Despite all this, one global survey found that 40% of people just didn’t really care about the internet or have any interest in using it.
Twenty-Two Years Ago
My first family computer, when I was very young, had an Intel 286 processor. Eventually we upgraded to a 386, then a 486, and then we waited for the next iteration. The pattern was so well-established that I continued to casually call my first Pentium a “586” for quite some time. Why am I telling you all this? Because it was on March 22nd, 1993, that Intel released the very first Pentium processor, choosing that name because they were unable to secure a trademark on the numerical names and didn’t like the fact that competitors were using them too, as with the AMD Am486. The name itself was coined by the same branding company that came up with BlackBerry, PowerBook, Zune, Swiffer, Febreze, DeskJet, Dasani, OnStar and many other brand names.