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The Internet

Predicting the Internet in 1995 285

Rexdude writes "Here is a list of predictions from 'The Internet' magazine at the end of 1994. It highlights the major changes and events on the net as it was back then (20 million users only, for starters). Seems a throwback to a relatively more innocent time, when the unwashed masses had not taken over the net as much as today. And look at the reverence accorded to long dead protocols like Gopher!"
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Predicting the Internet in 1995

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  • by User 956 ( 568564 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @12:48PM (#17445836) Homepage
    Here is a list of predictions from 'The Internet' magazine at the end of 1994.

    So back then the internet was a magazine, eh?

    (magazine also happens to be my favorite book)
  • by EggyToast ( 858951 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @12:48PM (#17445842) Homepage
    I like how the only thing that's even remotely relevant today is that Nethack is still around and still entertaining. The complaint about the Web's organization has been solved mostly by the fact that there's a lot of stuff you don't want to find anyway!
    • A few gems in there. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) <slashdot...kadin@@@xoxy...net> on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @12:56PM (#17445974) Homepage Journal
      Well I thought this one was particularly prescient:
      Conflicts between local and global Internet jurisdictions will become more pronounced, especially over censorship issues. How will prosecutors in Tennessee go after posters from Denmark?

      A very good question indeed. Pity he didn't pick prosecutors in New York going after posters from Russia... let's hope the question remains unanswered.

      It was also interesting how many of the 'big questions' in 1994 are now forgotten. Like SLIP versus PPP -- now, most people couldn't even tell you what either of them are. It went from being a big question, to a decided fact, and then faded into irrelevance. Now there's just "the Internet," and most people don't think about how they connect to it with their modem, if they use a modem at all. I wonder if HD-DVD vs BluRay will look the same way, in 10 years of hindsight?
      • by RAMMS+EIN ( 578166 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @01:38PM (#17446652) Homepage Journal
        ``Like SLIP versus PPP -- now, most people couldn't even tell you what either of them are.''

        That may be true, but PPP is still widely used (I don't know about SLIP). I use it when connecting to the Net through my mobile phone. Surfing the web over a GPRS link feels just like the old times. :-)
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Practically everyone who uses xDSL also uses PPP... encapsulated in ethernet frames. So PPP is still around.
      • HD-DVD vs BluRay (Score:3, Interesting)

        by skiingyac ( 262641 )

        It was also interesting how many of the 'big questions' in 1994 are now forgotten. Like SLIP versus PPP -- now, most people couldn't even tell you what either of them are. It went from being a big question, to a decided fact, and then faded into irrelevance. Now there's just "the Internet," and most people don't think about how they connect to it with their modem, if they use a modem at all. I wonder if HD-DVD vs BluRay will look the same way, in 10 years of hindsight?

        Considering also how VHS vs. Betamax looks today (I can't remember the last time I bought a VHS tape)... mainly over convenience (no rewinding, etc.) and quality/durability.

        In probably less than 10 years video on demand plus larger capacity flash media will make HD-DVD vs. BluRay irrelevant... also mainly over convenience and quality/durability.

        Convenience - no need to buy/store/insert/etc. a "big" physical disk, if you want to bring it to a friend's house load it on your ~50GB USB stick on your keychain,

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )
          I think you're missing the point on this. You'll pay for every viewing under that model, if they get their way. This may not be a bad thing for adults (How many times could we possibly watch the Matrix or LOTR trilogies anyways?;) but think of your kid watching The Wiggles shows at least 100 times each.... All of a sudden, the death of (HD)DVD/Blu-Ray seems way overblown.

          I do not believe that "lifetime" subscriptions will occur anytime soon. The MPAA/RIAA models are trying to move towards pay per play, or a
    • Missed a few. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @12:57PM (#17446010)
      > I like how the only thing that's even remotely relevant today is that Nethack is still around and still entertaining.

      I dunno. Kenny Greenberg's comments seemed to hit pretty hard:

      Worst:

      Prediction:

      • There will be a concerted effort by the U.S. Congress to regulate content on the Internet.

      And as a reminder for those of you who got your hopes up in November of 2006 -- you might want to look at who was President in 1994. Hint: His last name wasn't "Bush".

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jandrese ( 485 )
        Dude, he's from the EFF, they say that every year. I appreciate what the EFF does, but they are always predicting doom and gloom just around the corner.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by RAMMS+EIN ( 578166 )
          ``I appreciate what the EFF does, but they are always predicting doom and gloom just around the corner.''

          And they're right, too.

          "The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds. The pessimist fears this is true."
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Tackhead ( 54550 )
        And since I didn't close those quotes properly, let's try that again. The first link in my quoting of the Greenberg comments was supposed to refer to the

        ...which was the legislation that contained CALEA, the legal wedge through which the present (omnipresent? :) surveillance infrastructure has been driven over the past twelve years and three Presidential administrations.

      • And as a reminder for those of you who got your hopes up in November of 2006 -- you might want to look at who was President in 1994. Hint: His last name wasn't "Bush".

        Funny, there weren't presidential elections in 2006, so I don't know why you'd relate congressional elections back to Bush and Clinton. The congress has remained under the same leadership for those 12 years, however, and the vast majority of issues Slashdot cares about are handled either by the FCC, Congress, or the Justice Department. Only one of those is affected by the executive branch, and they've had other things to keep them busy these last few years (trampling on our civil liberties, primarily).

        Cong

      • And as a reminder for those of you who got your hopes up in November of 2006 -- you might want to look at who was President in 1994. Hint: His last name wasn't "Bush".
        And as a reminder for those of you who got your hopes dashed in November of 2006 -- You might want to look at who controlled congress in 1994, and you might also want to read up on the constitution where you would find that Congress writes the laws, the president merely signs them or vetoes them.
    • I was playing Nethack last night. Granted I was using the isometric graphical interface mod. Nethack hasn't been updated in a while though.
    • Except now it's called $World_Of_Warcraft =~ s/entertaining/crack addiction/g; # ?

  • by shirizaki ( 994008 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @12:49PM (#17445856)
    There will always be porn on the internet.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by simm1701 ( 835424 )
      Queue dancing WoW characters

      (search youtube for WoW and "the internet is for porn" if you missed the reference - sorry I can't post the link but the corp firewall blocks youtube)
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      I'm fairly sure that if they took all the porn off the Internet, there'd only be 1 website left, and it would be called "Bring Back The Porn."

      -Dr. Cox, 'Scrubs'
  • Gopher isn't dead! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Firefox even supports it natively. Here's a gopher site [floodgap.com] you can visit today.
    • Firefox even supports it natively. Here's a gopher site [floodgap.com] you can visit today.

      And here's another one [quux.org]. Even The WELL still has its gopher [well.com].

      • by digitalfilmmaker ( 935507 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @01:16PM (#17446306) Homepage
        Gopher rocked. I got on the net in '93 and I loved Gopher. I hated the web until I saw it using Mosaic. But Gopher compared to the early Lynx was no comparison, it was hard to find the links, and it was disorganized. Where Gopher was easy to navigate, and very structured. And then I saw the web with pictures, and I instantly got it.
      • Well in the eyes of the Mozilla foundation, gopher may still be alive and well, but according to Microsoft, it's dead. I just tried accessing the sites you linked with IE and none could be displayed. Mozilla may still support it because they like fuzzy animals like foxes and gophers.
      • by wsanders ( 114993 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @02:21PM (#17447370) Homepage
        Long dead protocol my ass. We had one running to support a legacy application until a few months ago, when I went through my normal legacy application decommissioning routine:

        1) Ask if anyone is using app.
        2) No response
        3) Turn app off
        4) Six months later, turn app back on because it's "mission critical".

        So three months and the clock is still ticking....
    • by Knara ( 9377 )
      Sadly the U of MN (where Gopher was written) no longer has a Gopher node.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by kaszeta ( 322161 )
        Sadly the U of MN (where Gopher was written) no longer has a Gopher node.

        Sadly? Heck no. Having been a systems administrator at the U of MN for several years during Gopher's declining years, I had to suffer through entirely too much Gopher-related nonsense:

        1. For several years they wouldn't let us run a web server unless we made the same content available via Gopher.
        2. An entire year of internal bickering about whether or not the University should charge licensing fees for Gopher.
        3. If you weren't at the
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Troy Baer ( 1395 )
          It wasn't just U. of Minnesota, either. In '94 or '95, I had a couple people from Ohio State's Academic Computing Services department tell me that "this web thing is just a fad" and that I shouldn't bother with it, because the OSU physics department had just cancelled their web project with CERN... They were adamant that Gopher was going to take over the world.
    • ``Gopher isn't dead!''

      No, but the maintainers of the client code are. At least, I heard that you _really_ don't want to be using MSIE with Gopher these days. Not that you should want to use it for anything else, of course. I just mentioned IE, because I don't know about other Gopher clients.
      • by homb ( 82455 )
        Firefox works as a Gopher client.
        I just clicked on a Gopher link from Safari, and it opened Firefox, which duly went and grabbed the gopher 'page'.

        Ah the memories.
  • I was impressed that so many of the predictions hit on security and government regulation/censorship issues.
  • by vistic ( 556838 ) * on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @12:51PM (#17445900)
    I have a book from 1995 or so called "The Internet Yellow Pages" which seems to claim it lists every site on the Internet. It's about two inches thick and arranged by topic. There's sort of an even mix of Usenet newsgroups, gopher sites, telnet, WWW, listserv, and FTP.
    • I've heard of that book, it even came with a copy [helenice.com] of the internet on a floppy disk...
      • by rlp ( 11898 )
        > I've heard of that book, it even came with a copy of the internet on a floppy disk...

        No, that's wrong. Back then, the internet was a truck, instead of it's current form as a series of tubes.
    • My brother actually bought the book (admittedly, it was on sale). A fascinating index of every web site on the planet.

      A year later there was so much of a boom that portals like Yahoo became relevant.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I had a copy of that. I also bought "The Internet White Pages" that year... because it listed my email address!
      • I'd be really impressed if you still used that address. (Even more so if you have a better than 1/500 ham to spam ratio.)

        (Not that it would be hard: I got my current address about two years later...)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      When I was on one of my school breaks around '95 or '96, I temp'd for a couple of guys who were attempting to compete with Yahoo! Their plan: Buy every book like that, hire a bunch of temps, and have them manually enter everything into one ginormous html page. I don't think they ever got very far with that. But hey, I was making 15 bucks an hour for work that nobody would ever check. : p
      • by vistic ( 556838 ) *
        Hahaha, that's hilarious :-)

        I guess they never figured this whole thing would grow at such a rate. I wonder what other business ventures they came up with and how they fared in the dot com boom/crash.
  • Ah... well do I remember the days of TSR's hate-on for its fans! I missed the DikuMUD scenario, but if it was like the others, I'm sure it was dramatic.
  • by klenwell ( 960296 ) <klenwell@gm a i l . com> on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @12:52PM (#17445914) Homepage Journal
    Frink: I predict that within 100 years computers will be twice as powerful, 10,000 times larger, and so expensive that only the five richest kings in Europe will own them.

    Apu: Could it be used for dating?

    Frink: Well, technically, yes, but the computer matches would be so perfect as to eliminate the thrill of romantic conquest.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by RAMMS+EIN ( 578166 )
      ``Apu: Could it be used for dating?

      Frink: Well, technically, yes, but the computer matches would be so perfect as to eliminate the thrill of romantic conquest.''

      OkCupid [okcupid.com] does a fairly good job at that. Bonus points for the first slashdotter to find my profile. ;-)
  • Mercury Site: Remote tele-excavation via the Web. An interdisciplinary team at the University of Southern California has made available Mercury Site, a World-Wide Web server that allows users to tele-operate a robot arm over the Net. Users view the environment surrounding the arm via a sequence of live images taken by a digital camera mounted on a commercial robot arm. The robot is positioned over a terrain filled with sand. A pneumatic system, also mounted on the robot, allows users to direct short bursts

  • WWW (Score:5, Interesting)

    by spellraiser ( 764337 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @12:55PM (#17445952) Journal

    Under the list Worst in Net Entertainment:

    The organization of the World-Wide Web. I love the Web, but finding something specific on it is a nightmare. And because the Web is growing by leaps and bounds, I just don't see things getting easier anytime soon.

    How little they knew ...

    • Re:WWW (Score:5, Insightful)

      by slim ( 1652 ) <johnNO@SPAMhartnup.net> on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @01:13PM (#17446270) Homepage

      Under the list Worst in Net Entertainment:

      The organization of the World-Wide Web. I love the Web, but finding something specific on it is a nightmare. And because the Web is growing by leaps and bounds, I just don't see things getting easier anytime soon.

      How little they knew ...

      None of them predict search engines - because they were a genuine and unexpected innovation. I remember using the Web at around that time - before Yahoo attempted to create a directory, and Altavista produced their webspider-driven search engine. O'Reilly had a small directory of useful sites, but other than that the only way to find pages was by surfing from link to link, or by being given a URL out-of-band.

      I believe webspiders, and search engines built around data they collected, were the killer app that made the Web truly useful.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by drinkypoo ( 153816 )

        None of them predict search engines - because they were a genuine and unexpected innovation.

        "Smart searches. The first intelligent agent software packages will emerge, allowing Net users to ask for a specific piece of information like "What is the population of Fiji?" or "How far is Saturn from the Sun?" An agent will go out on the Net , find the information, and return it without the user knowing the source."

        They didn't envision google, but they did imagine ask jeeves. Well, except a version of it t

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Prof.Phreak ( 584152 )
        ...the killer app that made the Web truly useful

        The problem is that back then, when someone setup a site, they put effort into it. Links usually meant something. Now a days... do links really matter? Not really. Any wikipedia page has hundreds of links---most irrelevant. This page alone has many links---most irrelevant. All internet usage is driven by Google. The problem is that google uses those -links- to rank its content. So google made links irrelevant---and the lack of good links will eventually make
    • Actually, he was right-on.

      It would be upwards of 5 years before many people heard of 'Google'. Before then, it was a ridiculously labor intensive hassle to find what you wanted on the WWW.

      • Before then, it was a ridiculously labor intensive hassle to find what you wanted on the WWW.
        Remember, when you would search for the Lincoln Douglas debate on Webcrawler and get a bunch of returns for Porn and Kayaking?
    • Well, finding things on the Web was a nightmare for years to come. Even now that Google has made searching so much easier and more successful, the only thing that is certain is that you will not always find what you're looking for, even if it does exist.

      As a little anecdote, I had an experience like that just recently with my university. I was trying to find the document detailing the procedures pertaining to graduation, and two forms the student office had told me I needed to find out. Knowing from previou
  • by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) * on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @12:55PM (#17445958) Homepage Journal
    People think it's wonderful how much cool stuff there is out there on the net. Online games are insanely addictive. Major gripes include spam, government regulation and censorship, and how difficult it is to find the information you want. Flamewars over global warming. Seriously, change some of the names (replace Mosaic with Firefox, Nethack with WoW, etc.) and most of what's written here wouldn't raise an eyebrow today. Maybe the only thing that's really changed is that a decade+ ago, these phenomena seemed more worth commenting on.
    • Email spam has gone through the roof. Usenet seems a pretty ok place to be; at least the parts that I visit. The Web has increasingly become the prime source of information, or indeed the interface to life, displacing things like phone directories, yellow pages, newspapers and magazines. Other than that, things are pretty much as I remember them from 1995; new (AKA reinvented) things like blogs and AJAX notwithstanding.
      • by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) <slashdot...kadin@@@xoxy...net> on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @01:56PM (#17446926) Homepage Journal
        new (AKA reinvented) things like blogs and AJAX notwithstanding.

        Reinvented is right. The "blog" is nothing new; back in 1994 there were probably quite a few of them. Except that lacking the word 'blog,' people just called them 'home pages.' Lots of people used to update their home pages obsessively, just typing in updates to the static HTML from the top down, so older stuff got pushed to the bottom of the page. Eventually when it would get too long, you'd copy and paste it onto a separate page.

        What happened, IMO, is that HTML became too complex for the average person to deal with. (This was a combination of the complexity of creating a 'good looking' page increasing, and the technical skill of the average internet user declining.) There was a period of time when personal home pages almost died out, but then blogging software came out and allowed non-technical users to create pages without knowing any HTML.

        Similarly, whenever I (have the misfortune to) visit MySpace, it reminds me of the early days of GeoCities and its "free web site" predecessors. Lots of very bad HTML and aesthetically questionable color choices, mostly driven out of vanity.

        I think it's pretty safe that no matter where the technology goes, people are always going to want to write about themselves and the stuff they experience on a day to day basis; the tools and technologies for doing that will change, but the drive is always there.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by drinkypoo ( 153816 )

          What happened, IMO, is that HTML became too complex for the average person to deal with. (This was a combination of the complexity of creating a 'good looking' page increasing, and the technical skill of the average internet user declining.) There was a period of time when personal home pages almost died out, but then blogging software came out and allowed non-technical users to create pages without knowing any HTML.

          I don't think that's the problem so much as that people want to create glitzy, unreadable p

  • Wow (Score:3, Informative)

    by cribb ( 632424 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @12:59PM (#17446038)
    Andrew, let me have your time traveling machine.

    Andrew Kantor
    (ak@mecklermedia.com)

    Best:

    * Media coverage. Sure, some of that coverage seems clueless, and some of it focuses; foolishly, but not surprisingly; on the seedier side of the Net (such as pornography and electronic stalkers). But 1994 saw the Internet finally hit the mainstr eam. Time and Newsweek now routinely print letters received through e-mail, and more importantly, it's no longer a novelty. The coverage in magazines on the supermarket check-out line has helped make the other "best" things possible.
    * On-line shopping. The other best sign that the Net has hit the mainstream. Flowers, pizza, condoms, lobsters, books, music, and more are available, with other products sure to follow. Small companies can now have the same presence as larger ones. Who cares what neighborhood that bookstore is in?
    * No more secrets. With more and more people on-line around the world, it's hard for anyone to get away with anything. Sure, a lot of things make their appearance in alt.conspiracies, but the Net has finally come into its own as a news source for the masses. It's no longer strange to hear, "I heard on the Net that Paul's going to have an affair on 'Mad About You.'"
    * New providers, more products, and more books. The Internet is proof that capitalism works, and never has that been shown more than in 1994. Big companies like Netcom and AlterNet compete with local providers like Panix, Pipeline, and the Well. Consumers have more choices than ever in access providers, software, and reading material. As usual, the best succeeded and the rest are ending up on the bargain shelf.

    Worst:

    * Government intervention. They ruined the railroads and the phone companies, and now they're after the Internet. It works like this: Something is good, and private companies are selling it and making it work. The government decides it's a "right," and subsidizes one of those private companies to give it to people who can't afford it. The subsidized company soon runs the competition out of business and becomes a sponsored, sanctioned monopoly. The process has started with the Internet under the guise of "making the Information Superhighway available to everyone." It may sound good at first, but it's a bad idea. We may look back at 1994 as the beginning of the end of the high-quality Net.
    * America Online. It let its users onto the Net with only the barest bit of training or preparation. It provided software that made it difficult for even the most savvy user to behave with proper netiquette. But the worst offense is that AOL, like other major on-line services, is taking from the Internet without giving back. Major providers like Alternet, Netcom, and PSI not only put users on the Net, they make available Gopher servers, FTP-able files, and other resources. AOL, CompuServe, and Prodigy are only just beginning to do that, and to be proper net.citizens they must make more substance available to the rest of the Net.
    * Canter and Siegel. A cheap shot, true, but still one of the worst events of 1994. It's more than simply the fact that they annoyed a few million users in more than 100 countries without showing remorse. The almost-disbarred-from-Tennessee lawyers gave the idea to others, and made people see marketing and sales opportunities that simply don't exist.
    * Zealots. They're the people who have decided that they have the right to regulate; with threats or force if necessary; what is available on the Net.

    Predictions:

    * Cancelbot wars. As spamming and the spam-killing cancelbots become more widespread, people will find their Usenet News messages canceled by someone who simply doesn't like them. Cancelbot software will spread, as people begin editing out opposing view
    • "* Government intervention. They ruined the railroads and the phone companies, and now they're after the Internet. It works like this: Something is good, and private companies are selling it and making it work. The government decides it's a "right," and subsidizes one of those private companies to give it to people who can't afford it. The subsidized company soon runs the competition out of business and becomes a sponsored, sanctioned monopoly. The process has started with the Internet under the guise of "m
      • Microsoft is a monopoly all on its very own, thank you very much. No government intervention needed there.

        I made this mistake yesterday and was gently corrected, so I will now pass the same favor on to you.

        Microsoft could not exist without copyright law.

        Copyright law is provided and defined by the government.

        Microsoft is a government-granted monopoly.

  • Is this real? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by shumacher ( 199043 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @01:01PM (#17446068)
    I was on the internet back then, much as, I suspect, a significant portion of slashdot users. The facts seem about right, but the writing makes me wonder if the article is a hoax.
  • by kebes ( 861706 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @01:10PM (#17446210) Journal
    I've collected together the "prediction" comments from TFA into a list. Take a look:
    1. A World-Wide Web add-on, whereby category and file size can be assessed prior to file transfer, will be proposed.
    2. Software that handles virtually all network functions via one seamless interface will emerge and begin to dominate the commercial Internet marketplace.
    3. Internet access via ISDN will see a massive growth spurt.
    4. A protocol will be developed for smaller interest groups to form larger common-interest federations.
    5. UFOs will make contact with the Internet.
    6. Cancelbot wars. As spamming and the spam-killing cancelbots become more widespread, people will find their Usenet News messages canceled by someone who simply doesn't like them. Cancelbot software will spread, as people begin editing out opposing views and unfriendly ideas.
    7. More secrets. With more and more commerce being conducted through the Net, encryption will become necessary and common. Clipper will die, and something like PGP or ViaCrypt will be used by most people and businesses.
    8. Two new standards; the first for dial-in users, the second for commerce. Whether it's a SLIP or PPP process that all access providers will adopt, we'll see easy access in easy-to-use products. A standard also will emerge for secure monetary transactions, using some form of encryption, that will make people comfortable sending credit-card information over the wire.
    9. More bandwidth. A new transmission medium will be announced that offers a many-fold increase in speed and savings over the current offerings. An entirely new hardware technology will emerge that will eventually replace the T-3 and fiber-optic lines that carry much of the Net's traffic. Why? Because it must. The Net is overloaded as it is, and necessity has always been the mother of invention. Watch Bell Labs.
    10. Smart searches. The first intelligent agent software packages will emerge, allowing Net users to ask for a specific piece of information like "What is the population of Fiji?" or "How far is Saturn from the Sun?" An agent will go out on the Net , find the information, and return it without the user knowing the source.
    11. ISDN access will become a common standard for small office and home office access, allowing lots of new applications from conferencing to software distribution.
    12. Return of the editors. The CB radio effect; too much noise from too many people; will drive more people to moderated lists and newsgroups.
    13. Digital cash will bring home shopping and pay-per-view to the Internet, as well as new forms of asset protection, money laundering, and tax evasion.
    14. Conflicts between local and global Internet jurisdictions will become more pronounced, especially over censorship issues. How will prosecutors in Tennessee go after posters from Denmark?
    15. On-line politics will take off in a big way, with candidates for the 1996 presidential race making their positions available, soliciting funds, debating opponents, and forging postings from each other. Some campaign somewhere will get in trouble over dirty GIFs.
    16. Cancelbot wars will erupt on some newsgroups. Some disbarred attorneys will unleash a doomsday bot that cancels every Usenet message that does not refer to their green card services.
    17. I have one word for you: connectivity. As the nation unifies into a blob-like Web addict, the roar for faster connectivity will grow deafening. "An ISDN in every wall outlet, and a chicken in every pot!" to quote the precocious William Jennings Bryant.

    What's truly amazing is how accurate they are, overall. (At least in spirit if not in exact details, which is understandable.) For instance:

    • 2. Yes: web browser.
    • 3., 9., 11. and 17. It's an obvious prediction, but bandwidth kept increasing as new technologies were implemented.
    • 4. Not so much a 'protocol' but the internet has been adapted to do just that in many different ways.
    • 6. and 16. Well newsgroups are no
    • by joggle ( 594025 )

      10. Yes: modern search engines. (Although possibly not as 'intelligent' as was hoped.)

      Actually, for simple questions like that it works just fine. See this search result [google.com] when asked how far Saturn is from the sun or this [google.com] to see the results for the population of Fiji. Answer: 905,949 (July 2006 Est.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      You missed a few matches.

      #1 - Category and File Size: Content-Type and Content-Length headers in HTTP describe these. Back in '94, everything was just text/html, text/plain, or multipart/alternative (or so it seemed).

      #2 - Integration/Domanation: NOT just the web browser. The software he predicted happened the very next year: Windows '94 + Internet Explorer 4. Remember, back in '94 we were still playing with Trumpet Winsock, Crynwr drivers, blah de blah just to get our damned copies of NCSA Mosaic up and run
    • #4: RSS. Not a protocol, but a format. Close enough.
      #8a: The easy access ended up coming, oddly enough, in the form of PPP with MSCHAP. Pretty much everyone supports it today and it provides better security than ordinary cleartext password authentication.

    • 10. Yes: modern search engines. (Although possibly not as 'intelligent' as was hoped.)
       
      I'd say they're about as intelligent as hoped; At least as expressed in #10. Google pretty much nails it.

      "What is the population of Fiji?"
      Google's reply: Fiji -- Population: 905,949 (July 2006 Est.)

      "How far is Saturn from the Sun?"
      Google's reply: Saturn -- Distance From the Sun: Mean: 1427 million KM (9.539 au.) Max: 1507 million KM (10.069 au.) Min: 1347 KM (9.008 au.)
  • ... That Al Gore will be the leading cause of global warming. :P
  • AOL (Score:2, Funny)

    by dagamer34 ( 1012833 )
    Wow, they knew AOL was bad in 1995! Too bad they didn't warn the masses.
    • Wow, they knew AOL was bad in 1995! Too bad they didn't warn the masses.

      If I recall correctly, AOL and AOL Users were always been considered bad. Even back then.
      I did briefly use it before my campus apartment was wired into the University LAN back in the day. It was like just connecting to a big gateway instead of the internet. I am not sure if its still like that or not.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Vellmont ( 569020 )

        If I recall correctly, AOL and AOL Users were always been considered bad. Even back then.

        AOL users were considered to be a mass invasion, especially on the insular world of USENET. There was always a problem with "newbies", often at the beginning of a school year, but the numbers were small, integrated rather quickly, and tended to be a lot more techno-savy than the AOL users turned out to be. Just look at USENET postings from around that era and you'll see people ranting about AOL users and this strange
    • ``Wow, they knew AOL was bad in 1995! Too bad they didn't warn the masses.''

      They did, of course. But they didn't write the warning in all caps, so AOLusers didn't hear it.
    • Believe me, we tried...
  • When my university newspaper decided to go online back in 1994, there was a serious debate about whether to use the web or gopher. The web was a cool new toy (Ooh! *Pictures*!) but hardly anywhere on campus except the computer lab had a connection fast enough to make practical use of it. Plus people were vastly more familiar with gopher.

    A year later every dorm room was networked and gopher was history. It was a pretty stunning shift.

    I'm pretty glad the newspaper didn't invest a lot of time and effort, in 19
  • They were right! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by billdar ( 595311 ) * <yap> on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @01:18PM (#17446346) Homepage
    From TFA under predictions:

    UFOs will make contact with the Internet.

    They were right! [ufoevidence.org]

  • by Deinhard ( 644412 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @01:25PM (#17446458)
    Worst Internet omen: Home Shopping Channel joins the Internet.
    It's interesting to note that the impending eCommerce boom would be considered a "worst omen."

    Then, later on...
    Commerce on the Internet. Whether it's junk e-mail or inappropriate postings to your favorite Usenet group, commercial ventures are here to stay and are finding the Internet a pretty pleasant place to do business. The good news is that we're the pioneers of this medium and we get to help sculpt it into something we like. The bad news is that some people just aren't listening. Can you really get rich quick, after all?
    Now, twelve years on, did we actually get to "sculpt it into something we like" or did the Internet just take on a life of it's own and evolve into the entity that we now have? Also, the answer to the last question in the quote is "Yes...but you can also go broke quick."
    • did we actually get to "sculpt it into something we like" or did the Internet just take on a life of it's own and evolve into the entity that we now have?

      I feel that this is a false dichotomy. By its peer-to-peer nature (in spite of the best efforts of most ISPs to put an end to that) you simply don't have to deal with the parts of the internet you don't like, aside from having packets delivered. This is why net neutrality is so important.

      Now, if we lose the net neutrality war, then yes, the internet

  • In five-and-a-half years, when people still aren't buying set-top boxes, vendors will realize that it wasn't because of high prices, rather that people don't want to gamble, date, or watch videos "on demand."


    Never say never eh.

    • I thought this prediction wins the award for the most off the mark. Sure, the others missed things like search engines, but if I read it right, this guy said that people don't want to use the Internet for dating (wink wink nudge nudge), gambling, and video on demand.
  • Diplomacy. Avalon Hill's board game Diplomacy is a classic that fits the Internet like a hand in a glove, and that's why there are zillions of e-mail games going on as we speak; not to mention discussion groups, Gopher sites, Web pages, and quite a few utilities. Modern-day Machiavellis will find their electronic home right here (in rec.games.diplomacy).

    They got this one right, but I think web 2.0 fits it even better than e-mail. (then again I'm a bit biased [kuliukas.com])

  • Good times (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Al Al Cool J ( 234559 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @01:34PM (#17446588)

    I remember those days well. I had home dial-up at 2400 baud, but it was metered and expensive, and I could only afford 20 hours a month.

    Then I discovered that my old university's library catalog had a BBS dial-in interface for anybody with a valid student number (easily skimmed from numerous sources on campus). Buried in the catalog system was a primitive gateway to the library's gopher pages, and while it wouldn't let you enter an arbitrary URI, I was able to find the right sequence of links to me to any gopher site on the net.

    Then I found an http-gopher gateway that gave me primitive access to the web. From there I found an nttp-http gateway that gave me access to USENET, including all the binary groups. Jackpot!

    Man, I downloaded a lot of free porn that summer.

    • by joshetc ( 955226 )
      Whats that come to, like 10MB? Must of been one crazy summer...
    • by Zak3056 ( 69287 )
      Just curious, but does the university that you're talking about happen to be Columbia? I ratehr fondly recall digging through their system (at 1200bps!) in a manner similar to the one you describe (minus the porn.)

  • It's simultaneously hard to believe that this was only 12 years ago, and that 12 years is all it's been. Is anyone else recounting their grey hairs right about now?
    • by joshetc ( 955226 )
      Isn't "only" a sufficient synonym for "all its been" making both situations the same? I think I see what you mean though. It's been such a short amount of time it warrants being called short twice. Like that 2 foot tall super-midget back in high school..
  • Not too wrong... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hoplite3 ( 671379 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @01:44PM (#17446730)
    For the most part, they aren't too wrong. Sure they're obsessed with ISDN, but only because it seemed like the only fast internet solution at the time. Other predictions, like better web browsers, were inevitable anyway. And they certainly nailed the fact that the TCP/IP stack would become common equipment in the next generation of OSes.

    But they really liked usenet. The web forum has supplanted it, but they didn't really see that. http is the monster protocol that gobbled up almost all of the web functions. One poster talks about an application evolving that encapsulated all of the internet protocols in one easy interface. The modern webbrowser is pretty much that, with webmail, webforums, and built in (but less functional) ftp clients.

    There are some predictions that are still up in the air. Do people prefer moderated content? It's hard to say. Sure, lots of people read cnn.com, but lots of people post on unmoderated forums, or use myspace, or other "user-generated" content.

    I think the biggest thing they missed was data-mining. They thought people had to be involved in searching for information, in moderating content, etc in a centralized way. Using links, pageviews, user reviews, and user moderation some systems can organize themselves. (This isn't to cast doubt on experts. I still prefer a good editor to 1000 monkeys.)

    And I guess one more thing: the whole idea of "everybody" is silly on the net. If a million people use usenet, it's still useful. The fact that ten or a hundred times more people use some sort of webforum is in many ways irrelevant. Both exist side-by-side. The first list on the article listed online Diplomacy as a fun game on the net. It still exists, probably with about the same number of players. Not anywhere near some flashgame sites in traffic, sure, but that doesn't change anything.
    • Sure they're obsessed with ISDN, but only because it seemed like the only fast internet solution at the time.

      It's a great prediction because ISDN and DSL both suck ass. SDSL is slow and all other DSL is both asymmetric and asynchronous, thus further contributing to the demise of the peer-to-peer internet. ISDN of course was both slow and expensive, at least in most markets. Before the mergers recently, SBC offered flat-rate ISDN for like $80/mo, with internet access, etc. Today SBC-Pacbell (dunno about

  • by VincenzoRomano ( 881055 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @01:48PM (#17446786) Homepage Journal
    Security. The Net and people on it don't have good security yet. Reusable passwords, service providers that just don't care, SMTP port 25; the Net is full of holes that need technical and social fixes.
    Just replace "SMTP port 25" and "the Net" with "Windows OS" and you have a prediction for ... year 2070!

Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself. -- A.H. Weiler

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