[The Rise and Fall of Wired] [Stephen Downes]

1. The Medium is the Message

Paul Boutin asks,
What specific Wired articles of yore do you feel represent this lost edge? You might even spend a minute getting their URL's from that new Archive we just put online, and post them here.
OK. Fair enough.

From Wired 1.01

"The medium, or process, of our time - electric technology is reshaping and restructuring patterns of social interdependence and every aspect of our personal life.

It is forcing us to reconsider and re-evaluate practically every thought, every action, and every institution formerly taken for granted.

Everything is changing: you, your family, your education, your neighborhood, your job, your government, your relation to "the others."

And they're changing dramatically."

- Marshall McLuhan, "The Medium is the Message" 1967

Is Interactive Dead? Wired 1.01 http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/1.01/interactive.html Interactivity is not about obscuring the game with layers of statistics or talking pictures of grandpa. People are still struggling with the concept.

Creating Creating. Wired 1.01 http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/1.01/creating.html All that "cutting edge" business cuts both ways - it's a knife that's all blade, no handle. Which is why they call it the bleeding edge.

War Is Virtual Hell. Wired 1.01 http://www.wired.com/archive/wired/1.01/virthell.html The virtual iron is hot. Want to see a real vision of the virtual future? It's a future in which large sections of the American military-industrial complex have migrated entirely into cyberspace. Remember Tank Commander?

Hacking Chips on Cellular Phones. Wired 1.01 http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/1.01/phreaks.html The philosophy of these phone hackers: Push the machines as far as they would go. Yeah. The ethos was not to steal. It was to push the limits.

The Incredibly Strange Mutant Creatures who Rule the Universe of Alienated Japanese Zombie ComputerNerds. Wired 1.01 http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/1.01/otaku.html Dubbed the otaku-zoku, or otaku for short, these are Japan's socially inept but often brilliant technological shut-ins. The edge is about globalism. Finding identity across the planet. We just don't see enough Japan in Wired any more.

Electrosphere: Techno-soaps and Virtual Theater. Wired 1.02 http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/1.02/brenda.html "I think interactive television is doomed. It's a dead end." This article was written before Manitoba spent tens of millions on ITV infastructure. Well - at least we can use the fibre to transmit data.

Obsolete Skill Set: The 3 Rs. Wired 1.02 http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/1.02/1.2_papert.html As long as writing was the only medium in town, schools did not have many choices. Here we have the idea that the new technology does not do old things differently, but rather, it does new things. Or put another way, media literacy is differentin a wired world. Hm?

Crypto Rebels. Wired 1.02 http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/1.02/crypto.rebels.html A report on the Pretty Good Revolution. In which we think about who owns all this technology. Before Microsoft decided to monopolize it.

Dish-Wallahs. Wired 1.02 http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/1.02/dishwallahs.html "There is no doubt," said a salesman for a New Delhi dish-wallah, "that anyone with 25,000 rupees (less than $1,000) can walk into the Lajpat-Rai market and walk out with everything they need to build their own cable television station." More globalism. We don't see anything about India in today's Wired.

Copywrong. Wired 1.03 http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/1.03/1.3_stallman.copyright.html In principle, we could do without record companies entirely. You gotta wonder whether Wired's new parents would even let them print such heresy.

Post-Capitalist. Wired 1.03 http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/1.03/drucker.html If the administration tries to prevent the old industries from restructuring themselves around knowledge, then the work will just be shifted offshore. As opposed to the New Capitalism being touted in such articles as the Long Bloom. Back when Wired understood that the economy will be transformed.

"The Dragon Ate My Homework"........ Wired 1.03 http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/1.03/muds.html "Many players notice that they are somehow different on the Net than off, and this leads them to reflect on who they are in real life." I don't know where she got the idea that they were banned in Australia. Some of my best mudding friends are from Australia.

Hacking the Material World. Wired 1.03 http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/1.03/tunnelers.html "Basically what you do is pick a building and go down to the lowest sub-basement and just start looking," This article came out around the time I was looking for a tunnel to the campus nuclear reactors. The less said about that, the better.

"I want to discuss another dinosaur, one that may be on the road to extinction. I am referring to the American media... And I use the term extinction literally. To my mind, it is likely that what we now understand as the mass media will be gone within ten years. Vanished, without a trace." - Wired 1.04
Home-grown BB$. Wired 1.04 http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/1.04/bbs.html It's unlikely we've yet seen the end of the bulletin board boom of the '90s. I shut down my BBS four years before this article, reasoning that long distance charges limited their effectiveness. I was right, but then, of course, BBSs linked to the internet...

Cyberpunk R.I.P. Wired 1.04 http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/1.04/1.4_cyberpunk.html Watch the skies for a new comet - it will be digital, and its tail is likely to glow in Technicolor swirls. It was called the World Wide Web, and the cyberpunk vision became reality.

Mediasaurus Wired 1.04 http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/1.04/mediasaurus.html large segments of the American population think the media is attentive to trivia, and indifferent to what really matters. They also believe that the media does not report the country's problems, but instead is a part of them. How ironic that the new Wired pays more attention to media than just about anything else. Right, Katz?

The End of the Party Line. Wired 1.04 http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/1.04/russnet.html Probably one of the greatest moments for the freshly minted Russian nets came during the attempted coup in August of 1991. Paul and I were driving through Minnesota that summer. I wanted a newspaper. "There's never anything new in the paper," said Paul. I bought a copy anyways. The headline read: Coup in Russia. But the best source for info is the Soviet Coup Archive.

Love Over the Wires. Wired 1.04 http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/1.04/lotw.html Suffice it to say: for communication-junkies, lying breaks the rules. it's axiomatic. This was before online romance becamean overhyped meme. But after several friends of mine had married their net sweethearts, and about a year before I met mine...

The Bucklands Boys and Other Tales of theATM. Wired 1.05 http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/1.05/atm.html It could have been anywhere in the country - which is why the unprecedented deployment of a bogus ATM at a mall in Manchester, Connecticut, east of Hartford, sent a jolt through the hearts of bank-machine users everywhere. I think we all have a fond story to tell about the time we talked the ATM into giving us more money than we actually had...

MindVox: Urban Attitude Online. Wired 1.05 http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/1.05/mindvox.html That was back in the early 1980s, before viruses were illegal. Remember that game - the one which gives you a logon: prompt, and that's it...?

The First Online Sports GameWired 1.06 http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/1.06/netrek.html "Pity General Magic and Nintendo and those guys who don't have programmable, open-architecture boxes - they'll never get something with the neato factor that Netrek has," Yeah. And Trade Wars too.

Big Brother Wants to Look Into Your Bank Account(Any Time It Pleases) Wired 1.06 http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/1.06/big.brother.html The question then becomes, at what point does it stop? Now those same corporate interests own Wired. Enough to make you think about how this story will be reported in the future.

Mission To Planet Earth. Wired 1.06 http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/1.06/mission.earth.html The goal: Take every ecological aspect of that spinning blue-green ball of rock and water we call Earth and transform it into data that is instantly available for analysis and experimentation anywhere, anytime. One thing that characterizes edginess is the vision thing. Wired had it. Once. Now the best they can do is The Long Boom (aka, it'll be like this for the next 25 years).

[2. Information Wants to be Free]