The Digital Antiquarian

The Digital Antiquarian A history of computer entertainment by Jimmy Maher

  • A Net Before the Web, Part 4: The Rogue, the Yuppie, and the Soldier
    by Jimmy Maher on November 17, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    Bill von Meister’s rude expulsion from The Source didn’t mark the end of his schemes to invent the world’s online future. In 1981, with his erstwhile partner Jack Taub’s $1 million settlement check burning a hole in his pocket, he launched into a plan as visionary as anything he had ever come up with. Almost [… […]

  • A Net Before the Web, Part 3: Content and Competition
    by Jimmy Maher on November 10, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    We saw in the last article how CompuServe’s user-driven philosophy led to this online service becoming an online community, steered to a large extent by its subscribers. Yet the choice between a content-driven model and a user-driven model has never really constituted a zero-sum proposition, whether on the Internet of today or the CompuServe of [… […]

  • A Net Before the Web, Part 2: Service to Community
    by Jimmy Maher on November 3, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    Then she generated the light, and the sight of her room, flooded with radiance and studded with electric buttons, revived her. There were buttons and switches everywhere — buttons to call for food, for music, for clothing. There was the hot-bath button, by pressure of which a basin of (imitation) marble rose out of the [… […]

  • A Net Before the Web, Part 1: The Establishment Man and the Magnificent Rogue
    by Jimmy Maher on October 27, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    On July 9, 1979, journalists filtered into one of the lavish reception halls in Manhattan’s Plaza Hotel to witness the flashy roll-out of The Source, an online service for home-computer owners that claimed to be the first of its kind. The master of ceremonies was none other than the famous science-fiction and science-fact writer Isaac [… […]

  • A Full-Motion-Video Consulting Detective
    by Jimmy Maher on October 20, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    Over the course of six months in 1967, 50 million people visited Expo ’67 in Montreal, one of the most successful international exhibitions in the history of the world. Representatives from 62 nations set up pavilions there, showcasing the cutting edge in science, technology, and the arts. The Czechoslovakian pavilion was a surprisingly large one, [… […]