internet history

7 lessons about our online future from our online past

7 lessons about our online future from our online past

We lived on farms and then we lived in cities and now we’re gonna live on the Internet. — Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network When The Social Network came out in 2010, I enjoyed the movie but felt frustrated at its lack of perspective on the very phenomenon...
6 web technologies that don’t suck anymore

6 web technologies that don’t suck anymore

If you placed a Skype call in 2003, you might remember the joys of echo-filled connections and dropped calls. The service may not be bullet-proof today, but the improvement is remarkable. What was once a service you use in spite of the glitches is now a service you...
6 resources for learning about Internet history

6 resources for learning about Internet history

September 3, 1998 was the last day before civilization. Civilization began on September 4, 1998: the date of Google’s incorporation. Oh sure, you might argue that civilization existed before Google. But who the heck knew about it? You can hardly count as...
10 bloggers share their tips on how to stay motivated

10 bloggers share their tips on how to stay motivated

Everyone knows that Superman’s great weakness is Kryptonite, fragments of his home planet that travelled with him to earth. That’s how legendary weaknesses arise: the source of our strength is also our greatest weakness, and every legend carries with it...
Thank the Internet for 4/20

Thank the Internet for 4/20

Dope-smokers of the world, send a thank-you text to your favorite geek: pot culture owes a thank-you to the Internet.

Real innovators don’t hold grudges

Real innovators don’t hold grudges

I started graduate school in 1995 with the intention of figuring out what was ailing Canada’s New Democratic Party. I dove into a comparative study of social democratic parties around the world. As often happens for grad students, my research interest took an...
Online innovators turn foresight into insight

Online innovators turn foresight into insight

A glance back at the events of 1989 makes it look like the  year of foresight. It wasn’t a year of major tech payoffs: it was a year of advances that hinted at things to come. You can look back on those hints with a sense of financial opportunities missed, of...
The Core Tenets of the Social Web, 25 years in the making

The Core Tenets of the Social Web, 25 years in the making

This post originally appeared on the Harvard Business Review. We like to think of the social web as green fields in which we are just now sowing best practices and first principles. After all, if there are no hard-and-fast rules, then anything goes. We get to come up...
Cut the cord

Cut the cord

Cords suck. The people of New England made this discovery at 1 am on December 12, 1986. That was when a single cable broke between White Plains, New York and Newark, New Jersey, knocking all of New England off the Internet. As incredible as it may sound today, back in...
Honoring the debt Canada’s connectivity owes to Chinese workers

Honoring the debt Canada’s connectivity owes to Chinese workers

When you choose a historical metaphor, you make claims on conscience as well as imagination. Canada chose to complete its national network of connectivity in November 1985, on the 100th anniversary of completing a national railway built on the hard work of ill-treated Chinese workers. The Canadian – and global — Internet is in danger of repeating that sad history.