Aside from word of mouth, newspapers were about the only way stories, ideas, and I imagine photos also, were able to go viral, or reach mass audiences during the nineteenth century, but the process behind the way many of these stories were put in front of people of the day has a certain ring of familiarity to it:
The tech may have been less sophisticated, but some barriers to virality were low in the 1800s. Before modern copyright laws there were no legal or even cultural barriers to borrowing content, Cordell says. Newspapers borrowed freely. Large papers often had an “exchange editor” whose job it was to read through other papers and clip out interesting pieces. “They were sort of like BuzzFeed employees,” Cordell said.
I once owned both an acoustic guitar (a Gibson copy), and an electric guitar (a Stratocaster copy), a bass guitar, a drum machine, a microphone, and most importantly, a four-track recording device, and used to while away the hours of my pre-internet days recording and layering up songs, both covers, and my own compositions.
Playing around then with Multitrack love, that breaks many well known songs down into four tracks, reminded me a lot of those days.
It’s not just fun though, it’s also educational. Take Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” for instance. It used to be a favourite of mine in (some) years gone passed, so listening to its broken down components was interesting to say the least. Amazing how much of the melody would seem to lie in the drum tracks.
The Atlantic asked a group of twelve experts, made up of scientists, entrepreneurs, engineers, historians of technology, and others, to name innovations or discoveries “that have done the most to shape the nature of modern life”, since the invention of the wheel. But what exactly to select for such a list?
For instance, anesthesia (46), which, on its debut in 1846, began to distinguish surgery from torture, barely made the top 50, and that was only because one panelist pushed it hard. If I were doing the ranking, it would be in the top 10, certainly above the personal computer (16 on our final list). In this case the test for me is: Which would I miss more if it didn’t exist? (Our panelist John Doerr, a well-known technology investor, said he worked his way through his own top‑25 list using a similar set of “pairwise comparisons,” asking which technology he would miss more.) I rely on personal computers, but I got along fine before their introduction; I still remember a dental procedure in England when the National Health Service didn’t pay for novocaine.
Not even pre-internet era operating system MS-DOS, that could found be on computers during the late 1980s through to the mid-1990s, was free of viruses, even if they were a little harder to transmit than today.
Riddle me this… why is there no sign of discs, hard drives, or even removable storage devices, on latter day Windows computers, labelled A or B? If the hard drive is labelled C, and removable storage devices are labelled D onwards, why are the first two letters of the alphabet… missing?
Once upon a time, the early CP/M and IBM PC style computers had no hard drive. You had one floppy drive, and that was it. Unless you spent another $1k or so on a second floppy drive, then your system was smokin’! If you only had one drive it was common to boot from one disk, put in the other disk with your programs and data, then run the program. Once the program finished, the computer would request that you reinsert the boot disk so you could use the command line again. By the time hard drives became cheap, the “expensive” computers typically had two floppy drives (one to boot and run common programs, one to save data and run specific programs). And so it was common for the motherboard hardware to support two floppy drives at fixed system addresses. Since it was built into the hardware, it was thought that building the same requirement into the OS was acceptable, and any hard drives added to the machine would start with disk C: and so forth.
It’s almost impossible to think of all the data you create on a daily basis. Even something as simple as using electricity is creating data about your habits. It’s more than whether or not you turned the lights on – it’s how many people are in your house and when you’re usually around. RFID tags aren’t just in tires, they’re in your clothing, your tap-to-pay credit cards, and your dry cleaning. Ollmann zaps his T-shirts in the microwave. Others carry an RFID-blocking wallet to avoid having their RFID-enabled cards read when they’re not making a purchase.
Might moving to an uninhabited, uncharted, desert island, if there are any, be the answer?
Content grazing is the name given to the phenomenon – or should we call it a paradox – and it seems that if we have two screens to look at, then it follows that we will look at whatever is on both screens, and at the same time.