IoT - The end of the internet

Owen DeLong owen at
Thu Aug 11 05:18:00 UTC 2022

> On Aug 9, 2022, at 20:06 , Mel Beckman <mel at> wrote:
> LOL! You’re not the first person to underestimate the resilience of the Internet:
> “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” – Ken Olsen, CEO of Digital Equipment Corporation (now defunct), 1977

Technically not defunct so much as absorbed into their previously smaller competitor Hewlett Packard.

> "I see little commercial potential for the internet for the next 10 years," Bill Gates Comdex 1994.

I was there when he said this. My reaction was “I see even less potential for Windows in that timeframe.” Tragically, I was wrong. Fortunately, so was he.

> 27 February 1995, Newsweek magazine, quoting astronomer Clifford Stoll:
> “The truth is no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works. How about electronic publishing? Try reading a book on disc.  Yet Nicholas Negroponte, director of the MIT Media Lab, predicts that we’ll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Intenet. Uh, sure.”
> (17 years later, Newsweek ceased print publication and became exclusively available online).

In fairness, at the time, the tablet and e-ink displays weren’t even on any developer’s RADAR. Until we had hand-held portable tablets with cellular internet capability (also in its infancy in 1995), replacing that wall between us and our fellow commuters (the newspaper or magazine) with digital media was unlikely.

> Robert Metcalfe, InfoWorld columnist and the inventor of Ethernet, also in 1995:
>  “I predict the Internet will soon go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse.”

Yeah, but it was amusing that he actually ate his words, literally (though not very smart on his part).

> Clifford Stoll 1998: “We’re promised instant catalog shopping–just point and click for great deals. We’ll order airline tickets over the network, make restaurant reservations and negotiate sales contracts. Stores will become obsolete. So how come my local mall does more business in an afternoon than the entire Internet handles in a month?”

These days, that would take one heck of a mall… Especially when you consider that most wholesalers are now doing most of their order entry via the internet direct from their customers.

> Of course, it’s not all cake and roses:
> “Two years from now, spam will be solved.” – Bill Gates (2004)

It’s not the first time he’s been wrong even in this message. Likely it won’t be the last.


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