Learn and see some Internet history

The million dollar homepage is still online, a snapshot of the internet circa 2005, but many of its links are dead, or point to different websites, their owners reaping the rewards of prior investments. Archive.org captured some iterations of the website, and the linked sites from there, and Web Archive.org.uk has been capturing UK sites since 2004, but not all sites are so lucky, either predating Internet Archive’s start in 1996 (the first webpage exists only as a copy, reposted a year after the first one went up in 1991), or missed by web crawlers (Wikipedia). These are some of the reasons why there’s so little left of the early internet (BBC). “

Read the article and comments at metafilter.com.

It’s Your iPhone. Why Can’t You Fix It Yourself?

Excerpted from www.nytimes.com. Go there to read the whole article, and comments.

“A giant John Deere tractor and a pocket-size Apple iPhone have something important in common: The cost of repairing either one is too high.

The two companies, and many of their peers, use a variety of aggressive tactics, including electronic locks and restrictive warranties, to push customers with broken equipment to seek help from their authorized repair facilities — or to give up and buy a replacement.

This is unfair to consumers who might be able to obtain, or perform, lower-priced repairs. It’s unfair to independent businesses that might do the work. And it’s bad for the environment, because the high cost of repairs leads people to toss devices that might have been fixed.

Late [in March 2019], Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, proposed a national right-to-repair law for farm equipment. The idea is based on a 2012 Massachusetts law that requires carmakers to provide the information necessary to perform repairs and to sell any special tools needed to do the work. The law also phased in a requirement that new cars be compatible with generic diagnostic tools.

Ms. Warren has the right idea, but she did not go far enough. The owners of consumer electronic products deserve the same protection as farmers.”


“Thank You, Beep …”: a 1979 look at personal technology

“Thank You, Beep …” has been part of me since the first time I read it, in an hp publication forty years ago. I’ve been wanting to read it again, and, finally, I can, thanks to someone wanting to sell a copy of that publication on ebay today (3/18/19). Tightwad that I am, I searched using info from that posting — [gordon dickson beep] — www.google.com — and found a link to a 15 MB pdf image of the original article in Paula’s Reading Room.

Considering the path personal tech has taken in the last forty years, I hope you’ll enjoy reading this article now as much as I did then.

‘Right to Repair’ Movement Fights Back Against Unfixable Devices

An interesting discussion on Michael Krasney’s Forum program.

” The “right to repair” movement is growing. A range of D.I.Y. groups offer classes and online instructions for how to fix everything from discarded clothing steamers to iPhones and Wi-Fi enabled refrigerators. But technology companies have resisted consumer efforts to repair increasingly software-dependent electronic goods, citing safety concerns. Advocates contend that even modern electronics can be repaired safely, with less waste and expense, if people have access to the proper tools. California Assemblymember Susan Talamentes-Eggman introduced a bill last year that would have forced companies to sell those tools, along with repair guides and replacement parts. The bill died in committee, but the push for a right to repair continues. ”

Hear it here: www.kqed.org/forum. Be sure to also read the comments.