Physical Address

304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124

Don’t be fooled by the internet: this week in tech, 20 years

Don’t be fooled by the internet: this week in tech, 20 years

This year is a big year for movie anniversaries, and everyone is celebrating The Blair Witch Project this week. Vice got a full oral history of how the experimental film project that took years to make turned into one of the most popular horror movies of all time. There are positive reviews from Roger Ebert, The New York Times, and The Washington Post from 1999 that you can read online, and a CNN article confirms that the three stars are still alive.

You can also read an old AV Club interview with co-directors Dan Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez, who agree that “the best way to see this movie is to know as little about it as possible.” If you haven’t seen it yet in 2019, though, you might want to skip all those links.

Either way, here are some news stories from 1999 that are mostly about the Internet, including a timely reminder from Prince.

“Don’t let the computer use you; use the computer.”

Prince’s relationship with the internet was so complicated that he said it was “completely over” in 2010. A lot of what he said was about who owned music and how it got to people. But this award ceremony speech from 1999 is both stranger and more accurate in many ways. Wired says that Prince gave Public Enemy the “Online Pioneer” award at the Yahoo! Online Music Awards, which have been going on for at least three years. What did he tell the crowd?

I wanted to say that you shouldn’t let the internet fool you. It’s fun to use the computer, but don’t let it control you. It’s cool to use a computer, but you shouldn’t let the computer control you. You went to see The Matrix. There is a war happening. The mind is where the battle is. The soul is the prize. So just be careful. Be very careful. Many thanks.

Wired didn’t know how to interpret Prince’s Matrix reference here, and to be honest, neither do I.

The rise and fall of free PC software

During 1999, companies tried giving away PCs and sometimes even internet access. The push began in February when a California company called Free-PC gave away Compaq computers and internet service for free in exchange for ads. It seemed like a great deal, but everyone in 2019 should be familiar with the trade-offs: says that the first 10,000 people to send in their age, income, family status, hobbies, and buying habits will get a Presario PC.

Once they get their computers and turn them on, they’ll have to deal with ads that will show up whether they’re online or not. The ads will be saved on the hard drive that comes with the PC and shown on the side of the screen.

This “free” computer doesn’t come without costs. The company will keep track of how the computer is used, including which of its ads are clicked on and where and what people buy on the Internet.

A few months later, AOL and Prodigy announced a less risky deal with the low-end PC maker eMachines, in which long-term subscribers would get a cheap $400 PC for free. None of these plans worked out. eMachines bought Free-PC and stopped the giveaway model in November, but Mark Gimein of Salon argued that this wasn’t before the project pushed home PC sales to prices that couldn’t be kept up. Gateway bought eMachines, and then Acer bought it. (The name stuck around until 2013).

So, what happened this week in particular? Well, things looked good for eMachines, and The Wall Street Journal wrote a glowing profile of their supplier, Trigem, which is based in Korea. Ten years later, Trigem would have to file for bankruptcy.

“Get rid of Jar Jar Binks; he’s awful.”

George Lucas said earlier this year that his favorite Star Wars character is Jar Jar Binks, the comic relief figure and possible secret Sith lord who is disliked by most people. So why do a lot of people dislike him? In an interview with the BBC a few months after Star Wars: The Phantom Menace came out, Lucas said:

“The American press gets all of its information from the internet, so when people made websites saying, “Let’s get rid of Jar Jar Binks, he’s terrible,” and some critics called him a comic sidekick, they came in and started calling the movie racist.”

Racism was brought up in stories about Jar Jar, with people saying he was a stereotypically stupid Jamaican. His internet haters were also talked about. According to Lucas, there was only a small group of fans who wanted the films to be tough like Terminator.”They get very upset and have strong opinions about anything that has to do with being childlike,” he said. That’s not always wrong, but history still hasn’t been kind to Jar Jar.

Would you pay $34 a month to watch six female college students live together in a Florida house that is full of webcams? If so, I’m sorry, but the website for Voyeur Dorm, which has softcore adult entertainment, has been down for a few years. But in July 1999, the city of Tampa was making it hard for it to stay online.

Officials in Tampa basically said that the house was like a strip club, so they could shut it down because of zoning laws. The company behind Voyeur Dorm then said that this comparison didn’t make sense and accused the City Council of not knowing anything about the internet. In the end, it won in court, which set a precedent for regulating online businesses. The New York Times wrote that it “suggested that in some cases, local government regulators may not be able to reach the internet.”

The New Zealand bird edition of Jurassic Park

“De-extinction,” or bringing extinct animals back to life with the help of biotechnology, has only worked a few times. It could be a good way to save species that are going extinct at an alarming rate today. In 1999, the New Zealand huia bird did not have that choice.

In the early 1900s, the last huia was seen. Then, some New Zealand students were inspired by the movie Jurassic Park to look into cloning animals. According to CNN, they got approval from ethicists and Maori representatives, who said, “Efforts to bring back the extinct huia bird through cloning should start right away.” A group called was supposed to give money, but the project doesn’t seem to have gone anywhere. In 2006, a story said that DNA samples from museum specimens weren’t good enough to get started.


  1. Cen tech battery charger how long to charge:
  2. Kim Raver Net Worth 2022: Wiki Biography
  3. Laura Wright Net Worth 2022: Wiki Biography
  4. Herschel Walker Son Net Worth 2022: Age, Wife, Salary
  5. Releases findings how tech eats little:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *