To mark 20 years of covering personal technology for The Courier-Journal and the Gannett newspaper chain, I wrote this look back at the previous two decades. The story includes the arrival of the cellular phone and the DVD as well as bombs like the Coleco computer and RCA's videodisk. The story was published Feb. 15, 2003.
They say if you remember the '60s, you weren't really there. But that's not always true. I spent two days at the Woodstock festival and, 40 years later, I still remember quite a bit about that weekend.
I can still hear Joan Baez's voice drifting across the hills after midnight on Friday night. I can see a farm wife on her porch, passing out sandwiches to a line of scruffy kids. And I remember seeing a cop on horseback who smiled when he said “No, thanks” to a hippie offering a lighted joint.
Yes, there was skinny dipping in an icy creek after a day in the sun and making love under the stars. But for me the meaning of Woodstock is wrapped up in something much more mundane: Dan Mills' backpack.
Dan was my roommate that summer between semesters at Indiana University. He had brought the backpack home from a trip to Europe and he let me take it on my Woodstock a…
During our three days at Woodstock, Jeannene and I took photos of friends, strangers and some of the many activities swirling around us.
Jeannene printed some of the photos when we returned to the Midwest, then the negatives were filed away until 2009 when I scanned them and cleaned the digital images as best as I could. Click the image here to see them in a Google Photos gallery.
A decade before the Internet arrived, computer hobbyists used their telephone modems to log into computer networks like CompuServe and The Source. Both charged a monthly fee for access to electronic mail, discussion forums and software downloads.
But anyone with a couple modems and telephone lines and specialized software could create their only online service. The world of Bulletin Board Systems was fueled in part by people who wanted to collect and share pirated software.
If you didn't want to pay hundreds of dollars for Lotus 1-2-3 or WordPerfect, you could find a free copy posted on a BBS. Other bulletin boards were devoted to specific topics, like games, politics, sports or sex.
In 1983, I launched a newsletter called Plumb to share news about the BBS culture and new arrivals to the online world. I printed the eight-page issues using my Apple II+ computer and Epson dot-matrix printer. Subscriptions initially cost $20 a year.
Plumb got some good publicity in the computer pres…