June 2012

Reminiscing With Wired Issue 1.0

Surprisingly un-dated, for a 20-year-old technology/futurism magazine

A friend recently forwarded me a link to the first issue of Wired Magazine which has been archived online in its entirety at the wired.com website. I was instantly misty-eyed with the thought of it. This issue hit the newsstands for March/April 1993. It featured a Bruce Sterling article on the cover, and its eye-popping cover design ensured that it would catch the wandering eye of a young aspiring cyberpunk like myself.
The biggest surprise, reading this magazine issue which is twenty years old (it's nearly old enough to buy alcohol!) is how contemporary it seems. Maybe it's because the future Wired predicted in 1993 has yet to fully develop, or maybe it's because Wired's outlook was fuzzy enough to allow for a lot of wiggle room. But I read the article about Richard Stallman and, barring what seems like obvious oversights (but were simply events that had not yet come to pass) it could have been written today.

R.I.P. Hypercard

You are missed.

Hypercard is one of those touchstones of 1990s geek culture. For those of us who were geek before geek was cool, many people have very fond memories of Hypercard, a program which shipped free with the early Mac computers. 
The core concept of Hypercard was the idea of a stack of note cards. If you have ever used 3x5 cards to work on a very large project, you have worked with a real-world version of Hypercard. But Hypercard was so much better because it could perform simple programming tasks, play music and animations, and link cards together via clickable words. It turned a stack of imaginary note cards into a three-dimensional object, and it was incredibly easy to use, to boot.

Clueless: Pinnacle of the 90s

Bring on the plaid!

Yesterday as I was flipping through the channels I happened to land on Clueless just as it started. It had been so long since I had seen it, and - even though I am not typically given to "chick flicks" - it really is such a charming movie. I watched the entire thing the whole way through, commercial breaks and all. It was like literally being transported back to the 90s, but with full knowledge of the present-day celebrity scene.
Clueless was certainly a high water mark in 90s culture. It captured and both lauded and skewered the fashion scene among upper-class Beverly Hills high school girls. (It also provides much grist for the discussion of class lines versus race lines: many white kids are on the outs, but Cher's best friend is black. Class is the true unspoken divide in American culture, and it is never more richly illustrated than in Clueless.)