Friday, September 21, 2007

More on change

Sullivan has been monitoring people examining the now-free NY Times archive (see here and here for my posts), and picked up this gem. It's literally the first NY times article about the web (from 1993). The first thing that jumped out at me was the fact they still capitalized Internet. Its also surprisingly prescient, at least about the need for increasing bandwidth.

This last passage however, is amusing, especially in the context of my rant about paying for internet info.
Rethinking Free Information
Barry Shein of Brookline, Mass., is a
battle-scarred Internet veteran who is rethinking the idea of free information.
Mr. Shein is president of the World, a commercial service that provides Internet
access to almost 6,000 users for a small monthly fee.
Last November, on
Election Day, the World teamed up with a local newspaper to offer updates every
half-hour on the Presidential and local elections. The small company was not
prepared for the deluge -- tens of thousands of electronic queries from Internet
users in more than 40 countries. The average system load, normally between six
and eight at any one time, jumped as high as 300. Only by quickly rewriting
parts of his computer's software was Mr. Shein able to patch together a system
that could temporarily handle the load without crashing.
A Silicon Valley
entrepreneur who sees vast market opportunities in the Internet is Steve Kirsch,
an engineer in San Jose, Calif. His new company, Infoseek, plans to begin
offering a commercial version of the information retrieval systems that are now
free in the Internet early next year.
Acting as a clearinghouse for
newspapers and other electronic publishers, Infoseek would bill customers based
on their use of the network. Mr. Kirsch believes that his pay-as-you-go services
will be immune from any gridlock
"The more customers we have using
information," he said, "the more money we have to spend to handle the load."

Infoseek then started in January 1994 as a fee service according to this site. By August it was free. ha! Kirsch did make a bundle by selling the company to disney.

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