Today’s cuppa: Newman’s Own Royal Tea

With apologies to Dan Fogelberg and Tim Weisberg for
the title, the fusion of tech and TV is an inevitability, and that
includes news and entertainment (I’ve already folded print news into
the Web, as that’s a done deal except for the shouting).

TV news, with its immediacy and transitory nature, is an especially good fit for the highly mutable Web environment, particularly with new streaming-video technology.

Fox News Channel’s “Strategy Room” streams live original programming every weekday, and every other cable, local and network news operation offers video clips and feeds.

On the entertainment side, Hulu.com offers loads of shows, including new networkHulu_logo.jpg programming, as do network websites and other outlets.

Original cable shows are a little slower coming en masse to the Web (they have a
different financial model), but more arrive all the time.

We haven’t yet
reached a full integration of the PC and the TV, at a price point and
ease of use that make it available to a wide swath of the population,
but we’re not far away.

Some folks, such as many college students, use their PC as the TV, as they watch all their favorite shows online.

For a lot of these young people, the Internet has always been with
them. It’s been said that any really successful tech breakthrough
eventually becomes common, invisible and taken for granted, from the
wheel to the electric light to the telephone to the car to the Internet.

But every now and then, it’s good to learn where something came from,
especially if you’re at another major tipping point. I’d argue that
this is one, as the Internet prepares to become the main delivery
system for news and information, supplanting both paper and broadcast
signals.

People in the government, in private industry and in their garages are
currently making decisions that will affect the future of communication
technology. You may even be one of them.

Here are a few handy links to sources of info about how we got to where we are, so we can figure out where to go next:

“A Brief History of Newspapers”: The story of news on newsprint is a long and oft-told one, but this site is a nice, concise place to start.

“Historical Periods in Television Technology”:
From Philo T. Farnsworth to wall-covering plasma sets and
high-definition broadcasting, the FCC tracks the evolution of TV tech. 

TriumphoftheNerds.jpg“The Soul of a New Machine”:
Remember when computers filled entire rooms or entire floors of
buildings? No? Well, they did, and the fact that one can now be held in
the palm of your hand didn’t happen by magic. It’s the result of years
of hard work by a lot of very smart, very driven people, and Tracy
Kidder’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1981 nonfiction book chronicles the
story of the people and the company that created a new generation of
Data General minicomputers.

“A Brief History of the Internet”:
Do words like DARPA and ARPANET and names like Vint Cerf and Tim
Berners-Lee ring bells? No? Well, you wouldn’t be reading this blog
without them, and this site from the Internet Society gives a neat
summary of how it all came to be.

“Triumph of the Nerds”:
If you’d rather watch the history of the Internet than read about it,
this PBS documentary series from the mid-1990s, with host Robert X.
Cringely (a k a Mark Stephens) — who also wrote the book it’s based on,
“Accidental Empires” — traces personal computing from the garages and
universities of the 1970s up until, well, the mid-1990s. Neither Bill Gates
nor Steve Jobs sprung full-blown from the head of Zeus, ya know. Once
they were just pimpled teens with a dream.Thumbnail image for PiratesofSiliconValley.jpg Click here for PBS’ companion Website.

For bonus study, you can watch “Pirates of Silicon Valley,” a TV-movie version of the tale, starring Anthony Michael Hall as Gates and Noah Wylie as Jobs.

As a bonus, click here
for “Open,” the third installment in the tech-centric “The Spark”
series of short films from filmmakers Marc Ostrick and Michael Sean
Wright.

This one focuses on Leo LaPorte, who’s created a little tech
empire from a cottage in a little California town, “netcasting” to
the world. Sometimes the future of a big idea can wind up being
something very small.