Some takes age better than others, but it’s pretty safe to say that few have probably fared as poorly over the years as astronomer Clifford Stoll’s 1995 whopper for Newsweek, “Why the Web Won’t be Nirvana.”
In the piece, Stoll makes the case that this “Internet” thing was never going to catch on. His reasons are many and each one is a gem of misguided tech wisdom.
“Today, I’m uneasy about this most trendy and oversold community,” wrote Stoll — speaking broadly of internet users at the time. “The truth in no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works.”
Stoll also took a dim view of online commerce. While today titans like Amazon are putting the squeeze on big-box dinosaurs like Wal-Mart, the would-be tech visionary had his doubts in 1995.
“We’re promised instant catalog shopping — just point and click for great deals. We’ll order airline tickets over the network, make restaurant reservations and negotiate sales contracts. Stores will become obsolete. So how come my local mall does more business in an afternoon than the entire Internet handles in a month?” he scoffed.
We take it that he does not use Venmo.
Stoll did not immediately respond to request for comment from TheWrap.
That time in 1995 when Newsweek predicted this "internet" thing wouldn't catch on.
It’s not the first time Stoll’s essay has made the rounds online as history moved the take from bad to catastrophic over the years.
Its latest turn in the spotlight comes as the magazine that published it, Newsweek, faces an existential crisis. Yesterday the iconic publication abruptly fired editor-in-chief Bob Roe, executive editor Ken Li and a slew of other senior writers. Pay was delayed and management urged remaining employees to go home — though few elected to do so.
On Friday, chairman Etienne Uzac and his wife, finance director Marion Kim, who both resigned just days after the company’s New York City offices were raided on orders of the Manhattan District Attorney for reasons that remain mysterious.
A BuzzFeed report published shortly after the raid suggested that the company had been engaging in “ad fraud” by artificially pumping up its traffic numbers, a charge the company has denied.
Here's Everyone Donald Trump Insulted on Twitter in 2017 (Photos)
From fellow politicians to Oscar winners and musicians, President Donald Trump casts a wide net in his internet insultery.
On Jan. 2, Trump tweeted, "Chicago murder rate is record setting - 4,331 shooting victims with 762 murders in 2016. If Mayor can't do it he must ask for Federal help!"
The swipe at Emanuel allowed Trump to take a shot both at an elected Democratic Mayor, and his predecessor (for whom Rahm served as Chief of Staff.)
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer
On May 9, Trump tweeted, "Cryin' Chuck Schumer stated recently, "I do not have confidence in him (James Comey) any longer." Then acts so indignant. #draintheswamp"
The Senate Minority leader has become a frequent critic of — and thus a frequent target for — Trump
Office of Sen. Schumer
On Feb. 3, Trump tweeted, "Yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger did a really bad job as Governor of California and even worse on the Apprentice...but at least he tried hard!
The terminator has had some tough words for Trump and so the president hit back where it hurts — Schwarzenegger's ratings for "The Apprentice" (which he briefly hosted).
On Jan. 9, Trump tweeted, "Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn't know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes.
Streep had some choice words for Trump during her speech at the Golden Globes and the president noticed.
Rep. John Lewis
On Jan. 14, Trump tweeted, "Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart..."
The Congressman vowed to boycott Trump's inauguration, infuriating the newly elected president.
On Jan. 26, Trump tweeted, "Ungrateful TRAITOR Chelsea Manning, who should never have been released from prison, is now calling President Obama a weak leader. Terrible!"
Trump, it seems, was not a fan of President Obama's decision to commute Manning's sentence.
United States Army
Sen. Richard Blumenthal
On Feb. 9, Trump tweeted, "Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who never fought in Vietnam when he said for years he had (major lie), now misrepresents what Judge Gorsuch told him?"
Blumenthal is a near constant presence on MSNBC criticizing Trump — so this counterpunch was pretty much inevitable.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
On Feb. 12, Trump tweeted, "I know Mark Cuban well. He backed me big-time but I wasn't interested in taking all of his calls. He's not smart enough to run for president!"
Cuban, a fellow billionaire and Hillary Clinton ally has made a point of getting under Trump's skin throughout 2017.
DNC Chairman Thomas Perez
On Feb. 25, Trump tweeted, "Congratulations to Thomas Perez, who has just been named Chairman of the DNC. I could not be happier for him, or for the Republican Party!
"Does anybody really believe that a reporter, who nobody ever heard of, "went to his mailbox" and found my tax returns? @NBCNews FAKE NEWS!"
Johnston — who got a rare subtweet from Trump — appeared on MSNBC with Rachel Maddow to discuss a portion of the president's 2005 tax return.
On March 15, Trump tweeted, "Can you imagine what the outcry would be if @SnoopDogg, failing career and all, had aimed and fired the gun at President Obama? Jail time!"
The President apparently didn't care for a music video Snoop made in which the rapper seemingly shoots a fake Donald Trump.
Freedom Caucus Representatives
On March 30, Trump tweeted, "If @RepMarkMeadows, @Jim_Jordan and @Raul_Labrador would get on board we would have both great healthcare and massive tax cuts & reform."
As negotiations over the GOP effort to repeal Obamacare dragged on, Trump often trained his ire at the recalcitrant Republican Freedom Caucus.
On April 1, Trump tweeted, "When will Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd and @NBCNews start talking about the Obama SURVEILLANCE SCANDAL and stop with the Fake Trump/Russia story?"
Todd told TheWrap he has no idea why Trump calls him Sleepy Eyes and says the president doesn't remember either.
On April 18, Trump tweeted, "Democrat Jon Ossoff would be a disaster in Congress. VERY weak on crime and illegal immigration, bad for jobs and wants higher taxes. Say NO."
Trump campaigned hard for Ossoff's rival in Georgia's special congressional election, Republican Karen Handel (she won).
On May 10, Trump tweeted, "James Comey will be replaced by someone who will do a far better job, bringing back the spirit and prestige of the FBI."
Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in May and has been angry at him ever since.
On May 31, Trump tweeted, "Kathy Griffin should be ashamed of herself. My children, especially my 11 year old son, Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!"
Griffin took enormous incoming fire after a photo of her holding a model of Donald Trump's severed head went viral for all the wrong reasons.
"Crooked" Hillary Clinton
Trump has mocked Hillary plenty of times, but recently on November 18, Trump tweeted, "Crooked Hillary Clinton is the worst (and biggest) loser of all time. She just can’t stop, which is so good for the Republican Party. Hillary, get on with your life and give it another try in three years!"
Not much explanation needed here. Trump bested "Crooked" Hillary in 2016 and seems intent on reminding us for ever and ever and ever.
On June 5, Trump tweeted, "Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his "no reason to be alarmed" statement. MSM is working hard to sell it!"
When terrorism strikes London, the city's Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, often finds himself in Trump's crosshairs.
"I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don't watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came o Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year's Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!"
Widely considered one of Trump's nastiest burns, the president was likely incensed by something the pair said on "Morning Joe."
On July 25, Trump tweeted, "Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!"
Trump went through a rough patch with his Attorney General and has long been cranky about Session's decision to recuse himself from the Russia probe.
"Publicity seeking Lindsey Graham falsely stated that I said there is moral equivalency between the KKK, neo-Nazis & white supremacists. and people like Ms. Heyer. Such a disgusting lie. He just can't forget his election trouncing. The people of South Carolina will remember!"
Graham has occasionally lightly criticized Trump and the president doesn't appreciate it
"The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump. Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help. They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. 10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job"
Cruz criticized Trump's handling of hurricanes in Puerto Rico and the president shot right back
"Ed Gillespie worked hard but did not embrace me or what I stand for. Don’t forget, Republicans won 4 out of 4 House seats, and with the economy doing record numbers, we will continue to win, even bigger than before!"
Though Trump campaigned hard for Ed Gillespie in Virginia, when he lost the governor's race to Ralph Northam, Trump threw him under the bus.
"Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail!"
Trump claimed credit for getting Ball's son out of a Chinese prison, but then blasted him for being insufficiently grateful.
"So now that Matt Lauer is gone when will the Fake News practitioners at NBC be terminating the contract of Phil Griffin? And will they terminate low ratings Joe Scarborough based on the “unsolved mystery” that took place in Florida years ago? Investigate!"
Trump wanted more blood after NBC ousted Matt Lauer over sexual misconduct and trained his fire on network chief Phil Griffin.
"PM Theresa @theresamay, don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!"
May blasted Trump's decision to retweet a far-right British group and Trump told her to mind her own business.
On December 2, Trump tweeted:
"Congratulations to @ABC News for suspending Brian Ross for his horrendously inaccurate and dishonest report on the Russia, Russia, Russia Witch Hunt. More Networks and “papers” should do the same with their Fake News!"
Trump gave Ross the business for reporting inaccurate news about Michael Flynn.
"LAST thing the Make America Great Again Agenda needs is a Liberal Democrat in Senate where we have so little margin for victory already. The Pelosi/Schumer Puppet Jones would vote against us 100% of the time. He’s bad on Crime, Life, Border, Vets, Guns & Military. VOTE ROY MOORE!"
Trump threw all his chips in for Roy Moore in Alabama, despite Moore being accused of sexual misconduct with minors. It didn't work, and "puppet Jones" was triumphant.
"@DaveWeigel @WashingtonPost put out a phony photo of an empty arena hours before I arrived @ the venue, w/ thousands of people outside, on their way in. Real photos now shown as I spoke. Packed house, many people unable to get in. Demand apology & retraction from FAKE NEWS WaPo"
The President was annoyed over a misleading Tweet from Weigel which the reporter deleted and apologized for
"Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Chuck Schumer and someone who would come to my office “begging” for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump. Very disloyal to Bill & Crooked-USED!"
Gillibrand called on Trump to resign over sexual misconduct allegations eliciting a predictable response
"How can FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the man in charge, along with leakin’ James Comey, of the Phony Hillary Clinton investigation (including her 33,000 illegally deleted emails) be given $700,000 for wife’s campaign by Clinton Puppets during investigation?"
On December 23, Trump tweeted: "Remember, the Republicans are 5-0 in Congressional races this year. In Senate, I said Roy M would lose in Alabama and supported Big Luther Strange - and Roy lost. Virginia candidate was not a 'Trumper,' and he lost. Good Republican candidates will win BIG!"
While Trump did support Luther Strange in the Republican primary, he later endorsed Moore -- and campaigned actively for him in December's special election.
On December 28, Trump tweeted: "Vanity Fair, which looks like it is on its last legs, is bending over backwards in apologizing for the minor hit they took at Crooked H. Anna Wintour, who was all set to be Amb to Court of St James’s & a big fundraiser for CH, is beside herself in grief & begging for forgiveness!"
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POTUS’s thumbs were quite busy in his first year in the White House
From fellow politicians to Oscar winners and musicians, President Donald Trump casts a wide net in his internet insultery.