Time Machine: Newspapers on a Computer!

1981 news report talks about a crazy future of computer newspapers

Technology these days changes so fast that it's hard to remember what life was like back when this technology didn't exist. Luckily, we have YouTube, to remind us what the ancient times looked like and how "exciting" some new concepts were.

Like in this ancient 1981 clip, a San Francisco TV news report (KRON) about how newspapers like the San Francisco Chronicle were developing "electronic newspapers" for customers to read. Like all reporting on new technology, note the tone of the reporters when they talk about this exciting new development:

My favorite parts of this clip include the following:

* The intro: "Imagine if you will sitting down to your morning coffee, turning on your home computer to read the day's newspaper. Well, it's not as far-fetched as it may seem." Sure, in 1981 people were experiencing the home computer, but it's the tone of the newscaster that I love - I keep hoping that some day I'll turn on the news and the newsreader says, "Imagine if you will a car that lets you travel into the future or into the past. It's not as far-fetched as it may seem…"

* 0:25 - The blood-red rotary dial telephone being used to connect.

* 0;48 - "With the exception of the pictures, ads and the comics. Well, at least they were able to fix that quickly.

* 1:04 - "We're not in it to make money" - well, maybe that's the attitude that eventually killed the newspaper in this century.

* 1:25 - "The newspaper isn't as spiffy as the ads imply". Hee. It wasn't very spiffy in the ad.

* 1:33 - The title identifying Richard Halloran - "Owns Home Computer". Priceless.

* 1:54 - "Engineers now predict the day will come when we get all our newspapers and magazines by home computer." Interestingly, with tablets, even that statement is now ancient.

* 2:01 - "For the moment at least, this fellow isn't worried about being out of a job." Well, at least for another 25 years or so.

Read more of Keith Shaw's ITworld.TV blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Keith on Twitter at @shawkeith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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