I'm really enjoying Wired Reread, a new blog with clippings from early issues of Wired magazine. It's bringing back memories of riding my bike up to Crown Books each month checking for new issues of Mondo 2000 and Wired for my next dose of techno-futuristic utopia.
Wired arrived on the scene in 1993, before Internet was a household word. Geeks were just starting to imagine the promising future the Information Superhighway was going to bring us, and Wired capitalized on that. Their first issue explored the world of computerized filmmaking two years before Toy Story. And, they introduced a generation of young computer geeks to a word that would bring them both pride and shame for years to come: otaku.
Wired Reread, the blog, has ads clipped from 1990s Wired and links to classic Wired articles. Sure, it's easy to look back and chuckle at Geocities, the Newton, and a CD changer endorsed by Alice Cooper…and his mother. The ad for Personal Journal seems quaint ten years later, when we routinely get news from the Wall Street Journal and hundreds of other sources well before it "hits the streets". It's easy to laugh. It's ok to laugh, really. But we can't forget that ten years from now people will be laughing at our gadgets and web 2.0, too.
A lot of the ideas Wired has hyped over the years - virtual reality springs to mind - have fizzled. A lot of the companies promoted on their pages died in the dot-com bust. The technologies we drool over in science fiction stories still fall under the laws of consumer demand and the fickle forces behind stock markets. That hasn't stopped Wired from continuing to promote a better tomorrow through technology. They've just toned down the wild-eyed futurism a notch.
Here at Xeno Media, we're still wild about our networked tomorrow. We love our laptops, our smartphones and our single-cup coffeemaker-of-the-future. But we try to stay grounded in the here-and-now, at least a little.