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...what makes NerdTV different and gives it unique value is that it is something you would never see on TV. Never. Not even on the most esoteric distance learning channel or the poorest-produced local cable access show, much less from a national television network with a global reputation. That PBS would take such a gamble on the intelligence of its audience is breathtaking and I, as the guy who came up with this idea, can only marvel at their willingness to experiment.
I am excited about what Cringely has been working on for over three years. His PBS columns having been growing in quality, depth, and core significance since his Infoworld days.
What sets this apart is that Cringely has become somewhat of a tech maven and a history teacher wrapped-in-one. His work in 1996 on Triumph of the Nerds [pbs.org] was the first major mainstream broadcast to accurately reflect computer history.
As we went through the internet revolution, those of us alert and present in the micro computer revolution of the 80's were astounded and infuriated at the brazen attempt by the winners at rewriting computer history. Cringelys work on Triumph of the Nerds put a finger in the dam to at least slow down those playing fast and loose with the truth. Without "Nerds", our historical backdrop of the late 70's and early 80's would look entirely different today. The ability of major corporations to rewrite history and meld minds is staggering. For that, we should all be a bit thankful to Cringely for fighting the good fight.
I can't help but think that the new NerdTV will be culturally significant to the internet. This is not a revolutionary event, but it is a watershed event. RXC has a strong enough following that this show is going to get a look by big players. Those same players have been setting on the internet video broadcast sidelines while internet radio took off via podcasting. While radio is do-able under moderate bandwidth needs, video had has has a huge overhead involved with it. As bandwidth costs have steadily fallen over the last few years, video is slowly - ever so slowly - becoming viable. NerdTV may be the internet video tipping point we have been waiting for ...
You can also see Robert X. Cringley at Pubcon Vegas [pubcon.com]...
And given the Hurricane Katrina/New Orleans scope vs. available tv coverage, I hope there are many more basement DVD authors pumping out their stories and experiences to share with the world, via online delivery.
Anyone up for an hour of my Aunt Edna and her thoughts on this danged tacknology?!
As we went through the internet revolution, those of us alert and present in the micro computer revolution of the 80's were astounded and infuriated at the brazen attempt by the winners at rewriting computer history. Cringelys work on Triumph of the Nerds put a finger in the dam to at least slow down those playing fast and loose with the truth. Without "Nerds", our historical backdrop of the late 70's and early 80's would look entirely different today.
I am intrigued by this, Brett. In a nutshell what was the history as Cringely told it in "Nerds" and what was the revisionist version being put out at the time by the winners?
I do remember the mantra that Steve Jobs kept repeating: "A good artist copies, a great artist steals.", which apparently is a quote from the great artist Picasso himself. And they say that history repeats itself. Hmmmmm.
I think the spin has been that Microsoft and Apple have come up with good ideas on their own, which many people accept as fact. Truth is that if you dig a little, most of the new ideas you see from both camps were either bought or stolen from someone else. (or in Microsoft's case, bought, copied, and returned for a full refund.)
The question is though - can he keep up that kind of quality?
I think a lot of his better stuff has come from hard work and careful thought. I'm not sure he can turn out that sort of material on a consistent basis, at least not without long periods in between shows.
joined:July 19, 2001
I can certainly remember working on Windows based systems in the mid 80s - Xerox Star and Daybreak workstations both ran Windows GUIs.