For one brief shining moment in the 1980s-1990s, it seemed like we the people would own and control our own computing infrastructure.

That we wouldn't ever after need permission from opaque central authorities to process data, send messages, create devices, teach machines ideas. No corporations or governments could put themselves between us and the data bits in our machines. We would be free to think.

That moment is rapidly slipping into a history that feels ridiculously over-optimistic.


We can now stream all the music we want, read all the books we want, binge-watch all the TV we want, host all the servers we want.

As long as we let the Corporations track every byte of our dataflow, and report us if we ever do [REDACTED] or [REDACTED] to or with or about [REDACTED].

This sure ain't what I signed up for on the Commodore 64.

@natecull One thing about the C64... you can store stuff locally and in perpetuity.

@natecull the fact that you had to decide to save your program to tape on the C64 is important in retrospect: you need to make an effort to decide to keep it, be willing to spend the time to save it, and value it enough to label it. later, when you didn't want it, you could record back over and know it wouldn't come back to haunt you.

@shanan That and you could always pull out the power and modem cables.

The idea that 'all our home and business records are wired 24/7 into Russian military computers, the NSA, Chinese state security and Jihadist rebels and we don't know if we're secure against them but we can't ever just unplug' was so far beyond our idea of the plausibly stupid in the 1980s that I think we still haven't caught up even now.

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