The Internet? Bah! (or, The Worst Prediction of All Time?)

Clifford Stoll was riding high on his recent fame (for having helped to catch the infamous hacker Markus Hess) when he published this article in Newsweek in 1996 (he now sells blown glass Klein bottles on the web):

Cliffordstoll Consider today's online world. The Usenet, a worldwide bulletin board, allows anyone to post messages across the nation. Your word gets out, leapfrogging editors and publishers. Every voice can be heard cheaply and instantly. The result? Every voice is heard. The cacophany more closely resembles citizens band radio, complete with handles, harrasment, and anonymous threats. When most everyone shouts, few listen. How about electronic publishing? Try reading a book on disc. At best, it's an unpleasant chore: the myopic glow of a clunky computer replaces the friendly pages of a book. And you can't tote that laptop to the beach. Yet Nicholas Negroponte, director of the MIT Media Lab, predicts that we'll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Intenet. Uh, sure.

More here. [Thanks to Jennifer Oullette.]