A little old (2011), but a great story by Jessica Lussenhop. Here’s one fun anecdote about the Minnesota Education Computing Consortium (MECC), under which Oregon Trail was developed:
IN 1978, MECC opened up the bidding process for a new kind of computer to distribute in its schools. Huge multimillion-dollar mainframes the size of rooms and teletypes were being replaced by compact units with screens. MECC was looking for the right microcomputer to put in its schools. Bids from the biggest computer companies came in.
On the final day, just minutes before the bidding was set to close, a husky courier screeched up to the office in St. Paul and ran to the front desk with a hand-scrawled bid. He slapped it down with just seconds to spare.
The handwriting extolled the virtues of something called the Apple II. The letter was sent by two no-names in their twenties—Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.
“You know what drives me crazy? It’s all these people talking about how great technology is, and how it saves all this time. But, what good is saved time, if nobody uses it? If it just turns into more busy work. You never hear somebody say, ‘With the time I’ve saved by using my word processor, I’m gonna go to a Zen monastery and hang out.’ I mean, you never hear that.”—Jesse (Ethan Hawke) in Before Sunrise. (via parislemon)
Translation: Credit cards will be here for a good long time. This isn’t a novel admission; Dorsey has always said that he doesn’t think plastic will go away anytime soon. But the launch of the Square Stand—a device engineered to improve the credit card experience—shows how deeply Square is betting on credit cards. It’s as if, after building the Model T, Henry Ford also spent a lot of money to build a faster horse, just to hedge his bets. In this way, Square Stand prompts a deeper question: What if, as wonderful as Square Wallet is, we just never move beyond credit cards? What if people find faster horses good enough?
That Samsung Galaxy commercial where the mom and kids are seeing dad off in a taxi cab and she wirelessly sends him a video she warns he “probably shouldn’t watch on the plane” is like a Rorschach test; whatever you think is on that video is exactly what’s on it, and that is how filthy a person you are.