Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Wired Magazine, 1993-1995

Anna Wiener, writing for the New Yorker:

All of this has made me feel not just nostalgic, but a little wistful. As much as my Wired archive is a document of its era’s aspirations, it’s also a record of what people once hoped technology would be—and, in hindsight, a record of what it might have become. In early Wired, a piece about a five-hundred-thousand-dollar luxury “Superboat” would be followed by a full-page editorial urging readers to contact their legislators to condemn wiretapping (in this case, 1994’s Digital Telephony Bill). Stories of tech-enabled social change and New Economy capitalism weren’t in competition; they coëxisted and played off one another. In 2016, some of my colleagues and I have E.F.F. stickers on our company-supplied MacBooks—“I do not consent to the search of this device,” we broadcast to our coworkers—but dissent is no longer an integral part of the industry’s ethos.

Once you get past the typical aw, shucks, ain’t it quaint? thoughts one might have surrounding the history of technology — and the media that covers it — it’s surprising at how little has changed. For better, and for worse.