Learning from the past: use a Mac Plus and Windows 3.0 machine online

James Friend has ported Hampa Hug’s PCE Emulator to Javascript, which means you can run it in a browser. He has a Mac Plus running System 7.0.1 and an emulated 186 IBM PC compatible running Windows 3.0.

While those two things are very cool, it’s in his post Why port emulators to the browser? that I find very interesting:

I feel very strongly about the importance of learning from the past. In other words: not making the same mistakes again-and-again due to a lack of historical perspective. I was particularly inspired by Bret Victor’s talk at the DBX conference, where he demonstrated a bunch of technologies from the 1970s which attempted to solve problems which we’re still wrestling with today, and effectively asked the question ‘Why haven’t we figured this stuff out yet?’, and more implicitly, ‘Why are people who are working on these problems today unaware of this earlier work? Why have we gone backwards?’.

This is becoming more and more relevant as time goes on, except in the technology world it seems to go even faster! Web forums are terrible, even with amazing people trying to fix it. Usenet News had online discussions solved 30 years ago, yet we’re stuck with so many apps that are terrible.

Then there are Twitter chats. One of the most annoying uses of Twitter ever devised. There are websites devoted to following hashtags to make the discussion more meaningful, but in the end, you’re trying to force a piece of software to do something that it was never designed to do. IRC had group discussions solved 20 years ago!

What examples of solved problems do you know that are no longer solved?

via: Here, Play With Windows 1.01 And Mac OS System 7 | TechCrunch