My framed 1993 premiere issue of Wired, hanging on my kitchen wall.

The first issue of Wired magazine from 1993, now free on iPad

I was very happy to see that Wired magazine has published its iconic inaugural issue on the iPad as a free download. I stumbled on the premiere issue at the Design museum in London, when I attended a HyperCard User Group meeting as a representative of my own company Ahead Multimedia AB. One of the organizers of this meeting was the TV journalist Max Whitby, who then run the Multimedia Corporation, a BBC company in London. Max had written an article in the premiere issue: “Is interactive dead?” (Check out his wonderful TEDxLondon talk and his talk on ebooks at Ebook Lab Italia)

Wired has been with me ever since that premier issue in the spring of 1993, I have so many memories from it. Here is an early commercial that sets the mood back then…

One interesting thing about Wired’s premiere issue is that internet was only mentioned twice. This was deliberately, as they wanted Wired to be about everything digital and how it transforms society. But internet would soon become an important subject for Wired and they also launched their own internet services like the search engine HotBot and their online magazine HotWired where they ignited the banner ad format.

I do feel that Wired has lost most of its original quality since 2001 when the editor Chris Anderson took over and steered it away from the long essays on tech and societal development and converting it more into a guys gadget magazine. But I still read Wired online and sometimes find inspiring pearls. But I stopped buying the Wired iPad edition since I find it annoyingly similar to the old CD-ROM format that I produced so much of in the 90s, I wrote about that in my post: iPad media apps: CD-ROM revisited.

This is an important historic document!

I do encourage everyone interested in internet history and future digital development to read the Wired premiere issue on an iPad. Turn on the wonderful annotations where you get inside information and today’s perspective on all the articles and ads.

19 years with Wired, what’s next?

1993 is 19 years ago.  This was just before Internet became mainstream, here is what the web looked like back then:

Mosaic, the first “visual” web browser.

GSM mobiles had just emerged, but were still seen as expensive “yuppie toys” by most people. So in these 19 years we have seen a big transformation of our society and the ways we live, work and communicate.

Do you think that the next 19 years will show less or more progress? I think much more! The development curve is getting much steeper now that we have so much infrastructure in place in the form of broadband mobile networks and inexpensive development tools and sensors.

I see four main transformational technologies in modern history:

  • The electricity in the early 20th century.
  • The mainframe computer in the 60s and the personal computer in the 80s
  • The internet and the web in the 90s
  • The connected smartphone revolution that started with the iPhone in 2005

I believe we are now in the beginning of another just as big transformation:
the Internet of Things, M2M-communications,  Connected devices
These are silly names that will disappear shortly when we start taking for granted that “everything” is as connected to internet as we are. The benefits and possibilites are endless when our machines, gadgets, bodies, cars, tools and environments are all online, communicating both with each other and with us humans.

The new breed of really inexpensive sensors and wireless data connections enables creativity to flow in all kinds of areas. For example in the medical sector, where my focus is, there are already numerous personal health and fitness tracking devices and mobile applications, in a few years they will transform health care as we know it.

Still not convinced this is going to be The Next Big Thing? Read what the tech blogger Robert Scoble is thinking and why he is writing a book about it: The coming automatic, freaky, contextual world

So I encourage everyone to read this historic issue of Wired with the annotations.
Then engage yourself in discussions on how we can learn from this history and make the best of all the exciting digital possibilites lying in front of us!






Scenario: Radio Revival

Personal radio in your mobile

Executive summary:
Radio breaks free of channels and timetables and adapts itself to your preferences, anytime, anywhere. The combination of mobile broadband, smartphone apps and vast media libraries lets you enjoy radio the way you want it.

– – – – – – – The scenario – – – – – –

The rain drizzles down on this very grey Monday morning as Anna boards the bus for her daily 30-minute commute.

-I wonder how long I would stand this without my daily radio theatre”, she ponders while she takes a seat and whips out her mobile and wireless headphones. She selects a new drama in the radio theatre menu.

Her profile is set to 25-minute episodes to fit her commute time and seconds later she is immersed in a much more exciting world of adventure. As she leaves the bus, she almost longs for the ride back, to learn what will happen next.

Meanwhile, her husband Mike is sitting in his car just outside the city, swearing at the heavy traffic. He is facing a 3-hour drive to an important supplier and cannot find any music station on the radio that he likes. -Why don’t I try a book instead”, he mutters and selects the Audio Books menu on his mobile which is sitting in its dashboard cradle. As he browses the different categories, he notes that there are language courses too.

-OK, this is my chance of updating my Spanish. I will take an hour of Spanish lessons, after that I will enjoy that new Tom Clancy thriller everybody’s talking about.”

Their son Bobby is just coming home from his summer job delivering newspapers. His earplugs are still booming with a medieval war drama as he lies down on the lawn to experience the battle climax, with massive sound effects and big trumpet fanfares.

He then starts with his next assignment: mowing the lawn. To kill the next boring half-hour with the mower, he switches his mobile to his favourite music forum. An alert pops up on the display: -New single by Jupiter in your Mix”.

Bobby has opted for receiving promos and ads since he doesn’t want to pay for the shows. The Mix music show is auto-composed daily according to his personal music preferences, with news, songs and interviews with his favourite artists.

Humming and mowing, Bobby decides to buy a download of the new single and pay a bit extra also to send it to his girlfriend, all with two clicks on the mobile.

/Henrik Ahlen 🙂

-You may never know what results come of your action,
but if you do nothing there will be no result”

– Mahatma Gandhi

Scenario: The Gym 2.0

Interactive support for personal motivation

Executive summary:
Fitness centers need to take their customer service to a new level and attract many new members. An experienced personal trainer can be very efficient in motivating members to continue their training and providing essential instructions on how to operate the training machines and set personal goals. But to hire a personal trainer regularly is too expensive for most people.

The Virtual Personal Trainer is a feasible and cost-efficient solution to this, offering most of the same services and helping with the daily motivation. A -real” personal trainer can monitor many more members that are their VPTs and sell individual coaching a couple of times per year. This scenario is based on existing technology.

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

Robert”™s mobile beeps about an incoming SMS from his Virtual Personal Trainer:

-Message from your VPT: Your last training session was 7 days ago. Hope to see you today, come and get your strength back!”

Robert has worked long hours lately, skipping his sessions at the gym. He feels tired, so the thought of going there now makes him think of many other things he needs to do. But he knows by now that he will be energized if he gets it done, so he heads to the gym anyway.

Arriving at his gym, the electronic tag in his membership card is detected at the door, pulling up Robert’s profile page on the receptionist’s monitor. The receptionist glances at the monitor and then smiles at Robert.

-Hello Robert, it’s been a while, have you been away from town?”
-No, just too much work”, Robert replies, heading for the check-in panel.

At the panel his personal training goals and statistics are displayed. His Virtual Personal Trainer greets him: -Good to see you Robert, today we will work on your triceps and legs, here is today”™s program for you”.

A printout appears, with pictures of all the exercises and data from his last session. His personal goals and progress so far are clearly shown in charts.

Robert gets changed and puts on his headband with a built-in wireless headset. He can now train to his favourite music, selected by his profile that he updates on his Virtual Personal Training website. This profile also includes visualisations of his personal goals, with photos of Robert’s body today and in one year, along with his medical data.

At the triceps machine, Robert is greeted by his VPT appearing on a monitor. The music in his headset is replaced with the voice of the VPT: -Hello Robert, time for your triceps. I have set the seat height and the weights for you. The last time you did 12 reps, so try to beat that today!

Robert pulls the handles and works hard, listening to advice from his VPT. -Too fast Robert, slow down!” -All the way down, please!” -That was 9, just 3 to go!” -Great Robert, that was 11, now just do two more, and you will have broken your personal record, come on!”

At the end of the session Robert feels relaxed and confident again. His VPT gives him a sum-up: -You are doing well Robert! You have increased your triceps strength with 12% and your leg strength with 9% the last month.

I have now updated your web site with your stats and emailed you some useful nutrition tips that will help you reach your goals. See you again on Thursday!”

Henrik Ahlen 🙂

“Strength of mind is exercise, not rest.”
– Alexander Pope (1688-1744)