Paths not Taken

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Paths not Taken

This project is an effort to systematically document and preserve functional demos of certain key technologies that did not succeed in the “marketplace” and become part of the dominant products available to consumers today, but insiders and/or historians widely believe held unrealized potential.

In many ways, this project could be framed as a sub-set of the New Media Museum’s PC 2100 project, since it will certainly depend upon that project’s hardware and software to achieve it’s primary goal. However, this project goes well beyond the technical challenge of running old hardware and software. It will try to address the question of whether or not the paths that were, or were not, taken mattered. The project is also going to actively try to determine if what was lost by the technologies not succeeding can be regained for the benefit of current and future generations of users.

The activities of the project will be framed as “what if” questions.

For example, what if one of the numerous powerful, networked hypermedia systems that existed in the late 1980s and early 1990s such as Pei Wei’s Viola or Hermann Maurer’s Hyper-G/HyperWave had become successful before and/or instead of the Web?

© New Media Museum created by M. E. Hopper