Tuesday, January 16, 2007

In the very early days

of the net, I suppose we're talking 1995 or so, Microsoft started an online magazine called Mungo Park. The proof of this is that entering www.mungopark.com in your browser takes you Expedia. At the time, the idea of using the Internet to book a flight was considered novel, and the feeling was the novice public had to be eased into this new experience through the back door.
The real Mungo http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mungo_Park_(explorer) was a Scot who drowned on the Niger River. The magazine nonetheless pitched Adventure Travel, and I wrote a few pieces during my free time. Microsoft paid well, and the work was really quite easy because you couldn't write very long at all. In fact what I most remember from the experience was sparring with the editor, by phone at her desk in Redmond, about the future of words on the web.

Part of it was that pages loaded much m-u-c-h slower then. But the main thing was that the copy was just hard to read after more than a few minutes. My tagline, the few words of bio at the bottom of the story, ended with: "He bets you printed this out."

Ten years later I almost never read a newspaper on anything but the Web (in no small part because eight of those years have been spent overseas, where it's hard to get home delivery). But fatigue is still a big factor, at least for me.

I'm old, though.

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