The Huffington Post UK is launching a tech section, and asked me to guestblog. It’s a one-off item, not the start of a regular gig. But that’s probably for the best: I was able to share nearly everything I know about technology in the United Kingdom in one brief post.
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In the ever-evolving world of technology, the eternal verities are few. We know that lovable Mario will always be synonymous with his employer, Nintendo. It’s certain that Apple will never release a mouse or other pointing device encumbered by two physical buttons. And there’s no question that as long as there’s an AOL, journalists will be writing AOL stories with “You’ve got…” references in the headlines.
I was reminded of this as I read articles about AOL’s acquisition of The Huffington Post. The headlines, of course, reference the “You’ve got mail!” sound clip, recorded by Elwood Edwards in 1989 and played countless billions of times since. That’s him in the photo to the right. (His dulcet tones don’t seem to be present in the current incarnation of Web-based AOL Mail, though–I get a mundane “ping!” when messages come in–anyone know whether the clip is still in use anywhere?)
I’m not sure when “You’ve got mail” and variations thereof became a byword for AOL, but the phrase and the company were symbiotic by 1998, when a certain Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan movie was released. You could practically do a history of the company told entirely in “You’ve got…” headlines.
In fact, let’s try, shall we? In reverse-chronological order, starting today…