Rob Terry does. For a few years in the mid-1990s, he helped develop interactive discs for several companies, including InfoWorld’s sister publication PC World. Terry’s job was to create electronic versions of the magazine that connected with this new thing everyone was talking about called the internet.
It didn’t last long.
“CD-ROMs were promised as this magical optical drive that would solve all our storage problems,” he says. “Back then, authoring expensive glass masters was a mysterious black art. For web/hybrid CDs we had to tag all the hyperlinks by hand inside Word, then ship the documents off to a company in Seattle that would parse them to display inside a browser.”
Then the web took off as the publishing medium of choice, instantly turning interactive discs into shiny plastic coasters. Terry moved from electronic publishing to e-commerce, then bio-informatics, designing user interfaces for a wide range of clients. Now he’s CTO and founder of Smart Catch, which helps commercial fisheries intelligently manage the fish that end up in their trawl nets.