I do suspect, though, that "the ones who came before" noticed this years ago. Things are worse (re: patents and app stores), but the idea of the industry slowly taking a turn for the worst while nobody notices are not new concerns.
I'd love to hear someone who's been programming for 40 years comment on this. I don't even know who to ask...
Until then, here's a jpg (http://i53.tinypic.com/2janfrd.jpg)
> "This is the computer industry as it used to be: people sharing ideas and solutions without the greed and grit with associated with today's corporate driven, litigation-laced, industry"
(Second column, near the bottom)
That was written over 20 years ago.
I'd love to be able to open an app on my phone and ask the nearest semi driver what the traffic deal is, or where the "bears in the caves taking pictures" are ;-)
According to this Atari magazine (http://www.atarimagazines.com/creative/v11n2/30_Telecommunic...) modem speeds were just about 2400 BPS in 1985, but that 300 BPS modems were still widely used. (I had a sudden flashback reading that about the easy use of either baud or bps for modem speed.)
And it's funny that it ends with the "wristwatch" computer - obviously now we know the screen is too tiny and we haven't made enough progress in battery technology. I do wonder what the 1985 people would have made of smart phones.