Flashback To 1994 – 15 Unforgettable Memories About Past Technology

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Aug 19 2014
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Have you started working in 1994? That was a mere 20-years ago but it was like a gazillion years ago, if you put technology into perspective. It’s always nice to take a look back at how we did things the hard way in order for us to appreciate what we have today. In case you didn’t realize it, World Wide Web or simply internet was invented by Tim Berners-Lee in 1994 – exactly 20-years ago.


Tim Berners-Lee first proposed “HyperText Markup Language (HTML)” and “HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP)” in 1989 as the standard to link and access information of various nodes around the world. The web has since exploded and its wonderful effects are still alive and kicking today. But there were other fabulous things that had happened 20-years ago too.

1994 - WWW Was Created by Tim Berners-Lee

Besides Academy Award winner Forrest Gump in 1994, American also released Street Fighter, thanks to popular video game. And the popular term “Information Superhighway” was also hatched by former Vice President Al Gore in 1994. It was interesting that many still assume it was Al Gore who created the Internet (*grin*).



{ 1 }  In 1994, Most People Used Windows 3.1x

1994 - Microsoft Windows 3.1x

Today,we’re spoilt with tons of beautiful graphic user interface (GUI) from Microsoft and Mac OS. There’re too many functions and features in today’s operating system than we actually know them. But in 1994, Microsoft’s operating system was the 3.1x, Bill Gate’s first OS in GUI. Prior to that, it was purely MS-DOS where you need to type commands to execute programs.



{ 2 }  In 1994, Tim Berners-Lee Invented World Wide Web

1994 - Tim Berners-Lee Invented World Wide Web

Exactly 20-years ago, Tim Berners-Lee invented WWW and published its very first website as above. It was the first step into connecting the world and for his contribution, Tim Berners-Lee was knighted in 2004 by Queen Elizabeth. You still can see the acronym “www”, “http” and “html” in use today, if you care to look at your URL address on your browser.



{ 3 }  In 1994, WWW Was Created Using This NeXT Computer

1994 - WWW Was Created Using NeXT Computer

The first NeXT computers were released on the retail market in 1990, for $9,999, the company founded in 1985 by Apple Computer co-founder Steve Jobs, after he was forced out of Apple. Tim Berners-Lee used NeXT workstation to invent the World Wide Web. It was also the first computer used to host the first web pages. The picture above shows the exact computer used with a partly peeled off label “This machine is a server. DO NOT POWER IT DOWN!!”



{ 4 }  In 1994, Cell Phones Were Expensive & Huge

1994 - Micro-TAC 5200 and Nokia 2110

Kids nowadays are extremely lucky. Besides huge retina-display touch screen, they have tons of games and apps to get themselves entertained, not to mention cheaper price in getting one of those smartphones. Twenty years ago, their parents were using brick-sized heavy and expensive cell phones such as Motorola Micro-TAC 5200 and Nokia 2110 in the photo above. And it can only used for calls and SMSes, plus a handful of no-brainer built-in games.



{ 5 }  In 1994, This Was Microsoft’s First Web Page

1994 - This Was Microsoft's First Web Page

Back in 1994, bandwidth was a luxury and you don’t bitch about megabytes of data download, let alone gigabytes. It was only in kilobytes, 1-Megabyte equals to 1,048,576 bytes while 1-Kilobyte means 1,024 bytes. Although Microsoft’s home page in 1994 looks pathetic by today’s standard, it was so bulky because it had a picture and for it to show up on screen, you can literally go for a coffee break and come back for it, depending on your internet speed (*grin*).



{ 6 }  1994 Was Also The Year Yahoo Was Founded

1994 - The Year Yahoo Was Founded

As much as Yahoo likes to become number one search engine, the company is still happily eating Google’s dust (*tongue-in-cheek*). Nevertheless, the company founded by Jerry Young and David Filo in January 1994 is still surviving. Remember WebCrawler, Lycos, Infoseek, AltaVista, Exite and what not? Those were the infamous search engines in the same generatio with Yahoo. If you look at Yahoo’s search engine 20-years ago (picture above), it was insanely simple that makes you ROFL.



{ 7 }  In 1994, You Can Only Use Dial-Up Modem

1994 - You Can Only Use Dial-Up Modem

You do not have lease-line or dedicated line like what you have today at home, 20-years ago. Even public listed companies were using dial-up modems to retrieve emails or internet connection back then. Retrieving e-mails were not real-time but require a scheduled manual dial-up, simply because it was expensive to connect 24-hours a day.


So, IT administrator would have to learn how to dial-up and trouble-shoot whenever the modems couldn’t connect to the other party. Popular modems such as Robotics and Hayes were used for this purpose, and everyone was appreciative of 9,600 speed. That’s 9,000 “bits per second” (bit and not byte, mind you) for corporate organizations. Needless to say, there was no WiFi capabilities in the modems.



{ 8 }  In 1994, Internet Access Was Super Expensive

1994 - Internet Access Was Super Expensive

To have dedicated lease-line in 1994 was like having satellite access today, literally speaking. You paid for every minute you access the World Wide Web 20-years ago. Using dial-up modem, you would connect to providers such as AOL (American Online) or JARING (Jaring Communications Sdn Bhd). You also need to install the proprietary software these service providers.



{ 9 }  In 1994, Floppy Disk Was A Standard Media

1994 - Floppy Disk Was A Standard Media

There was no thumb drives or pendrives, let alone cloud storage back then. While the 5¼-inch floppy disks were still in use, the most popular was the 3½-inch floppy disks which came with 1.44 MB capacity. And 1.44 MB was lots of space when the prices of CDs were too expensive. And who can forget those games which came with 5 or 12 3½-inch floppy disks to install.



{ 10 }  In 1994, Doom Was The Game Everyone Played

1994 - Doom Was The Game Everyone Played

Originally released for MS-DOS computers in 1994, Doom II: Hell on Earth was so popular it spread to Game Boy Advance (2002), Tapwave Zodiac (2004), XBox Live Arcade (2010) and Play Station 3 (2012). The science-fiction horror-themed first-person shooter (FPS) video game was distributed in 3½-inch floppy disks in earlier stage and its 32-level megawads was easily one of the most addicted games.



{ 11 }  Sony Released First PlayStation In 1994

1994 - Sony Released First PlayStation

Created and developed by Sony Computer Entertainment, the first PlayStation was introduced on Dec 3, 1994 in Japan. The PlayStation, was the first video game console to hit 100 million units – 9 years and 6 months after its initial launch. Subsequently, PlayStation 2 was released in 2000 and sold for 155 million units while PlayStation 3 (2006) has sold over 80 million units. PlayStation 4, released in 2013, was the fastest selling console – 1 million within 24-hours when first introduced.



{ 12 }  In 1994, People Watched Movies On VHS

1994 - People Watched Movies On VHS

Try showing VHS cassette to your kids and we’re willing to bet every penny they couldn’t figure out what it was. But 20-years ago, JVC developed VHS and had been the standard media for people around the world for movies watching and recording. It wasn’t until 2000 that cheap DVD managed to replace VHS. So, many people still have their old VHS cassette player at home till today, for sentimental value.



{ 13 }  In 1994, Netscape Was Browser Of Choice

1994 - Netscape Was Browser Of Choice

Today, you’ve Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and tons other browsers – either for laptop, smartphone or tablets. But 20-years ago, there was very limited options, with Netscape being the most preferred internet browser. Netscape Communicator, based on Mosaic, was first released on Dec 15, 1994 and easily took more than 50% of market share. But when Microsoft started bundled its Internet Explorer inside every Microsoft Windows OS, Netscape started losing out.



{ 14 }  In 1994, Sony Introduces Its First PDA

1994 - Sony Introduces Its First PDA

Contrary to popular belief, years before Sony “entered” the PDA market with the Clié family of products, they had actually released the Magic Link devices as an Apple Newton competitor. Apple had Newton OS, Microsoft introduced the obscure “Windows for pen computing” and a company named “General Magic” created Magic Cap.


Thus, Sony released MagicLink PIC-1000 PDA, a supposedly winner which came complete with a large set of connectors. It was mainly design as a mobile communicator, to which an optional cellphone module could be attached. It was a cool and high quality gadget. But it didn’t take off in a big way.



{ 15 }  In 1994, Fax Machine Was Super Popular

1994 - Fax Machine Was Super Popular

This is perhaps one of the heroes still stand tall till today, despite internet’s onslaught. Fax, short for facsimile, was the most popular method in communicating in the 1990s due primarily to the luxury of internet. Besides SMSes, sending email was expensive due to small bandwidth. Fax machine was the only economically and fastest way to send and receive something in black and white.


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