Happy 21st Birthday / Hong Kong Radio 3
It’s my daughter Rebecca’s 21st birthday and I’m so proud, so happy and so glad to celebrate the woman she’s become and to think back on the last 21 years of her and our family’s life and in this nostalgic mood I’ve indulgently dedicated this week’s on-air chat with Hong Kong 3’s Phil Whelan to looking back at 1996, at how we lived, what was important then and the amazing tech that we were using 21 years ago.
1. PC users did not have even Pentium II in 1996 (Pentium II came in 1997).
2. Celeron processors were a thing of the future.
3. 16 MB RAM was a big deal.
4. 200 MHz P6 was released by Intel and it was a great thing that time.
5. Apple was sinking and few people could predict that Apple would make such a great comeback after few years.
6. CD-RW was announced. DVD was knocking on the door and came in the next year.
7. Palm Pilot hit the market for the consumers a big milestone for the technology industry.
8. Digital camera was digital but not affordable.
9 Monochrome monitor (display) was the norm for PC. Did you have a color monitor?
10. LCD monitor was like a science fiction.
11. Sub $1,000 computers were emerging as a cool thing.
12. Microsoft launched IntelliMouse in 1996.
1. Java programming language started to catch the attention of the technology world as a platform independent language.
2. Windows 95 was considered to be a cool thing. So cool, that 1 million copies were purchased by users in four days.
3. Microsoft’s Office 97 was published in December 2006. It was published in a CD-ROM but also ‘on a set of 45 3½-inch floppy disks’.
4. In 1996, there was no MP3 format. Life was really dull for most PC users.
5. According to Wikipedia, there was no major virus attack in 1996. Strange, isn’t it?
6. Macromedia Flash 1.0 was introduced. Would you like to work with it now?
7. Microsoft released DirectX 2.0 in 1996 and it is a milestone in computer gaming industry.
8. Microsoft also released Windows CE.
9. Bill Gates has just been listed by Forbes in 1995 as the richest man in the world. In 1996, he was not a household name like today.
1. Internet did not exist in many countries in the world.
2. What’s broadband?
3. Launched in 1995, Amazon.com started to catch attention.
4. Netgear came into existence.
5. Google was born in 1996 but hardly anyone knew about it outside of Stanford.
6. Web page design was like a nightmare in the absence of easy software and very few people could do it.
7. Hotmail was launched in 1996.
8. New York Times started its own website. It was a big deal that time as very few newspapers bothered to bear the expense of having a website and publishing their own materials in it.
9. eBay was there in 1996 but did buy or sell anything? Did you even know that it existed?
10. Microsoft launched Internet Explorer 3 on August 1996. In 1996, Microsoft had only 20% of the browser market share.
11. MSNBC was launched jointly by Microsoft and NBC.
Computer and Video Games
1. Pokémon was officially released in February 1996. It is one of the most successful games of all time.
2. Nintendo 64 was born and became popular.
3. “Deep Blue” created a media storm by playing with world chess champion Garry Kasparov. Deep Blue lost in 1996 but then won in 1997. I often feel that Deep Blue is neglected in the history of IT.
Mobile Phone and Wireless Technology
1. Many countries in the world did not have mobile phone.
2. SMS was theoretically there but 99% users did not find it to be useful. In fact, according to one statistics, in 1995 ‘on average only 0.4 messages per GSM customer per month‘.
3. MMS was science fiction.
4. WIFI, WIMax- only existed in the dream of researchers.
5. No Bluetooth technology.
6. Mobile phone ringtones were a melody and there was no ring tone industry.
7. Mobile phone were heavy and uber expensive.
So have a listen now (12 minutes 45 seconds) and then I’d love to hear your memories of 1996.