“A profile on computer pioneer Gary Kildall and the important contributions he made to the PC industry including the true story on how IBM ended up using MS-DOS rather than CP/M. Kildall developed CP/M, the first personal computer operating system. He was also a co-host on the early Computer Chronicles series. Includes comments by Gordon Eubanks, Symantec; Tom Rolander, DRI; Tim Bajarin, Creative Strategies; Lee Lorenzen, DRI; Jacqui Morby, TA Associates; Alan Cooper, CP/M applications developer. Originally broadcast in 1995.”
Computer Chronicles - Greatest Computer Games (1995)
This one really brings back some memories. A few of the games covered are Buried in Time, Mech Warrior 2, and Phantasmagoria. I owned the games Buried in Time and Mech Warrior 2! I remember seeing advertisements and reviews for Phantasmagoria in PC Gamer magazine which I purchased at the local book store whenever I could. There is also a visit to Microsoft’s Judgment Day, a conference for third-party game developers in Redmond, Washington.
I think the highlight of this episode for me though is the PC that they are running Mech Warrior 2 on that was “designed for gaming”. They say it’s a NEC Pentium 133MHz with a 6x CD-Rom drive, 1.6 GB hard drive, and cost about $3,000. These were the machines that I drooled over in the monthly Computer Shopper magazine. I distinctly remember seeing quite a few NEC machines that were at the top of my dream lists, maybe even this exact one.
My neighbors and some friends had some PC’s running Windows 3.0. Windows 3.1 came on my first PC. Paint was all that I cared about whenever I was able to use their computers but at least it got me interested in learning how to do more.
Computer Chronicles - Battle of the Browsers (1997)
Think the browser wars are bad now? Well it was probably even worse in the mid to late 1990’s with Microsoft Internet Explorer and it’s proprietary technologies like ActiveX. Remember VRML? What the heck ever happened to VRML? Netscape took the more open approach but I don’t think there was any one clear winner. One thing for certain though is that a website designed for one didn’t usually look correct on the other. Remember the little “This website is best viewed with browser X and version X” buttons? Glad to see those go the way of VRML….
Remember the buzz about Windows 95 pre-release? It was hard to go into any book store and not see WINDOWS 95 plastered all over the magazine covers in the computer magazine section. There were full special edition computer magazines dedicated to detailing every little thing about the new operating system. The buzz was well deserved in my opinion because the new OS was revolutionary. It offered drag and drop files into folders for for peat’ sake!
My first computer came with Windows 3.1 and I bought the mags about Windows 95 and studied them intensely until I was finally able to purchase “secure” a copy of the Windows 95 installation floppy disks and watch in awe and wonder as my computer transformed from DOS/Win3.1 world to the amazing and wonderful world of Windows 95 with it’s trendy Weezer - Buddy Holly video on the CD-ROM extras!
Okay, so maybe it wasn’t everything that it was built up to be, but it was an improvement. You can’t argue that.
“Computer Chronicles” was one of the only computer related television series available to me when I was growing up. My family did not have cable TV, or satellite TV. We had good old fashioned rabbit ears on top of the TV so my resources for incite into the world of computers was very limited. Luckily for me, our local PBS channel aired this series. If I had to name one media source that had the biggest influence on me getting into computers it was this show. I will be posting quite a few links to the Computer Chronicles series because it has had such a great impact on who I am today and what I’ve become in the sense of my career path. As outdated as these episodes are today, I still enjoy watching them again and again. The intro music and the graphics during the start of the program alone bring back wonderful memories of my earlier years.
Although, this episode aired before I got my first computer (~1995), some of the friends that I had contact with during the early 90’s were really into computers already with their 386’s or 486’s. One of them in particular was really into flight sims so these are the types of flight sims that I played on their machines and then later loaded up on my computer when I finally got it a few years later.