In The Eyes of 1998 (Part 1)

1998-1

Front cover of PC Magazine, June 1998

“We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.”

That was a quote from Bill Gates’ book, “The Road Ahead”, published in 1996.

I thought it was fitting for this post, after recently coming across a feature article from  a magazine (PC Magazine) dating back to June 1998. Describing their predictions for computing in the years 2001 and 2010, let’s see what was accurate, delayed, and just didn’t happen.

In Part 1 of the series, I’ll be covering processors, home network devices, the TV PC, and digital video.

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eBay Purchase #9 – Microsoft BackOffice Server 2.0

msboffice2-1eBay Purchase Price: $60 AUD

Country of Origin: United States

Condition: Very Good

Long since discontinued, BackOffice was a suite of server orientated products in combination with Windows NT aimed at business. Originally released with Windows NT 3.5 Server included, the final version had Windows 2000 Server.

This particular version is 2.0 released in April 1996, and was the last to include Windows NT 3.51, just four months prior to NT 4.0. I grabbed this copy among some other newer versions of BackOffice from the same seller. The postage was pricey given their size and weight, though finding complete copies of these isn’t that easy.

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Developing the Web Dial-Up Style

webeditMy first experience of the internet arose from a newly formed internet cafe, down in the beach-side suburb of Glenelg in Adelaide. It was 1994 and I recall attempting to view as many web pages as possible given it was charged by the hour for the privilege. The cafe was using 486 PCs running Windows for Workgroups, with Netscape Navigator 2.0 as the web browser of choice. Although a number of people had connected to BBS since the 1980s, the internet in the form of the World Wide Web was still rather primitive at the time and largely mysterious.

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Windows 3.x with VMWare Workstation Player

An earlier post, Install & Configure MS-DOS 6.22 & Windows 3.1 using Oracle VirtualBox has proven to be relatively popular since it was published. The intention was to create a similar guide using VMWare’s free Workstation Player 12.5.6 but alas usability wasn’t satisfactory enough that I felt creating one was warranted. Nevertheless here’s how the installation experience went. Cue the 1978 Split Enz song ‘I See Red’.

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Pulling Out My ThinkPad 755Cs

thinkpad755cs-1One of my earliest laptops is this IBM ThinkPad 755Cs dating back to 1994. According to the website ThinkWiki this model came with a colour display, either a 486 DX2 50 or DX4 75 Mhz processor, 4 MB RAM, 1 MB Western Digital WD90C24 video, Cirrus Logic CS4248 for audio, and a choice of a 170, 340, or 540 MB hard disk drive.

This particular one was maxed out with the DX4 processor and 540 MB drive, so it fetched some decent coin when new. It had also been upgraded to 20 MB RAM at some point.

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pcAnywhere32 & 3 ThinkPads

For trialling out pcAnywhere32 with the parallel port cable, with me are two ThinkPads for the exercise. The one on the left is a Pentium II 380Z running Windows NT 4.0, and beside it is a Pentium 380D running Windows 98 SE.

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ThinkPad 380Z on the left, ThinkPad 380D to the right.

For this I’ll be using the 380Z as the host, while the 380D will be the remote. Well so I thought…

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eBay Purchase #8 – Symantec pcAnywhere32 7.5

pcanywhere75-1eBay Purchase Price: $25 AUD

Country of Origin: Australia

Condition: Very Good

Just recently I picked up a complete copy of pcAnywhere32 7.5 remote access software. The good news is the manuals are in excellent condition, and the original parallel port cable is included which can often go missing. The bad news is that out of the four floppy disks for the software itself, the second disk couldn’t be imaged due to bad sectors. Fortunately I could retrieve this elsewhere.

Symantec’s strategy in the late 1980s and early 1990s had been one of company acquisitions. One such acquisition was announced in August 1990 with the purchase of Peter Norton Computing Inc. who had a stronghold in the DOS disk utilities space. Symantec retained the Norton branding and had done so for a number of years.

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Install & Configure IBM OS/2 Warp 4.52 Using Oracle VirtualBox

os2-45-1OS/2 initially developed in cooperation between Microsoft and IBM back in the 1980s had a turbulent history over the years. By 1996 with the final retail release of OS/2 Warp 4.0, IBM conceded defeat by Microsoft realising it was not able to compete with Windows 95, although still managed to withhold a portion of the enterprise market. Years later it was still found on some servers and even ATMs on the street.

OS/2 Warp 4.52 was the final version by IBM released in 2001 with official support ending in 2006. It wasn’t offered in a retail package, but for those who had a contractual agreement with IBM for OS/2 support. After this the foundation of the OS had evolved into what is now known as eComStation.

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When Having 8-bit Colour Was Good

Monitors-1Since around the year 2000, LCD (liquid-crystal display) and later LED (light-emitting display) monitors gradually became the de facto standard replacing the earlier CRT (cathode ray tube) technology available. Over the years the size and resolutions of the monitors have increased significantly. These days when selecting one to buy it’s really just about choosing the desired screen size and whether it’s capable of 1080p or 4K resolution. No consideration for colour depth is required for instance.

Of course, during the 1980s and 1990s this wasn’t the case. A series of acronyms were used to give an indication of the monitor’s capabilities, and were frequently stated. Some of these acronyms were EGA and VGA. Over a number of years now low-end or built-in video adapters in motherboards, have no problem with displaying millions of colours on a 1920 x 1080 resolution screen. However, in the past it was more pertinent to ensure that the video adapter was capable enough to handle the monitor’s capabilities or vice versa.

In this post, I’ll be covering from the CGA and MDA standards of the early 1980s through to XGA in the 1990s used by IBM and compatible PCs. Before closing out, they’ll be mention of some of the other standards that became available. PCem is used for many of the screenshots due to the lack of physical hardware.

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eBay Purchase #7 – Microsoft Publisher 2.0

mspub2-1.pngeBay Purchase Price: $1 AUD

Country of Origin: Australia

Condition: Very Good

Sometimes every now and then a bargain is picked up, and in this case it was a new shrink wrapped copy of Microsoft Publisher 2.0 for only $1 AUD. Other copies found tend to be priced between $50 to $100.

This version of Publisher from 1993 had a few minor variations to the retail box particularly with the large fonts on the front, and the coloured diamond that would either say just “Version 2.0” or mention some sort of special offer.

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