Tag Archives: nostalgia

Computer Archaeology

One of my favorite movie lines comes from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It’s the very end of an action sequence in which Indy rescues his father from the Nazis. The two of them take a moment to catch their breath and Doctor Jones, Sr turns to his son and asks, “You call this archaeology?”
It’s been a day or two since I last had any prolonged fisticuffs with the forces of evil, but every so often I also make a surprising discovery.
This evening, while trying to figure out where I’d stashed my copy of the data access drivers for Microsoft Access, I discovered a file sitting in a dusty corner of my hard drive.
The file is named msie302m95.exe, it’s 10.8 MB in size, and dated July 31, 1998.
I’m nearly certain it’s a standalone installer for the Windows 95 edition of Internet Explorer, v3.02.
IE 6.0 is the current bane of existence for web developers. It has a number of quirks, lackluster support for web standards, and it’s been around since 2001. And because it was bundled with Windows XP and most people won’t upgrade their web browser (not even for free!), it’s still the most common web browser on the web in general.
IE 3.x dates back to the days before Microsoft won the first browser war. This was the first browser from Microsoft to support JavaScript and among the last to still support the <marquee> and <blink> tags. (These days, both of those effects are largely unlamented, but if you feel desperately eager to create something similar to the average Geocities page, you can reproduce them with a very small amount of JavaScript.)
I don’t miss IE3. But one thing’s very clear from this discovery:
I really need to clear out my hard drive a bit more often.


It’s been about 14 years or so since I closed my Compuserve account in favor of an internet-connected BBS. I initially signed up for that account using my Commodore 64 and a blazing-fast 300 baud modem. (At that point, 1200 baud modems were fairly common, but a 1200 baud modem for the C-64 was a little too pricey for someone just a couple years out of college.)
During the couple of years I used Compuserve, I got to know Sue P, had discussions (and the occasional argument) with folks such as David Gerrold, established a few professional ties through my nifty technical skills, and eventually persuaded my then-employer to set up a technical support area on the service (a move which almost immediately gained them several new customers, and long before the term “World Wide Web” ever reached the mainstream).
Sometime in mid-90s, Compuserve was acquired by AOL where it became something of an online backwater, a “walled-garden” dinosaur in an online ecosystem inhabited by web sites which could be accessed via any standard web browser.
Back in April, AOL notified the few remaining Compuserve users of plans to shut down the service. Compuserve was officially shut down last week.
I haven’t used the service in at least 14 years, but I have to admit to being a little sad to see it go.

Retro Music Videos

YouTube seems to be a good source for music videos these days. Along with the song-parody videos I’ve written about elsewhere, there’s also a wealth of music from way back.
DDMD posted a link to a concert video from the late 70s, and that got me thinking about some of the songs I liked “way back.” (To my amusement, despite being a few years older than DDMD, my nostalgia music comes from a decade later.) I’m not exactly certain when “Men at Work” hit big in the US, only that it was the early to mid eighties.
Twenty-some years later, “It’s a Mistake” seems to have held up pretty well and seems quite relevant given what’s going on in the world.

Ah, for the days when MTV played music… 🙂