- Netscape Navigator (my preferred browser until IE 6.0)
- Napster (sparingly)
- Lotus 1-2-3 for DOS (I am a dinosaur)
- Hayes Smartmodem (my first modem was 300 baud, and I remember getting my first 2400 baud modem — it was the first time data loaded faster than I could read it)
- Motorola StarTAC (thanks to a past employer, before they sued me — long story)
- WordPerfect 5.1 (funny how “show codes” looked a bit like HTML today)
- Tetris (who hasn’t?)
- Palm Pilot 1000 (I was an early adopter)
- id Software Doom (idkfx, etc.)
- Microsoft Windows 95 (“Start me up!”)
- Nintendo Game Boy (see Tetris above)
- Iomega Zip Drive (100MB seemed like so much back then)
- CompuServe (my brother used the free hour we got without me being around, and I was so pissed off)
- Blizzard World of Warcraft (me and my 8 million friends)
- Aldus PageMaker (it was so impressive at the time)
- Nintendo Entertainment System (so many hours wasted thanks to this device)
- McAfee VirusScan (preferred by most employers)
- Apple HyperCard (more powerful and advanced than most realize)
- Epson MX-80 (love those dot crunching sounds)
- Microsoft Excel (one of the best things to come out of Microsoft)
What are my three selections which didn’t make it on the list?
- Zork I: The Great Underground Empire
In comparison to today’s games with intense graphics, this was a simple text-only game. It popularized the interactive fiction genre, and, thanks to the lack of graphics, is just as fun to play today as it was 20 years ago.
The gamesgames started simple enough but grew into impressive releases that included Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, B-17 Bomber (with Intellivoice), and MLB Baseball (where we got so good, the pitcher made nearly every play, and you can “Old Spice” the ball).
- Borland’s Turbo Pascal
My first real experience in real programming was with this incredible (for its time) programming environment. I even rewrote a BASIC-language game, 3 in 1 Football, into Turbo Pascal. I didn’t have a printer, and the football game was on a different computer in a different room, so I hand-wrote pseudocode on paper then recoded it from scratch in Pascal. Not bad for a 14-year old.
It’s always nice to look back at where we came from to appreciate where we are.