You may have heard rumors of a Playstation audiophile CD player. That’s a bit of an exaggeration. But early models of the Sony Playstation do happen to be a much-better-than-average CD player. And that may make them a touch more valuable than they otherwise would be.
Is Atari still in business? That’s complicated. It might be better to ask is Atari still a company. A lot of things happened to the Atari name through the years and that can make it hard to keep track. It also gives retro gaming people something to argue about.
So let’s look at what happened to Atari. Atari is still a company, and that company actively uses the brand and Atari logo. But the ownership changed hands a lot in the last four decades, and sometimes multiple companies used the Atari brand at the same time.
Computerland was perhaps the first big computer store to go national. It played an important role in the growth of the computer industry in the 1980s. It faded toward the end of the decade but hung on longer than you might think.
The company’s slogan in the 1980s was “Make friends with the future.”
Lotus Notes and Lotus Domino were a juggernaut in mid-1990s IT. Some people loved it. Most people put up with it. And then people quit talking about it and thinking about it, even though almost every organization still has Notes running somewhere. But what is Lotus Notes, and why did it fade from consciousness?
Lotus Notes was a popular software platform for e-mail, calendaring and collaboration in the 1990s. It was programmable and extensible, so many Notes shops created custom applications with it that became business critical. IBM bought it in 1995 for $3.5 billion, but couldn’t keep up with Microsoft’s marketing and the ecosystem that built up around it so it lost market share to Exchange. IBM sold Notes and Domino, its server component, in 2018 to Indian firm HCL for $1.8 billion.
OS/2 Warp was my operating system of choice for most of the 1990s. It never achieved mass appeal, and I think I know why. But I still liked it anyway. Here’s a look at its advantages and disadvantages.
The subject of clones was always controversial in Commodore circles, even during Commodore’s heyday. There were no true Commodore 64 clones in the 1980s and 1990s. Why? And would it have made a difference?
My first experience with a computer wasn’t with a desktop machine or a game console. It was with an orange handheld device called a Texas Instruments Speak and Spell. Many Gen Xers born in the early 70s can probably say the same thing.
In the late 90s and early 2000s, the gadget that said more than any other that you had arrived was the Blackberry, a little device from Research in Motion that let you read your e-mail and respond to it from anywhere. And then it became old-fashioned just as quickly as it burst onto the scene. What happened to Blackberry?
You might be surprised to hear the company is still around and that you can still buy Blackberry phones. But the device that made it famous, not retro enough to be cool again, isn’t its future. And it knows it.
Texas Instruments was supposed to dominate the home computer market in the 1980s. And on paper they had a good product. But things didn’t work out the way they were supposed to for the Texas Instruments home computer, the TI-99/4A. And that’s why you probably don’t hear as much about it as you’d think you would.
TI entered the personal computer market in 1979 and had some success in the early 1980s. But Apple’s former management literally doesn’t remember competing with it.
The first desktop computer dates to earlier than you probably think. And officially at least, it was an accident. Great inventions often are. But it was surprisingly similar to desktop computers that followed it.
Design work on the first desktop computer commenced in 1969. Yes, you read that right. It predated the Apple II by several years, and the IBM Personal Computer and IBM compatibles by a good decade. And it wasn’t built in Silicon Valley either. But this ahead-of-its-time oddball is the direct ancestor of your modern desktop or laptop computer, right down to the Intel processor design.