Computing in the 1990s (aka: The Good Old Days)

That era was when Nvida/3dfx were first founded - the first texture mapping graphics cards came out, then full transformation and lighting in hardware, Quake, then wide screen resolutions. 450 MHz Pentium III processors seemed super-zippy fast. Microsoft introduced 'sockets' to Windows and announced that Windows NT had made UNIX legacy. SGI wanted to prove that a software based OpenGL would be as fast as custom game rendering code. ADSL broadband was becoming available in some apartments. Previously low-key student houses who just happened to have broadband connections found themselves the most popular destinations for new students. The battle between Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator had begun. Cell phones still had a long antennae coming out the top.

Just before in 1994, having a 56K modem was a major advancement, Windows 3.1 was still the main development target. Reading USENET, text based discussion boards and subscribing to mailing lists was the main method of getting news. Viewing images would require using ftp manually or using uuencode/decode to get a server to fetch a 640x480 image, encode it as ASCII, slice the file up and send it to you in chunks, which you could then reassemble manually.

Now, if your cable provider goes from 50 Mbits to 70 Mbits, that isn't noticable, though laptop screen have shrunk a bit, and everyone uses LCD monitors now. Just about every mobile phone seems to look like a touchpad PDA or has a little keyboard and allows the user to play movies and music. MP3 players are the size of credit cards. USB Keychains now store more information than a DVD let alone a 1996 hard disk drive. What could just about be done on supercomputer in 1996, can now be done on a graphics card.

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