Category Archives: Tech
I remember being very envious of Gateway computers. In the mid to late 1990’s, they had some really great marketing going on. It was a time when computers were just barely starting to become a fixture in the home. As they did, more and more people people started dialing up and getting online.
They hit a home run with their branding. I remember they would always tout in their commercials, that their computers were built in South Dakota. They used holstein cows in a lot of their early commercials and you really got the impression that Gateway computers were built in some barn on a farm in the middle of nowhere in South Dakota. Every computer shipped in a cow patterned box, so it was just a fun package to get. And they really pushed selling their computers as a complete package. All together they did a great job of making the PC seem like something that was friendly, fun, and they removed all the complications of is X compatible with Y. So for a lot of families, their first computer was a Gateway.
We had several old PC’s by the time Gateway rolled around. At this time, we had an AMD K6 machine that ran at 200mhz I believe. Windows 95, 26.6kbps modem. It wasn’t bad for the time. But the stability was less than reliable. This is from the time when you’d turn off your computer, and you’d get a message after Windows shut down that said, “It is now safe to turn off your computer”. Then you’d manually push a button to turn it off. GASP!
But back to Gateway. I’ve been trying to think about why in retrospect, I looked up to Gateway so much. We never owned one, and I only knew one other person that did. And it wasn’t anything remarkable, it did most of the same stuff any old PC would do. I think it was just because the marketing was so prevelant. Not only were there TV commercials, but they would send out actual paper catalogs in the mail which were chock full of desktops, laptops, printers and all the cool stuff that would be blazing fast. And in that time there was always a lot of waiting around when it came to using your computer, so faster was always a huge deal. Now a days you can get away with using even 10 year old hardware and plop around on the internet. But using a 1987 PC in 1997 was pretty much impossible for any modern task.
I remember thumbing through those old Gateway catalogs. I really wanted a laptop and I’d look at a modest, but not barebones model that would be priced at something like $2,500. If I could just make $20 a week, I’d think to myself, it would only take (then I did the math)… 125 weeks. To think that it would take me two and a half years to save up for something like that made them feel completely unattainable, and maybe that’s where my reverence for the brand comes from.
It’s fun to think back on this time. Computers were booming. Everyone was jumping online and into a world that was completely uncharted.
We talk about Brick & Mortar stores vs. Online stores. Will there be a winner, or can they co-exist? Thanks as always to Biebs over at JoshBieber.com for inviting me!
Sorry I haven’t been blogging much lately. I don’t really have any legitimate excuses. Just haven’t felt too inspired lately.
Joined in another Biebs Bytes last night. The topic was “TV vs The Internet”. Hope you enjoy.
How much traditional TV do you watch, compared to Internet Streaming?
Wow, my internet connection sucked tonight. Sorry about that. We had a lot of fun rambling tonight though. Mostly griping about end users!
Had a lot of fun again. One of the guest’s audio was really laggy, so makes for lots of awkward moments for you to enjoy.
Cleverbot.com is a website where you can basically chat with a computer. It has something to do with algorithms and such. I don’t know how it works. But this is what went down while I was talking to a computer:
Cleverbot: What have you learned about life?
User: Time is more valuable than money.
Cleverbot: But there is such a thing as natural time.
User: What is natural time?
Cleverbot: The only distinct meaning of the word ‘natural’ is stated, fixed or settled.
User: Then no, time is relative.
Cleverbot: Time is relative to what?
User: Time is relative to the observer.
Cleverbot: The universive.
User: The universe is full of different observers. Your perception of time can be different than my perception of time.
Cleverbot: Logically, yes. But the things in our past that yeild the things in our future are distinct things. Just because one may lead to the other does not mean they are correlated.
User: The choices we make in the present yield our future, not the past.
Cleverbot: I was not made in the UK I was made and born in NZ.
Few would argue that the raw, clunky, disorganized mess that was using a computer and the internet in the 90’s is better than the Google indexed ,hash tagged and cloud stored world we live in today. But that gritty frontier of the 1990’s tech world was pretty friggin amazing at the time.
Here’s my Top Ten best things about computing in the 90’s. Some of these things have evolved and are still around today. Many of these ideas and technologies are obsolete now and serve only as a memory of what we thought was the pinnacle of human achievement at the time.
Got any awesome memories of staying up until 2AM on your Packard Bell? Post it up in the comments!
We talk a lot about computer repair and how the average joe just doesn’t trust us.
Also Guild Wars 2! Fun stuff!
And more general merriment.
We are considering changing the name of the podcast, as the only episode with two dudes (regardless of age) was the first one.