A look back to 1998 – Geek from 10 years ago.

Ten years ago. What were we doing? Where were we going? I know I was working in a Call center on a popular accounting package that is now owned by . I was living on the East Side of Madison, WI and I had just switched over from my 56k modem to a broadband connection (768 kbps, I believe) on my Pentium 75mHz machine. I also got my first Cell Phone. Let’s take a look back on where we were 10 years ago and see how that has changed….

First, let’s ponder at 1998 in a whole to get a sense of reminisce – My favorite football team (Packers) got beat by the Broncos. Bill Clinton was in office and falling under all sorts of scandals. El Nino creates a humungous winter storm. California bans smoking in Bars and Restaurants. Larry Flynt was in legal battles with Jarry Falwell. Viagra was given the OK by the FDA. Phil Hartman commits suicide, Charlton Heston becomes president of the NRA, Geri Hallwell left the Spice Girls and George Michael was arrested for lude conduct.

Michael Jordan played his last game as a Bull. The Detroit Redwings take the Stanley Cup. The Yankees defeated the Padres in the World Series. Unabomber” Theodore Kaczynski pleads guilty. The Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act was passed. Pro Wrestler Jesse Ventura becomes Governor of Minnesota. Exxon buys Mobil, creating Exxon-Mobil. America takes action on Iraq. Finally, we experienced a “Leap Second” on Dec 31st.

OK, wayback machine lubed up? Let’s talk about Geek in 1998.

Apple iMac – Apple computer announced the iMac: a G3 processor in a Egg shaped case with a CRT monitor. The iMac introduced the USB port. iMac brought along “Case clones” with emachines.

We saw the first documents – I remember going to class and learning XML tagging. It was in its infancy, and I remember hearing many people say how XML was not going to be adopted. Silly bunnies.

Google is Founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin. They fast become the biggest search engine and long time rival of Yahoo.

The Digital Revolution Digital launched in the UK. 2 Satellites sending signal to the Digibox.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act – Also known as , it states that Digital versions fall under the same copyright standards as their counterparts.

US vs. Microsoft: Antitrust – 20 States file and antitrust case against Bill Gates and Microsoft. The process ended on Nov. 5th, 1999 and it found that Microsoft was indeed committed monopolization.  

– The next OS after the successful Windows 95, it came out to a lot of upset consumers. Later, Windows98, Second Edition, stabilized the OS and people were somewhat happy again.

Hate Crime – The first Cyberspace Hate Crime is tried. A college dropout was convicted of the crime.

Sega launches what would be it’s last console in the Dreamcast in Japan. The system didn’t do so well even though some thought it was better than the Nintendo 64 and Sony Playstation. It did start a underground Dreamcast following after it was discontinued.

Other Game Systems – Neo Geo Pocket and Game Boy Color.

Acquisitions & Mergers – American Online purchases Netscape Communications for $4.2 Billion. buys DEC. MCI and Worldcom join forces to be MCI WorldCom.

Space – The Galileo probe sent back data indicating Jupiters’ moon Europa has a liquid ocean covered by ice.  The Clemintine probe found enough water to support a human colony.  John Glenn went back into space with the Space Shuttle Discovery. He was 77.

Electronic Ticketing – American Airlines offers Electronic Ticketing for the first time. They implemented it in all 44 countries that they flew to.

No Pagers for a day – The Galaxy IV communications satellite breaks down. This brought down almost 90% of the worlds pagers without service. At that time, only

Cell Phones and such – Nokia 5120, MicroTAC 650, GF 788e, 850, AT&T introduced a flat-rate plan for local and long distance. The Patent for a Hands Free set was issued. creates the first Snap on Wireless Data/Fax Modem. Opera started developing a Mobile device platform.

Video Games – Apocalypse, Area 51, Army Men, A Bug’s Life, ChessMaster, Clue, Forsaken, GuitarFreaks (early versions of Guitar Hero?), Half-Life, Heretic II, Marvel vs. Capcom, Morpheus, Off Road Challenge, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six, Resident Evil 2, Riven and Wario Land II – Just to name a few.

Next Week we’ll dive into Tech from 5 years ago.

*Every Monday, the 5 minute show at 5min.geekazine.com outlines “This Week in Tech History”. Check out the podcast.

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