Archive for Windows

Microsoft Windows 1.0 was released 25 years ago this week

Posted in 80s, computers, Microsoft, pop culture, technology, Windows with tags , , , , , on November 19, 2010 by Paxton

Orig MicroSoft logo

The original version of Microsoft Windows (v1.0) was released around 25 years ago this week. I say about 25 years ago because It’s really tough to pin down the actual release date due to differing information depending on where you look. If you look at official Microsoft history, they mention in one paragraph that Windows 1.0 was released in 1983, but then in the next paragraph they say Windows 1.0 was released in 1985.  Other places alternately list 1983 or 1985.  It’s possible that the first few releases of 1.0 (ie, 1.0, 1.01, 1.02) were not official and only demo releases.  Most places I check have the release date for Windows 1.0 to be Nov 20, 1985.  So I’m going with that.

Here’s the box for that first release of Windows.

Microsoft Windows 1.0 box

Windows 1.0 required you to use 10 installation disks. And they were floppies!!

Windows 1.0 disks(Via Digibarn Computer Museum)

The original Windows used a radical new GUI interface to handle typical computer tasks like starting programs and file management. This freed the user from having to type commands at a DOS prompt. Delivered applications for this release included a File Manager, calendar, clock, notepad and calculator.

Windows 1.0 screenshot

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Microsoft Windows 95 was released 15 years ago today

Posted in Microsoft, pop culture, technology, Windows with tags , , , , , on August 24, 2010 by Paxton

Microsoft Windows 95 startup screen

Microsoft released Windows 95 on Aug 24, 1995, 15 years ago today.  It was developed internally as Windows 4 or under the codename Chicago.  The whole operating system was designed to be a “ground up” improvement of Windows 3.1 including vast enhancements to the GUI, or “user interface”. It was with this release of Windows that Microsoft became the computing powerhouse it became in the late 90s/early 2000s. It was also this success with Windows 95 and early versions of Internet Explorer that would lay the ground work for all of Microsoft’s problems with the Justice Department about being a monopoly.

Windows 95 welcome screen

Like I said, Windows 95 was the birth of Windows as we now know it today.  The taskbar and Start button began here as well as “plug and play” compatibility, 32 bit processing and the Windows Explorer file management application.  All of these innovations were included and remain in current versions of Windows mostly unchanged to this day.  Internet Explorer 1.0 was available for the release of Windows 95, but not with the default installation, which didn’t even install TCP/IP.  You had to buy the Microsoft Plus! pack to get the brand new Microsoft browser as well as other features like themes and disc compression.  Microsoft Plus! was mostly used in factory installs, so not many people used IE at first.  Internet Explorer would become part of the Win95 installation with IE v2.0 several months later.

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Bill Gates Retires as Microsoft Chief Software Architect

Posted in Bill Gates, Microsoft, personal, technology, Windows with tags , , , on June 22, 2006 by Paxton

I’m long overdue for a technology article. This item affected me more than I thought, so I had to write about it. I know this article looks long, but if you stick with me, I have some fun videos and stuff linked at the end.

Last week Bill Gates announced his retirement from day-to-day duties at Microsoft. He’s stepping down as Chief Software Architect, but remaining as the company’s Chairman. This will end Bill’s day-to-day running of Microsoft and keep him in the upper executive role. Cutting back on his daily work will allow him to pursue more philanthropic ventures with the charitable foundation he started with his wife.

I would have written this article earlier but I had to sit on it for a week to decide how I feel about it. Overall, for Microsoft, I think it might be a good thing that he steps down from overseeing Microsoft’s day-to-day activity as it might open up other creative outlets for the company. With that in mind, I’ll be sad to see him go.

I had early exposure to Microsoft and their products. My dad procured a laptop from work in the mid ’80s when it was still rare for anyone to have a personal computer, much less a laptop computer. We had a couple laptops before we even got a desktop computer. I took over playing on the laptop as my dad thought it was cool, but he really just got it for me to play on. Windows was not in full release at this time so the laptop’s operating system was MS-DOS. It did have an early version of Microsoft Works (word processor, spreadsheet and relational database). I was writing school papers on Microsoft Works’ word processor, printing them and turning in typed copies when most students were still hand writing them. Pretty soon, Dad had Windows 3.0 installed on the laptop and it took up so much memory that you couldn’t open anything else. He had several other business laptops after that. I used one with Windows 95 on it until, in my last year of college, he got me my own desktop. At Auburn I majored in Mangement Information Systems and it just made everything easier to have my own computer. I learned so much on that computer. When I was finally interviewing during my last Winter at Auburn, I admit, I put in for an interview with Microsoft. I was not initially accepted, but I could have scheduled one anyway during one of their open slots. I decided not to. I really wanted to go for it, but I also was a little nervous about working for them and moving to Redmond, Washington for the job.

I’ve always loved learning new technologies and that led me to IT consulting and application development after graduation. A lot of that desire and love of technology came from playing on those old laptops and my first desktop. And because of that early exposure I’ve always had a soft spot for Microsoft. They weren’t always the world crushing superpower they are now. They were once the plucky upstart. No one thought Windows would work. When Windows 3.1 for Workgroups was released, things started happening and that was the beginning of their ascension. And that ascension was spear-headed by Bill Gates.

I am by no means a Microsoft apologizer, nor do I believe that they are evil incarnate. Neither am I an “Apple is God” Mac Addict. I recognize the wonderful technologies both companies have brought to the electronic marketplace, but I also am aware of many missteps by both companies. I grew up on Microsoft Windows and that is why I prefer it. Microsoft revolutionized the PC with it’s operating system. It’s on easily 95% of the computers made today. Windows, overall, is a great operating system. Like I said, I’ve used it since Windows 3.0 back in the ’80s. Microsoft did make some bad decisions with the OS including Microsoft Bob in 98-99 and Windows ME in 2000. Windows has steadily improved since Windows 95, and Windows XP Service Pack 2 is the best Windows ever. I applaud Gates’ achievements and wish him the best of luck. He, undeniably, was the technical vision and focus behind Microsoft’s achievements and that has been what has led them to the forfront of technology. He is a man with an incredible forward thinking mindset and someone who may be misunderstood on the whole. If you get a chance, read his book, The Road Ahead (pictured to the right). I read it in college and his ideas and philosophies on technology and how we will use it in the future are fascinating.

I know there are many Mac enthusiasts who bemoan Gates saying he “stole” Apple’s operating system and used it for Microsoft Windows. The operating systems are similar, and Apple may have released theirs first, but Apple did not invent the graphical user interface (GUI). Apple itself took the initial idea of a clickable GUI from the labs at Xerox-PARC. Back in the ’70s Xerox had an R&D lab filled with fringe computer scientists cooking up all these crazy ideas. The clickable GUI was one of them, among numerous other advances that led to the personal computer and Internet as we know it today. Apple took what Xerox-PARC pioneered and modified it to suit their computer systems. Apple does have a spectacular interface that may work smoother and better than Windows, but Windows has to interface with thousands of completely different peripherals and software. Macs can’t work with any software, and because Apple’s system is so locked down, everything works on it smoothly and without incident. Apple definately has a great product, but I stand firmly entrenched in the PC/Microsoft world and look forward to the company’s progress now that “King Bill” has moved on.

Some fun stuff on Bill Gates:

1. One of my favorite mass emails about the on-going war between Jocks and Nerds

2. Funny pics of Bill Gates at 30 right before Windows 1.0 was released

3. Picture of 11 of Microsoft’s first employees (they look like hippies) right before they moved to Seattle from New Mexico

4. Bill Gates getting a pie to the face while leaving a building

5. Bill Gates and Napoleon Dynamite in college – This video was done for a Microsoft Conference. It is HILARIOUS.

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Why Windows Vista Won’t Suck Pt II

Posted in Microsoft, reviews, technology, Windows with tags , , , on March 10, 2006 by Paxton


Extreme Tech posted a followup to their Why Vista Won’t Suck Article. Check it out here.

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Why Windows Vista Won’t Suck

Posted in Microsoft, reviews, technology, Windows with tags , , , on March 10, 2006 by Paxton

I subscribe to several tech magazines. My favorite is PC Magazine. They always have really good articles on upcoming technology. Their website rocks, also. Their sister site, Extreme Tech, has some hardcore techie articles on it, but they recently put up a very good and in-depth article on Windows Vista. Check it out here.
I, myself, am eagerly anticipating the arrival of Vista later this year. This article sums up a lot of good points about why many of us are excited.

Some of the main changes I am looking forward to are the cleaning up of the user interface. Windows is getting an overhaul in the visual department. If your computer has the graphics capabilities, you will be able to run Vista’s Aero Glass, which is the REAL interface. It makes windows 3-D. You’ll be able to move windows all round the environment of your desktop, not just side to side, but back and forth. The windows will also be semi-transparent around the border so you’ll see the background through it.

Another cool little feature will be the Windows Sidebar. This will be a small menu that can dock on the side of your screen. The menu will contain little AJAX/Java applets called “gadgets”. This will be similar to the current Yahoo! Widget Companion (orignally called Konfabulator). I use the Yahoo! Widgets and they are pretty neat little apps that are updated real time and can show you your system resources, the current weather conditions, various world clocks or recite funny movie quotes. There are thousands of widgets out there that I’m sure will be re-written and ported to the Sidebar. Very cool stuff.

Security is another big issue Vista is addressing. The OS kernel is being re-written with security in mind. A lot of programs and actions will not execute through the kernel. When you add drivers or install software, since it isn’t updating the kernel, you won’t have to reboot. Theoretically. Hopefully this will work in the final product.

I don’t plan on upgrading to Vista right away, I’ll wait until it’s “in the wild” for a while then buy a new computer with enough graphics horsepower to run Aero Glass and have Vista pre-installed. For upgraders, If your computer can’t run Glass due to graphics liabilities, then Vista defaults to the classic Windows desktop without the graphical enhancements.

But really, what fun is that?

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