Silver Geekiversary #2: AOL
From those once-unavoidable free trial disks to the unmistakable sound of "You've got mail," AOL's given us more than its fair share of tech-tinged memories. Sure, most of them may serve as fodder for punchlines nowadays, but there once was a time when AOL was as associated with the Internet as Google is today.
AOL's online adventure began in 1985, though the "America Online" moniker didn't actually come into play for another six years. The service was originally named after its parent company, Quantum Computer Services, and billed as a dial-up provider for users of Commodore 64s.
While many of us may have forgotten that AOL still exists, it actually owns a decent number of popular Web sites, including Engadget, TechCrunch, and TMZ. To be fair, it also owns more than a few properties that are past their prime, like Netscape.com, Moviefone.com, and -- let's be honest -- AOL.com.
Silver Geekiversary #3: The Amiga 1000
Want to figure out if someone's truly a geek at heart? Ask 'em about their experiences with Amiga, and see whether they knowingly smile or scratch their heads in confusion.
The Amiga, as any full-fledged geek will know, was a cool computer long before computers were cool. Commodore released the Amiga 1000 in July of 1985, wowing early techies with 32-color displays, stereo sound, and an exciting new operating system made for multitasking.
The Amiga 1000 (which was originally sold as the "Amiga," without the "1000") cost a cool $1295. Its then-impressive specs included an 8MHz Motorola processor with 256KB of RAM and an 880KB floppy drive. It ran the 32-bit AmigaOS -- but you could still get to a trusty C-prompt by launching the AmigaDOS command shell.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about the Amiga 1000 was its multimedia potential: The system could handle 3D animation, speech synthesis, and other unprecedented types of power-tasks. And that 32-color display? It blew the era's other PCs right out of the water. IBM's models at the time supported only four colors, while Apple's Macintosh was still living in the two-toned world of black and white.
Speaking of that multimedia and multitasking power, you can give yourself extra geek points if you've ever used an Amiga-based Video Toaster (guilty). Two points if you ever frequented an Amiga-based BBS (also guilty as charged).
Next page: Intel 386 and the first dot-com