This Week in Geek History: YouTube goes Public, Blu-ray vs. HD DVD, and All Your Base Are Belong To Us
Every week we bring you a snapshot of the current week in the history of technological and geeky endeavors. This week we’re taking a look at the birth of YouTube, the death of the HD DVD format, and the first mega meme.
YouTube.com Goes Live
Sometimes it’s difficult to pin down the “First!” moment for companies as immense as YouTube. Do you put its birthday at the day the first video was uploaded? the day the site was first beta tested? Since there are so many firsts in the history of YouTube we’re honoring the day their domain went live. YouTube.com went online February 14th, 2005 and over the following months the service was beta tested and put through the paces. The first official video uploaded to YouTube was a short clip of one of the founders at the San Diego Zoo (see in the video above). Since then YouTube has gone on to become synonymous with internet video sharing and streams over a billion videos a day. There is more video footage on YouTube than a single person could watch in a lifetime of even the most exceptional length.
Blu-ray vs. HD DVD
At some point in the early 2000s electronics companies must have had an informal meeting and at which someone said “You know what would be great? To recreate the BetaMax/VHS rift in all its glory all over again. What do you say guys? One for old times sake?” There would seem to be no other explanation for the format war that consumed disc-based media for over half a decade. When the consumer unrest became too great to ignore more and more studios began taking sides (siding almost exclusively with Blu-ray). In January of 2008 Warner Bros., the last major studio releasing titles for both formats, threw in the towel. In February of that year Toshiba announced they would be halting the production of HD DVD players. By that time next year HD DVDs had not only fallen out of production but off the public’s radar.
All Your Base Our Belong to Us
All Your Base Are Belong to Us was the first mega-meme. Certainly before it there had been various inside jokes among geeks both online and off but never before had a a single chunk of media taken on a life of its own in such a quirky and geeky way. Between 2000 and 2002 an animated GIF created from a cut scene in a poorly translated version of the 1989 SEGA game Zero Wing. The entire scene was absurd thanks to a very poor translation but one particular line was epically so; “ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US” the video games villain declares at one point. The All Your Base meme was the first to break free from the halls of internet geekdom and into the mainstream media. Watch the video above to see the whole thing unfold.
Other Notable Moments from This Week in Geek History
Although we only shine the spotlight on three interesting facts a week in our Geek History column, that doesn’t mean we don’t have space to highlight a few more in passing. This week in Geek History:
- 1954 – Birth of Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons and Futurama.
- 1957 – Birth of LeVar Burton, best known as Geordie LaForge on Star Trek The Next Generation.
- 1999 – Office Space released; brings us gems like the Red Stapler and TPS Reports.
- 2000 – Microsoft releases Windows 2000.
Have an interesting bit of geek trivia to share? Shoot us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “history” in the subject line and we’ll be sure to add it to our list of trivia.
Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on Google+ if you'd like.
- Published 02/17/11