Remembering VRML: The Metaverse of 1995

In the early 1990s, futurists and corporations combined forces to create VRML, a Virtual Reality Modeling Language that promised to bring 3D graphics and virtual worlds to the web, heralding the dawn of the metaverse. Here’s …

What Is Spam, and Why Do We Call It That?

Thanks to the internet, spam isn’t just a type of canned meat product. We all deal with spam at some point or another—but what is it, exactly, and why do we call it that? We explore the history and rationale behind the term…

X Marks the Spot: Microsoft’s Xbox Turns 20

When Sony’s PlayStation 2 threatened to make the Windows PC obsolete, Microsoft countered by releasing the Xbox on November 15, 2001. Of course, the Xbox didn’t run Windows or use standard PC hardware either. Here’s how that …

Multimedia Mania: Windows Media Player Turns 30

30 years ago, Microsoft introduced the first version of Windows Media Player—then just called “Media Player”—as part of “Windows 3.0 with Multimedia Extensions.” Since then, it’s morphed and changed dramatically over time…

What Are Computer Files and Folders?

Files and folders are a common metaphor for storing data on a computer. Even a modern device that hides files from you as much as possible still uses them under the hood. Here’s a look at what files and folders are—and how …

OS/2’s Last Stand: IBM OS/2 Warp 4 Turns 25

25 years ago—on September 26, 1996—IBM launched OS/2 Warp Version 4, its last major attempt to compete with Microsoft Windows in desktop operating systems. While a competent and highly regarded OS, it didn’t take the OS c…

The Golden Age of Shareware CDs

In the mid-late 1990s and into the early 2000s, you could purchase CD-ROM discs containing thousands of shareware apps, games, pictures, and otherwise. These CDs were gateways to numerous hours of cheap entertainment. Here’s …

From Idea to Icon: 50 Years of the Floppy Disk

Fifty years ago, IBM introduced the first-ever floppy disk drive, the IBM 23FD, and the first floppy disks. Floppies made punched cards obsolete, and its successors ruled software distribution for the next 20 years. Here’s a …

How Quake Shook the World: Quake Turns 25

After revolutionizing PC gaming with Wolfenstein 3D and Doom, id Software pulled off a hat trick with Quake, released on June 22, 1996. Quake mixed polygonal 3D graphics, networking, and grunge into a groundbreaking hit with …