Time Traveling with Windows

In November of 1983 Bill Gates officially announced Windows 1.0. The operating system would not launch until two years later, but that marked the beginning of Windows. This was the start of modern desktop computing and one that is only now beginning to see major shifts in what we expect from our computers. Getting back to Windows in the 30 years since that day we have seen the operating system undergo many different changes, in both design and functionality. Here is a timeline of Windows through the years. Do you remember all of these variations?

Windows 1.0

windows 1
Windows 1.0 was released on November 20, 1985. It was Microsoft’s first attempt at a multi-tasking graphical user interface-based OS on the PC platform. The shell of Windows 1.0 was MS-DOS. Some popular apps in 1.0 included Calculator, Calendar, Cardfile, Clipboard viewer, Clock, Control Panel, Notepad, Paint, Reversi, Terminal and Write.

Windows 2.0

windows 2
Windows 2.0 was released in December of 1987. With several improvements to the UI, including the ability to overlap windows, it became more popular than Windows 1.0. The overlapping feature led to Apple filing a suit against Microsoft for copyright infringement.

Windows 3.0

Windows 3.0 was released in 1990. it featured a more refined UI and improved design thanks to virtual memory and device drivers. Windows 3.0 was the first big success from Microsoft. It sold 2 million copies in the first six months. This was also the first version of Windows to include Solitaire.

Windows 95

Windows 95 was released on August 24, 1995. This was the first version of Windows to have the now famous “Start Menu.” The taskbar and Windows Explorer were also introduced in Windows 95. Thanks to its redesigned interface and new Start Menu Windows 95 became a huge success.

Windows 98

On June 25, 1998 Microsoft released Windows 98. Visually it looks very similar to 95, but with some important under the hood improvements. USB devices and multi-monitor configurations were supported for the first time.

Windows ME

windows me
On September 14, 2000 Microsoft released Windows ME (Millennium Edition). This was the last version of Windows to be based off of MS-DOS. it added UI enhancements and faster boot times along with better multimedia support. ME is most known for being one of Microsoft’s worst releases due to a number of compatibility and stability problems.

Windows XP

windows xp
Windows XP was released on October 25, 2001. It came with a brand new UI and many improvements thanks to no longer being DOS-based. This was the first version of Windows to be offered in multiple versions: Home and Professional. Windows XP may be Microsoft’s biggest success. There are many people who still use XP to this day, however it is being officially retired in April 2014 which means there will be no more updates, patches or support provided by Microsoft.

Windows Vista

Microsoft followed the success of Windows XP on January 30, 2007 with Windows Vista. it contained new features from a redesigned UI and particular attention to security features. Like Windows XP, it was available in multiple versions. Vista is infamous for being hated by consumers even after Microsoft made considerable improvements through updates.

Windows 7

windows 7
After the disaster of Windows Vista it was time for Microsoft to go back to the drawing board. They ditched the frilly names and released Windows 7 on July 22, 2009. Windows 7 was more focused and minimal compared to the bloated Vista. Some of the big new features include an updated taskbar and better windows organization. Windows 7 was a big success.

Windows 8

On October 28, 2012 Microsoft released their most significant change to Windows. In Windows 8 Microsoft removed the famous Start Button and Start Menu in favor of a touch-friendly “Metro” interface. User reaction to Windows 8 was mixed at best, but slowly it has become adopted. With Windows 8 Microsoft is once again ahead of the times. Windows 8 works wonderfully on touch screens and tablets but struggles on non-touch computers.

I hope you enjoyed this time travel through the history of the most successful operation system ever created.

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DST – Fooling with Mother Nature?

I have never been a fan of Daylight Savings Time. Changing our clocks by one hour in the fall and again in the spring always seemed like man’s arrogant attempt to conquer and disregard mother nature to me. Don’t get me wrong, I love technology but is always seemed a little foolish (to me) to play with the official clock twice a year. I did a little research into what exactly Daylight Savings Time is, how long it has been around and why we continue to push our clocks up and down an hour every 6 months.

Quite simply Daylight Saving Time (DST) is a change in the standard time with the purpose of getting better use of the daylight by having the sun rise one hour later in the morning and set one hour later in the evening. 

The Origin of Daylight Savings Time

Daylight Saving Time (DST) has been a subject of recurring debate in the United States, the United Kingdom, and many other countries around the world for about a hundred years. I am glad to hear this because I have never been a fan of DST. Ancient civilizations were known to practice a similar process of the concept of DST where they would adjust their daily schedules in accordance to the sun, such as the Roman water clocks that used different scales for different months of the year.

The idea of daylight saving time was first conceived by Benjamin Franklin in 1784 during his stay in Paris. He published an essay titled “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light” that proposed to economize the use of candles by rising earlier to make use of the morning sunlight.

Inventing Daylight Savings Time

The invention of DST was mainly credited to William Willett in 1905 when he came up with the idea of moving the clocks forward in the summer to take advantage of the daylight in the mornings and the lighter evenings. His proposal suggested moving the clocks 20 minutes forward each of four Sundays in April, and switching them back by the same amount on four Sundays in September.

Willett’s daylight saving plan caught the attention of Robert Pearce who introduced a bill to the House of Commons in February 1908. The first Daylight Saving Bill was drafted in 1909 and presented to Parliament several times and examined by a select committee. However, the bill was opposed by many, especially farmers and thus the bill was never made into a law. Willett died in 1915 without getting the chance to see his idea come to life.

The Adoption of Daylight Savings Time

DST was first adopted to replace artificial lighting so they could save fuel for the war effort in Germany during World War I at 11:00pm (23:00) on April 30, 1916. It was quickly followed by Britain and many countries from both sides, including here in the United States. Many countries reverted back to standard time post-World War I, and it wasn’t until the next World War that DST would make its return to many countries in order to save vital energy resources for the war.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt instituted year-round DST in the United States, called “War Time” during World War II from February 9, 1942 to September 30, 1945. The law was enforced 40 days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and during this time, time zones were called “Eastern War Time”, “Central War Time”, and “Pacific War Time”. After the surrender of Japan in mid-August 1945, the time zones were relabeled “Peace Time”.

Daylight saving was first recognized as an energy saving aspect during World War II when Double Summer Time was applied in Britain which moved the clocks two hours ahead of GMT during the summer and one hour ahead of GMT during the winter.

Daylight Savings Time in the United States

DST caused widespread confusion from 1945 to 1966 for trains, buses and the broadcasting industry in the US because many states and localities were free to choose when and if they would observe DST. Congress decided to end the confusion and establish the Uniform Time Act of 1966 that stated DST would begin on the last Sunday of April and end on the last Sunday of October. However, states still had the ability to be exempt from DST by passing a local ordinance.

The US Congress extended DST to a period of ten months in 1974 and eight months in 1975, in hopes to save energy following the 1973 oil embargo. The trial period showed that DST saved the equivalent in energy of 10,000 barrels of oil each day (that’s a lot of oil). bHowever DST still proved to be controversial. Many complained that the dark winter mornings endangered the lives of children going to school. After the energy crisis was over in 1976, the US changed their DST schedule again to begin on the last Sunday in April. DST was amended again to begin on the first Sunday in April in 1987. Further changes were made after the introduction of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

Daylight Savings Time – Today

Daylight saving time is now implemented in over seventy countries worldwide and affects over a billion people each year. Although many countries observe DST, the beginning and end dates are often different than the US. The European Union adopted the summer time period that was used in the United Kingdom for many years which begins on the last Sunday in March and ends on the last Sunday in October.

The DST schedule in the US was revised several times throughout the years, in which the DST schedule period lasted for about seven months from 1987 to 2006. The current schedule began in 2007 and follows the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which extended the period by about one month where DST starts on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November. Currently, most of the US observes DST except for Hawaii and most of Arizona.

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Happy Birthday Text Messaging

Happy Birthday text messaging! Although text messaging could be traced all the way back to 1920 when RCA introduced the first “telex” service the text messaging we have all relied on for years was born on December 3, 1992. It was on this day that Neil Papworth used a personal computer to send the text message “Merry Christmas” via a Vodaphone network to a cellular phone.

Fast forward to 1995 when paging services starting appearing everywhere. It was during the mid and late 1990’s that text messaging really exploded. Just watch a movie or TV shows from this time period and you will often see the characters with pagers on their hip. These text messages were usually limited to 160 characters. Often after reading the text message the recipient had to then go find a phone. Just think about that!

As cellular phones became available and affordable in the late 1990’s “pagers” started disappearing as text messaging become a service of the cellular phone itself. The popularity of smartphones in the mid 2000’s ended the reign of pagers altogether.

Even with all the technical changes and enhancements since 1992 “text messaging” itself has continued to grow in it’s use and with many of us is actually used more then actually using mobile phones for their primary purpose, “talking”.

Services such as “Twitter” are an out growth of that very first text message way back on December 3, 1992.

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