In order to surf the web, you need a web browser, and today there are several different ones to choose from. If you're looking for a lean, no-nonsense browser, Chrome is the one for you. Internet Explorer still stands as the odds on favorite when you want to make sure pages load correctly (not because of superior standards support, but because its majority market share have driven developers to code their webpages to look best on IE). Firefox has found more than a niche market by giving users near endless customization, and Apple's Safari purports to run circles around everyone else (it doesn't). And then there's the cornucopia of alternative browsers and browser shells, like Flock (Firefox-based) and Avant (IE-based).
No matter which browser you choose to surf the web with, the features you take for granted today are the result of nearly two decades of browser design. On the following pages, we'll take you through a visual tour, in chronological order, of every major PC-based (read: not Mac) web browser that ever was, starting with the very first one: WorldWideWeb. We'll tell you what made each one unique and, when applicable, what it contributed to modern browser development.
Sit back, buckle up, and hit the jump to get started!
Windows 7 still isn’t officially released to the general public yet, but I’m willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that it will be a universal hit. Users making the jump from Windows XP have a lot of advances to look forward to, and for the most part we can thank Vista. The similarities between the two OS’s are shocking, so much so that many have simply dubbed Windows 7 as “Vista done right”.
Nobody will argue that Windows 7 isn’t a huge leap forward in terms of performance, but even a $600 PC purchased today has more than enough muscle to deliver an excellent experience in Vista. The simple fact that Windows 7 will be born into a mature world full of drivers written for it’s predecessor will almost singlehandedly ensure a successful rollout. Lack of drivers if you recall, was the single largest complaint against Vista’s at launch and Microsoft even alleges that it was a huge factor in reports of it’s early instability.
"I think people will look back on Vista after the Windows 7 release and realize that there were actually a bunch of good things there" said Steve Guggenheimer, vice president of the OEM division at Microsoft, in a ChannelWeb story. "So it'll actually be interesting to see in two years what the perception is of Vista."
So with the Windows 7 launch day less than three months away, are you ready to forgive Vista?
Think your browsing history is secure from prying eyes so long as you never leave your PC unattended? Think again. A new site, Web2.0collage.com, digs through your browser's history and then constructs a collage of the web2.0 websites that you've visited.
"Web2.0collage.com mixes art and technology to raise privacy concerns," the site states on its homepage. "Many of us consider our browser history to be private, but that is no longer the case. Any website you visit can determine your browser history by exploiting the very features designed to enhance your Internet experience, a fact many people are not aware of."
An enterprising antique hardware collector known only as “Phreakmonkey” on You Tube has recorded and posted a video showcasing what the internet would have looked like in 1964. After detailing his lovingly preserved Livemore Data Systems “Model A” Acousitc Coupler 300 Baud Modem, he then proceeds to demonstrate how he uses it to establish a connection to the net.
Oddly enough, my 10 Mbps cable modem choked on the streaming video a bit, but my faith in my ISP was quickly restored when I compared it to the 300 characters per second this speed demon maxed out at.
This modem is about as (un)maximum as it gets around here, but it certainly is an interesting watch for nostalgic types who enjoy taking a look back at the history of digital communication.
To many of us, the @ symbol is second nature. Used for email addresses and tweets alike, we’ve grown so accustomed to it that its nature isn’t generally of interest – unless you work for The New York Times.
According to the Times, the “at sign” (or, a “snail” if you’re Italian and a “monkey” if you’re a southern Slav) is a fairly recent invention, dating back 473 years. Reports state that a Florentine merchant that went by the name Francesco Lapi used the @ symbol in a letter he wrote on May 4, 1536. Back then it was used to indicate a measure of weight or volume, known as an amphora. The letter read, “There [is] an amphora of wine, which is one thirtieth of a barrel, is worth 70 or 80 ducats.”
The reason that it became commonplace for keyboards in today’s world, is because it was shorthand for “at the price of” in the records of English merchants. And, in 1971, engineer Ray Tomlinson used it “to indicate that the users was ‘at’ some other host rather than being local” for the very first emails ever sent.
The personal computer has a storied history, stretching all the way back to the days of the Commodore 64 and IBM PC. But for us, the most interesting PC hardware developments really started about 15 years ago. Along with the eminent arrival of Windows 95, this was when Moore's law would really kick into high gear and bring us amazingly fast PC components like Intel's front side bus-multiplying Pentium, AMD's gigahertz-breaking Athlon, and yes, the wonderful world of 3D graphics accelerators.
We take an in-depth look back at the 50 most important pieces of PC hardware in the modern computing area. From CPUs to videocards and even monitors, these components were the envy of every PC enthusiast, whether you could afford them or not. They might not have been the fastest parts at the time, but they sure were the most notable. And before you ask, many of these entries were used of our Dream Machines. Join us as we journey with the ghost of PC past, and share your own favorite PC parts in the comments section!
Bonus question: can you name the card in the image above, and the issue of Maximum PC where the image was used?
With the announcement of Craig Barrett's retirement in May, one of Intel's last links with the pre-PC era will vanish. Barrett's career at Intel started in 1974, when Intel was just seven years old and was introducing the first general-purpose microprocessor, the 8080. The 8080's descendents included the first 16-bit processor, the 8086, and the IBM PC's processor, the 8088. The IBM PC and its many descendants enabled Intel's rise to processor dominance.
Barrett became Intel's CEO in 1998, taking over for the legendary Andy Grove. Barrett's tenure as CEO saw the development of Intel's first Celeron economy CPU and high-end Pentium III processors, the introduction of the Pentium 4, diversification into communications chips, development of new Xeon and Itanium server processors, and the introduction of the Centrino portable chipset/processor technology.
During this period, Intel received formidable challenges from AMD's Athlon and Athlon XP, and frequently saw its processors beaten by AMD's processors in real-world performance tests. Barrett became chairman of Intel in 2005, and during his tenure as chairman, saw Intel retake the performance crown from AMD with the introduction of the Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad, and Core i7 processor lines.
Barrett, 70, is retiring at a time in which Intel, like other technology companies, is facing tough times, and announced last week that it's closing two fab plants in the US as well as three assembly test facilities in Malaysia and the Philippines, affecting over 5,000 employees.
What was the first Intel product you used? Was it a processor, motherboard, chipset, network adapter, or something else? Looking back at Barrett's long career, what do you think were Intel's biggest hits - and misses? Join us after the jump for your chance to tell all.
Cnet.UK's Crave blog decided to dig around in the Internet history attic recently and bring us what it calls the "50 Most Significant Moments of Internet History." Before you click the link (at the end of this article), let's try a little quiz to see what you know about your favorite time-waster/research tool:
Which of these building blocks of the Internet predate the first Super Bowl? A. WWW B. GIF image C. Arpanet
Which came first? A. Apache B. Mosaic C. RSS
How old is the MP3 file format? A. Old enough to drink (21). B. Old enough to be in college (19). C. Old enough to get a driver's license (16).
Which search site was originally known as "Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web"? A. Yahoo! B. AltaVista C. Google
Believe it or not, your browser might know more about you than even your spouse. Whether you use Firefox, Internet Explorer, or any of the several alternative browsers, a peek in your browsing history reveals what games you're playing, where you shop, what you shop for, where you booked your upcoming vacation, and it even knows what turns you on. But up until now, your browser had no way of knowing whether you're a male for female. Not anymore.
Try it out for yourself and post your results below.
Dig the past? Wondering what your grandparents' generation was up to? Like free photos? Flickr's The Commons is the place for you! Now, the Smithsonian is getting into the act by joining The Commons, an online collection of copyright-free photos from a variety of institutions, including the Brooklyn Museum, the Library of Congress, and the Powerhouse Museum. Learn how you can explore the past - and share what you know about it.