VOGONS


Reply 40 of 123, by Katmai500

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It’s the 90’s for me, maybe bleeding a few years into the early 00’s. The rapid advancement in hardware, the style of games, and the early internet are the highlights.

Reply 41 of 123, by shamino

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I'm not sure how to apply the term "Golden Age", but I'll just say my "favorite time period" for the modern, standardized x86 PC has to be the mid to late 90s, maybe extending up to ~2005 or so.

During that time the PC belonged to and was controlled by it's owner, not by "the cloud" or by aggressive impositions from the OS developer. In other words the PC market was still focused on enthusiasts who didn't want to be nannied, so maybe this wasn't the easiest time for "regular users" but I'm not talking about them. 😀
The hardware was fast enough to do awesome things and still getting faster at a rapid pace. Software and web sites were lean, functional, and fast instead of bloated. The internet was a wild and open frontier, full of independent web sites, usenet, IRC etc with no umbrella or "social media" dictating a singular culture. I generally preferred how games were made back then, and the competition and improvements in 3D acceleration were exciting.

The only thing I'd miss is youtube, but that was also the beginning of the rise of today's social media culture which I loathe. So overall I'm going with late 90s to early 2000s, but if we were talking specifically about the internet, then *just for internet video* maybe I'd put the sweet spot for internet in the late 2000s.
But you know, even though internet video has replaced any desire I have for a TV anymore, I actually miss watching late night TV in the 90s. So at that time, the lack of youtube wasn't a big deal.

The worst thing about computing in the late 90s was the tiresome instability of Windows 9x. But if I were to go back there with today's knowledge, I'd probably get NT4 and run 9x as a dual boot for games only.

Reply 42 of 123, by mothergoose729

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imi wrote on 2021-04-02, 23:19:
Bancho wrote on 2021-04-02, 22:58:
imi wrote on 2021-04-02, 22:31:

this is not the age of computing though, it is an age of digital creation, digital work, and digital consumption, and computers are merely a tool.
barely anyone today understands what is behind the technology they are using, what is required to provide them the tools that they are using, how the games produce graphics that they see or what makes the software they use every day function... this is not "computing", this is just digital life.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computing

What do you think all makes that happen? Magic? People understand computers more than ever. People are learning coding all different languages, using raspberry pi's to do all manner of things. That's how we got to where we are today! The thread title is golden age of personal computing. Young kids are doing their school work on platforms like google classroom and teams. I'm working with colleagues from all over the world in real-time. I watcha friend play a game on twitch on my TV. Was any of this possible before? of course not. Personal computing has never been better. I can multi boot any number of systems on really fast storage. I can just have as many VM's I can fit on my middle of the road Lenovo Ryzen laptop. Hell, I can run linux directly from the windows command line. I can stop / start a Nutanix cluster from my mobile phone.

Computing today is awesome.

I think we have a starkly different understanding of what "Golden Age" means then :p

He makes a good point. From the stand point of personal computing it is has never been more accessible, ubiquitous, cheap and capable as it is today. We all have super computers in our pockets that are networked with just about every other computer in the world. Pretty tough to beat that.

Any other definition of "golden age" just means "the era of computing I am most nostalgic for". Which is fine to talk about, I guess, but obviously today's computers are better in every quantifiable way.

And isn't that a big part of what makes computing so exciting? That it is always, rapidly (even if a little less rapidly now) improving?

Reply 43 of 123, by RandomStranger

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mothergoose729 wrote on 2021-04-04, 07:07:

He makes a good point. From the stand point of personal computing it is has never been more accessible

On the first page I said that the 70s and 80s were cumbersome because of bad accessibility, but accessibility is also something that isn't inherently good.
Today I think accessibility went overboard which have drawn in actors that make the experience worse in more than one ways.

I think over all the golden age was the 90s and maybe early 2000s. When there was a decent degree of variety in hardware components, but most thighs got adequately standardised, and also before the internet became so unbearably corporate. It was accessible enough so those who wanted to get into computing could do it easily, in the meanwhile inaccessible enough to mostly keep the ignorant masses away.

Though even then, some parts of personal computing (Linux desktop) has it's golden age right now. That time when there is balance between accessibility and inaccessibility. In the 90s and early 2000s when Microsoft completely took over, that was when the OS market was the most corporate without a viable way out of the MS ecosystem.

sreq.png retrogamer-s.png

Reply 44 of 123, by fosterwj03

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I'm going to pile-on by saying that the 90s represent the PC's Golden Age. I came of age in the hobby during this time, so I'm a bit biased, but I would contend that many of the PC standards, technologies, and features still prevalent today got introduced in the last decade of the last millennium.

- Dominant standards like the ATX form factor (despite multiple attempts to replace it), the popularity of mid-tower computer cases, and USB connectors to name a few

- Technologies such as super-scaler, multi-pipelined CPUs (technically possible earlier, but entered mass production in the 90s), mainstreaming of multi-CPUs on the desktop, the PCI bus (while electrically different from PCI-E, they use the same protocols), USB (as mentioned above), ATA storage controllers, solid-state data storage, and DDR memory

- Game categories still with us today such as 3D shooters, 3D platformers, and real-time strategy

- EDIT: Oh, and almost every modern PC GUI still takes on design references from Windows 95 and OS X.

Taken as a whole, I would say the early to late 90s had a profound impact on the PC industry with many technologies and standards still in use today. Shoot, Intel's recent Comet Lake processors still include IP dating back to the Pentium Pro.

Last edited by fosterwj03 on 2021-04-04, 13:36. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 45 of 123, by 386SX

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I can't understand how to imagine nowdays as a golden era of computing. The fact that masses of people have cheap and easiest than ever devices to work from home or use their time with mobile devices for chat or games doesn't mean that it's all "just better" (because most services are free?) or that theorically the same things could have not been done with the older tech of the 90's but the few people that used computers back than didn't necessary need all that. As already said I'd think that the big difference is the modern "computing" is oriented to those masses that didn't have a computer interest in most of those important decades like 80's, 90's, 2000's up to 2010 years where things were already changing.

Last edited by 386SX on 2021-04-04, 16:36. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 46 of 123, by Warlord

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XP was microsofts last good OS. Apple II wasn't as much of a success as the commodore pick your model. I think that its a forced meme. There were a lot of computers in the mid 80s and early 90 which is the beginning of the golden era. I think 1977 is really too early. Ya you can buy a computer then but what can you do with it? NOTHING and where are they now, no one talks about them outside of the echo chamber. . The commodore and Amiga derivatives are the ones that aged well and stand out. No one cares about apple II except woke apple fanboys.

Last edited by Warlord on 2021-04-04, 16:09. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 49 of 123, by fosterwj03

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Warlord wrote on 2021-04-04, 15:23:

on the subject of OS stability 95 RTM wasn't even usable and crashed when bill tried to show it off.

I think that happened with Windows 98.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IW7Rqwwth84

Reply 53 of 123, by Jorpho

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Warlord wrote on 2021-04-04, 15:02:

XP was microsofts last good OS.

There was endless bellyaching at the time about how the UI looked like a cartoon and how the Themes service was an enormous waste of resources – and of course about how it wasn't as fast as Win9x, or as compatible with old games and applications. And it seems a lot of security problems were due to people running the OS as a user with full privileges all the time, which led to the whole UAC thing in Vista, which led to more complaints.

But indeed, for those who wanted a computer that crashed less, it was a fine thing.

xcomcmdr wrote on 2021-04-04, 17:19:

9x is stable if you know what you are doing.

And if you're running programs written by people who know what they are doing, too.

Reply 54 of 123, by Big Pink

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RandomStranger wrote on 2021-04-04, 07:58:

It was accessible enough so those who wanted to get into computing could do it easily, in the meanwhile inaccessible enough to mostly keep the ignorant masses away.

Try as I might to find some elaborate explanation about why the web was better before ~2005 (pre Web 2.0/Social Media) that doesn't rely on nostalgia or elitism... it unfortunately does come down to the second Eternal September. I saw a great comment on YouTube that put it better than a 2,000 word essay from me: the net was always a cesspool, but it was our cesspool. Maybe one day they'll make a whole genre of entertainment set in the Web 1.0 days like they did with Westerns.

I thought IBM was born with the world

Reply 55 of 123, by Warlord

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Jorpho wrote on 2021-04-04, 17:34:
There was endless bellyaching at the time about how the UI looked like a cartoon and how the Themes service was an enormous wast […]
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Warlord wrote on 2021-04-04, 15:02:

XP was microsofts last good OS.

There was endless bellyaching at the time about how the UI looked like a cartoon and how the Themes service was an enormous waste of resources – and of course about how it wasn't as fast as Win9x, or as compatible with old games and applications. And it seems a lot of security problems were due to people running the OS as a user with full privileges all the time, which led to the whole UAC thing in Vista, which led to more complaints.

But indeed, for those who wanted a computer that crashed less, it was a fine thing.

xcomcmdr wrote on 2021-04-04, 17:19:

9x is stable if you know what you are doing.

And if you're running programs written by people who know what they are doing, too.

we must live in 2 different realities. As there was massive communities built up around the XP theme scene and customization. As well as the whole slipstreaming and driver and repack scenes around the OS. It was much more stable than any previous OS MS ever released. Also considering themes could just be disabled if you wanted it to it then had the same UI as windows ME. A better argument is how much slower 98 is than 95 becasue bill decided that bundling IE with the operating system and lying that it is now a integral part of the OS and it cant be removed because its good to browse files with IE like you are now browsing the web. 🤣 Thats a good place to start with UI overhead bloat.

Anyways In some benchmarks like quake XP is faster than 98. But its easy to pick and chose benchmarks that make 1 thing look better than another.

Reply 56 of 123, by The Serpent Rider

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I think 1977 is really too early.

That's why 1982 is a good starting point - Commodore 64 was released, which became very accessible PC in a few years.

I must be some kind of standard: the anonymous gangbanger of the 21st century.

Reply 57 of 123, by darry

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I like to think that with ubiquitously available single board computers like the Raspberry Pi and various similar devices, Arduinos, ESP32, RISCV, inexpensive FPGAs and the largely opensource toolchains and software available, personal computing has never seemed more golden .

Current Windows and MacOS may be on their way to becoming walled gardens of pure ideology (sorry , could not resist), but they do not really feel that personal anyway and haven't for a while. They are more and more like turnkey solutions with ever less configurability and ever more locked down .

Reply 58 of 123, by Oetker

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It could be argued that today is the golden age for PC building considering all the cases, coolers and other components that are available and easy to research. And although there not being for example 6 video chip manufacturers might seem boring at least there's no chance of picking a brand that sucks and will be unsupported in a year.

All the different form factors and/or completely passive cooling are fun too.

Reply 59 of 123, by Jorpho

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Warlord wrote on 2021-04-04, 21:05:

we must live in 2 different realities.

Do you live in the reality where the massive security issues with XP led to the Blaster worm..?

Also considering themes could just be disabled if you wanted it to it then had the same UI as windows ME.

And the security problems probably wouldn't have been an issue if people weren't constantly running the OS with unlimited privileges, and 98lite could be used to install Windows 98 without IE. Or we could go in the other direction and say that the removal of the Start menu from Windows 8 was okay because people could install a Start menu replacement. The point is, these aren't things that people typically did.