June 26, 2012

Techunix Ruled!

Googling Techunix I found out that different people may mean different things when using it, so for the purposes of this blog post, I mean the Unix Server that used to do Pine mail at the Technion institute of technology.
For long spells of time I thought it was the coolest mail server ever! I mean I was a student for the longest time, and I had free mail! Cool!
Then I stopped being a student, the year was 2000 or so, and I thought they would let me keep my mail forever, but no!
I had to get mail from my ISP. I had to pay for it, and where was that cool thing of accessing your mail from everywhere?
Then along came Gmail with its 1GB of free space. I was ecstatic. This was not only mail, it was also a backup of all my files!
I begged my friends and finally got an invite in 2004. Immediately I invited anyone who asked for an invite.
I took me several months to switch all my mail to Gmail, but from 2005 - I never looked back!

June 19, 2012

Back in 2000 I really loved Ask Jeeves!

When I started using the internet graphically, in late 1995, I loved Yahoo.
I loved the whole 'browsing down a file system' experience. It reminded me of going to the library, and this library was growing every day!
Then Altavista came along, and it was really cool! it found what I wanted... mostly.

After that it started to clutter with other search engines, and I knew what I had to do: ask Jeeves!
"Jeeves" was the name of the "gentleman's personal gentleman", or valet, fetching answers to any question asked. This character, based on Jeeves, Bertie Wooster's fictional valet from the works of P. G. Wodehouse, was really good at finding answers on the World Wide Web, because it brought answers from five different search engines and you could pick your favorite.
I really don't remember why I finally switched to Google, But I think there were three major reasons:
  • Google Image search,
  • Google was waaay better in Hebrew,
  • At one point or another the Ask people stopped showing other search engines, and focused on their own engine. pity.

June 13, 2012

The Problem With Microsoft

In the past few weeks I have been trying to make the case that as far as I'm concerned, Apple may have had many 'great' products, but Microsoft had even more.
While some of the software I've reviewed here (more like reminisced about) was indeed made by Microsoft, other software just ran on a Microsoft platform.
I don't think that this is an important distinction. If you can make a great software platform (like Windows used to be), and other people build great software on it, you deserve at least some of the credit for that.
So why did it all stop working?
  • First of all, I'm not sure it stopped working, could be just that I got tired of paying for software, when there are free substitutes (both in the free speech and free beer sense), that are as good or better (IMHO).
  • Second, I think that the old software base, and the need to be loyal to it, just dragged the company for too long, and now it may be too late.
  • Third, I think ESR makes a good point - closed software tends to become buggy and bulky with time.
It's a shame really, but I think we won't see much good software from Microsoft any more...

June 7, 2012

Once I thought Internet Explorer 4 Was The Coolest Browser Ever!

The year was 1998, and I was working for a medical software company (not sure I can say what it was, and it sure sounds much cooler when it's a secret).
I was sitting in front of the computer something like eight hours a day, and since I had no girlfriend at the time, I went back home and browsed some more...
Once I even heard of something called an MP3 file. Supposedly, if you could download such a file, it would give you be a three minute song, with only 4 megs (as opposed to something like 40 megs for a 'regular' audio file).
Can't say I found that many at the time, but the idea was way cool!
Where did I get this idea? From the Economist web site!
How did I browse it? With IE 4!
Plus IE4 had Channels! Way Cool!
In 2004 I switched to Firefox, in 2008 I switched to Chrome. Never looked back.
Wait, actually I DID look back several weeks ago at IE 10. I'm staying with chrome!

I know this is the 'old' chrome picture, but I liked it better...

June 1, 2012

Once I Thought Starcraft Was the Best Game Ever

I think it was January 1998. I went to the store, I saw a copy of Starcraft, and I bought it right away. 
I may have even read about it something on the web. Something along the lines of: 'The game was finally released after a ridiculously long wait'. I had no idea what they were talking about. I didn't wait for it, and I've never played any Blizzard games (like Warcraft) before it.
The honest truth is that to the present day I (almost) haven't played any other Blizzard games besides Starcraft I.
But Starcraft I was a cool game. I pretended to be sick one Sunday (here Sunday is a work day) just so I could finish all of the original missions. I was something like 28 YO at the time...
I bought it for my 10 YO cousin. Heck I even played a little on battle net. and of course I bought and played Brood war...
But I never even thought of buying Starcraft II. It's too expensive, and maybe I'm getting to old for it.
In the past few weeks me and my almost 7 YO son are busy playing Kingdom Rush.