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So, it’s no secret that what has developed into the finely polished production that is Technology Bytes got its start some fifteen years ago, managing to keep pace with the explosive growth of the Internet, all the while helping to inform and protect you from all the drama that comes with said connectivity. Arguably, the growth of the Internet and the new found need to ‘get online’ has brought more people to computing than any other factor. For instance, you could organize your recipes on a microcomputer back in
1980, but it wasn’t until you could share recipes online that the computer came into the kitchen. So, to celebrate our own fifteenth birthday this month, we’ll take a quick, self-indulgent tour of some of the more compelling reasons to get online during the
first ten years of the show.

As far as birthdays go, Tech Bytes is in good company. The online bookstore Amazon.com was launched fifteen years ago. And, in parallel with this show’s history, Amazon’s current moniker was not it’s first.

Any guesses as to what Amazon began life as? Cadabra.com

And TechBytes was originally conceived under the name Radiodrome (later Radio X).

Just one month later, in August of 1995, the Dotcom Boom starts in ernest.

This is also the month that Internet Explorer was released as part of Windows 95.

In September, the online auction site eBay was founded, but not as eBay. Anyone know the original name? Auctionweb. The first item sold? A broken laser pointer for $13.83.

In December, the first *multilingual* search engine is launched. Guesses? This is December of 1995… Alta Vista.

Fourteen years ago, on Independence Day, Hotmail launches in the US. This is also the day that Jeff Goldblum uses a mac to upload a virus into an alien mothership en route to Area 51, thus saving all humanity from certain destruction. Well, all of Humanity except the Houstonians that got nuked midway through the movie. Some of these saved humans became the first cyber squatters, fueled by the sale of the domain name business.com for $150,000.00 in March of ’97.

Others go on to follow in the footsteps of web commentator Jorn Barger, who coined the term ‘weblog’ in December of that same year. Weblog, of course, was later shortened to ‘blog’, giving birth to what are now known as bloggers.

’97 was also the year that the Dotcom Boom became a Bubble, as people threw money at anything with a commercial TLD registration attached to it.

In March of ’98, Kozmo.com launches, promising delivery of anything in under one hour, and in that September, two Stanford post-grad students open Google’s first office in a garage in California.

By October of ’98, the first blogger community launches in the form of Open Diary, EverQuest and Napster come online in 1999, and the original MySpace website launches… anyone know as what? As a file sharing service. Seriously. They were shut down in 2001 and then re-opened their doors in 2003 as a social networking site.

In 1999, NTT DoCoMo launches the first mobile Internet service called i-Mode. Its only available in Japan, doing nothing for the healing city of Houston.

In January of 2000, after countless patched CoBOL systems lumbered on with very few hitches, the Dotcom Bubble reaches its peak when the Dow Jones Industrial Average tops out at record levels seen neither before nor since, and in February of that year, several notable websites, including Amazon, CNN and Yahoo are defaced or crippled by hackers who had no doubt watched the Movie Independence Day just four years earlier.

So, actually, the first five years of the show heralded in alien viruses, bloggers, cyber squatters, financial irresponsibility, black hat hacking and MySpace. Yeah. I blame Goldblum…

Hang in there… Things do turn around. On One Eleven Oh-One, Podcasting is born via a Greatful Dead track and four days later, Jimmy Wales founds Wikipedia.

In April 2003, right about the time that MySpace was reinventing itself, the Apple iTunes store goes online. One month later, the first Flash Mob assembles. Any guesses as to where? Sorry, Steve, it didn’t happen at the Apple Store, but rather in the rug department of a Manhattan department store. A little over 100 people assembled.

The date on this next one is a bit of a tip-off if you do the math. On February 5th, 2004, *this* becomes the most searched for image in web history.

Careful on the phrasing as we don’t want any microphone malfunctions in the studio tonight… That’s right – Janet Jackson’s Wardrobe Malfunction during the 2004 Superbowl half-time show.

In November of that same year, the Mozilla Firefox Web Browser is launched, heralding in a new age of browser wars. A 1.0 party was thrown here in Houston at the original location of the St. Arnold’s Brewery.

And video sharing site YouTube comes online in February ’05 and the web experiences more growth this year than it did during the entire Dotcom Boom.

So, the good news is that we’ll leave the last five years for you to chat about this Friday night at the Technology Bytes Fifteen Year Anniversary Party, happening at the Houston House of Blues in the Foundation Room from seven until close.

Now, the bad news is that Will Smith has signed on to make another TWO Independence Day movies, which means that we could be in for another technological downturn should Goldblum take another Mac along for an extra-atmospheric jaunt. All of the havoc he wreaked before was done on OS9, so there’s no telling what 10.8,
Star Leopard, will be capable of.

That’s it for the early days of your inter-life flashing before you eyes and that’s that for BarretTime. See you Friday!

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