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Nostalgia Cafe
main page


1980s Computers
& Advertising


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Computers


In the 1970s, personal computers (PCs) were new, expensive and difficult for the average person to use. The 1980s brought the PC to the people.

many models to choose from
Between 1980 and 1983, the computer veterans (Apple, Radio Shack, Commodore and Atari) were joined by several new companies, such as Compaq, Timex-Sinclair, Hewlett-Packard, Casio, Texas Instruments and Osborne.

Several classic computers were introduced during this time:
1980: Commodore VIC-20, the first PC to sell one million units
1980: HP-85, Hewlett-Packard's first PC
1981: Osborne, the first "portable" PC, which weighed 23 pounds
1982: Commodore 64, a very popular model
1983: Apple IIe, a model that would remain in production for ten years

early features
Some PCs had built-in monitors, while others were hooked up to your TV. Data was stored on large floppy disks and documents were printed out on slow, noisy dot-matrix printers.

giants enter the market
In 1981, two technology giants, IBM and Xerox, entered the PC market. IBM introduced the IBM PC (which was a great success) and Xerox introduced the Star (which wasn't).

new ideas from Apple
In 1983, Apple launched the LISA, which was also a failure. It had a cool name, though! :-)

Both the Xerox Star and the Apple LISA had a graphical user interface (GUI), which made them the first user-friendly PCs. Before this, all functions were performed by entering complicated codes and commands. Now they could be performed by choosing selections from a menu or by clicking on icons with a mouse.

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In 1985, bringing your computer to college was a new concept. This is my friend Gary writing his paper on my friend Jim's computer, which I believe is an Apple IIe.





Radio Shack TRS-80





IBM PC, 1981


MacIntosh, 1984



The History of Apple Computer
A Brief History Of Computing
Triumph Of The Nerds: PC History
Obsolete Computer Museum
The First IBM PC
Commodore 64 Heaven
The Old Computer
Old Computer Museum
WordStar

the MacIntosh revolution
In 1984, Apple introduced the hugely successful MacIntosh. The Mac incorporated the best features of the LISA, including clickable icons, a mouse and a convenient all-in-one design.

1985
*The larger floppy disks were replaced by 3.5-inch floppies, which actually weren't floppy at all.
*The CD-ROM made its debut.
*Microsoft introduced the first version of their Windows operating system, which gave other PCs the same point-and-click technology as the Mac.
*The Commodore Amiga featured 4,096 colors and stereo sound, and was considered quite advanced for its day.

1987
Microsoft introduced their improved Windows II operating system.

1988
This year saw the debut of the CD-R, a blank recordable CD that could be used to store data and programs.

Mac vs. PC
Computers were now split into two different kinds: those that were Macs and those that weren't. All non-Mac computers were lumped together under the heading of "PC."

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In the 1980s, there were several ways for a computer user to go online....

the internet
In 1982, the term Internet was applied to the global system that linked university, government and commercial computer networks. This system grew from a single network in 1969 to a group of interconnected networks in 1977. By 1983, there were 30 networks and several different levels of connection between them. The Internet offered e-mail, file downloading, databases, mailing lists, chat rooms, instant messaging and games.

bulletin board systems
A bulletin board system (BBS) is a dial-up message board for PC users. The first BBS was invented in 1978 and was run by a computer hobbyist from his personal computer. By the mid 1980s, additional features (e-mail, games, chat rooms, file downloading) were also offered. In 1984, some BBSs began to charge a yearly fee in exchange for more features and adult content. Also in 1984, hundreds of BBSs became linked via the FIDONET network. During the 1980s, the first chat abbreviations and emoticons were used here.

USENET
Launched in 1980, USENET was a dial-up communication system for Unix computer users. Participants shared news articles and discussion boards, which were categorized into newsgroups. One particular newsgroup was dedicated to file downloading. In 1986, it became possible for non-Unix users to post on USENET without special software.

dial-up databases
Some databases and information services could be accessed simply by dialing directly to the host computer. The majority of users were businesses and researchers who accessed credit reports, financial data, technical information and library support services. A smaller number of computer hobbyists accessed news, shopping and general research sites.

online services
PC users had networks of their own in the form of dial-up online services like Compuserve, The Source, Genie, Delphi, UUNET and Prodigy. These services provided members with news, online encyclopedias, games, e-mail, forums and chat rooms on a subscription basis.

worlds apart
Each of the online systems listed above operated independently of the others. Access to the Internet was limited to the few users who were connected to a network, and the other systems were not part of the Internet. There were instances, however, when one system provided access to the others. BBS users could post on USENET in 1985, and some online services and BBSs began to offer Internet access in 1989.

----- Going Online


















Apple, 1982



Internet History Timeline 1962-1992
Usenet FAQ
First Use Of The Smiley Face :-)




Commodore 64 keyboard

"cyberspace"
In 1984, novelist William Gibson coined the term cyberspace to describe the new virtual world that computers were creating for us.

domain names
At first, each host on the Internet was accessed by a number (the IP address). By 1984, there were 1,000 hosts, which made this system impractical. The Domain Name System was developed, and this was the origin of .com, .net, .edu and so on. In 1985, Symbolics.com registered the first domain name. At this point, having a dot-com address was still free.

explosive growth
In 1984, less than 2,000 computers had access to the Internet. Between 1985 and 1987, this number increased to 30,000. It jumped again to 160,000 when Internet access was offered to casual computer users in 1989.

internet access for all
In 1987, the UUNET online service provided Unix PC users with access to some Internet features. The Internet was made available to all computer hobbyists in 1989 when The World provided them with the first commercial dial-up Internet access. Some online services and BBSs also offered Internet access in 1989.

a world-wide web
In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee first proposed the idea of a World Wide Web. This feature would operate over the Internet, and would use a universal language (html) and standard software programs (browsers) to provide access to digital documents hosted by special computers (web servers). Rather than link entire computers together, the whole procedure would be simplified because only the documents would be linked. In 1991, this plan became a reality, and the Web that we all know and love was officially here!

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Advertising


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animated mascots------
hall of fame------


Noid (Domino's Pizza)
7-UP Spot
Mac Tonight (McDonalds)
California Raisin
Snuggle Bear (Snuggle Fabric Softener)


classic ads



Where's the beef?
This 1984 commercial for Wendy's
hamburgers is one of the
most popular TV spots ever.
It was responsible for a 31 percent
increase in Wendy's sales



Miller Lite: Less Filling! Tastes Great!



Bud Light spokesdog
Spuds McKenzie, the
original "party animal!"



At the mall, the
Pepsi Challenge invited you to
try both Coke and Pepsi in a
blind taste test. Which one did
you choose?



IBM used Charlie Chaplin's
"little tramp" character to
sell their PCs



The Mr. Pibb Girl was a composite
photograph incorporating the features
of several different celebrities.
The campaign was scrapped when
protesters pointed out that no Asians or
African Americans had been included





my YouTube playlist


1980s Commercials
audio/video sites
Retro Junk Commercials
Computer Commercials



links
Remember These 80s Commercials?
Spuds McKenzie
Clara Peller
The Commodore Museum
Jason's Hush Puppies Scrapbook




return to the 1980s main page