June 17, 2024

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A Farewell Tour of Benj’s Finest HTG Pc Historical past Articles

A Gallery of Benj Edwards Articles in Picture Frames on a Wooden Wall
Benj Edwards / How-To Geek

After 2.5 years and over 1,000 articles right here, I’m leaving How-To Geek. It’s a bittersweet feeling, since I really like this place, however new adventures are calling. Earlier than I am going, I assumed it will be enjoyable to spherical up my favourite and hottest options with behind-the-scenes tidbits. I believe you may get pleasure from it, too.

My 5 Favourite How-To Geek Articles

It’s no secret that in between how-to articles in regards to the newest macOS, Home windows, and iPhone suggestions, I like to put in writing about tech historical past. It’s enjoyable to teach and inform (and I’ve been doing it since 2005 for different websites). After writing 122 historical past options for How-To Geek, a handful have stood out as notably memorable or attention-grabbing for me. I’ll offer you a peek behind the scenes.

Id Software program’s thirtieth Anniversary

A classic id Software logo on a blue background

In 2021, legendary recreation developer id Software program turned 30. To have a good time, I contacted three out of 4 of the unique id founders—John Carmack, John Romero, and Tom Corridor—and requested them for key reminiscences and their favourite moments at id. They replied with fantastic quotes, and it felt nice to deliver all three males collectively, so to talk, to have a good time their achievements in a constructive manner, since they’d initially cut up up below lower than preferrred circumstances. With Romero’s assist, I did attempt to contact Adrian Carmack too (the fourth founder), however he retains a low profile as of late and didn’t reply.

id Software program tales did very well for us over the previous few years, and Carmack and Romero additionally supplied alternative quotes for my items on NeXT, the VIC-20, the Apple II, and, in fact, articles about Commander Eager, Wolfenstein 3D, and Quake.

RELATED: From Eager to Doom: id Software program’s Founders Discuss 30 Years of Gaming Historical past

The Thriller of QWERTY

The QWERTY Mystery

Out of private curiosity, I got down to uncover the origins of the usual QWERTY keyboard format. I did deep analysis in a number of out-of-print historical past books, dusty scholarly articles from the typewriter period, and extra. What I found is that nobody alive is aware of precisely why the QWERTY keyboard format is the way in which it’s. It’s a real thriller that can possible stay unsolved without end until some new, beforehand unknown documentary proof involves gentle sooner or later.

It’s completely fascinating to think about such a common normal originating from a set of fully arbitrary (and seemingly random) choices made 150 years in the past. That’s fairly a distinction from our precision-engineering-driven world in the present day.

RELATED: The QWERTY Keyboard Is Tech’s Largest Unsolved Thriller

No Regrets About Gopher

The Gopher protocol (gopher://).

Again in mid-2020, I interviewed Mark P. McCahill, the co-creator of a web-like protocol in style on the early web known as Gopher. Given a couple of slight adjustments in historical past, Gopher might probably be the place the World Broad Internet is now. Once I requested McCahill if he had any regrets that Gopher didn’t win the data protocol warfare, he had a doozie of a solution: “Possibly that’s another excuse I’m okay with the net beating out Gopher,” McCahill mentioned. “I don’t have issues like Fb and its weaponized surveillance platform on my conscience immediately.” That’s a quote I’ll bear in mind for a very long time.

RELATED: The Internet Earlier than the Internet: A Look Again at Gopher

The Father of the Modem Screech

A screeching dial-up modem cartoon

One in all my favourite forms of articles is the place I got down to write a easy clarification of one thing and find yourself discovering one thing solely new, which has occurred many instances with my historical past items. Just like the time I found that Caps Lock was possible added as a compatibility mode to make newer teletypes function like older ones.

One other enjoyable instance is once I wrote about why dial-up modems make a screeching noise once they join. I made a decision to ask the query “Why did they’ve audio system to start with?” and located the reply with Dale Heatherington, who designed the primary modem with an inside speaker in 1981. Once I requested if we had Heatherington to thank for our Nineteen Nineties noisy modem nostalgia, he replied, “Yep. Responsible as charged.”

RELATED: Why Did Dial-Up Modems Make So A lot Noise?

Set up Home windows 3.1 on an iPad

Windows 3.1 Running on an iPad

When my long-time pal and collaborator Harry McCracken instructed me he knew set up Home windows 3.1 on an iPad, I assumed it was too thrilling to maintain to myself. So I wrote about it for How-To Geek, hoping that the MS-DOS emulator app for the iPad was as Apple-approved as its writer cautiously hoped it was.

After all, the ensuing media protection introduced it to Apple’s consideration (with MacRumors, Daring Fireball, and 9to5Mac all chipping in), and the app obtained pulled from the shop (so sadly, the directions in that piece now not work). I wrote a response piece in regards to the freedom to be taught from the previous. A lot energy for historic studying continues to be locked away as a consequence of Apple’s closed iPhone/iPad platform.

RELATED: Set up Home windows 3.1 on an iPad

Runner-Up: My Home windows Historical past Items

Windows 2000 Hero

Whereas these 5 stand out in my reminiscence, there are tales behind different articles which might be equally as enjoyable, however I’d be writing for days. So I need to cheat by extending the listing with a gaggle of Home windows historical past items that I actually loved writing. I lined the anniversaries of Home windows 1.0, Home windows 3.0, Home windows 3.1, Home windows 95, Home windows 2000, and Home windows XP. I additionally wrote in regards to the best and worst variations of Home windows, the historical past of Home windows icons, Home windows logos, the Home windows key, and extra.

On a lot of these articles, I had the assistance of Microsoft veterans Steven Sinofsky and Brad Silverberg, who shared quotes and insider reminiscences that helped an awesome deal. Earlier than working for How-To Geek, I spent years writing about Apple and Mac historical past for Macworld, so it felt good to steadiness that out a little bit with some Microsoft and Home windows historical past. I’m fully platform-agnostic—I exploit Macs and Home windows PCs equally.

My Ten Most Fashionable Historical past Options

CP/M Operating System logo on a blue background

Since that is my final publish on the positioning, I assumed I’d additionally spherical up a listing of my hottest How-To Geek articles as nicely. These are a mixture, most-viewed, hottest on social media, and which articles acquired probably the most electronic mail suggestions.

Curiously sufficient, by a 10-to-1 margin, I acquired probably the most electronic mail suggestions after writing about CP/M, the out of date working system that impressed MS-DOS. The Seventies are nonetheless alive, my associates. (Be aware to the editor: The readership has pent-up demand for extra CP/M content material, Chris!)

The Benj Edwards Historical past Assortment

Atari 800 on a sunset background by Benj Edwards.
Benj Edwards

One last item: My historical past works can get misplaced within the shuffle simply, so for historic reference, right here’s a whole listing of 122 How-To Geek historical past articles I’ve written. You’ll discover them listed beneath in reverse chronological order (from latest to oldest). We initially revealed these items between February 25, 2020 and late August 2022.


  • The place Did the Time period “Pc Consumer” Come From?
  • Why Was Atari Known as Atari?
  • What Is a Pixel?
  • Each Sport Microsoft Ever Included in Home windows, Ranked
  • A World With out Wires: 25 Years of Wi-Fi
  • “Atari Was Very, Very Laborious” Nolan Bushnell on Atari, 50 Years Later
  • Why Do We Push Shift+Command+3 to Take a Screenshot on Mac?
  • What’s the Distinction Between the “Enter” and “Return” Keys?
  • 45 Years Later, The Apple II Nonetheless Has Classes to Train Us
  • Steve Wozniak Talks Apple II on Its forty fifth Anniversary
  • What Is ANSI Artwork, and Why Was It Fashionable within the Nineteen Nineties?
  • What’s Hyperlink Rot, and How Does It Threaten the Internet?
  • The Origins of Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V, Ctrl+X, and Ctrl+Z Defined
  • Achtung! How Wolfenstein 3D Shocked the World, 30 Years Later
  • Each Microsoft Firm Emblem From 1975-2022
  • Each Microsoft Home windows Emblem From 1985 to 2022
  • Why Is Fb Known as Fb?
  • Why Is a PC Known as a PC?
  • Why Is Google Known as Google?
  • Home windows 3.1 Turns 30: Right here’s How It Made Home windows Important
  • Video Video games Flip 60: How Spacewar Launched a Revolution
  • What Occurred to the iPhone 9?
  • The QWERTY Keyboard Is Tech’s Largest Unsolved Thriller
  • Why Was There No Home windows 9?
  • Why Apple’s Emblem Has a Chunk Taken Out of It
  • iPhone SMS Messages Aren’t Inexperienced for the Purpose You Suppose
  • Why Is the Linux Mascot a Penguin?
  • Why Is a Mac Known as a Mac?
  • 10 Years Later, Right here’s Why the Raspberry Pi Nonetheless Rocks
  • Why Is It Known as the Raspberry Pi?
  • What Is SMS, and Why Are Textual content Messages So Brief?
  • Microsoft Solitaire Is Nonetheless King 30 Years Later
  • What Does the “i” in iPhone Stand For?
  • Why Is Home windows Known as Home windows?
  • GORILLA.BAS: Play the Secret MS-DOS Sport From Your Childhood
  • Remembering VRML: The Metaverse of 1995


  • What Is Spam, and Why Do We Name It That?
  • Learn a Zip Disk on a Fashionable PC or Mac
  • The Pc Folder Is 40: How the Xerox Star Created the Desktop
  • X Marks the Spot: Microsoft’s Xbox Turns 20
  • The Microprocessor Is 50: Celebrating the Intel 4004
  • Inexperienced Hills Endlessly: Home windows XP Is 20 Years Outdated
  • Multimedia Mania: Home windows Media Participant Turns 30
  • What Are Pc Recordsdata and Folders?
  • The First Industrial Video Sport: How It Appeared 50 Years In the past
  • The Fashionable PC Archetype: Use a Seventies Xerox Alto in Your Browser
  • OS/2’s Final Stand: IBM OS/2 Warp 4 Turns 25
  • Linux Turns 30: How A Pastime Venture Conquered the World
  • The Golden Age of Shareware CDs
  • The Basis of the Web: TCP/IP Turns 40
  • Gaming When You Ought to Be Working: The Historical past of the Boss Key
  • Play Microsoft Journey, the World’s First IBM PC Sport
  • 40 Years Later: What Was it Wish to Use an IBM PC in 1981?
  • The First Web site: How the Internet Appeared 30 Years In the past
  • Remembering Radio Shack’s Home windows Competitor: Tandy DeskMate
  • Why Do Mice Have Scroll Wheels? Microsoft Intellimouse Turns 25
  • From Concept to Icon: 50 Years of the Floppy Disk
  • Set up Home windows 3.1 on an iPad
  • How “The Print Store” Turned Individuals into Banner Wizards within the Eighties
  • How Quake Shook the World: Quake Turns 25
  • A Visible Historical past of Home windows Icons: From Home windows 1 to 11
  • A Profitable Failure: The TI-99/4A Turns 40
  • Macintosh System 1: What Was Apple’s Mac OS 1.0 Like?
  • What Is Shareware, and Why Was It So Fashionable within the Nineteen Nineties?
  • What Are Teletypes, and Why Have been They Used with Computer systems?
  • What Is a “Pc Bug,” and The place Did the Time period Come From?
  • The First PC to Promote Hundreds of thousands: Commodore VIC-20 Turns 40
  • Did You Know? Microsoft Made a Children’ Phrase Processor within the Nineteen Nineties
  • What Is a CRT, and Why Don’t We Use Them Anymore?
  • What Does “Burning a CD” Imply?
  • The 6 Worst Variations of Home windows, Ranked
  • Run Home windows 3’s File Supervisor in Home windows 10
  • What’s the Finest Technique to Purchase a Classic Pc?
  • What Was CP/M, and Why Did It Lose to MS-DOS?
  • The ten Biggest Variations of Home windows, Ranked
  • Canines, Dinosaurs, and Wine: The Misplaced CD-ROMs of Microsoft
  • Why Have been Outdated Video Video games So Pixelated?
  • Earlier than Fortnite, There Was ZZT: Meet Epic’s First Sport
  • The place Did the Numeric Keypads on PC Keyboards Come From?
  • Did You Know? The GPS Triangle Cursor Comes From Atari’s Asteroids
  • From Eager to Doom: id Software program’s Founders Discuss 30 Years of Gaming Historical past
  • What Was Home windows CE, and Why Did Individuals Use It?
  • 25 Years of Making Connections With USB (After Three Makes an attempt)
  • What Was the “Sport Genie” Cheat System, and How Did It Work?


  • 30 Years of Vorticons: How Commander Eager Modified PC Gaming
  • Why Do Keyboards Have a Home windows Key? Right here’s The place It Began
  • 35 Years of Microsoft Home windows: Remembering Home windows 1.0
  • Why Did ’90s PCs Have Keyhole Locks, and What Did They Do?
  • Earlier than Mac OS X: What Was NeXTSTEP, and Why Did Individuals Love It?
  • A Classic Atari Is an Superb Climate Terminal in 2020
  • 7 Nostalgic Halloween Web sites from the ’90s and 2000s
  • What Was BeOS, and Why Did Individuals Love It?
  • 5 Creepy Retro PC Video games to Play This Halloween
  • 30 Years of ‘Minesweeper’ (Sudoku with Explosions)
  • Remembering GeoCities, the Nineteen Nineties Precursor to Social Media
  • What Was IBM’s OS/2, and Why Did It Lose to Home windows?
  • 20 Years Later: How the Mac OS X Public Beta Saved the Mac
  • Bear in mind BBSes? Right here’s How You Can Go to One Right this moment
  • Home windows 95 Turns 25: When Home windows Went Mainstream
  • Why 2020 Is the Good Time to Revisit IRC
  • The Historical past of Caps Lock: Why Does the Caps Lock Key Exist?
  • The CDs You Burned Are Going Dangerous: Right here’s What You Must Do
  • Nearly Forgotten: Nintendo’s Digital Boy, 25 Years Later
  • The Internet Earlier than the Internet: A Look Again at Gopher
  • Why Did the Turbo Button Sluggish Down Your PC within the ’90s?
  • Deja Vu: A Transient Historical past of Each Mac CPU Structure
  • Remembering Home windows 2000, Microsoft’s Forgotten Masterpiece
  • Why Notepad Is Nonetheless Superior for Taking Notes
  • Make Your Scroll Lock Key Helpful on a Home windows 10 PC
  • How the Gravis PC GamePad Remodeled PC Gaming within the ’90s
  • Home windows 3.0 Is 30 Years Outdated: Right here’s What Made It Particular
  • 40 Years Later, ‘Pac-Man’ Is Nonetheless Capturing Our Hearts
  • Why Did Dial-Up Modems Make So A lot Noise?
  • Learn a Floppy Disk on a Fashionable PC or Mac
  • Why I Nonetheless Use a 34-12 months-Outdated IBM Mannequin M Keyboard
  • The Finest Retro Easter Eggs in Home windows and Microsoft Workplace
  • Play Basic “Doom” in Widescreen on Your PC or Mac
  • Write an Apple II BASIC Program in Your Internet Browser
  • How Apple’s 2020 iPad Professional Compares to the 1994 Trackpad Mac
  • Textual content-Based mostly VR: Discover the Pioneering World of MUSHes
  • What Is the Konami Code, and How Do You Use it?
  • Even 25 Years Later, the Iomega Zip Is Unforgettable

New tech historical past is being created daily, and future tech historians will certainly have their palms full untangling this complicated and rapidly-changing period. I’ll miss my associates at How-To Geek, however they’ll nonetheless maintain writing nice stuff for you. So maintain studying, and keep protected on the market! Benj Edwards out.