Flashback with the Internet Archive on the occasion of its 25th anniversary

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The Internet Archive and the Wayback Machine that lives there sounds like something picked up from the mind after watching Back to the future late one night, but they were still supposed to look more like the Library of Alexandria. It can’t quite be said that they have stood the test of time yet, but they have preserved decades of history over the Internet years, which may seem like millennia.

The two celebrate their birthdays on October 21. Like any occasion like this, it’s not just a time of celebration but of reflection, with an underlying stream of apprehension as to what lies ahead. The Internet Archive is 25 years old and its component, the Wayback Machine, 20 years old. Both were founded by computer scientist Brewster Kahle. The Internet Archive was launched as a repository of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more, all digitized by employees around the world. The Wayback Machine takes snapshots of websites and archives them at times over the years.

PCMag will be celebrating its own birthday next year (we’ll turn 40, thank you), so we figured this would be a good time to take a look at some of our own history using the Internet Archive and the Wayback Machine. Much like these knowledge repositories, PCMag started out in print and moved on to the web. We were originally PC Magazine, a monthly print magazine that published its first issue in 1982 and ceased publication in 2009. And on the web we are PCMag, which started with a few free articles available on the internet in 1994 and is now a resource for thousands of trusted reviews, the home of the fastest mobile networks, and a place to turn for daily tech news and stories that delve deeper into big industry issues. In short, we are much more than PCs. But the Internet Archive and the Wayback Machine aren’t going to make us forget our roots, and we wouldn’t.

Here are some highlights from the collection we found online below. And when you’re done reading, be sure to let us know in the comments what interesting things you found in the archives as well (about anything, not just us).

The charter issue of PC Magazine

The charter number is available in full on the Internet Archive. Wooden artist mannequins climb the first IBM PC on the cover. In the editor’s first letter, David Bunnell wrote: “We strongly believe that IBM personal computer users will demand quality end-user publications filled with useful information and well-written. It is our destiny to be the first post of its kind and our intention to always be the best. ”

Turn a few pages and there’s an interview with Bill Gates. A few more and you will read about The Freedom Network, a company that sets out to send electronic messages. And finally, there’s the original plan and philosophy behind our reviews.

table of contents for the first issue of PCMag

The table of contents of the charter number

PC Labs article

The history of our laboratory journals

It seems we were able to locate the beginning of the question, “Why are you covering up Apple if there is a PC in your name?” With a 1984 cover (of course) on IBM vs. Apple. The issue was a collection of stories about the rivalry and in the table of contents, the blurb for one of them said, “Apple’s story from rag to wealth could come to an unhappy end. To move on.

IBM vs. Apple cover from PC Magazine

I’m a Mac, I’m a PC

Speaking of rivalries, given that Apple makes both software and hardware, the company has made enemies at Microsoft as well. But by 1995, it had barely taken a share of the operating systems market as Windows 95 was in beta and would soon dominate. (Can’t hear ‘Start Me Up’ from the Rolling Stones right now? ”) It was also the pinnacle of sending AOL records to everyone’s homes. PC Magazine was not left out either; it included a CD-ROM with an interactive Windows 95 companion with each number. A quick reminder from the front: For starters, RUN.ME.EXE.

Images of the interactive CD-Rom companion for Windows 95

What do you play them on?

PCMag’s first appearance on the Wayback Machine was on December 19, 1996. We were celebrating our Best of the Year issue. Of course we had a holiday gift guide (like now). If you received the Microsoft SideWinder gamepad as a gift that year, you’re welcome.

1996 holiday gift guide screenshot

1996 holiday greetings

In 1999, we were understandably worried about the year 2000. On the Wayback Machine, we had a countdown to the year 2000 with 10 things you can do right now to prepare for the new millennium.

Year 2000 coverage on the PCMag website

2,000, zero zero, party over, oops, out of time

Gmail debuted in 2004. Based on our story, “Google chose April Fool’s Day to announce that it is offering a free webmail service, Gmail, which is expected to compete with Microsoft’s market-leading Hotmail service. ” Have we ever been so young?

screenshot of PCMag from April 1, 2004

A snapshot from 2004

Three years later, the iPhone was introduced. Sascha Segan, our senior mobile analyst then and today, called it “the Apple Revolution for the Few” because of its price and its connection to a Cingular contract. “This will prevent Apple from dominating the smartphone market like they have in the MP3 player market. We didn’t know that a revolution was really underway.

PCMag review of the original iPhone

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