This is my mousemat. It’s about the same age as many of our students and it’s pretty much the only piece of computing technology from 1993 that’s still relevant today.
- The 3.5 inch floppy was the standard way of supplying data and even software. Windows came on 6 to 8 of them depending on the edition.
- Mice used to use a ball and rollers to track movement. They’re now optical.
- Only cheap keyboards used membranes. Good ones were mechanical (switch) keyboards. These are now almost impossible to get hold of.
- USB was unheard of. Peripherals either had to connect via an existing serial or parallel port or use their own interface card.
- The Compact Disc was common, but the CD-ROM had not yet entered the world of computing (let alone DVD or recordable technology).
- Monitors used Cathode Ray Tubes. This made anything bigger than 19″ heavy, awkward and expensive. If the office heating failed though they were good for that.
- A myriad of interfaces have come and gone. ISA bus, VESA local bus, DIN style keyboard connections, PS/2, IDE, etc. etc.
There are a few things that haven’at changed that much.
- Hard disks – the mechanical type – still use much the same physical technology. The data capacity now though is astounding. A “big” HDD in 1992 was 20Mb. It’s now 50,000 times that.
- VGA was the latest and greatest in 1992. We still use it today, mainly for projectors although even this is fading in favour of DVI / HDMI.
- Cases are still made of cheap steel and PSUs are still cheap switch-mode devices that fail every more often than any other component.
Having said all this it’s not so long ago I lifted the lid on a piece of equipment that had just been decommissioned from a fire service. I recognised the CPU instantly, it was a Zilog Z80 in a DIL40 package, placing its vintage firmly in the 1980s and possibly as early as 1976.