It’s Flashback time again on BBC Radio Manchester, with two years I haven’t posted about before: 1979 and 2008. Listen live at 4:25 this afternoon on 95.1FM if you’re in the Manchester area, or on iPlayer if you’re not.
First up, the tech stories of 1979:
- VisiCalc was launched, the first spreadsheet program for PCs. Accountants rejoiced, or at least the more progressive ones (like my dad) did.
- The rise of the robots began: an industrial robot at a Ford car plant in Michigan killed Robert Williams, resulting in a $10 million dollar lawsuit.
- Hayes introduced what was to become the industry standard in modems for the next twenty years, enabling dial-up internet access for the masses.
- Atari introduced the arcade version of Asteroids.
- CompuServe launched the first commercial email service.
- The Post Office launched Prestel, a predecessor to the internet using proprietary systems to provide access to 160,000 pages of information via telephone, computers, and TV sets. Content included news, train times, stock market prices and even early e-commerce for travel reservations. Early systems were expensive but it soon switched to per-usage billing.