The struggles of WebTV

A screenshot of the WebTV homepage in its first year
A screenshot of the WebTV homepage in its first year (Photo from TheFreeDictionary)

The growing popularity of the internet in the late ‘90s had people curious as to what the web was all about. More people started going out and buying computers and subscribing to an internet service provider to explore what this emerging technology had to offer. For some, it was harder to access. Whether because of financial struggle, tech illiteracy, or only minimal interest, using the web, let alone owning a computer was considered either a luxury, or something only for those who had an interest. A low-cost alternative, WebTV, was invented for these types of users. Continue reading “The struggles of WebTV”

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The IM legacy of MSN Messenger

Let’s talk about something not too old, but also something that no longer exists: MSN Messenger, later known as Windows Live Messenger up until its demise. For the sake of simplicity, and in reference to what most of us colloquially called it after its name change, it will be referred to as MSN Messenger for the remainder of this post.

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First released in 1999, MSN Messenger was one of the most used instant messaging clients in the world. The program evolved from a simple plain-text messaging service between contacts, to a full interactive experience that went beyond text conversation and added webcam chat, audio, file sharing, multiplayer games, emoticons, and much more. In competition with other IM’ing services such as Yahoo! Messenger and ICQ (both still in service, believe it or not), MSN Messenger arguably left the biggest impact in the history and culture of instant messaging. Continue reading “The IM legacy of MSN Messenger”