A handful of trips through the time machine


A few trips through the time machine:

In the Internet Explorer time machine video, I was struck by the remark, "Appearance-wise, very little had changed [in Internet Explorer 4] since IE3. Not much changed in terms of functionality, either." In fact, Internet Explorer 4 was probably the most significant revision of Internet Explorer in its history, because that's the version that completely replaced the old layout engine with a new one code-named Trident, the layout engine that continues to power Internet Explorer today. Another case of "When you change the insides, nobody notices."

Comments (20)
  1. Jérôme Laheurte says:

    About package design: http://www.youtube.com/watch

    I'm pretty sure you already saw it but it's priceless :)

  2. Crescens2k says:

    The thing which I had to love about the Comparing every version of IE video was how IE2 managed to score 93/100 on acid 3.

  3. Tanveer Badar says:

    So, let me get this straight…..

    You do have a time machine hidden in your basement!

  4. Andreas Rejbrand says:

    That's an incredibly stupid remark. I was about eleven when I upgraded from Internet Explorer 3 to Internet Explorer 4 in 1998, and I was completely stunned! The web didn't look the same after the upgrade! I was amazed by the fact that many (the majority?) of the web pages I used to visit had now become 'dynamic' due to mouse-hover effects and things like that. ("Is this how the web <em>really</em> looks?", I said to myself) Later upgrades (to IE5 and then to IE6) were not at all as impressive.

  5. Andreas Rejbrand says:

    By the way, back in ~1999, I recall that every time I had formatted the hard drive and reinstalled Windows 95, I used to install IE4 and then, after that, I installed IE5. Of course, I <em>could</em> have skipped IE4 and upgraded straight to IE5, as far as the browser itself was concerned. The reason why I used this two-step upgrade process was that IE4 was shipped with "Active Desktop" ("Windows Desktop Upgrade") that integrated Explorer with Internet Explorer (making folders and web pages open in the same GUI). I actually miss the times when the folder and browser GUI was the same one…

  6. coldacid says:

    I really miss the look of the Windows 3.1 era boxes. That and the pre-.NET era developer tools' boxes. Visual C++ and Fortran PowerStation had some really cool box art…

  7. Worf says:

    @Jérôme Laheurte: You know that video was actually done by the Microsoft marketing guys, right? It's a parody of what they really go through when doinf the packaging.

    I don't remember the original point of why they did it, though.

  8. Troll says:

    Dare I say the bootscreen and packaging of Windows XP was really the best but it will always be subjective.

    IE4! Oh those were the days when you got huge upgrades to your shell free of cost. I had seen Windows 98 on one of my cousin's PCs and was so jealous of the Quick launch and all that ingenious shell stuff and I couldn't believe my eyes when I installed IE4 and saw a Quick launch at the bottom of my Windows 95 Taskbar. And desktop folders contained desktop.ini with XML gibberish. The feel of Active Setup told me as a newbie IE4 was an enormous update under the hood. You can't say "nobody notices".

    Probably when MS changes the insides and assumes noone notices is why they fiddle and re-invent the UI in nearly every version of their products.

  9. Neil says:

    There probably aren't many sites around anymore that look significantly different in IE4 as they do in IE3. After all, compare with the big difference between IE2 and IE3, in that IE3 can actually load the HTML for today's sites, even if it can't render it.

  10. kinokijuf says:

    @Andreas Rejbrand: you can still installActive Desktop with IE5/6, just the option is hidden.

  11. Jérôme Laheurte says:

    @Worf: I didn't know it was an inside job but it makes sense. Good job.

  12. Ben says:

    I'm not sure if it's the anachronism you mentioned, but I'm pretty sure that picture of Jupiter in the next cube is from Cassini or Galileo. It doesn't look like any of the true colour Voyager pictures that I've seen before.

  13. Gabe says:

    OK, my guess for the anachronism is that the floppy disk is high density, but those disks were not yet available at the time.

  14. Tim says:

    Ben: I think he's referring to the logo on the 1.44MB floppy disk.

  15. ERock says:

    I miss how easy it was to change the boot graphic for Windows 95 (original, I seem to recall they tightened it up in one of the service packs that supported USB).

    I remember spending an awful lot of time swapping palette entries on a 320×480 bitmap so that the animation would show right.

    By the time BIOS boot graphics were standard fare, this was long gone. Now you need a 3rd party tool to even get it there and that makes me sad.

  16. David Walker says:

    @Andreas: "That's an incredibly stupid remark."  What remark are you talking about?  I can't tell.

  17. David Walker says:

    To each his own, but changing the boot graphic is … not something I would spend time on.  I have lots of other things to do!

  18. mikeb says:

    From the "Future of productivity" video's page:

    > Notable IT transitions include 3.5″ floppy disks to 1.4″

    Did I miss something after 3.5" floppies went away?

  19. mpz says:

    Changing the boot logo in Windows 95 was a lot of fun.

    But I don't see the point of doing that today. I would like to spend as little time booting as possible. My desktop computer at home is on 24/7 and needs a reboot only when Windows updates happen..

  20. Andreas Rejbrand says:

    @David Walker: "Appearance-wise, very little had changed [in Internet Explorer 4] since IE3. Not much changed in terms of functionality, either."

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