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That 1996 Feeling

The Life and Death of the CD

Windows 95

The birth of the computer CD in any real sense. I had struggled with the
Amiga in terms of not having the CD and more and more these silver disks
were finding their way onto magazine cover sheets. The content looked a
touch mouth-watering and I was so wanting to partake of the fun. Guys at
work were already talking about double, triple, quad speed CDs.

There was another issue and that was the internet. The Amiga could at a
pinch be made to upgrade, but in truth, I have always wanted my products
off the shelf and ready to use, with warranty and help at hand. By 1996
the last high street outlet that supported the Amiga died... Escom. And
even these guys in 1995 were telling me to get a PC. The only Amiga rel-
ated store was Game and Electronic Boutique, and they only sold the games

So in the summer of 1996 I jumped head long into the world of the PC and
to the joys of Windows95 on a Pentium 120 with a ' CD PLAYER '.

And so began my relatively short journey through the life of the CD as a
dominant force in the world of the PC. Follow the journey through the
discs I used... Just some short headline notes. I'll let the images speak

Norton Utilities was a life saver. In those days you could utilise the special
resource available only to Norton and that was the ability to back your whole
Windows operating system onto a single 100mb ZIP disk. IT WAS FANTASTIC. Each
month I created a copy of my OS and so any problems I just reinstalled.

I did love CleanSweep as a utilities tool. No only did it hunt down and find
rebel files and folders it also told me where all my duplicates were and
which ones I needed to keep. You simply ticked the rogue files and they
were gone. Anyone who appreciates the bloat on PC machines would appreciate
just how essential file management was. Best solution... never install anything
Sadly, as you will see below the amount of stuff loaded onto CDs was immense

In time I learnt to simply use only a few essentials and to buy the software.
Photoshop for image work, Thumbs to file manage, Terrapin to upload and Ejay
plus the music support disks to manage my music.

You were gifted so much software with computers, in truth it was always
better to bin all of it. A lot in those days would interfere with your
files and in some cases destroy applications and break your OS.

Sad that some of the greats just vanished as industry standards. Especially
when in truth a lot were not half bad . Corel and Lotus just fell by the wayside

Some CDs just wouldn't work on my humble Win95 machine. I was certainly
starting to realise the limitations of the computer. During this period
I tried TombRaider on the computer. I gave up and bought a PlayStation

Not all free stuff was junk. These two CDs introduced me to Xara and Thumbs
There were still little gems hiding amongst the piles of rubbish.

Windows 98

Windows98.. still the best OS Microsoft ever created. So good was the OS I used
it as my main operating system from January 2000 to April 2008. Had Norton not
pulled the plug on the virus checker I would have carried on using it

And we still have the CD to install the OS. And unregistered so a real joy
No need to be on the internet to use. I don't think I ever updated the OS
On dial-up the downloads were just too slow and heavy. I didn't bother

Enter the recordable CD.. Man did I struggle. I had an Iomega CD recorder and
man was it rubbish. This was before buffering was introduced. It basically
just fell over at the drop of a hat. It really did take me to get to XP to
resolve the CD burning. Sadly by that time the CD was just about finished


I did enjoy some gaming on the PC, though not much. Duke had to be installed
through DOS which was a pain. Sierra games used real time video which was
entertaining. Games like Civilisation and Age of Empires were very addictive
On the whole though I used the PlayStation for gaming.

I found this disk recently. Did laugh. Kinda sums it up for me
with Windows and gaming... Bit like everything about Windows. Loads
of stuff but very little that you would need to use or find entertaining
It washes over you in torrents and so you never ever have time to use any of it

Dial-up Service Providers

My little tribute to Dial-up service providers. I used them all. Started with
Compuserve, then AOL and through them all. At first it cost and then most just
started providing a free service. I finished up with Pipex and tended to pay for
my service. They were always very good and helpful. I used LineOne on the Amiga
and am tempted to fire up the Robotics to see if the accounts are still active


Always thick, filled with adverts, generally of no help whatsoever but entertaining
none the less. I really never bought any magazine on a regular basis. The best was
' THE NET ' or '.NET'. The disks were magic and the articles easy to find and generally
very informative. I have flicked through a copy of say Computer Shopper and I kid
you not I never even found an article to read. Just endless adverts

The CD covers in truth were the only things that drew me to buying the magazine.
Not sure how many survive today. I was just sad that they ejected my beloved
Amiga publications from the stands. But you gotta have a computer magazine to read

Here is a smattering from the mountains of CDs I have. I just don't
have the heart to throw any of them out. Unused and unloved to be honest

























Magazine CDs

Some magazines were rather blunt in respect of what content they viewed as
selling their particular magazine. I'll let you make your own judgement.


Whilst some magazines did try to flog their products with music CDs, it is really
amazing how many of these CDs I have that are still sealed. I never treated them
seriously. They reflected failed artists trying to get back onto the scene.


I liked the idea of a shop providing a CD of their products rather than a catalogue
A number of the bigger stores started to do this. Even Maplins produced a CD.


In truth though, the CD was primarily reserved for actual music playing. And when
mucking around with Photoshop what better than to listen to New Order, Chicane and Enigma



So what killed the CD on the computer, and probably the use of CD with magazines etc
Well... for the OS XP changed the protocol in respect of requiring the computer to
be on line. It heralded the day of internet connectivity and the need for a healthy
download speed. With that came the ease at which information could be transmitted
across the net. Suppliers no longer needed to produce expensive silver disks, as they
had a watching audience on tap 24/7. CDs were no longer needed with magazines cus the
magazines themselves died. And shopping was an online catalogue anyway.

So the humble silver disc, of which there must have been billions produced lived and
died in my lifetime. They were sparkling shiny glimmering stars filled with oodles
of stuff. Being honest, probably way too much stuff. We had grown from a world of
restricted floppies where by necessity the entire disk was filled. And so by the time
we got to the CD we had to fill them up, whether we needed to or not. And so the combined
worth of a generation is recorded on disc, though in time I guess the content will no
longer ever be viewed. For we are in the digital age of the cloud and so all is floating
in the heavens, or where ever, with no need to give our 'stuff' any physical boundary of
restriction. I was not a great fan of the CD. I guess I do like digital storage fixed
into a hard drive or stick. I could never manage CDs like I could a floppy or hard drive
And as they disappear from pretty much everything I use I am not missing them in truth.
There only saving grace is that they don't take up much space. I have to say my experiences
with my early Iomega drive taught me to never trust a CD.... and I never have


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Last updated 18:00 13/03/2016