We started Classics Rock in March 2008. Here’s a recap of some of the posts that drew the most discussions for the year.


I’ve always enjoyed history. In an alternate time line, I’d probably have wound up as much of a history professor as an IT person. So when the opportunity came up to do a blog on classic technology, I was pretty pumped.

We launched Classics Rock in March 2008. From the first post, TechRepublic members have responded, and you have seemed to really enjoy the trip down memory lane as much as I have. Here are some of the top posts from 2008:

Is Windows 98 still an option?

Although a 10-year-old operating system, Windows 98 can still be viable as a desktop operating system. Or can it? I said for some users, yes — you can blow the dust off of an old machine and still make it work for what most users need. Others of you begged to differ.

Windows 2000 Pro: Microsoft’s best desktop OS ever?

Deserved or not, Vista has been the biggest whipping boy out of Redmond since Windows Me. Even though Windows XP has been probably the most successful version of Windows ever, I argued that Windows 2000 Professional was probably the best version Microsoft ever put out. Many of you agreed.

5 of the best desktop operating systems you never used

Look around today and when people talk about alternatives to Microsoft on the desktop, all you hear about is OS X and various flavors of Linux. I dug up five of the best desktop OSs of all time and featured them:

  • OS/2
  • NeXT
  • BeOS,
  • DesqVIEW
  • Geos/GeoWorks

Who made the worst PC ever?

I expected to have some discussion with this post, but the hands-down “winner” of the worst PC award was Packard Bell. It had a majority in the featured poll with over 52 percent of the vote.

What Windows Vista might have been

Digging around YouTube, I found a prerelease video from 2003 displaying what Microsoft was touting as coming in Longhorn, which we now know as Vista. It’s one of those things to remember when you see all the talk and slick production coming out for Windows 7.

Technology that never got its 15 minutes of fame

A lot of good technology doesn’t survive long on the market because better things come along or companies just get out-marketed. From the 80186 to the EISA bus, I mentioned a few and TR members chimed in with more examples.

Windows 3.1 experiment hits a wall

When I mentioned that Windows 98 might still work, I wondered what other ancient tech might also work today. So, I tried to see if I could do actual work using something that ran business in the 90s like Windows 3.1. Unfortunately, the experiment failed almost as quickly as it began due to limitiations in the testing environment. In 2009, I might try again with Windows 3.1 and give some other old OSs a shot too like OS/2 and Windows 95.

Do you still support an ancient network OS?

Not everyone gets to work with the latest stuff like Windows Server 2008. Budget restraints mean sometimes putting up with old network OSs for years. This poll and discussion show that there are still some of you on Windows NT and old versions of NetWare. Classic twentieth-century NOSs running today!

Has Lenovo ruined the ThinkPad?

I lit a bit of a firestorm by noting that I didn’t think modern ThinkPad laptops were quite up to the snuff of the ThinkPad 701c that we featured as well as other older ThinkPads. Many TechRepublic members agreed, while there was a VERY vocal minority of shiny new TR members who said I was wrong.

When is it time to retire an old PC?

I expected many TR members to replace equipment on a regular basis. Surprisingly, many of you hold on to equipment for a long time. The survey and discussion from this point show that the majority of members hang on to machines until they can’t be fixed or software makes them obsolete.

Ancient word processors highlight the lack of modern software diversity

In the 80s and 90s there were dozens of different word processors to choose from. Today, you’re probably using Word or OpenOffice Writer or possibly WordPerfect. I looked back and highlighted some old word processors and what went wrong.

What’s the biggest tech turkey of all time?

What better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than with some turkeys? There was no winner by majority here, but there were some of the usual suspects. Packard Bell PCs were third with Norton AntiVirus being  Number 2. The combination of Windows CE/ME and Vista, or Windows CEMENT as TiggerTwo called it, pulled in at Number 1.  Unfortunately, I forgot some viable candidates like MicroChannel and Microsoft Bob.