Page 182

55 Ways to Have Fun With Google. Go to Table of Contents. Visit Gifcom.

45. Google Groups, Time Machine

Google Groups1 is the name of Google’s internet discussion group search engine. Not only does it let you search recent postings from the so-called Usenet, it also contains a huge archive going back to May 11, 1981. And this is where the fun starts.

By using the Google Groups advanced search options, you can set a posting start and end date for every search query. This way you can go back in time to find the earliest mentions of a celebrity, an idea, a company, or anything else starting from the 1980s. (Like the first mention of pop singer Madonna, or a first discussion about New Coke.) Sometimes, the way people talked about this “new thing” back then is interesting in itself. Also, you can find out about popular misconceptions, or predictions which are extremely off-target in retrospect.

A while ago, Google presented a “best of” timeline showing off gems from the “golden age of Usenet.” The timeline was created with the help of Jürgen Christoffel, Kent Landfield, Bruce Jones, Henry Spencer, and David Wiseman. Following are portions of this timeline and its postings as well as my own findings.

Working on Tron

We are currently working ... on the Disney/Lisberger production of TRON. This film will be a combination of computer animation, hand animation, optical image processing ("the Bob Able look") and live action. Only about 10% is live action. While the plot of TRON may be hard for hackers to take (its about computers, and so computer hackers will get picky about the details of the fantasy plotline) it looks like it will be very striking visually.
– Craig W. Reynolds via JPM, fa.sf-lovers, Jun 10 1981

Microsoft Not Downwards-Compatible

Several announcements have indicated that DOS 2.0 is compatible with DOS 1.1 ... In at least one instance, this is not true! In DOS 1.1, function 1Bh returns a pointer to …
– Cdi in net.micro.pc, April 9 1983