cray-2The Cray-2 vector supercomputer was released in 1985 and was the successor to the Cray XMP by  Cray Research.  At the time of its release it was the fastest computer in the world, bumping the XMP off the top spot. It was capable of 1.9 GFLOPS.  The first Cray-2 had more physical memory than all previous Cray machines.

Mainly developed for the U.S. Department of Defense and the Department of Energy, it was used for nuclear weapons research and oceanographic development.  It was also used by NASA and several universities. Due to the use of liquid cooling, the Cray-2 was given the nickname “Bubbles”. The Cray-2 was later replaced by the Cray X1.

The First .com

networkOn March 15th, 1985 Symbolic Computers registered the first .com domain,, becoming the first company in history to register a top level domain. It still exists to this day and is used as the personal blog of Aron Meystedt, owner of, which acquired the domain in August of 2009. Growth of the Internet between then and 1997 was significantly slow, with the 1 millionth .com registered that year. This was primarily because of the lack of consumer use of the web during the 80s and 90s. During that period, it was used mostly by academic and scientific users. With the introduction of the Mosaic web browser in 1992, more people connected to the fledgling web.

Today the internet offers a plethora of services and information, including shopping, social networking, travel, research and learning, and entertainment. It has grown well beyond its intended purpose and an estimated 1.7 billion people now use the internet. That’s a quarter of the world’s population! Clearly the web has become an integral part of our daily lives. It’s estimated an average of 668,000 .com domains are registered every day. A list of the 100 oldest existing .coms is available from DNS Knowledge@ Verisign now logs 53 billion requests for .com websites every day, the same number handled for all of 1995.

Commodore Amiga 1000

amigaThe Commodore Amiga 1000 was the successor to the best selling Commodore 64. It was built around a three coprocessor architecture that gave it unparalleled abilities in 3D animation, sound, and video, making it revolutionary compared to it’s rivals like the IBM PC. It was composed of a main video processor, a four voice stereo sound chip, and the main CPU used the same Motorola chips as the Apple Macintosh. It was superior to the Commodore 64, and was one of the original multimedia, multitask- capable home computers. It was followed up by the Amiga 500 and 2000 in 1987, but by 1994 Commodore had gone belly up and declared bankruptcy.

America Online (AOL)

aollogoAOL began in 1985, originally founded as Quantum Computer Services. It officially became America Online in 1989. Four years later, in 1993, AOL had only 500,000 members. It provided access to the Internet, and, in addition, offered access to its own online information and services, which were specifically tailored to the needs and interests of the average American consumer. Just four years after that, in 1997, AOL had grown to 9 million members.

Now, AOL has more than 34 million members worldwide and is widely acknowledged as the best consumer online service. AOL’s history and success is based on its intention to connect more than just computers; AOL connects people, and the AOL community has become one of the largest ‘cities’ in the world.

In 2001, AOL bought Time Warner and became AOL Time Warner.

ATI Technologies

atiATI (Array Technologies Incorporated) was founded in 1985 in Markham, Ontario, Canada by three men from Hong Kong. It started out manufacturing integrated graphics chips for companies like IBM. By 1987 it was producing it’s own graphics cards, the EGA and VGA Wonder brands, and on it’s way to the top of the graphics industry.

Subsequently, ATI introduced the Mach series of cards starting with the Mach8 in 1991, and ending with the Mach64 in 1994. The Mach64 put the company on the map for it’s revolutionary design, which used the Mach series’ abilities to take on more of the graphics load from the CPU and allowed for video playback. It was one of the first chips with this “motion video” acceleration technology.

Later, integrated TV tuner products and a mass of other graphics accelerators and chips were ATI powered. This included console game systems and digital television products. ATI became a multibillion dollar company providing many of today’s modern graphics cards and hardware.

The company was bought by AMD in 2006 in a 5.6 billion deal, which continued the production of graphics cards and products under the ATI brand until the name was retired in 2010.


codingBjarne Stroustrup invented C++ in 1983 while working at Bell Labs, improving on the original C language. An extension to C, it is a descendent of the language B developed by Ken Thompson for the Unix operating system, and unlike C it is an object oriented language.


cdrwCDs and DVDs are everywhere these days. Whether they are used to hold music, data or computer software, they have become the standard medium for distributing large quantities of information in a reliable package. Compact discs are so easy and cheap to produce that America Online sent out millions of them every year to entice new users. And if you have a computer and CD-R drive, you can create your own CDs, including any information you want. The first CD of general interest was Grolier’s Electronic Encyclopedia.

Windows 1.0

Windows1.0-2Released in 1985 by Microsoft, this was their first attempt at implementing a graphical user interface that could multitask on a personal computer. Microsoft sent kits to industry executives and press containing a cryptic squeegee and washcloth along with an invitation to the unveiling of their new software.

Regarded mostly as a front end interface to MS-DOS, it included it’s own memory management system and device drivers for common hardware. Originally little interest was shown in the software, as the market was currently happy with other offerings. This version of the operating system ran a shell known as the MS-DOS Executive. Modern Windows users would be surprised to find that it didn’t allow overlapping windows, instead it tiled them! The only thing allowed to be over one was a dialog box. It was later replaced by Windows 2.0 in Nov., 1987.

Microsft Windows

Windows1.0-2A family of operating systems for personal computers originally released in 1985 with version 1.0 from Microsoft. Windows dominates the personal computer world, running, by some estimates, on 90 percent of all personal computers. The remaining 10 percent are mostly Macintosh computers. Like the Macintosh operating environment, Windows provides a graphical user interface (GUI), virtual memory management, multitasking, and support for many peripheral devices.