How do you feel when you see an screenshot of Windows 95 or Mac OS 8? How do you feel when you see a bulky CRT Monitor?

Your reaction is likely dictated by how old you were when the technology was in use. You likely feel differently than those who are older and younger than you do.

Maybe you have unpleasant memories of low resolution text and eye strain, or maybe you remember a time when these software and devices represented a portal to explore and learn about worlds unknown. Or, perhaps, you have no memories and feelings about those things, because you didn’t exist at a time when they could commonly be found.

Dread and Ennui

If you were born before or around the 1970s, then perhaps these devices reminds you of long days spent in a cream and grey, dimly-lit office, working for a machine that didn’t understand you and didn’t want to understand you.

Like the kind seen in of-the-time media like Dilbert, or Office Space, or even Fight Club.

For you, maybe you’re glad to be done with those machines, and a site like It Is As If You Were Doing Work feels ‘too real’?

In which case, let me tell you about how my generation feel about those devices…

Nostalgia and Comfort

Many people of my generation remember these old machines very fondly; probably because we associate it with childhood. They were tools for us to explore and learn; not to work and toil.

Andrea Faulds, who created this site that puts Windows 95 in the browser, explained her fascination well when she wrote (edited for brevity):

Why did you make this?
Nostalgia! […] I really wanted to recreate the experience of using Windows 95 from my childhood.
[…] When I was 10, it would have been 2006, eleven years after Windows 95’s release, and that is true. But I grew up with ancient computers. My Dad stubbornly refused to upgrade to Windows XP for quite a long time, so the family computer kept running Windows 98SE.
[…] My first computer was a thrown-out business machine […].
It had 16MB of RAM, a 486DX2 66MHz processor, and had Windows 3.1 and MS-DOS 5 loaded on it. It had no soundcard, but a SoundBlaster 16 was bought off eBay. I loved that thing.
[…] Starting 95 up for the first time [..] was pretty magical.
Andrea Faulds, Windows 95 in your browser

Andrea isn’t the only person to have undertaken a passion project inspired by these old machines. Just look to beautifully crafted sites like Poolside FM or Windows 93 dot Net, which aim to be a 90’s OS themed music player, and a fictional version of Windows (complete with jokes and trolling - try Windows 93’s minesweeper for example), respectively.

There are many more personal websites that follow this theme, and (I think) that we’ll continue to see more. Even that list is available as an ancient GUI!

The Future

Depending on your age and when you read this, it’s possible that you might have feel of those sets of feelings for software that we ‘only just stopped using’, like Windows 7, or Mac OS X Leopard.

If you were born sometime around when I wrote this (and my website still exists for you to read it!), you might even have fond feelings for the technology that we are still using today!

P.S. I'm late to the party, but I recently got a twitter account that you can follow here.