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Saturday, February 28, 2009

The best tech product of all time

The best tech product of all time
IN 1993, the Internet had already been in existence for more than two decades. But despite the personal computer having become more ubiquitous at the workplace, and finding its way into more homes, for most people the Internet was just an exotic term they'd read about occasionally.

Even when service was available, the learning curve required to explore this “Information Superhighway” was quite steep. It was mostly text-oriented that required archaic command input from the user to access and navigate.

The most important component to be introduced was the World Wide Web. Suddenly, a lot more people were finding their way to the Internet.

However, the Web browsers available at that time – like WorldWideWeb (later renamed as Nexus to avoid confusion) and ViolaWWW – still required a certain level of technical aptitude on the user’s part.

The best tech product of all time

And then came Mosaic, which was issued by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois. Developed by Marc Andreessen and Eric Bina, Mosaic came with an interface that could navigate the Web by integrating text, graphics, and sound – quite a lot like the browsers we use now.

It was the killer application, with over two million copies downloaded the first year.

Upon his graduation, Andreessen was invited by Jim Clarke to form Mosaic Communications – which was later changed to Netscape Communications after the University of Illinois objected to the name.

At the end of 1994, the company produced the legendary Netscape Navigator – the browser that was to rule the Web roost until it was overtaken by Microsoft’s Internet Explorer in 1999.

AOL, which had bought Netscape that year, discontinued development and support of Netscape Navigator from February 2008.


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