Timeline of Computer History


CompactFlash card and connector sockets (top)


When CompactFlash is introduced by SanDisk, it is quickly adopted and becomes the preferred memory storage option in many consumer as well as professional electronic devices. It was highly popular in digital still and video cameras, and although its dimensions were slightly larger than some other memory card formats, its ruggedness and high capacity made it a preferred choice. Although most CompactFlash units used flash memory, some actually relied on a hard disk.


ESRB ratings

Entertainment Software Rating Board

The release of violent video games such as Mortal Kombat, Night Trap, and Doom leads to a set of congressional hearings in 1992. While several companies, including Sega and 3DO, had individual, voluntary ratings systems for their games, there was no industry-wide system in place. As a measure to pre-empt the possibility of a governmental rating board being created, several of the largest game providers created the ESRB to give ratings to video games. These ratings, ranging from Early Childhood to Adults Only, are given to games as a guideline for parents and consumers, similar to those given to films by the MPAA. These ratings have led to some controversy ranging from the appropriateness of the categories themselves to the effect they have on commerce as many stores refuse to stock Adult Only games.


Zip Disk with case

Iomega Zip Disk

The Iomega Zip Disk is released. The initial Zip system allowed 100MB to be stored on a cartridge roughly the size of a 3 ½ inch floppy disk. Later versions increased the capacity of a single disk from 100MB to 2GB. Like hard disks but unlike other floppies, ZIP drives used a non-contact read/write head that “flew” above the surface. Reliability problems and low-cost CDs eventually made ZIP disks obsolete.



RISC PC is released

Replacing their Archimedes computer, the RISC PC from UK's Acorn Computers uses the ARMv3 RISC microprocessor. Though it used a proprietary operating system, RISC OS, the RISC PC could run PC-compatible software using the Acorn PC Card. The RISC PC was used widely in UK broadcast television and in music production.


White House Web site

Web momentum moves to US

When main Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee forms the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in 1994, the European headquarters are slated for the Web’s birthplace, CERN in Switzerland, with U.S. headquarters at MIT in Boston. But then CERN changes its plans and the core team of Web developers gets split among several French research sites. Also in 1994, Vice-President Al Gore supports a prominent White House Web site, as well as encouraging funding of W3C in the U.S.

Perhaps most important, Silicon Valley begins to invest in the commercial possibilities of the Web – including Java and the formation of Netscape. The momentum for Web development shifts further West, and never returns to Europe.