Computer Chronicles at the Internet Archive

Anyone who has been working with computers for about 30 years will remember the transition from business computers to personal computers. Back then, you had user groups, magazines that taught you programming, and if you were a kid, trading floppies with your friends to get the latest games. If you were into building hardware to add onto your computer, you probably had a subscription to Computer Shopper, the oversized magazine where you could find just about anything in its 600-800 tabloid-sized pages that often took up the entire mailbox when it was delivered.

Computer Chronicles was amongst the many TV programs that helped educate people about these new wonder boxes, along with shows like C|Net Central. It ran from 1981-2002 on PBS.

The Internet Archive has 560 of the episodes, available for download in different formats. Some have video problems due to tracking problems when playing back the video tape, but others are stable. A sample of the videos include “Apple II Forever”, Multitasking, Computer Ergonomics, a program about when Steve Jobs returned to Apple, “Spreadsheet Wars”, and a few on how Hypercard lead the way to the hypertext that’s used on web pages everywhere.

The Computer Chronicles page is located at the Internet Archive. If you’re feeling nostalgic or just want to make yourself feel really old, check it out. I may even have episodes recorded on the hundreds of VHS tapes I have in storage.


I remember watching that show occasionally in my youth.

I also had a subscription to Computer Shopper when I was in college and would spend hours poring over it.

If a TV program from 1981 makes you feel old, what does it make someone like me? (I have shoes older than that.)

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Someone who needs to update their wardrobe?

Edit: Wow, didn’t even notice the timeframe I’m replying to. Guess that happens when I forget to read threads and they show up in the Suggested box…

Anybody used SuperCalc4 or 5 back in the days?

I might have back in the 80s. Or at least saw my father using it.

Briefly. I switched to ABC123, since it was decent freeware.

No, but I have 3 on a diskette somewhere. I found it in a cupboard in the late 90s when we were shutting the family business down, and was always confused as to why we had a CP/M (or DOS?) diskette in an office full of Macintosh Plus machines…

Edited to add: yes, we were still using the Mac Plus’s in 1999. What of it?

I found an AOL CD a couple months ago. I almost felt like burning it under a full moon and burying the ashes under a statue of St. Jude.


What did St. Jude ever do to you?

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Became my patron saint.

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