No Internet. No Microsoft Windows. No IPods. This Is What Tech Was Like In 1984

1984. It’s a year synonymous with George Orwell’s novel about a dystopian society ruled by omnipresent government surveillance.

The real 1984 was a far cry from that. While today, we do have scary government surveillance, that’s largely thanks to email, social media, smartphones, and cloud computing. Those things didn’t exist in 1984.

In fact, 1984 was 10 years before the World Wide Web (commonly called the internet) was born. It was the year Ronald Reagan was re-elected as president; the telephone monopoly Bell System was officially dismantled and AT&T launched; and Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, was born.

Apple's famous 1984 Macintosh commercial aired during the Super Bowl ...

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Two days later, Steve Jobs officially launched the Macintosh PC.

In 1984, Dell Computer launched. This is what Michael Dell looked like.

Michael Dell 1984

In 1984, most people used PCs like this one from IBM. It cost $US3,000.

IBM PC AT 1984

PCs didn't run Windows. Windows arrived in 1985. They used DOS. You typed commands like 'DIR' to find files.

By the way, Bill Gates was NOT the world's richest man in 1984. But he did appear on the cover of Time. He's touching something called a floppy disk.

A floppy disk was the thumb drive of its day. It installed software, and it let you back up and transfer files.

Almost no one had a mobile phone. They were huge and cost $US4,000 (like $US9,000 today).

Instead, some people used pagers. You sent a message and then had to find the nearest phone to call someone back.

There were no texts or tweets or voicemails. There was the telephone answering machine.

Prodigy, the first consumer online service (the thing before the internet), was launched in 1984.

You accessed an online service with a modem, which used your telephone line and made a squealing sound.

People bought music, recorded it, and listened to it on cassette tapes

Video gaming was often done in arcades.

But you might have had an Atari at home ...

... or maybe a Commodore 64.

You might use your Commodore 64 to play Activision's 'Pitfall II: Lost Caverns.'

1984 was also the year that Alexey Pajitnov created the legendary puzzle game, Tetris.

Today we can do everything from a watch we wear on our wrists.

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