• Sometimes Microsoft gets it right....


    Earlier today I spent just over four hours and, as it turns out, the better part of 10gig watching the opening keynote of Google's I/O conference (next time, I'm not watching it in 1080p just for better screenshots). I had planned to write an article about it but after a couple more hours I threw in the towel.

    Don't get me wrong, there was plenty of stuff in there to write about. There's the fact that Android 4.3 was a no show despite being confirmed only an hour before the keynote. The carrier and bootloader unlocked, de-crappified version of the Samsung Galaxy S4 that runs stock Android, gets updates directly from Google and goes on sale at the end of June in the US on Google Play. Neat new features for Android like Notification Syncing: clear a notification on your phone and it's cleared on all your other Android devices...seriously, Apple, steal the fuck out of this for iOS7!!! Hangouts: Google's all signing, all dancing, text, voice and video messaging service that replaces Google Talk, Google+ Messages & the old video only Google Hangouts and runs on iOS, Android and your Mac and PC via Chrome. Google Music All Access, their new Spotify killer which actually looks seriously cool. A tonne of of great developer info, some pretty boring developer info, a tech demo of a racing game played in Chrome across three Nexus devices and two iOS devices, a meandering and sometimes bizarre Q&A session with Larry Page...oh...and a guy in an Android hat who apparently looks like Don Draper to John Gruber but looks more like Ed Kavalee to me.

    So yes, there's plenty in there to write about...but nothing that hadn't already been covered by everyone in the tech press earlier in the day.

    And after four hours of that I seriously needed a palate cleanser, so I turned to one of my new favourite videos:


    It's called "Child of the 90's" and it's an ad for Internet Explorer of all things.

    I love this video, I really really REALLY do. It does such an amazing job of taking me back in time to when I had a 33.6 modem and a collection of Coca-Cola yoyos. When everyone had slap bands, under cuts, lusted after Reebok Pumps, neglected Tamagotchis and traded Pogs.

    It also takes me back to using Internet Explorer 2 to explore webrings, setup my own websites on Geocities and Tripod, to chat endlessly to random people in web based chat rooms and then, eventually, graduating to mIRC to explore the bowels of Undernet.

    It was a truly magical time when the web was young and, mostly, innocent. It's kinda crazy just how far we've come and Microsoft does a great job of highlighting that without overtly showing the evolution of web pages or the devices and software that we use to view them. They manage to pull at your heart strings and I honestly get all choked up every single time the IE logo comes up and the end.

    The first time I watched it, I didn't realise it was a Microsoft video and I certainly didn't expect it to be an ad for IE. It blew me away that something so heartfelt and well put together came out of Microsoft. It's the sort of thing that I'd expect from Apple or Google...and to be honest neither of them come have close to the level of "Child of the 90's" for quite some time.

    In fact Google tried something similar half way through the second hour of the I/O keynote when they played one of the odd little videos that punctuated the entire thing. The video in question also looked at how the Web had evolved but solely from the perspective of how the look of the web had evolved and, while it was interesting, had none of the heart of the Microsoft ad.

    And that is how in a very round about way, thanks to Google, I realised that sometimes Microsoft does in fact get it right and that I'll always have a soft spot for Internet Explorer 2.

    As much as he hates to admit it, Alec really is a child of the 90's. These days you can normally find him lurking on the forums (formerly thatfilthyspringbok), follow him on Twitter, Google+ or on his blog, Inane Geekery.

    His opinions are all his own and do not reflect those of MacTalk or his employer.
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