Five Things – 08.17.15 – Taskbars and Email and Shortcuts, Oh My

1.  Microsoft Windows 95 Video Guide – Microsoft really went overboard with this goofy tutorial video on the then-new features of Windows 95.  There were a lot of changes from Windows 3.1, and what better way to display those changes than through an overacted, borderline offensive corporate training video? I’m sorry, I mean a cyber-sitcom. That’s what they call it.  The world’s first.

Windows GuideWho better to bring us into the brave new world of cyber sitcoms than the do-no-wrong stars of Friends, Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry? Nobody, that’s who.  And do-no-wrong? They did wrong.

Matthew Perry and Jennifer AnistonThe premise of the sitcom is that these two show up to audition for a Windows 95 training video. How Seinfeld-esque! The writers of this bit seem to be keenly aware of that fact, as there’s a funky bassline that provides the ‘rimshot’ to just about every joke in this video.

Anyway, Matt and Jen show up to Bill Gates’ office and Bill’s not there, but his personal assistant tells them to just go right into Bill’s office and use his computer. Because that’s what would happen.  This is Bill’s office.

Bill's OfficeI have a hard time believing his screen is that small.  The assistant seats the two down at Bill’s desk, and they get down to business.  “Business” being explaining the basic functions of Windows 95 as Matthew Perry coughs out one-liners on any term or phrase he can get a hold of.

TrioEventually the cast expands, and this is where it gets a little offensive.  There’s an Eastern European window washer (Microsoft’s “windows expert”. Get it?) who shows how to use plug and play, a Chinese food delivery guy named Jeff Li who demonstrates right clicking (?) by use of an overly halting tone of voice, a kid named Joystick Joey who can’t be beat at 3D Pinball and the Chipster, Microsoft’s email expert.


There’s also a grunge band and a music video and some other stuff.  It’s pretty ridiculous.  Early on in the video they introduce a big red button, which Jennifer Aniston is warned not to touch under any circumstances.  They forget about it for about twenty minutes and then out of nowhere Aniston decides to push it.  This Tron’s the secondary cast into the computer and Matt and Jen leave.  The secondary cast is pretty excited about this development, which begs the question of why the button shouldn’t be pressed in the first place?

InsideThen there’s about 30 minutes of legitimate tutorial explaining the things discussed in the “cyber-sitcom” and 20 or so Frequently Asked Questions.  A real snoozefest after the gold of the first half-hour. Here it is.



2.  Atari Computer Commercial –  Meanwhile, Atari just wants to let you know that they’re the beautiful, warm, synthy future.


3. Mysteries From Beyond The Other Dominion – My pal Robert mentioned this earlier this week while we were discussing early ’90s Sci Fi Channel programming.  Here’s Franklin Ruehl, ufologist and cryptozoologist, in his short featurettes about the oddities of science and the speculation of what might be out there. Fantastic stuff.


4.  Disney Studio Cafe Menu – Here’s the 1958 menu from the Walt Disney Studios commissary.  Beautiful!

Disney Menu OutsideDisney Menu Inside

5.  1930s Math Book – The cover of a Portuguese math book from the 1930s.

Math Book


One Comment

  1. My favorite part of that Windows video is that they felt an FBI warning was necessary.

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