Not Since 95

1995.

The year that Braveheart was released.

The year that OJ Simpson was found not guilty.

When Command & Conquer, Warcraft II and Playstation in general pushed the average age of male virgins up by at least 5 years.

If you didn’t see us at Future of Web Apps or Web Dev Conf, then you wouldn’t have seen the Ubelly cards, stickers, USBs or other associated paraphernalia we have at the moment. We’re kind of going through a vintage internet throwback period, which we’re calling ‘Not Since 95′. This is for two reasons: One, 1995 was also the year that Windows 95 was released. Windows 95 was a real game changer when it was released. We’re thinking Windows 8, which was released just last week, will be the next one for Microsoft.

Two, it was the beginning of my foray into the world of the interwebs…

In 1995 I owned a Gateway 2000 486 with Windows 3.1*. It was the bomb. I filled my days with Commander Keen, Wolf 3D and Doom. My dad taught me my first bit of coding with PASCAL, and I spent far too much time trying to get past the under 18s test on Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards. As a pre-teen, my life was pretty damn good.

At the end of 1995, my dad bought the family a Pentium 150 with Windows 95 on it. It had a CD-Rom drive, which was the FUTURE, and more importantly, it had a 28.8k modem attached to it, and a downloaded version of Internet Explorer.

This was where life changed.

Over the next five years I was like a fat kid who got locked in the world’s largest sweet store overnight. Learning the meaning of A/S/L. Taking three hours to download a single Nirvana song. Learning what would happen if you put a frog in a blender. Downloading every possible sound clip from The Simpsons and changing all of your system noises. Memes. Oh god, memes. Hamster Dance, Dancing Baby, All Your Base, Ate my Balls

The world was mine.Perhaps the most important thing that happened to me just after 1995 was that I found Geocities. In 1997 a classmate came to school one day and told me he had a website. How did this happen? How was he allowed to have a website, and not me!? The outrage. I did what any good friend who has the highest levels of respect and platonic love for friends does… I downloaded his website, changed a few things and published it back to the internet as my own.

However, the important thing here is that through tinkering with his god awful markup, I started to teach myself how to put together a website. Over the next two years, with the thanks of GeoCities, Angelfire, Tripod and the like, I published about 20 website, including everything from fictional web design companies to Spice Girls Must Die, which on reflection probably explains my mother’s requests to stop listening to so much metal, put down the energy drinks down and have a nap…

The important thing about GeoCities and it’s ilk was that it allowed young geeks everywhere to dabble with designing and building websites at little to no cost, especially considering how exorbitantly prices webspace and domains were back then. These early tinkerers grew up, honed their skills and exist as the web designers and developers who are out making ridiculously awesome things today.

The way I see it, the web has had another explosion in the past few years with apps. With the explosion of the App Store, apps went from being something that only people on Twitter talked about to something that even my grandfather knows about. As a result, the same that happened with websites back in the mid to late nineties is happening again with apps. There are countless numbers of developers out there, already honing their skills that they’ve developed over the past few years to not only make awesome apps, but make awesome apps that might make them a few quid.

Here lies the problem… at the moment, most of the app stores out there are at saturation point. The App Store recently celebrated 700,000 apps, and the other app stores are anything but empty.

Enter Windows 8.

Having only been released last week, there’s a real opportunity to use the skills that you’ve honed designing and developing apps for other platforms to get in before the boat has sailed and reach ridiculous numbers of users. Bear with me while I throw some numbers at you…

690 million… That’s the amount of Windows 7 installs out there at the moment.

£24.99… that’s the rather modest price for an upgrade to Windows 8.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out the opportunity. Not since Windows 95 was released back in my heyday has Microsoft had such a shift in their operating system. If you’ve played with it, you’ll probably agree with me that it’s most definitely a big step forward for the company. Now’s the time to start filling the Windows Store with awesome apps.

*This is from memory. However, my memory of anything past last week is sketchy at best. Wanted to note this, in case some proper, hardcore geeks start shouting about how Gateway 2000 weren’t technically called Gateway 2000 when they made 486s or something…

Want some help building a Windows 8 app? Come to a freeWindows 8 DevCamp and/or UX workshop at a location near you…

Published by Luke

Luke is one of Ubelly’s resident social media guys, occasionally switching hats for a bit of design. He is the in-house meme expert, uses foursquare a little too much and gets hot under the collar when it comes to design, usability and gorgeous code.

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