From 2002 to 2012

Last week we hosted a party to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Coreware and we got talking about how much has changed in the IT world since 2002.


Intel were then as they are now, the market leaders in CPUs introducing the 2.2GHz Pentium 4 in January 2002, closely followed by rivals AMD with their 1.73 GHz Athlon XP 2000 +. The introduction of the stylish Apple iMac in 1998 had encouraged PC manufacturers to move away from the boring beige box designs of the 1990s and more aesthetically pleasing designs were emerging from companies like Dell and Hewlett Packard who merged with Compaq in that year. Microsoft were still the dominant force behind Operating Systems and in 2002 added a Service Pack 3 to their Windows XP Operating System. Laptops around this time were generally somewhere between 12inch and 15inch screens, running at around 800MHz with up to 256MB of Ram.

CRT monitors were still very much in use but slowly being replaced by LCD monitors while the average screen resolution had risen from 800 x 600 on 13inch – 15inch monitors to 1024 x 768 on 17inch – 19inch monitors.

While Monitor sizes increased, devices got smaller as the Pocket PC or Smartphone market began to hot up with the two biggest rivals being Microsoft’s Pocket PC 2002 and Palm devices running their own OS. Typical specs around the time would have been around a 400 MHz processor and up to 64 MB RAM.


apple macbook from 2002Apple computers were enjoying a resurgence in popularity since the release of the iMac and later the iPod in 2001 and in 2002 announced the next generation of iMacs, which had 15inch screens attached to a base via a pivoting arm. The iMac G4 machines ran 800 MHz PowerPC G4 processors and could take up to 256MB RAM. Slightly lower spec Emacs were also released on sale to the general public. Both machines ran OSX 10.1 .The iPod of the day was the Second Generation which connected via Firewire and could hold up to 10GB. The iBook was Apples laptop offering with a 14inch screen running a 700MHz Power PC G3 processor and a massive 30GB hard drive!

Web Development

In 2002, Adobe and Macromedia were still two separate companies, specialising in Print and Web respectively. Macromedia Dreamweaver, Fireworks and Flash were the tools of choice for the web designer at the time with increasingly more websites incorporating Flash and XML and some even made completely from Flash. Designers may have also used Adobe Photoshop 7 to design their websites, while Web Developers would have constructed the website using either PHP 4 or Microsoft’s ASP (Active Server Pages) which saw the release of ASP.Net in 2002.

Most websites around this time would have been viewed on Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 6 as it controlled 96% of all browser usage at the time. Prior to 2002 there had been a so-called ‘Browser War’ between IE and Netscape which resulted in several court cases. Microsoft’s dominance meant that browser development slowed down and Internet Explorer didn’t see any changes until 2006.

Of course if you were one of that 96% who had no option than to use IE6, then you will probably be familiar with the names Klez.I and Bugbear which were the two most common and aggressive viruses around in 2002 that took advantage of security vulnerabilities in the browser. These viruses could close down and prevent any security software from working on your PC and could also open up ports to allow hackers direct access to your hard drive. As a smug, Apple Mac using designer, I didn’t have these problems, even though I was running Internet Explorer 5 for Mac although I mostly used Netscape as it was the more standards-compliant option.

The Internet

Many people were still connecting to the Internet via dial up 56k modem in 2002. Broadband was available via your telephone but was capped at around 1MB. Cable was also available but was also capped at around 2MB. By far the biggest ISP in 2002 was Freeserve, the free ISP from Dixons. Other big ISP’s at the time were Breathe, Demon and Nildram.

So what are the big differences in IT between 2002 and 2012?

So what are the big differences in IT between 2002 and 2012? Well, CPU manufacturers couldn’t get their processors to go any faster as they would simply melt, so we have seen the introduction of using more than one processor, then later Dual-Core processors and Quad-Core and so on. Processors have also gotten smaller allowing advancements in hand held devices such as Palm and Blackberry and of course the revolutionary iPhone which runs a faster processor and has more memory and storage capacity than its iMac predecessor of ten years ago.

Broadband speeds have increased greatly enabling more services such as live video streaming to be served over the Web. Graphic heavy, content rich sites can now be downloaded quickly and smoothly allowing designers to employ more eye candy in their sites. The increased speed has made the Web more accessible to more people so it is no longer the domain of computer geeks but is used by people of all ages from all walks of life, especially social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySapce etc. The Web is also no longer just for standard PC’s as it can be accessed via phones, TV’s, Game Consoles and lots more.

Microsoft’s dominance has eased off with the rise in popularity of Mac OSX and Linux systems such as Ubuntu. Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari have taken back some of the Browser market and free, open-source software such as Open Office has created competition for the Microsoft Office suite.

Websites got bigger and wider as screen resolutions grew and grew, but now they are almost reverting back 10 years as they have to shrink again to fit into iPads and other mobile devices using Responsive design. Techniques for building websites have changed too. Technologies such as PHP5, Ajax, JQuery, JSon have expanded the boundaries of what can be achieved and free, open-source Content Management Systems such as Joomla, Drupal and WordPress have changed the way we construct websites, making the end result better for the site visitor and control much easier for the website owner.

From 2002 to 2012