A virtual time capsule, screen captures show a whole environment frozen in the moment. I don't deliberately take archival screen captures, but I have a few taken for other reasons (mostly debugging of others software) which I present here. (Each screen leads to a full-sized version, should you want to clearly see some items or compare screen size.)
The first one I was able to find dates from April 1998, the very end of use of my Apple PowerBook 5300c (a 1995 purchase). Things of note include the Global Village modem status in the middle of the menubar. Evidently I've connected at 33.6 kbps. This was one of the best throughput indicators around. (The current "Mac OS X" display isn't as good.)
The look and feel of the UI has been changed by Kalidescope to a neutral grey. Actually not my favorite theme, as we'll see later.
Along the right edge you can see a trash bag behind the Trash can. This was a utility to secure delete items being deleted by overwriting the contents before releasing the space for re-use.
Below that you can see an open safe icon. This was Will Price's CryptDisk, an implementation of military-grade file encryption.
At the bottom right is Steve Dorner's Eudora email program task progress window. It's showing that I'm downloading Eudora 4.0.1 beta 12 (of 4/1998, a Fat binary (containing code to run on both Motorola PowerPC and 680x0 chips)).
The desktop background is XEarth, a UNIX program, ported to Mac OS 9.
This is a "screen capture" from an Apple QuickTake 100, the first in a long line of digital cameras.
Apple's first digital camera, the QT100 ran on three AA batteries, weighed a pound, and could store only 8 images at 640 by 480 pixels or a whopping 32 images at 320 by 240 pixels.
Luckily I was an avid PowerBook user, and could easily pull the pictures onto the laptop while travelling. Having to bring this thing back to a desktop every 32 pictures must have been mind-numbing.
It was held binocular-style, with both hands, although those of us with strong hands could use one. It was a rugged thing, and survived many a trip overseas.
This is a 1998 screen capture from a PowerBook G3 Wall Street. Here you see my preferred Kalidescope theme of browns with purple and sienna highlights. Best of all was the desktop background, the guy riding a seahorse. (I have no idea where that originated.)
In the upper right side of the menubar I see the SETI@Home icon, so I was already crunching numbers for the distributed computing project.
This screen capture dates to 2001, from a PowerBook G3 Lombard connected to my home DSL. I'm testing some videoconferencing software (not CU-SeeMe) with Devin McKinney, who is still in the piazza dei Mercanti (where we last saw him on our 2000 trip to Roma).
The desktop background is Isaac playing a ukelele in the back seat of our rental car during our 2001 Kaua'i trip.
This is my July 2004 screen capture, on my Titanium PowerBook G4 DVI 800 MHz.
The menubar shows I'm running GeekTool, MenuMeters (to show system and network performance), iChat, Apple Remote Desktop, and an active Wi-Fi AirPort connection.
The desktop background is the "Mac OS X" port of XEarth, sans city labels (which I miss). GeekTool is placing the five webcams (from upper right: George Square, Glasgow; the London Transport Museum, Covent Garden, London; Times Square, New York City; a satellite picture of the San Francisco peninsula; and a north-west coast radar weather map) and two logfiles (bottom, in white, system console log; top, in red, the Apache Tomcat web servlet container log file) into the desktop window. GeekTool is invaluable; I can see a never-ending stream of updates about the software development environment I'm running and keep a real-time eye on some places I've enjoyed.
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