It was a rollercoaster year in tech – Microsoft released Windows 3.1, Hubble beamed back its first decent snaps from space and Intel made the first household name microchip – the Pentium. Those were the highs, but in the same year IBM posted a $5billion loss and the phrase Y2K was coined, the first inkling of the Millennium Bug. What else?
Gadget – Apple Newton
Before Apple transformed touchscreen tech in the 21st century with the iPad, it took a bit of a run-up. The MessagePad series (better known by its platform name, Newton) introduced us to screen entry with a stylus. It wasn’t much of a looker by today’s standards, but the Newton was a revolution, and set the blueprint for Palm, whose PDAs took over the world. For a time.
While it was a tough choice between this and Mrs Doubtfire, Speilberg’s dino epic had a budget the size of a T-Rex’s appetite, wisely spent on a massive amount of CGI. It may have been eclipsed by cleverer graphics rendering techniques in the years since, but at the time we were blown away by the life-like creatures rampaging on the big screen. More than we can say about Robin Williams in a dress.
Unlike the other great albums made in 1993 (Bjork’s Debut and Nirvana’s In Utero get honourable mentions), Billy Corgan’s anguished songwriting, laid over chiming bells, strumming guitars and a sweep of other rich arrangements, seemed to make a deeper mark in the sands of time. Not that it was more memorable – it just occupied a very definite place in this particular year.
The truth was out there, although no one could quite work out (a) whether Gillian Anderson deserved to be continuously elected the world’s sexiest woman or (b) if David Duchovny was having his way with her. In the background, spooky things were afoot as the pair shone torches around dusty offices in a quest to prove or disprove the unlikely phenomena that presented themselves on a weekly basis.
Although it had first been published in 1988, Hawking’s book became the longest-running book ever on The Sunday Times bestseller list, not bad since it dealt in black holes, time travel, the curvature of space and ‘light cones’. All the more impressive given that no one who’s ever read it (with the possible exception of Hawking himself) understood it. A triumph for popular science, then.
LA saw its share of funerals in 1993: Audrey Hepburn had her last breakfast, as did Frank Zappa, Andre the Giant and River Phoenix. Things looked better for Bill Clinton, who dodged allegations of an affair with a model called Gennifer Flowers to become US President. He wouldn’t do that again…
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