Windows Chicago Beta (Build 347)

Compiled and made available in March 1995, this was to be the Final beta build of Windows 95, with the release candidates coming soon after.

Installation

Windows 95’s setup procedure which looks the same as the final release. Towards the end of the install procedure, there is an option to use the program manager as opposed to the 95 interface, in practice this retains the default Windows 95 interface, just opens the program manager window.

Stage 2

The second stage of the install boots into the kernel, and prompts the user to enter information. Also, in Windows 95 you were able to select a time zone by clicking on a location in the map, a feature that was removed in the later versions.

Windows 95 Beta boot

Boot screen, which was altered in the final release. The bottom segment is animated to indicate the system is actively loading. The final release replaces it with colour cycling bar

Desktop

When Windows 95 first boots, a welcome screen is displayed which shows useful tips

When a new plug and play device is detected, Windows will prompt for driver instillation. The Windows 95 CD has a moderate library of drivers on the disc, but this is mostly applicable to hardware from 1991-95

Adding additional features in Windows, some features don’t have their own icons and use the default Windows icon

Build Information

Microsoft Network

Microsoft bundled their own internet service platform, similar to AOL, Apple @World or Compuserve designed to get users online

The presence of this and the lack of a web browser being bundled with this release of the operating system signals that Microsoft intended for MSN to the primary way for users to access the internet, rather than using the http protocol that we all use today. Also TCP/IP not installed by default but can be added using the Windows components, you will be prompted to supply the Windows 95 CD to install it.

Accessories

Party Line

Not sure what this was intended for, some sort of multiplayer game like Microsoft Hearts? It seems to just open a blank window and sits there unresponsive.

Volume Control

The volume control, of which it’s appearance will vary depending on the soundcard and the driver installed

Microsoft Fax

Registration Wizard

You have the option to register your copy of Windows 95, which would send a description of your PC hardware to Microsoft, possibly for them to gauge which is the popular configuration of hardware (surely they can get that from the OEM sales?)

Disk Defragmenter

CD Player

Windows Explorer

The main Windows Explorer interface which gives a tree view on the left sidebar. This replaces the Windows 3.1 File Manager

Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer wasn’t included in this build, but was in development from around that time. To install I had to use the installer from oldversion.com, the WinWorldPC version failed to install.

This one failed

But this one worked instead, not entirely sure of the difference between the two installers but it could be due to this OS being a pre-release build.

Once installed a few changes need to be made before you can ‘browse’ the world wide web. Windows 95 did not include TCP/IP by default but could be enabled by installing it thorough the Network applet via the Control Panel.

The first version of Internet Explorer was based on NCSA Mosaic and incorporates various technologies that originated from Mosaic. Attempting to use these browsers on the modern web results in a bunch of garbled html, assuming the browser will even connect to a server. Most times you will gets an unsupported protocol since these browsers do not speak https. Here’s where theoldnet comes in

Trying to install Office 95 on Windows 95, which failed since it checks the OS build number

PCem Specifications

Motherboard: AMI WinBios 486

Processor: AMD Am5x86/P75

Video: Trident TGUI9440

Audio: SoundBlaster 16

Network: NE2000

Mouse: Serial Mouse

Rave Racer

The third arcade instalment of the Ridge Racer series, and the first actual sequel/spin-off, since Ridge Racer 2 was mostly the same as the original except for the revised soundtrack, a revised HUD and multiplayer support.

The music has also been revised with some completely new tracks covering techno/house and electronica genres, and some familiar ones – rare hero returns as a remix. Sadly this gets ruined by the two race announcers who insist on polluting the sound-waves with their rambling takes. The first one is a female sounding voice who is supposed to be the main announcer and has a tendency to repeat the same lies constantly (Go GO GOO This race is yours!!!) She also voices the attract screen. The second announcer is a male voice who seems to be one of the rival cars.

Namco always put a lot of detail into the track environments of their Ridge Racer games, and there are many references to their other arcade and console titles via the use of track billboards or building signs. A lot of this detail gets missed do to how fast paced the game is, and the arcade nature of the game. Many players are not going to stop and admire the buildings close up, which is where MAME and the no-collision cheats comes in.

Once nice detail that gets over looked, in the demo attract sequence, you can see the brake discs heat up as they are applied!

Novice Track

This is the same novice track from the first Ridge Racer game, but has updated textures which give it a more detailed look. Some buildings have been altered but the layout of the track remains the same.

The crowd looks different compared to the Ridge Racer version.

The end of the alternative tunnel path, which is normally blocked off and inaccessible. Seems to lead into the abyss…

Outside of the bridge in the first segment of the track

Closer view of the shops,

Getting a closer view of the shops near the beach

Driving in the grass, the peds here are unanimated

Hotel Ghost?

Out of the track and a view of the tower in the background, unfortunately we cannot drive to it since it disappears

A hotel, lets see what the sign says

Laperopter?

Building that reads Nyanta Nyanta, unsure what that means

On the novice track there is a section that is blocked off, which leads to a track on the Advanced course, driving past here just leads to a empty void, since the world here isn’t populated

Another view from a out of bounds perspective

Continuing to drive out, the world here isn’t populated

Namco advertising their TR3 chipset that was Co-developed by Evans&Sutherland. Billboard reads Texture mapping Real-Time Real-Visual rendering system

An advert for that other fighting game Namco is known for

Driving on the sea, a closer look at the boats

City

A new track that was previously exclusive to Rave Racer but has since reappeared in the PSP version of Ridge Racer, This one is set in a more urban environment with a rolling highway.

At the start of the track you can turn around 180 degrees and drive through a highway, you can do this without the use of cheats. You can drive until you reach a tunnel, where the game teleports you back out of the tunnel at a higher speed.

A no-clip like view of the world

A look at the city, and a Pac&Pal store

Another system 22 advert, namco were really pround to show their arcade technology off

Another TR3 billboard

Mappy.png

I don’t know if the transparency was intentional or they just forgot

Another noclip like view, except im nearly colliding with a helicopter. Theres no collision data so your car just clips right through the heli

View of the stadium, where LiberoGrande takes place

A view of the industrial section of the track

Mountain

An alternative view of the mountain track, which normally cannot be seen within the game

Carefull…

I later learnt that this is an invisible wall, but when your collides with it at a certain speed the game teleports you to the bottom section, Driving into it at 10mph would just cause the car to bounce back to the track.

Some sort of casino??

Roadside Sign

A gas station for when you need to refill your car, although this inst a game mechanic, cars in Ridge Racer do not have fuel

Who’s that?

Cup Ball, some sort of bowling center?

Buildings have no rendering data at the back of them, so the textures just disappear

Same Laperopter building in the first track

Better view of the spooky hotel ghost, seems Namco recycled building models to conserve ROM space

The cow wants its milk back

Going up the ramp, however the car clips through it

These tracks would remain exclusive to the arcade, and would not appear in any console version until the PSP version of Ridge Racer, I wonder what changes were made and if any buildings were kept?

Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo

What a mouthful

A gem based puzzle game, soft of similar to columns, but instead of matching 3 of the same colours, you have gems and crash gems which are used to destroy a gem of the same colour, and sends a counter gem to the rival player. The game does feature various Capcom characters but they are not directly controllable, merely appearing as avatars. The game is over when the players gems reach the top, similar to Tetris.

Arcade

Arcade version uses an arbitrary resolution. One nice feature is when the blocks are beginning to stack up, the music starts to speed up. As the arcade was the original released, the console and PC versions are based on this version.

PlayStation

Supports both memory cards, Seems to have some overscan (Could be due to the emulator), this can be adjusted in the game settings

Sega Saturn

Saturn version seems to run in a higher resolution compared to the PSone version (Could also be emulator related), also in the Saturn version, Dan randomly interrupts a match in arcade mode, which I have never encountered in the PSone version. The loading times are faster compared to the PSone and Windows version.

Microsoft Windows

The game was ported to the PC. The specs required are higher than I thought, which might be an indicator of a poor port. When running on a PCem based Pentium MMX 100Mhz, there was notable slowdown at 640×480 (not the lowest resolution supported) The graphics card was an ATI Mach64 VT2. Running at 800×600 was near unplayable. A Pentium 2 with a S3 Trio64 gave better resolution.

A nice side effect is the music of the game can be played in any media player, since they are wav files, even the sound effects, They are located in the BGM folder. There is also an EMI folder that contains a bunch of files with the EMI extension, which I’m guessing relates to the background and sprite graphics. There is also a goodies folder which contains images that are also in the goodies section of the game, plus a zip file with a Windows theme. The PlayStation also appears to use the EMI format, but the Saturn does not.

There’s an exe file in the movie folder on the PlayStation version, but trying to run it on windows 98 results in an invalid Win32 application error, trying tor un it from does gives a ‘Program too big to fit in memory’ error

Desktop Theme

Desktop theme

A desktop theme comes bundled in the GOODIES folder which can be installed

Comparison

Saturn version (middle) is run on the RetroArch Yabause core with default settings, PlayStation (left) is using the BeetlePSX HW core which also with default settings, the arcade version is on the right.

The graphics are mostly the same across the different versions, with the PC version having the ability to run at a higher resolution.

Score Ranking

Main Menu

Demo

Gameplay

Ridge Racer 2

Ridge Racer 2 was a slight update to the series, adding linkable multiplayer, a revised soundtrack with several new tracks in addition to remixed versions of the original.

The announcer voice has been altered slightly, and has several new links in response to the players driving ability.

Some graphic effects have changed, whilst the textures are mostly similar to the original, the lighting effects have changed with RR2 using a hue/fig effect to simulate the day to night cycle, rather then the original which dimmed and changed the Sky texture.

Lastly a rear view mirror has been added, which required a redesign to the HUD.

Boundary break

Thanks to MAME and a few cheats (Drive Anywhere), the car can escape the track, allowing us to get a better view of the scenery.

Another look at the audience at the start of the track, exactly the same as the first Ridge Racer

A look at the buildings outside the track

The fake cars in the other side of the tunnel have changed slightly, they seem to have more detailed textures, but are now lacking wheels. Unless these are floating. anti-gravity cars?

View of the city at night, the game simply swaps the textures rather than apply lighting effects, and the skybox has changed

Microsoft Plus! 95

Sort of like an expansion pack to Windows 95, this adds additional features that enhance the Windows 95 experiences such as desktop themes, maintenance utilities and some bundled software like Internet Explorer which would be its debut.

Install

Looks like your typical Microsoft installer of the era

Post Install

The boot screen has changed!

Desktop Themes

A selection of themes from the Plus pack. Users of Windows 98 will find these themes look familiar as these themes later appeared in Windows 98 (Along with the Space and Underwater themes). These themes change everything, from the desktop icons to the toolbar layout and fonts (that carry over to the programs that you use), to the sounds and mouse cursor. Science and Inside Your Computer where my personal favourite, used to rock those a lot back in the day.

Utilities

DriveSpace: Compresses the entire dis to allow for more efficient use of hard disk space at the expensive of performance, only works on FAT16 volumes

Internet Starter Kit: Designed to help get users online

Task Scheduler / System Agent: Allows you to schedule certain tasks, such as programs being run at a specific time. Useful for maintenance tasks like Scandisk or the Disk Drefragmenter but also for anti virus programs. Also useful if you wish to run a program at a reoccurring time.

Visual Enhancements

These were designed for high performance systems of the time that supported graphics acceleration

High Colour Icons: By default Windows 95 only supports up to 256 colour icons, with the Plus! pack you can have icons with up to 65536 colours.

Window Dragging: The contents of the windows can be seen when the user drags the application window around the desktop. Previously only an outline of the window could be seen

Anti-Aliasing: Softens the edges of screen fonts and UI elements, similar to ClearType in Windows XP, using the hardware acceleration of the graphics card

Wallpaper Stretching/Scaling: Desktop wallpapers can be stretched to fill the screen if the image resolution does not match the display resolution, using the hardware acceleration of the graphics card

Product Catalogue

The multimedia catalogue, this isn’t installed onto the user system, instead its run straight off the CD-ROM. A showcase for other Microsoft consumer software and products.

Microsoft BOB, which was released from around that period.

Microsoft arguably made the most ergonomic mouses, and loved to show them off

Pinball

The Pinball game was originally developed by Maxis (Yes, the SimCity and The Sims Maxis) makes it debut here although the actual retail game had a lot more levels/machines, in plus pack only one level is featured.

Cruis’n USA

Wooo! ahhh! ohhhh – The House Special Lady

A racing game set across the USA, you play from point A to point B with a single lap, giving the impression you are travelling through (Cruising) the USA. Each track has unique scenery and opponents, with rival cars and traffic becoming a hinderance, thankfully the controls are easy to adapt although collision detection can be an issue.

Not to be confused with Cruising in my 64, An Eazy-E song

Tracks

All of these tracks are set around different parts of the USA, and vary in environmental scenery and difficulty.

Golden Gate Park: The first track in the game which features the golden gate bridge. Very easy with only slight bends and wide roads

San Francisco: Featuring rolling hills and an increase of traffic from the previous track, ends with a tunnel.

US 101: Set in a rural desert, the track here is narrower and features a lot more bends, there are also gaps in the road which your car must drive over

Redwood Forest: Continuing from the desert and into the forest, the road here is a lot more narrow which gives little space to navigate through opposing traffic and rival cars.

Beverly Hills: Featuring Bel-Air style houses and mansions along with the Hollywood sign. The scenery here can be distracting so try to focus and concentrate on the road.

LA Freeway: There’s a lot more traffic on this one

Death Valley: Sounds a bit morbid but is set in a rural desert area, this one also features a narrow road so watch for traffic

Arizona: Set in a rural desert in the first half, this one has powerlines as obstacles that can be knocked down but will impact your cars speed.

Grand Canyon: Drive through the Grand Canyon itself, again has powerlines as obstacles that can be knocked down, also features Mount Rushmore

Iowa: Set on rural green farm which looks more like an English countryside, has narrow roads and powerline obstacles and a toll booth which you have to be careful not to hit the hubs in between

Chicago: Features factories and an urban like environment with large buildings and an underpass. Be careful not to hit the overhead railway columns

Indiana: Very similar to Iowa

Appalachia: Track with a bumpy road and a lot of curves and hills, defiantly one of the more challenging tracks.

Washington DC: The final stage with a lot of nice scenery but equally as difficult as Appalachia, Ends with a money tunnel

Completing Cruse the USA mode unlocks a faster car, and the arcade features a very special ending FMV featuring the then current Present and the First Lady

Arcade Version

Released in 1994 on the Midway V Unit arcade board, it was one of the early textured 3D racers alongside Ridge Racer and Daytona USA.

Not much is known about Midway’s V unit 3D hardware, originally believed to be based upon the Nintendo Ultra 64 that was in development at the time, however closer inspection of the specification revels the hardware to be very different. With the V Unit running a Texas Instruments TMS32031 CPU at 50Mhz compared to the NEC VR4300 MIPS CPU in the Nintendo 64. Whilst the N64 is complemented by the SGI Reality co-processor, the V unit uses an currently unknown 3D processor, which accelerates the 3D graphics used. As it was released in 1994, there are a few possible vendors:

  • A PC graphics accelerator like the Yamaha Tasmania 3D or Matrox Millennium
  • SGI (Possible the V Unit is a very early design of the N64? unlikely since SGI have always used MIPS CPU’s, unless they wanted to cut costs and use a TI CPI instead)
  • Or it could be an entirety custom chip Midway had designed…

The boot screen of the arcade version is interesting, the first seems to going into some hardware test routine, whilst the second looks like its downloading something off a remote server, or simulating it. OS-WMS is mentioned, and the next line reads WMS Satellite COMM, CHANNEL 42, which makes me think the game was capable of being distributed over the air via satellite? its not out of the ordinary since that’s how Nintendo’s Stellaview worked, and BSB’s data service allowed you to broadcast data in the early hours of the morning whilst its TV channels were off air. The last command looks like it’s trying to retrieve something off an external FTP server, despite the game being stored in ROM. These messages appear every time you start the game, so its not some first-time utilisation process.

Graphics-wise its similar in vein to the other arcade racers of the time, Ridge Racer and Daytona USA, however this is clearly running on lower-end hardware with the framerate and resolution being reduced. Winning first place nets you a free race (adjustable in the games test modes) otherwise you will need to add credit to progress onto the next track. Completing the game gives you an ending cut-scene set on top of the White House.

Nintendo 64 Versions

Released early in the N64 life, Cruis’n USA took a downgrade in the resolution and censored a few aspects of the game. The former caused critism since this was one of the first racing games on the Nintendo 64, and the game was promoted as being built on Nintendo 64 technology, so it was expected to be a perfect port of the game. Meanwhile the PlayStation enjoyed a satisfactory port of Ridge Racer, however by that point it was already two years old by the time it was released in 1996, had the N64 came out in 1995 as originally planned, the port may have been better received.

NTSC

Graphics took a reduction in this version with the textures being downgraded to fit into the Nintendo 64 memory limitations. The framerate is also inconsistent, since having many cars and track objects on screen to reduce it to a crawl, which can frequently happen when you crash into another car, CPU cars will also crash into you and have no awareness of the track, often resulting in a slideshow when there are a lot of cars and track objects on screen. Saying that, the N64 does benefit from perspective correction, which means no warping polygons or textures, and there is also bilinear filtering for the textures, although for this game the arcade unfiltered textures look better.

The sound has also been altered, since the Nintendo 64 didn’t have a dedicated sound processor and had to render the sound on either the CPU or the reality co-processor, depending on how the game was designed, the arcade version has extra fidelity since it was done using the Midway DCS sound system.

One other thing to mention was the saving issues on the Everdrive64, as the game uses the gamepak in order to save data, but upon starting the game it complains about the pack being corrupted/invalid and will not start, removing the gamepak results in another error messages instructing you to insert the pak back into the controller. The only was to start the game was to boot without the controller-pak connected, which results in the game saving to the cartridge memory, which the Everdrive can emulate.

Comparison

Left: Nintendo 64 – Right: Arcade, which has the indicator on the bottom

Textures are generally more detailed on the arcade release, but the Nintendo 64 makes use of texture filtering with the arcade being unfiltered.

N64 version looks more blurry, whilst the arcade version looks sharper.

Transmission select screen

Heads up display of both versions, the N64 compensates of the PAL/NTSC overscan by creating a buffer for the HUD design. The arcade cabinet has illuminated lights which indicated the games status which MAME emulated as an on screen display which can be seen at the bottom.

An example of censorship of the N64 version, either that or the woman must have felt cold. A nice feature with the arcade version was you got a free race if you came in first place (dependant on that feature being enabled in the games settings)

I wonder if that’s the same Matt Booty at Microsoft Studio’s?

Motorola V547

The Motorola V547 is based upon the V500, and has a similar feature set however the V547 is slightly lighter and adds support for video capture and improves the battery life slightly. The display is capable of displaying 65k colours.

Although the device can play MP3 files, it does not have a dedicated MP3 player function, also the phone only has 5.5Mb of memory that cannot be expanded, which is very limited for a phone that supports a VGA camera and video playback, you certainly cannot use it as a music player, barley having enough storage for one MP3 song

Starting Up…

Homescreen

The four icons in a middle corresponds to the shortcuts than can be accessed using the phones directional pad buttons, and can be configured to the users preference. There is also a clock display at the bottom left, which can be set to either digital or analogue.

Unfortunately this phone has a lot of O2 branding (Phone provider in the UK), which results in a lot of O2 icons and link to online services.

Phonebook

List all contacts saved in the handset and the SIM card, when stored on the phone, additional information can be saved, you can also set a picture for the contact, save a voice name so you can speak to call the contact

Calls

Lists of received and previously dialled numbers appears here

Messages

SMS messages can be sent and view here, you can also send email’s and Multimedia messages (MMS).

Office Tools

My Service (SIM Application Toolkit)

If the SIM card inserted supports the SIM-AT, a list of applications can be accessed in the My Services menu

Calculator

A basic calculator is offered, along with a currency converter which can be configured with the exchange rate

Datebook

Basically a calander, can be set to a month or a week view. Events can be added and set to reoccur daily, weekly or on a specific date of a month. Timer events can also be set here.

Shortcuts

New shortcuts can be added to the shortcut menu, and the list can be reordered

Voice Records

A list of recorder voice notes, and the ability to create a new one. To record, there’s a voice button on the right side of the phone that needs to be held in order to record, releasing the button stops the recording, and you are limited to 50 seconds per recording.

Alarm Clock

Multiple alarms can be set, each alarm can have have a unique ringtone set

Dialling Services

Quick Dial

Chat

Simulates a threaded style view of SMS messaging, messages from the sender and recipient can be seen in one view

Games & Apps

One game comes installed here, FotoFunPack2 and Wakeboarding Unleashed

WebAccess

The web browser can be used to access WAP and HTML sites using the built in GPRS modem

Web Shortcuts

Saved pages and bookmarks, the bookmarks can be accessed here

Multimedia

Themes

Three themes are available here, Scarlet, Moto and Silver. Themes change the wallpaper and the phones colour scheme.

Camera

The handset uses a VGA camera, the viewfinder supports zoom and brightness adjustment. Annoyingly photos captured aren’t automatically saved, you have to manually select save. This ties into the phones design, since Motorola intend for you to take a and send photos without the intention of saving them, the phone having only 5Mb of memory adds weight to this theory and the fact the phones presents the option to send first, before saving.

Pictures

Images captured by the camera are saved here, along with any pictures received by an MMS message or received by Bluetooth.

Sounds

Ringtones are saved here, MP3 files are also stored here and the handset is capable of playing full length MP3 songs, but with only 5Mb of memory, you are limited to only one song, if that.

MotoMixer

Motorola’s ringtone creating application

Videos

Video clips captured with the camera can be played back ere, the phone saved in the 3gp container format

IM

Settings

Personalise

Settings like the home screen layout, which include the function of the home shortcut keys, and the left/right soft keys. The clock type can also be set here.

The main menu can be configured as either an icon grid view or a list view, and the menu order can be reordered.

There are 3 themes that can be set, Moto (Blue), Techo and Neon, themes includes the colour of the menus and the background wallpaper screen

Greeting message can be set when the phone turns on

Wallpapers that can be set, either from the built in images or a photo taken by the phones camera. Like in Windows, if an images does not match the screen resolution, you can set the scaling method to either Centre, Tile or Fit-to-screen

Screensavers are similar to wallpapers but are animated, and can be set to displayed after 1 or 2 minutes of inactivity, when the handset being open.

Ring Styles

Profiles can be set here, default ones to choose from are Loud, Soft, Vibrate, Vibrate and Ring and Silent. Pressing detail will let you customise the profile and set alert tones for various different features of the phone (Calls, IM, SMS, VoiceMail, Alarms, Data calls, etc) Ringtones are in MP3 or Midi format, and Motomixer created ringtones will also show up here.

Connection

Bluetooth settings, you can set up a handfree device and change settings like the phones Bluetooth name, set the device to be discoverable. External Sync can also be set for an external server, which allows contacts to be synchronised.

Call Divert

Call diverts can be set here

In-Call Setup

Initial Setup

Basic settings can be changed here, date and time, one touch dial, display settings like the backlight duration and backlight timeout. The device can be set back to factory default settings from here using the security code (default: either 5 or six zeros, 00000)

Phone Status

Battery meter showing how much power is remaining, also software and firmware information versions is displayed here.

Headset

Settings for auto answer after a few seconds, which can be changed, and the ability to enter voice dialling .

Car Settings

Settings for when a handsfree device are connected, and a car charger accessory

Network

View a list of available mobile networks and the bands the phone can connect to, when searching for networks, T-Mobile (Now EE) comes up in the list

Security

Configure PIN/PIN2 and the phones security codes. Call barring ca be set here.

Java Settings

Configure internet access settings for Java applications

Looking at the PlayStation BIOS interface

The purpose of the BIOS for the PlayStation was to provide an interface for the end user to manage their memory cards and the option to play an audio CD and was automatically displayed when the console was turned on without a disc inserted. Not all games provided a way to manage the memory card so the BIOS was often used for this purpose. Like the hardware, the BIOS went through various revisions and designs which we will look at.

SCPH1000 (Original Japanese launch)

The very first BIOS version, this one has a different cursor appearance and the CD player cannot be accessed unless an audio CD is in the drive.

SCPH1001 (Original US Launch)

Initial BIOS version for the NTSC lands

SCPH1001 (Revised US Model)

A revised version of the US model, the option colour has slightly changed

SCPH1002 (Europe Launch model)

In PAL-land we got this menu instead, using icons and symbols instead of text due to the different languages used in Europe and to reduce the ROM space. This is the BIOS I remember growing up with. Also the Europe Cd player can have different sound effect applied to it, which I couldn’t find in the NTSC BIOS?

SCPH3000 (Japan)

Japans SCPH3000 is equal to our 1001/1002, with their 1000 being a different revision with a buggy GPU. Model numbers would be synchronized with the 500x series.

SCPH5000 (Japan)

SCPH5001 (US)

Sony would continue to revise each hardware

SCPH5002 (Europe)

No visible difference from the 1002?

SCPH7001 (US)

This model introduced SoundScope, this BIOS would remain the same for the SCPH9001 models

SCPH7002 (Europe)

Seems like Sony wanted to unify the BIOS designs worldwide and change Europe to look like the US/Japanese versions

SCPH101 (US PSone redesign)

Or maybe not, since the NTSC versions used the PAL design albeit with different icons, you can briefly see the Soundscope effect in the BIOS before it fades to a black background

SCPH102 (Europe PSone redesign)

Same as the US version

Soundscope

This was a feature from the SCPH7000 models and up, and introduced a visualizer that appeared in time with the music by pressing SELECT on the controller.

Nec e616

Released in 2003, The e616 was one of the first generation of 3G capable phones for the Hutchinson 3 network in the UK.

NEC were not a commonly known manufacturer of handsets in the UK, the market previously dominated by Nokia, Ericsson, Motorola and Siemens at the time, with Samsung and Sony (Who’s mobile division would merge with Ericsson). In Japan they were known for their i-Mode handsets

Introduction

Apologies for the poor image quality on some of these captures, since the only way to capture was using a camera pointed to the phone screen, which can yield in some weird effects on screen.

Bootup screen, there is a lot of 3 branding within the handsets firmware, it seems the handset was produced exclusively for Hutchinson 3G and was used in their international markets also.

Home Screen

The default home screen, the calendar can be set as the background, or the wallpaper can be displayed instead. The row of icons can be accessed by pressing the middle enter key, which acts as a shortcut bar or dock to access common phone functions. Items can be added here by pressing ‘Link this’ when you are in a menu.

There is also a task manager like function, which gives the impression that this is some sort of smartphone, perhaps Symbian based?

Main Menu

Menu scheme uses a grid like layout, shortcuts can be used by the number keypad. The quick menu is used to quickly access different phone functions without having to trawl through the main menu. Taskbar lets you select and reopen running background applications, a very smartphone like feature.

Messages

3Mail looks to be a remote email service provided by 3, to be an alternative to Blackberry push email that was offered at the time. Having email on your phone was still a high end feature that many phones were not capable of, and even the ones that did have severe restrictions in what emails could be displayed. Also many webmail email providers did not support third party POP3/IMAP clients, which these phones were classed as, so email would be part of the network provider.

Text messages can be composed and sent from here, the handset supports SMS and MMS Multimedia messages. There’s an option for a video message which is really a vieo clip attached to a multimedia message.

A full text editor is provided, with support for copy and paste and predictive text. An annoying feature is typing a message using the keypad, the phone makes DTMF sounds.

The phone also supports copy and paste, a feature that is rarely seen in feature phones.

Phonebook

Contacts can be created and saved to the phone memory or the USIM card

Settings

Handset Settings

Video Calls

One of the big appeals of 3G phones was the advent of video calling, where you and the recipient could see and speak to each other in glorious CIF resolution. Here you can change the picture quality and the camera orientation mode

Screen Settings

Set a greeting message and change the power on jingle

Network setup

Here you can change the network selection, choose if you want the device to connect to 3G exclusively, and any access points settings.

Security

Dial Lock – allows you to set a passcode that is entered via the keypad when the device is opened, when enabled you can only make emergency calls unless the code is entered

Side Key lock – prevents the side volume buttons from being pressed when the device is closed

Supplementary

Misc call settings, you can change the caller ID options, divers and waiting options.

Date and Time

Clear Settings

Changes settings back to their default factory values

Multimedia centre

Access to multimedia features of the phone,

Camera

Capturing picture using the external camera. Both the front and rear camera can be used however both are limited to CIF resolution which is a bit low for this class of phone. Typically phones of this era use VGA resolution camera. Different effects can be applied. Both still images and video clips can be captured.

Record Sound

Sound can be recorded, up to 60 seconds in length and saved as an amr file

Image Viewer

View images captured by the camera, or any images downloaded

Video Player

Videos captured by the camera or downloaded videos from three can be played here, Videos are stored in the MPEG4 format.

Music Player

Capable of playing the Midi ringtones, but can also play back MP3 encoded files, either on the built in phone memory or from the memory card, just be mindful of the 5Mb transfer limit. Music can be played though the headphones or through the built in speaker.

Sound Player

Same as the music player, but for the recorder voice clips stored on the device.

Toolbox

Calendar

To Do

Add, set and remove reminders, and specify when the phone should alert you

Alarm Clock

Up to five different alarms can be set, with the option to set the reoccurrence to a selected number of days.

Notes

Similar to the Windows notepad, a text editor that lets you save up to 9 separate documents. Text is composed similar to an SMS message.

Calculator

A calculator and a converter, the calculator is capable of simple sums, but scientific operations are not supported. The converter is cable to convert currency only, and has the option to specify the rate manually.

GPS and compass

Supposedly comes with a GPS feature built in, but I wasn’t able to get it calibrated, perhaps it’s dependant on the mobile network being functional?

Call Memo

Java

The phone has the ability to run Java J2ME applications that are published and downloaded by 3. Unfortunately there seems to be no way to load the Java applications over USB or Bluetooth using the PC Software, so there’s not much to do here. I tried copying the Jad and Jar files over manually using the USB connection below but it didn’t work, seems the only way is to use the built in browser and download the games via the 3G network

External Connection

Bluetooth

This phone supports Bluetooth however it is very limited compared to other handsets, there’s no file transfer, only dial up networking and audio headset is supported.

USB

The phone can connect to a Windows PC using a USB adaptor cable, and with the appropriate software installed. Here files can be transferred to and from the phone, and contacts can be synchronised using an external application

Synchronisation

You can Sync contacts, calendar and To do lists from an external server, similar to how you can sync with Outlook or Gmail, only back in these days you had to use the Three server.

File Manager

You can explore both the phone memory and the external memory card. Internally the device has 19Mb of available memory for use, and can support up to 128Mb of external memory, using the Sony Memory Stick Duo standard. You can also format the memory card, check its filesystem for errors and view the amount of space free for use.

Files can be copied or moved, or sent via the MMS if the file size is small enough, Bluetooth cannot be used to send or receive files.

Web browser?

When Three launched their 3G service in the UK, it was designed to be a walled garden where only 3 service could be accessed using the phones internal browser, and external web access was not supported. This meant it was not possible to browse WAP sites on the handset, the browser that ships with the phone is locked down to work with Three’s services only, and from the article below was supposed to be the Netfront browser.

ACCESS’ NetFront™ Microbrowser Selected for New NEC Handsets on Hutchinson 3G Network | ACCESS (access-company.com)

Windows Memphis Beta 3 (Build 1619)

One of the Beta 3 builds, closer to the final release build.

Despite being a beta 3 build, the boot screen used is from Beta 2.1

Install

Initial installation, looks very similar to the released product. The welcome program comes with an extra item dedicated to the beta guide which details whats been added in this beta phase.

Desktop

Booting for the first time

This build seems to have issues booting up in normal mode due to a botched device driver instillation when the OS was installed for the first time. To rectify this you will need to boot into safe mode and uninstall the corrupt device, in this case this was the network adaptor which was missing its hardware title. I’m not sure if this is an issue specific with this build or if its due to the hardware PCem is emulating (Could be with the emulator itself)

Tutorial

When Windows 98 boots for the first time, a welcome screen is shown giving the user an option to start a tutorial on showcasing the new features of Windows 98, and a section for users who are new to Windows itself. This is stored on the Windows 98 CD and is required to be inserted to run the tutorial. In this build there are some differences with the images and layout used from the final build.

WebTV Windows

Microsoft acquired WebTV and was intended to be used as an early precursor to the media centre applications as seen in Windows XP Media Centre edition. WebTV for Windows was to bring the WebTV guide interface to the desktop using the computers TV tuner. A TV Guide would be offered which delivers TV listings over the internet, whilst using analogue TV (Digital TV wasn’t widespread yet, US wouldn’t launch its digital terrestrial works from late 1998 onwards and cable slightly later)

Wavetop was a protocol to receive data from terrestrial broadcasts and was an early form of interactive TV. Web pages would be transmitted between the VBI of the analogue signal and would be related to the program being broadcast. A competing system was Intel’s Intercast

Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer 4 is bundled with the operating system and was integrated into the explorer shell.

Active Desktop

Active desktop was a feature that allowed a webpage to be set as a desktop background, with clickable hyperlinks.

If explorer crashed whilst active desktop was enabled, an active desktop recovery page was displayed instead which gave the user the option to re-enable the active desktop, this was to prevent explorer from crashing repeatedly should the webpage be the source of crashing.

Windows Explorer

Windows Explorer was updated to be remodeled giving folders a web like view which was meant to be more visually appealing to the end user. In practice this made the explorer shell more sluggish and buggy, taking longer for the computer to rendered the explorer page. This could be toned down to a basic interface view, but the explorer shell would still be rendered in Internet Explore.

Internet Channels

Channels could be opened within a web browser such as Internet Explorer. These acted as an earlier method of RSS where website updates are pushed to the user, rather than having the user checking the website manually

Using theoldnet.com, we can try to pull these websites as they appeared in 1998, which this browse should have no issues rendering. Unfortunately these links seem to be special active desktop links that load an exclusive page which the internet archive has not had a chance to index.

DVD Player

This build features a standalone DVD player application, however this requires a dedicated MPEG2 hardware decoder since CPUs of the time could not decode in real-time. Some video cards also featured partial MPEG2 acceleration and would feature their own DVD player software such as Cyberlink PowerDVD

No hardware MPEG2 decoder detected

Pressing F1 bring up the Windows help, which provides an HTML based help interface. Third party programs can also use this help system.

My Computer, with the channel sidebar enabled.

When Windows explorer crashes whilst active desktop is enabled, the recovery screen is enabled in the event of the web page being the source of the issues. The user can then manually restore the active desktop.

PCem Specs

Motherboard: Intel Advanced/ZP

Processor: Intel OverDrive MMX 200Mhz

Video: ATI Video Xpression (Mach64 VT2)

3D Accelerator: 3DFX Voodoo Graphics 3D Accelerator

Sound: Aztech Sound Galaxy Pro 16 AB

Mouse: Intellimouse PS/2 (Allows scroll wheel to be used)

Network: Realtek RTL8029AS