Tag Archives: Netscape

eMachines eMonster 800

Another eMachines system, let’s have a look at what comes bundled…

Install is as simple as always, simply boot and the recovery software will automatically partition the disk and action the recovery. Norton Ghost is the utility used to image the recovery media.

After installing the VM rebooted into the Windows ME and began detecting the new hardware. There are a lot of PCI bridges that will be picked up as part of the VM (If you are installing on Vmware Workstation) you can simply hold the enter key whilst Windows detects and notify new hardware was detected.


Eventually, it will start detecting the Network, Sound, and Video adaptors however whilst the sound and network work out of the box, video is a tad more complicated. Simply use the stock VGA driver for now.

The next part is a bit messy, we are tasked with completing the OOBE (Out Of Box Experience) by filling out a few registration details as proof of purchase. We are stuck at a low screen resolution(640×480) with no ability to change and this causes some of the text to overlap. With a bit of luck we can fill in the required fields (Use 90210 for the ZIP code) and then proceed. At some point the system will try to dial out to eMachines to complete registration, you can simply click on skip to move on.

Also that wizard from the XP OOBE (And Office) appears with a robotic voice.

Eventually, we are presented with the desktop, but we are not done yet. We need to install the VMWare VGA drivers but the OS is so old we cannot use the latest VMWARE tools, instead we can download an old version of the VMWare tools and install that. These files are iso files and can be mounded into the VM using one of the virtual drives (I recommend adding two IDE CD-ROM drives for convenience, although more can be added using SCSI which Windows ME supports)

VMWare tools old version

This one worked best, but even that generated an error, thankfully we can manually install the VMware VGA and mouse drivers through device manager. A quick reboot and we have some acceleration enabled.

Though we still have issues with the USB controller and some other PCI devices.

Alternatively, we can use 86Box to provide more accurate emulation, however im not sure which system is the best match for the eMachines monster.

Some branding on the boot screen

Desktop

It’s a bit cluttered and there’s quite a bit already preinstalled. You will notice another bar on top of the Windows taskbar. There are a few icons and an advertisement banner on the right. Yup that space was intended for adverts direct to your desktop
Clicking on the search button opens up a search box, where you can search on multiple search engines, It’s sort of like Apple Sherlock.

Nothing seems to work, and the error box reports the program as iSearch. My guess is the server is offline.
Search engines supported are yahoo, AltaVista, InfoSeek, Excite and Lycos. No Google, thank fuck for that.
The other buttons on the toolbar are shortcuts to various web pages online, many of which are defunct or return dead links:
Accuweather
Barnes&Nobile
Shoppinglist.com
Flooz
cnet
ourhouse.com
Fool.com
You can add your own website shortcut and assign your own icon, for which there’s a large collection to choose from.

Clicking on Shop on the right of the bar opens up the eWare menu, with a bunch of categories to choose from like travel, Entertainment, Fitness, etc. these contain links to further websites, acting as a directory of online shopping sites.
The Surf button is nearly the same as Shop but contains no e-commerce sites and has various categories for entertainment, knowledge and utilities.

It’s actually not a bad idea since these PCs would be intended for first-time internet users who may not be knowledgeable on what websites to access. It’s a shame about the banner adverts.

Software

Easy CD Creator

This system came configured with a CD Burner, and I don’t think Windows had native support for CD burning, at least not integrated into Windows Explorer so additional software was required to fulfill this task. Here you can burn audio and data CDs so you can copy your Napster MP3s and convert/burn them for your CD Player or some PSX isos.
The Easy CD Creator comes will a full-blown interface, and even has Office assistance-like features that will help you use the program. Images created here to use the CIF CD Image File format, another format that nothing else uses, Alternatively ISO can be used instead.

HiWire

A radio streaming program that lets you stream internet radio over your dial-up or LAN connection, Has a unique interface that stands out from the rest of the Windows applications. You can browse a directory of preset radio stations, of which you can double click to listen to. The chat button open a link to the palace, which was an external virtual chat application.
None of the radio stations will work, and will just result in a connection error.

Deltathree

A phone dialing application is used to make phone calls with your PC, although it requires a login to the server. Possibly some sort of VoIP application.

Eudora

This was a popular email client application used as an alternative to Microsoft Outlook. However it requires registration and payment, otherwise, adverts will be shown, similar to Opera.

Incanta Video

Not sure what this is as it only shows a login box. A look on their archive website, it appears to be some sort of video music service, like VEVO?

Microsoft Works

An OEM favorite, basic office suite with a bundled word processor, spreadsheet software and a calendar application.

Microsoft Money

Money 2000 comes included here and plays a short tutoral upon the first startup.

RealPlayer

Version 6.0.8.122 is bundled here, RealPlayer was used to stream audio and video over the internet.

RealJukebox

Serves as a media music player for playing local MP3 files that you obtained from Napster

Netscape Browser

Not installed by default but can be done by clicking on the install icon on the desktop, this will install Netscape Navigator and will set it as the default browser

Trellix Web

Website building application and the first I’ve seen on an OEM system. You can generate a website built from a template and publish it online, although the bundle host has long since gone defunct.

Further Info

Archive link – CD Image

Press Release

A historical look at Cable & Wireless interactive

When Cable & Wireless launched their digital cable service, Interactive TV was the main attraction and focus for the platform.

Cable & Wireless teamed up with Liberate to deploy it’s eNavigator middleware client for their set top boxes. Liberate had already made deals with many US digital platforms for both Motorola and Scientific Atlanta networks, and had partnered with Acer & Thomson/RCA for their own set top box / internet tv devices. These allowed for the internet to be browsed on a TV itself, similar to a webTV or the Bush Internet TV. With that in mind it made sense to go with Liberate for its interactive platform, with many of the interactive being HTML based, essentially being microsites being designed to be useable on a PAL TV screen, as well as being usable on the set top box hardware itself. By using a HTML based system, it would be easy for existing web developers to adapt their websites for cable interactive TV.

Downloads

Cable Wireless interactive home

The main interactive developer portal, viewed within the Cable & Wireless interactive browser. This also showcases the browser interface, note the lack of address or URL bar, since this service was designed to be a walled garden. Instead a url bar is provided on the developer portal, likely to allow developers to test their websites.

An interesting oversight is if you sent an email with a hyperlink embedded into it to a website such as Lycos or Google, you could use that link to open the browser to that page, and if its a search engine you could use that to load other websites that are not part of the service

Developer Website

Not much to say here, the developer portal provide links to documentation details the requirements and limitations of the TV internet platform. This goes into details the specifics of the Liberate eNavigatior platform.

Viewed in Internet Explorer 5

A look at the services…

Unfortunately the screenshots are of a low quality and resolution since they have been extracted from the PDF documents above but give a general idea of the scope of the service provided. Some screens have the browser banner at the top of the screen, I’m assuming these are portals to the microsites.

Cable Wireless interactive home

Another view of the interactive home screen, this may be from a later redesign

Cable Wireless TV Internet

TV Internet Home

Similar to the Open… home screen, provides links to various services available

Cable Wireless TV Sports

Sports Main Menu

Provides links to other sports themed websites,

Cable Wireless TV email

Email Main Menu

Menu options are Check Email, Write Message, not sure of the third items, Drafts? Templates? Deleted?

Cable Wireless TV Inbox

Email Inbox

The STB had a built in email client, designed for the C&W email service

Cable Wireless TV Games

Two Way TV

Looks like a games service, hard to tell because of the resolution

Cable Wireless TV RAC

RAC Breakdown

A resource for traffic information and a route planner

Cable Wireless TV Travel

TravelTime

Looks like some sort of holiday broker

Cable Wireless TV Holiday

Travel

Provide links to holidays, not sure if this goes directly to the sites themselves?

Cable Wireless TV News

News

News headlines, and weather from various sources.

When the consumer division of Cable & Wireless was acquired by ntl in 2000, the interactive platform continued it’s development. In 2002 ntl deployed the Liberate 1.2 middleware which bought improvements to the browser rendering engine, and the TV guide was rewritten to take advantage. ntl would later spend time developing services for the Langely platform, which was originally planned to use the PowerTV platform, but chose Liberate instead. This was done to ensure parity between the two platforms.