It feels a little weird typing it on a Mac, 20 years after one brisk, fateful, Jaffa afternoon, but Windows 95 had as much to do with my eventual career in tech as anything else I did as a kid. I admit I was one of those jerk nerds that tried to impress people with their ability to write and edit .bat files, including autoexec. My favorite thing to do was hiding a “Do you want to format your computer?” behind pauses and it was so funny. Well, probably not.
My greatest coup however was when I got my grubby hands on a pirated copy of Windows 95. I didn’t actually have a computer of my own yet, but the (surprise!) Russian store was selling it for twenty shekels, and I just couldn’t pass. At the time, my grandma was truly revolutionizing the art of receptions at a local music school, and since they had a computer lab and I, no friends, I’d hang out there pretty often.
The upstairs lab had a few Macintoshes, on which I first interacted with a great GUI (I had played with Windows 3.11 by then, but didn’t fall for it), played lots of music trivia, and even saw my very first and very blurry pr0n gif. The downstairs computers however had Jill of the Jungle, one of the greatest games ever created on them (that I also installed). This particular afternoon, I went to the downstairs lab. It was fall, but the building was empty.
At the age of 11, I allegedly installed pirated copies of Windows 95 on every single computer in that computer lab. The school’s IT genius, Nadav, never did confront me with an accusation, but it was pretty clear I wasn’t welcome back in his labs. Either way, my mischievous side reveled, and my curiosity spiked. I was well on my way.
Regardless of what I use now, if it weren’t for you and your kids, my journey would have been different. The way I wrote my first line of code, the first time I tested an app, the way I recorded my first songs, all that would have been different.
Thanks, Windows 95. And Happy Birthday, you beautiful son of a bitch.