Geek Facts Retrospective – The Geekiest Decade


ibm pcThis is the seventh in a series of articles looking back over ‘Geek Facts’.  Today’s topic is the ‘Geekiest Decade’.

Each day last year, I posted a Geek Fact for that day.  A Geek Fact is something geeky that happened on that day in history.   I have to say that it was a pretty interesting exercise.  I learned many things that I ordinarily wouldn’t have.  For the 366 days of 2012, 464 Geek Facts were posted.   On average, that’s roughly one each day with an extra posted each 4th day.

Since 1983 was the geekiest year, it comes as no surprise that the 1980s were the geekiest decade with 75, or a little over 16%, of the Geek Facts. The 1990s came in second place with 68, or not quite 15%. The 1970s came in third place with 46, or just about 10%. So, in the 30-year span from the 1970s to the 1990s, there were 189 Geek Facts, or just over 41%. A pretty darn geeky time.

When I was married in 1979, right before this geeky period started, my husband bought me a TRS-80 computer as a wedding present. (I was even a geek back then.) It used a cassette tape for storage. Most of the people that I knew thought that I was crazy to want a computer. Why would anyone want a computer for their home? There were no cell phones, cable TV was in its infancy and forget smartphones, the internet, PDAs or tablets. At work, I was the first (and only, for a while) to have a desktop (IBM) computer. There was no email or voice mail. There wasn’t even answering machines. How far we have come with smartphones becoming commonplace as well as home computers, laptops and tablets.

Below is a highlight for each year of the ‘80s:

• July 31, 1980 – Radio Shack introduced the TRS-80 Pocket Computer.


• April 24, 1981 – The IBM PC was introduced.

• December 16, 1982 – Time Magazine awarded its annual “Man of the Year” to the Personal Computer.

• September 29, 1983 – Microsoft released a word processor called Word for MS-DOS 1.00.

• April 11, 1984 – Challenger astronauts completed the first in-space satellite repair.

• October 17, 1985 – Intel introduced the 32-bit 80386 microcomputer chip.


• January 28, 1986 – Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff, killing all seven crew members.

• May 28, 1987 – CompuServe released the Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) standard as a new format to save and retrieve computer-based images.

• January 8, 1988 – Hewlett-Packard introduced the HP-28S Advanced Scientific Calculator.

• April 10, 1989 – Intel announced shipment of the 80486 chip.

You could definitely say that the ’80s were the ‘decade of the computer.’ We definitely came a long way in a short ten years.

To read earlier installments in the Geek Facts Retrospective series:

Part 1 – Geek Facts Retrospective – My Favorite Geek Facts

Part 2 – Geek Facts Retrospective – The Geekiest Topic

Part 3 – Geek Facts Retrospective – The Geekiest Day

Part 4 – Geek Facts Retrospective – The Geekiest Week

Part 5 – Geek Facts Retrospective – The Geekiest Month

Part 6 – Geek Facts Retrospective – The Geekiest Year

About the Author

Judy Novotny

Judy is a computer veteran with 30 years of experience. She has owned everything from a TRS-80, Apple IIe and various Windows-based PCs. She is currently living in her Apple ecosystem at home consisting of an iPhone, iPad, iMac, MacBook, Apple TV, iPod nano and two Time Capsules. She is a fan of all things mobile since she got her first Palm Pilot in 1999. Check out her iPad app, Number Wizard, in the App Store. Follow her on Twitter @junovotech or at Junovo.com.