Once upon a time (around 14 years ago), I was a Tablet PC developer, MVP, and all around fan boy.

In other words, I was into tablets before they were cool. Indeed, I was in to tablets before they were practical.

And this review by RetroManCave of a Azus R2H UMPC (Ultra Mobile PC) indicates many of the shortcomings of this area in mobile computing.

The dark ages of mobile technology were tough. We knew we wanted portability and convenience but the monolithic tech firms of the time were slow to deliver and left the door open for much needed competition from Apple, Samsung and Google to give us what we wanted. The Asus R2H is a relic from that period before the dawn. It is, the tablet Homer Simpson might have built.

It’s hard for people today accustomed to Wikipedia to think of a time when the idea of an electronic encyclopedia was futuristic and revolutionary.

In this two-part series, some of the original Microsoft Encarta team explain what it was like to work on the revolutionary product from the ’90s.

Anthony Keller, Brian Manthos, Andy Woods, and Lisa Woods talk about what they miss most and what was the most difficult part of shipping Encarta.

Time Index:

  • 2:14 Encarta’s design process and challenges
  • 6:44 Navigating with the back button
  • 8:17 Encarta bugs, testing, and bug court
  • 14:00 Shipping Encarta and releases
  • 18:22 Encarta customer memories and Encarta’s impact
  • 23:20 Country disputes in Encarta with maps
  • 25:03 Mindmaze Game
  • 31:37 the Encarta family