Who Remembers Encarta?

The year was 1998, our Physics teacher, Mr. Davies, had requested we prepare a research on Renewable Energy Sources as part of our homework. A task that was meant to have us perched in the library, nose-deep in books. However, time was of the essence, frivolously spent in ways I know not how to recall at this point in time.

Back then, the internet was not as mainstream as it is today, Wikipedia was nowhere in sight, a probably unused domain yet to be thought up, gathering dust in some mega-computers data banks. And Google! had yet to be perfected to the razor-sharp Sword of Search it has become today.

Before the days of Windows XP, before 3G, before there was an iPhone or an HTC, or even a digital camera! We used film back then!

Before Wikipedia dominated the world of research, with an article on everything from molecular physics, to astronomy, to the additional characters on Seinfeld, with a full bio on each, there were two PC sources for knowledge online.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica, and Encarta.

The former, being entrenched in history, remains steadfast as a term meaning books of great knowledge, where as the latter, sadly, has outlived its useful life, and joins such products as the Floppy Disk, the Walkman, the CD, and the Discman, on the shelves of extinct products, forever relegated to the annals of history, their past achievements and accomplishments forgotten and laid to rest in favor of their newer, spunkier, faster counterparts.

Encarta never failed me. It offered hours of endless enjoyment in reading article after article on anything and everything for which you could devise a search string. Their general knowledge challenge in the castle served to instil my then young mind with various anecdotes and tidbits of information that were invaluable.

I prepared that Physics report for Mr. Davies, with my wicked Copy-Paste artistry, and changing the color of the font. I did not realise however, that Encarta prints the “sources” on the bottom of the page, hence all my page were splattered with Tipex (a contraband in school during my time), hence I had to intentionally mess around the pages to make it seem warranting of a white coat.

However, would you like to know the irony?

Encarta has a (link) on Wikipedia! Talk about adding insult to injury.

Despite its passing, Encarta shall always live on as the original encyclopaedia, that transitioned online, and attempted to put up a fight, but in the end, went down like a sack of bricks before the awesome might of the open-source Wikipedia.

Rest in Peace Encarta, you were every students cheating best friend back in the day…

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