Tomorrow’s World Magazine – November 1998

I stumbled upon this while I was takling crap out of my room and then moving it back recently.


This will be fun!

 We start with several pages of short stories about scientific developments…


Using Hydrogen Peroxide to fuel cars? Well you certainly get a lot of bang for yer buck with that stuff. In fact the Russian Navy used it to fuel torpedoes and it’s not like they suffered any severe submarine disasters in 2000.


Is this the first news of what eventually became Blu-ray? Also that “CD and DVD combined!” thing sounds a bit Betamax to me. Apparently (according to another article) the discs and players went on sale in Japan in late 98/early 99. I wonder how many they sold?


A radio the size of a VCR, every home should have one

Digital radio? Only £800? Sounds alright to me! (Actually come to think of it, aren’t digital radios still fairly expensive even though basic Freeview boxes are virtually nothing?)


Night vision HUD’s in cars! May it never become acceptable. A few car manufacturers seem to be insisting we need HUD displays as they’re “safer”. Said manufacturers also seem intent on putting the instruments in the middle of the car rather than in front of the driver to save a few quid. If they put them in the correct place we wouldn’t need some distracting, stupid, showy HUD. If I’m ever forced into owning a car with one it’ll get some black tape over the projector before I’m a mile down the road.


In those days where 56k was fast and “Dual V90” (did that actually make any difference?) was reckless extravagance, 80gb a second must have seemed like science fiction. Mind you the web was tailored to dial-up then so I don’t suppose there was much you could have downloaded with a connection that fast… maybe all of Napster?


Haha, the phone is bigger than the pint!

I wonder what the policy in this pub is today? Oh yeah it’s probably gone bust and closed like the thousands of others that have been swept away by the blanket smoking ban “to protect staff”. Welcome to the dole qeue, protected staff!


What could go wrong?

Did this bloke ever…

-Finish his submarine?

-Sail it down the Thames as 1999 turned into 2000?

-Find a passenger?


Now here’s something that has taken off, powering cars with chip fat! Apparently conversions of diesels are getting more and more common and you can use 2500 litres before paying fuel duty.


The 90’s was a very bland decade for cars and this page shows it! Mind you the S-Type proved to be a “grower”. It doesn’t help that the photo here is about the worst possible angle to see it from. Apparently there was also a waiting list for Audi TT’s! Who the hell would want one that much? That’d be like, I don’t know, lining up outside a shop for the newest iPad, who would do that?

Oh yeah, Audi TT owners.


Almost seems hard to believe that the true Mini was still on sale then, and the BMW 0.5 series was still on the drawing board. Of course if I had my way manufacturers would be allowed to produce “limited runs” (250,000 a year) of “dangerous cars” such as proper Minis and Morris Minors “for the enthusiast market”. If they were on sale, I suspect the “enthusiast market” would be rather bigger!

Also we see that Fiat. Apparently the styling was necessary to make a 6-seater in that size. Not for long it wasn’t!


And here’s a terrifying look at the creeping influence of “self drive” cars. Presented (as always) as a labour saving device. One day all the cars that are in use will be fitted with shit like this. And on that day I’ll bike.


Lol fatties

An article about the oncoming obesity epidemic. As this was 1998 it was still OK to blame the fat bastards for eating too much and sitting around all the time. Of course such a position is unacceptable today, the poor little bloaters are “food addicts” and need our help.

A wise man once said that people ought to be judged “on the content of their character”. He didn’t forsee a society in which every character flaw is explained away by vague references to tragic circumstances or psychology. Psychology being, of course, based on the opinions of various dead people and thus making as much sense as entrail reading.


Who remembers these things? Did people actually used to always use their “30 days of free internet” (NB: Apart from the call charges, which are astronomical) and then get another CD and have another 30 days? Sounds like far too much hassle even for 1998. Or maybe that’s because my memories of early internet connecting involve my dad standing over me, reading out the terms and conditions and what to type, breathing out heavily at the end of every sentence, and then telling us not to actually use the internet once we’d got it working.


An article on shopping in the future. With surprisingly little reference made to the internet. However there is mention of “interactive digital TV services” being used to “mail order” things from an “electronic catalogue”. Just like, erm, the internet.

The article also mentions the famous vending machines of Japan and speculates that soon they will “come to Britain’s streets”. Of course street vending machines have been around in Japan for bloody ages and they couldn’t possibly “come to Britain’s streets” because the filthy, savage underclass who just see what they want and take it would have them away in five minutes.

Of course it needn’t be like that. If only we had measures to end this culture of selfish entitlement… measure such as, say, more police, punishments that are actually a deterrent and more prisons. Apparently Britain has the biggest prison population in Europe… and? It’s obviously still not enough. More cells, harsher regimes and running jails for profit ought to see us right.



The Millenium Bug. Lol.


“Gadgets that never caught on” have their famous fallers, such as Betamax. Then there’s the things that were so obscure nobody even remembers them , such as these web phones. Computers, even basic ones, were still very expensive back then (we got our first one about 6 months later and it was around 2 grand) but everybody wanted the internet. So they were willing to pay for these phones or “web TV” as a quick and dirty way of getting connected.

BUT more interesting than that is the name of this phone’s competitor! Even the case of the letters is the same!


MP3 Players, “giving the record companies the jitters” apparently. Yeah I, too, remember the great music crash of 2001 where all the major music companies collapsed one after the other. It was just like the other music crash in 1991 bought on by tape recorders, and the movie crash of 1988 bought on by VCR’s… oh, wait.

Also LOL at the proud statement that MP3 players are “truly shockproof” because there’s no disk to skip. After 10+ years of MP3 player dominance it’s hard to even remember such a problem existed.


A PLASMA TV! That’s amazing, Plasma is like stuff they have in science fiction, such as “Colony Wars”, which is more powerful than lasers. And they’re making TV’s that run on this shit! Yours for thirteen grand, my good man.


Growing organs and limbs in the laboratory using “stem cells”! What an amazing technology! This will make our crappy, dangerous practices such as transplants a thing of the past! (Seriously, I’d rather die than have to put up with the immune-system-smashing anti rejection drugs, it’s like deliberate HIV). What could possibly go wrong?

Oh yeah, spear-chucking under-savage scum-vermin protesters trying to hold back the progress of medical science.


That Mars Rover that was sending it’s pictures to… THE INTERNET!! was big news then.




A gadget review page. And what do we have here? A digital camera that takes Video and Photos! Hey, wait, you say, how much video could a digital camera record back then? 2 minutes? Well this thing apparently uses some sort of bespoke tape that’s “about the size of a printer cartridge”. Once you’ve filled it you have to connect the camera to a normal camcorder or a VCR and copy the footage over. I can’t think why this didn’t catch on!

There’s also a Minidisc player (“The replacement for CD’s!” … for about a week). My friend had this exact model at school… paying nigh-on £300 for a paperweight. Lol. That said my Rio PMP300 was about that much and could store all of 9 tracks in ‘reasonable’ quality.

There’s also some Lie detector software (apparently you have to actually phone up the company and promise not to use it for bad purposes before they will give you the install code!) and some binoculars which have a GPS unit that shows what direction you are looking in. I suppose orienteerers use things like that.


Haha, remember the term “surfing”? It’s possibly even more cheesy than “Information Superhighway”.

Reviews of ISP’s, once again there’s some “free” internet services. Though of course with “free” service comes a lack of support for the “lightning fast” 56k. Of course most ISP’s got you to pay monthly, pay a “connection fee” and pay for the phone calls… why did people put up with this shit?

There’s also the launch of BT’s own internet service, which has the advantage of being added directly to the phone bill and, because it’s run by the phone company, a lot cheaper. Apparently other ISP’s were actually complaining about it! Maybe they shouldn’t have been charging funny money for “free”, and slow, services and cutting people off for using “too much” of their “unlimited” internet, eh?

Oh the page also includes a few free email (“one of the greatest pleasures of being online” apparently) providers. One of them being rated higher because you can choose from “some great domain names” for your email address, such as and Cyber Dude??


Reviews of scooters. The venerable Honda C90 (are they still being made? Or have they been abandoned because of “envrionmental” (actually greenhouse emissions from comparably-sized petrol engines have barely changed in a century) and “safety” (it’s a frigging scooter!) concerns? Wouldn’t surprise me.) gets a predictably low rating. I know which one I’d have! …in fact, Dad does have one! I ought to get it out.


Videogame reviews! Including Rainbow Six, Final Fantasy VII, Banjo Kazooie and Red Alert: Retaliation. They give the latter a bad review but I personally loved it.


Some website reviews, including one for the Tizer Ice website. Remember that? It was supposed to “taste like it’s cold” even when it wasn’t. In fact it tasted like a mouthful of evaporating 70% ethanol without the fun effects.


Come on, how could you NOT trust an ISP with such a well-designed advert?


Apple was “on the brink of death”? Quick, somebody zip back in time and tell Steve Jobs to end it all. Mind you considering that Apple are basically another Microsoft these days their “hippie spirit” died in, er, 1998.


An interview with Richard Dawkins. He confesses he doesn’t know what a Minidisc is… don’t worry, it’s not that important XD. Also the eccentric professor prefers to use “a diary on the computer” rather than a Filofax or PDA. What a crazy guy!