When M&C debuted some 45 years ago, typewriters were still shedding their ribbons in favor of typeballs. Ever since, the magazine has proudly served as a guide to readers seeking to harness the incredible advances in technologies that have revolutionized the meetings industry -- and everything else. Here are some highlights of how we covered the burgeoning age of the computer.
April 1986: "In the opinion of software producers, computers, at the very least, rid meeting planners of several grueling and repetitive tasks. Among them, says one, is 'the task of keeping track of who's coming and who has or has not got paid -- not having to type those names five or six times.'" – From "Everything You Wanted to Know About Computer Software" by Robert Draper
September 1988: "My hotel database is stored on an optical disk...as I call it up, the screen flashes, 'Last update: 1/28/2016' -- only three days ago. Once inside the system, I can browse through the data by country or chain...I insist that any property to be considered has graphic displays of all its facilities on the database, so I can take a video 'walk-through' of the site...the Canton Plaza Hotel looks perfect...I type and E-mail a message to the general manager." – From "Planner's Log: Stardate 2016" by Gregg Lieberman (author of this month's "The Perfect Conference Website," at mcmag.com/webexclusives)
December 1993: "Cellular phones, which have vastly improved the flexibility, efficiency and productivity of many in the business world, let meeting planners take a phone -- and a phone number -- on-site. Some users even arrange call forwarding from the office." – From "Wired for Work" by Loren G. Edelstein (now M&C's editor) and Gregg Lieberman.
February 1994: "The Internet is like a big ham radio and the world's largest library all in one. Why, one night recently, at about 2 a.m., I found a bulletin board for bird-watchers...A bulletin board is sort of a public-access talk show. There are hundreds of them, nay, thousands, and no subject is too esoteric. So what does all this have to do with meeting planning? Well, we at M&C want to make it easy for all you computer devotees out there to contact us. So now you can send us, via E-mail, comments about the industry or any interesting planning anecdotes you'd like to share..." – From Editor's Podium, "Enter Typing," by editor in chief (and now also vice president/editorial director) Lori Cioffi
June 1995: "Ah, those cellular phones -- they're so convenient to have around. You can finalize meeting details from a cab, tell a luncheon companion you're running a bit late while waiting for the light to change, or call home for grocery-shopping instructions... The new Sony CM-RX100, about the size of a cassette tape, provides 90 minutes of talk time and 22 hours of standby time on a charge. With a PCMCIA modem and connecting cable, the phone can be used with laptops and other pocket organizers to send faxes and E-mail." – From the Fast Forward column by Sarah J. Fryberger (now senior editor Sarah J.F. Braley)
October 1995: "Every day, new sites pop up on the Internet...While most travel-related sites are geared toward individuals, quite a few can help planners hunt for hotels, speakers and other meeting needs. Follow us onto the World Wide Web as we provide monthly reviews." - From inaugural Surf's Up tech column by Sarah J. Fryberger
November 1995: "Once hooked up to the World Wide Web, one of your first stops should be the Meetings Industry Mall. In the very young world of Internet communication, this fast-growing site has a lot of potential. A year from now, it may be the best spot on the Web for planners to find what they need." – From Surf's Up column by Sarah J. Fryberger
October 1996: "Coffee bars and the Internet. It was perhaps only a matter of time before these two major trends of the '90s converged. In New York, they have converged with a vengeance. An estimated 18,000 Gothamites now labor in the new media industry... When these folks take a java break from their Java software, they have a choice of five locations in the Big Apple where they can read their e-mail while they sip their latté." – From "Of Modems and Mocha" by David Ghitelman (that same issue carried official notice of the debut of M&C Online, at the time located at "http://www.traveler.net/m+c/J")