Editor's note: Today we kick off a weeklong series called "My Best Tech Gift Ever." Every day this week, a different CNET writer or editor will recall a memorable tech or geek-centric present that left a mark. We start the fun with Crave contributor Eric Mack. Look for another installment tomorrow at 8 a.m. PT.
Today I help my mother find her way around Skype and Facebook, so it is to her enormous credit that she was able to see the potential all the way back in the late '80s in something called Prodigy.
If you're under 30, you almost certainly have no idea what this product was, and I don't think my mother did either at the time. Yet it showed up in a box one Christmas in suburban Denver and changed my life.
Prodigy was a pioneering online service that came after CompuServe but before America Online. At the time it offered a new, more graphical user interface with more mainstream content from partners like Zagat and CBS that made the tiny bulletin board systems I'd been dialing into seem bush league. (Disclosure: CBS is the parent company of CNET.) … Read more