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Before Bitcoin, digital cash was called Beenz – all that's left is a T-shirt

In which we remember technology history through branded tat

Conference Couture A couple of weeks back we wrote about the plan to have Oracle's NetBeans Java IDE become an Apache project and in an attempt to get some perspective on the move asked friend of the Regand former OpenStack board member Tristan Goode what he thought.

Tristan's response? “The last NetBeans I remember was these in my old industry t-shirt collection.”

And here it is in all its glory.

Beenz t-shirt

Beenz meanz Oraclez

What were Beenz? We covered the launch of Beenz back in 1999 when our own Tim Richardson described them as follows:

Beenz are electronic credits which can be earned by shopping on-line or by simply visiting a Web site. These credits can then be saved in a personal Beenz bank account and spent at participating Web sites to gain discounts on purchases or access to valuable information.

Oracle supremo Larry Ellison invested in Beenz but things didn't work out and by 2001 we were able to use the headline Beenz denies it's about to be canned. By 2012 we mentioned it in the same breath as ten famous technology fails.

Tristan's tee got your correspondent thinking: what other branded tat is out there that tells a story?

Right here on your correspondent's desk is this McData screen cleaner. McData was a storage area networking outfit with a strong position in the fibre channel switch and director market. As Austin Modine reported in El Reg back in 2007, Brocade acquired McData for US$973m in 2007, but things didn't immediately go well. Indeed, fibre channel was considered a bit of an oddity in 2007 and didn't get any more important in the years that followed. It wasn't long before Brocade was talking up the wonders of Ethernet.

McData screen cleaner

The grey bit at the bottom is microfibre stretched over something rubbery. You draw it over a screen to pick up dust. In theory. In practice it's rubbish and my monitor is inexplicably filthy

Tristan Goode's sent us plenty more snaps of what we've decided to call “Conference Couture”, to celebrate the source of so much branded tat. But we want you to have some fun too, so if you've got old branded tat lying about and think it tells a story worth remembering, let me know.

If this works out, we'll have some fun. If not, at least we got to remember Beenz. ®

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