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Inside Walt Mossberg's office: Seven products that changed everything

Including the first computer he ever owned.

Mike Kepka for Recode

In case you missed it, this week on the Recode Decode podcast, host and Recode co-founder Kara Swisher interviewed our other co-founder, Walt Mossberg, about the past and future of tech and media.

It's a fun and insightful interview, which you can listen to in the podcast player below, or read a transcript of here:

Before the interview, Mossberg also took the time to give our photographer a tour of his office in Washington, D.C., where he has maintained a small museum of popular consumer tech products.

"Many tech company execs who visit to pitch products take time to peruse the shelves and exclaim upon various devices they owned in younger days," Mossberg said.

Here are a few highlights from that tour:

Apple IIe

Mike Kepka for Recode

"Though many people mistakenly credit IBM with the first PC in 1981, the Apple II came out four years earlier, in 1977," Mossberg said. "This particular machine was my first real computer, and I used it hard, as you can see from the missing key. It was much less powerful than the Apple Watch on my wrist."

Windows 3.1 and Macintosh 7.5

Mike Kepka for Recode

"Everyone knows that Apple crushed Microsoft in the mobile era. But it was exactly the opposite in the PC Wars of the 1980s and 1990s. Microsoft trounced Apple, and among the weapons were expensive operating system versions that came in boxes like these. Microsoft’s Windows 3.1, released in 1992, was the first truly successful edition of Windows and juiced the Redmond juggernaut. Apple’s Macintosh System 7.5, released in 1994, was another in a string of versions that lacked key architectural features that the Mac didn’t have until Steve Jobs returned and brought with him the code that became OS X."

Nokia Communicator 9000

Mike Kepka for Recode

"This isn’t the biggest of the early cell phones, but this huge Nokia Communicator 9000 model from 1996 opened to reveal a keyboard and monochrome screen. Phones like this were expensive, limited and never caught on. (This one was nearly three times the weight of the current iPhone 6s.) But they were part of the long process that birthed the smartphone era."

U.S. Robotics Sportster 56k

Mike Kepka for Recode

"Not every young founder or CEO who visits my office instantly recognizes this gizmo. But, without it, we’d never have gotten online to services like AOL and the early web. It’s an external dial-up modem, and this particular model was hugely popular."

Palm Treo and iPod

Mike Kepka for Recode

"These are two of the most important gadgets of the pre-iPhone era. The Palm Treo smartphone from the early to mid-2000s was, in my view, the most important precursor to today’s smartphones. It even had third-party apps. And, of course, the original iPod from 2001 was a genuine sensation that led directly to the iPhone and the mobile-first era."

Once you've listened to the Mossberg interview on Recode Decode, you should subscribe to the show on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn or Stitcher. We'll have a new episode on Monday in which Kara Swisher interviews U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

And while you wait for that: Recode Media with Peter Kafka will have a new episode tomorrow, with "Full Frontal" host Samantha Bee. To make sure you hear that, subscribe to Recode Media on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn or Stitcher. And on Too Embarrassed to Ask this week, Kara Swisher and Lauren Goode answer your questions about travel and vacation apps with Gogogbot CEO Travis Katz. Subscribe now at these links: iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.

And finally, you can hear Mossberg every week on his podcast for the Verge, Ctrl-Walt-Delete, which he hosts with Verge Editor-in-Chief Nilay Patel.

Inside Walt Mossberg's Apple Museum

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