Few tech executives have had as monumental an impact on the computer industry as Andy Grove, who passed away yesterday at the age of 79. His stewardship of Intel marked a period of astounding success and growth for the company, including establishing the firm's x86 microprocessors as a de facto standard for the PC industry — a legacy that continues today. May he rest in peace.
Archive for the 'News & Current Events' Category
On January 30th, 2006, I posted my first entry in the Retro Scan of the Week column: "When to Use Low Speed Modems." Below that first scanned image, I wrote:
I found this amusing, so I thought I'd share it. More to come.
I was right about that last sentence. Since then, I've shared weekly scans on my blog 522 times — every Monday for 10 years.
Yep, Retro Scan of the Week just turned 10.
While it is not an achievement on-par with, say, building the pyramids, working at the same company for 50 years, or hosting a late-night talk show for decades, I am slightly overwhelmed when I try to consider the scope of this anniversary and what it actually means to me personally.
What I think it means is that I have been dedicated to preserving computer and video game history for an officially long time now (this blog itself turned ten last year). And I have always wanted to share it with others. Retro Scan of the Week has been a regular and effective way to achieve both goals.
For years, I have used the column as an opportunity to provide more than just images. When I could, I have attached personal commentary about the scans I'm showcasing because I hope it will give valuable context to future historians (assuming copies of my blog survive that long). Also, reader comments have been equally important in capturing the firsthand reactions to products and events over time.
Without that extra something that gives RSOTW its unique quality, I probably would have quit posting them years ago. But NOPE. 10 years.
The End of an Era?
On the occasion of this colulmn's fifth anniversary, I wrote a retrospective that is worth reading if you are interested in learning some historical background on my Retro Scan of the Week column. (There's also more about RSOTW in this interview from last year.)
That earlier anniversary — coming in a different era where blogs and scans were slightly more relevant — felt more meaningful somehow. At that point, I had done something for a long time (in blog years). Now I've done it twice as long. And honestly, not much has changed in five years, other than the fact that I finally upgraded to an 11″x17″ large format scanner last year — and that there are twice as many scans on this blog.
But now that I have reached this milestone, I think I might be winding down the column some time soon. While it wouldn't be too hard to keep going for years on end, I think ten years is a nice emotional and philosophical cap to this project.
For now, I'll mull it over. It's a hard considering pulling the plug on something you've spent every Monday for ten years doing. But whatever happens, there will be a legacy left behind. At some point I plan to put all my high-res scans on the Internet Archive, for example. And RSOTW images still haunt Google Image Searches like nobody's business. I keep running in to my own work when I'm trying to research something else.
Whatever happens, it has been a fun 10 years. Thanks for reading along with me as we have rediscovered the past together.
This Apple II-clone machine became popular in the mid-late 1980s as a low-cost alternative to the Apple IIc (almost half the price
but twice the RAM — scratch that, Apple IIc had 128K too), especially for home use. I have a Laser 128 in nearly pristine condition in the box, and it feels nice to use. It echoes the integrated form factor of the IIc, which makes it convenient to setup in a pinch if you need to pull out an Apple II in an emergency. Or at least that's how I use it.
Discussion Topic of the Week: Do you have any Thanksgiving computer or gaming traditions? Tell us about them.
Today, PCWorld published the inaugural entry of my new column, This Old Tech. In the column, I will be writing about vintage gadgets, games, and computers — pretty much the same stuff I talk about on Vintage Computing and Gaming. So far, the plan is to publish a new piece every Friday.
For the first column, I talk about the first MS-DOS computer I ever learned to use, the Toshiba T1000 laptop. I still have the same machine from all those years ago, so aside from just waxing nostalgic, I also attempt to get it working again.
So spread the word — I am looking forward to exploring my personal tech history in this new column. I hope you enjoy it.
[ Earlier this year, I asked readers what they wanted to see on VC&G's tenth anniversary. Most people said "behind the scenes coverage," but I wasn't sure how to approach that. So I asked my longtime editing partner Harry McCracken to interview me in the hopes that I might accidentally say something interesting about the history of the site. Happy Anniversary, VC&G readers. — Benj ]
I first met Benj Edwards back in 2007, when I worked at PC World magazine and he submitted an article — "The 10 Worst PC Keyboards of All Time" — over the transom. (Actually, we didn't meet in person until later, and his submission arrived in my inbox like any other email, but you get the idea.) Even then, I was already a fan of his Vintage Computing and Gaming website, which was then a couple of years old.
We ended up publishing Benj's keyboard slideshow at PCWorld.com, where it became a monster hit with readers. Since then, Benj and I have continued our writer-editor relationship: first at Technologizer, and today at Fast Company, where I'm an editor and he's a frequent contributor, writing deeply-reported pieces about fascinating topics which everyone else has forgotten about. He's also contributed to The Atlantic, Macworld, PCMag, Wired, and other publications.
Benj has never stopped blogging at Vintage Computing and Gaming, which celebrates its tenth anniversary today. To commemorate the occasion, he asked me to interview him about the site, his other writings, and his pursuit of collectible tech products and the stories behind them. I learned a lot from his answers — and so will you.
10 DAYS OF VINTAGE: Day 1
Ten years ago today, I posted my first entry on Vintage Computing and Gaming. It was a long, rambling piece about my personal history with computers and video games.
Ten years later, I'm still rambling. It's been fun.
Little did I know when I started this blog how long I would be doing this, and what it would lead to. These past ten years, I have been fortunate enough to meet or interview many of my childhood heroes. I have been able to contribute, in a positive way, to the world's understanding of computer history. And I have scanned enough material to wrap around the…
Oh, that's why. I just checked, and I have previously celebrated the anniversary of this site four times. Every time, I pretty much say the same thing over and over again: "Thanks, this is amazing." Here's the proof:
The History of Celebrating VC&G Anniversaries
- Vintage Computing and Gaming Turns One (2006)
- VC&G Turns Three (2008)
- VC&G: Still Here After Four Years (2009)
- Five Years of VC&G (2010)
There may be more secret VC&G anniversary celebrations hidden away within these ten years of posts for all I know. Either way, that's a lot of celebrating. To put an end to this, I propose a five year moratorium on VC&G anniversary celebrations.
…Starting next year, of course. For now, I've got something special planned.
Although Vintage Computing and Gaming turns 10 years old today, I actually registered the "vintagecomputing.com" domain name back on June 8, 2000. This is what Network Solutions sent to me in the mail. I was only 19 years old — now I'm 34. Time flies.
It wasn't the first domain I'd ever registered, but it was an early one. I wanted to use vintagecomputing.com for an online computer museum that would show off my vintage computer and video game collection. I never got around to creating that.
Another project got in the way of all of those plans, and I ended up working on music at Request-A-Song.com instead until October 2005.
I finally put my vintagecomputing.com domain to good use — over five years later — when I decided to make a blog on that fateful day in November 2005.
Discussion Topic of the Week: What was the first domain name you ever registered?
My family has this way of saving everything. Not through conscious, organized preservation, but by virtue of never throwing anything away.
In that vein, I was digging through some old papers at my mom's house after my father passed away in 2013, and I came across this homemade Halloween greeting card.
From the looks of it, my dad made the card for me and my brother using Broderbund's Print Shop on the family's Apple IIc. It is printed on a single sheet of 8.5″ x 11″ paper; one is supposed to fold it in half twice to achieve a gatefold design with a front, inside, and back. Click the image above to see the whole thing unfolded — the other side is blank.
As for who colored it with crayons, I'm guessing I did (perhaps my dad or brother did it neatly, then I gave it a once-over with a brown squiggly line). What a great momento from the home PC era. Happy Halloween!
Discussion Topic of the Week: Have you ever made a personalized greeting card using your computer? Tell us about it.
It is no secret that Vintage Computing and Gaming is in its 10th year of publication (the site's 10th anniversary is November 2nd of this year).
Ten years is like a century on the Internet. Throughout these long 100 metaphorical years, I've done a lot of side work for features both on VC&G and in my offsite freelance features that have never been published before.
That is going to change. Today I'm announcing a new series on this blog called VC&G Anthology. It's just a fancy way of saying "old stuff from my archives."
To fuel the Anthology, I've dug up old interviews, outtakes, notes, and other writings from my history that have previously never appeared on VC&G or anywhere else.
Additionally, some of the upcoming Anthology material will come from my work on other publications that is no longer accessible. This will be one way to remedy the Web's propensity to forget things when host sites go belly up or get URL-confused or database-addled in their old age.
So stay tuned — this should be fun.
[ Our longtime contributor, Ulaf Silchov, recently completed his first self-help book, which will soon be available through Amazon.com. It isn't completely VC&G-related, but it contains sound advice for navigating the challenges of our hectic daily lives. To help him promote his book, I thought I'd let him write about it here. — Benj ]
IT HAS BECOME TO THE ATTENTIONS OF ULAF THAT SOMES OF YOUR MIND HAVE BECOMES CONFUSIONED. AND SO ULAF WRITES THE SELFS-HELP BOOKS, WHICH ULAF CALL "THE CONFUSIONING OF YOUR MIND," BY ULAF SILCHOV.
IN THE BOOKS ULAF EXPLORE THE CAUSE OF THE CONFUSIONING AS WELLS AS WHAT RITUALS TO PERFORM UPON IT.
(FOR THE CAUSES, ULAF LOOK HEARTILY UPON THE VIDEO GAMES FIFTY PERCENTAGES OF THE TIMES)
HERE YOUR MIND READS AN EXCEPTION OF THIS BOOKS THAT GIVE A TIPS OF POWER TO THOSE WHO NEEDED IT MOST IN THE TIME OF GREAT STRUGGLE.