Archive for January, 2012
Here's a computer artifact you don't see very often these days: a CD caddy. Many early CD-ROM drives (released roughly 1985 - 1993) required the use of CD caddies, which were designed to protect CD-ROM discs from dust and rough handling. With a CD inside, they look a lot like a bigger version of a 3.5″ floppy disk, albeit with a clear window on one side.
When I ran across this caddy in my collection recently, it made me think a little deeper about why engineers invented them in the first place. Why were CD caddies so common at one point, I wondered, and why are they virtually extinct today?
I have decided that it all boils down to the price and preciousness of commercial CD-ROM discs.
Elsewhere on the web (PCMag), I've got a slideshow up that celebrates educational computer games of the 1980s. You know — those games like Oregon Trail and Number Munchers you played for exactly 30 minutes a week at the school computer lab between Logo binges.
Like all my slideshows, expect nostalgia aplenty. Unless you didn't grow up in the 1980s. In that case, you'll probably absolutely hate this slideshow. Avoid it at all costs!
If you've read this blog for some time, you'll know that I'm a big fan of shareware games. Specifically, I love shareware from the "golden age of PC shareware," an era I just made up that roughly spanned 1988-1996.
And by "PC shareware," in this case, I mean IBM PC compatible. I was not involved in shareware or BBS scenes for non-IBM computers, so I am not nearly as familiar with them.
With that in mind, take a gander at this new slideshow over at PC World in which I attempt to pick the The 12 Greatest PC Shareware Games of All Time. Whether I have succeeded or failed is not exactly the point, because as I always say, you can never objectively rank greatness. But even if you don't agree with my picks, it should provide a fun journey down memory lane.
When you're done reading it, I'd love to hear from you guys — what are your favorite shareware games of all time? Feel free to bring other platforms into it if you want.
Over at Technologizer, I've written an opinion piece that argues why history needs software piracy.
I had the idea for this piece a few years ago, so it's nice to finally put my thoughts into written form — especially at a time when public debate over digital piracy's role has reached a new high.
I don't claim to be laying down the final word on the subject; instead, I view my piece as the beginning of a broader discussion about piracy's role in the study of history. I hope you enjoy it.
Believe it or not, but solid-state drives have been around for 35 years now. I recently took a look back through solid-state history and compiled a slideshow for PC World called Evolution of the Solid-State Drive. It traces the SSD through history and touches on a number of important milestones, such as the first-ever SSD and the first flash SSD. I hope you enjoy it.
This video may be old news to many of you, but the stakes are too high not to post this for those who might not have seen it already. I honestly wasn't too worried about SOPA when I first heard about it because I figured the US Senate wouldn't take something so ridiculously anti-Internet seriously. But I was mistaken — they seem to like it quite a bit, and SOPA may very well be passed into law soon.
Everything we know and love about the Internet today will change if SOPA is signed into law. I will have to take down my articles on ROM hacking and suppress discussion of emulation, for example, or face the possibility that VC&G will forced off the web. Heck, I might even end up in jail. With SOPA, freedom of speech will be suppressed and the Web will become one giant glazed-over commercial for McDonalds.
We can't let one misguided law castrate one of humanity's greatest inventions in the name of preventing the unauthorized copying of entertainment media. If you like reading VC&G, tell your local representatives today that you do not support SOPA and will hold them accountable if they support it themselves.