[ Retro Scan ] Computers in Kids’ Bedrooms

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018

Apple IIc Apple //c Computer Kids Bedroom After School advertisement scan - 1985Simple beginnings

Since I first saw this in a magazine about 12 years ago, this Apple IIc (//c if you prefer) ad has probably been my favorite Apple ad of all time.

The reason is nostalgia — it portrays a kid’s bedroom in the 1980s, and it reminds me of being a kid back then.

I also like the details tucked in there, such as the Motley Crue poster, the Bazooka bubble gum, the ATV helmet (next to a tiny photo of a three-wheeled ATV), the hamster, and an Apple Modem 300/1200 sitting under the telephone. I also wonder what those circuit boards up on the shelf are supposed to be (and what they were actually from).

The Apple IIc was indeed a great machine for young students in the 1980s.

* * *

At 37, my circa-1985 bedroom was outfitted mostly with He-Man figures and stuffed animals, but my older brother’s bedroom looked more like the room in the ad.

Come to think of it, I actually have a photo of my older brother’s bedroom from December 1985, and part of it looked exactly like this:

Benj's Brother's Bedroom in December 1985 - Atari 800 Atari 400

You’ll notice the nice Atari 800 setup, which I have no doubt talked about many times before.

At that time, we did have an Apple IIc as well, but my dad kept it in his home office. It was the first computer I ever used a mouse with.

And what do you know, I have a photo of my dad’s office too — labeled July 1985:

Benj's Dad's Office in July 1985 - Apple IIc and Star Printer

You’ll notice the Star brand dot matrix printer on the floor beneath the desk. I still have many vivid memories of crawling around the floor and watching Print Shop banners and calendars emerge with an intense and persistent screech.

Good times.

In 2016, I did a whole slideshow about my family’s computers through the years for PCMag. If you enjoyed these family computer snapshots of mine, you’ll enjoy that as well.

[ From Popular Computing, February 1985 ]

Discussion Topic: Did you have a computer in your bedroom as a kid? Tell us about it.

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Quasar Hand-Held Computer

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Quasar Hand-Held Computer HHC Pocket Computer Advertisement - 1982“One Picture is Worth a Thousand Numbers”

I’ve never used or seen a Quasar Hand-Held Computer in person, but I am a big fan of the similarly-sized TRS-80 Pocket Computer, which I’ve written about a number of times on this site.

According to this ad, one of the unique features of the Quasar HHC was that you could hook it up to a large color monitor if you had the right expansion accessory. That reminds me of the TRS-80 Model 100 Disk/Video Interface. Pretty cool. I bet the software that utilized that feature was extremely rare, though. I’d love to see it in action.


See Also: BASIC in your Pocket (RSOTW, 2009)
See Also: Asimov’s Pocket Computer (RSOTW, 2011)
See Also: Sharp Pocket Computer (RSOTW, 2013)

[ From Popular Computing – December 1982]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What’s the smallest pre-year 2000 computer you’ve ever owned?

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Bill Cosby Loves the TI CC-40

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Texas Instruments TI CC-40 Compact Computer 40 Bill Cosby Ad - 1983“Try new metal puddin’ pops!”

When looking at the Texas Instruments CC-40’s capabilities, one wonders why companies even bothered in making tiny portable machines like this one (see also the Epson HX-20, HP-75C, and TRS-80 Pocket Computer, among others) in the early 1980s.

Sure, each one came equipped with a gee-whiz wow factor, but most of these diminutive PCs proved impractical to actually use. Limited memory, restrictive and unreliable data storage, and tiny LCDs capable of displaying either one or a few lines of text almost ensured that these products would remain technological novelties.

(As an aside, the only computer of this circa-1983 portable class that I find to be practical and truly useful was the TRS-80 Model 100, which many journalists relied on for decades)

After giving the question considerable thought, I recently realized why they did it. Companies like TI spent untold millions upon millions of dollars on R&D, design, tooling, and production, distribution, and marketing so that collectors of vintage computers, like me, would one day have more and varied specimens to collect.

To those companies, I say this: Thank you for wasting your money to make my hobby more fun.

See Also: Bill Cosby Fondles a TI-99/4A (Retro Scan, 2006)

[ From Popular Computing, June 1983, p.129 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What’s the smallest vintage computer you’ve ever used?

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Apple Lisa and Apple IIe

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Apple Lisa and Apple IIe on the cover of Popular Computing - March 1983APPLE’S BOLD NEW COMPUTERS IN ALL-CAPS

Thirty years ago last Saturday (January 19th, 1983), Apple announced two new computers: the Apple Lisa and the Apple IIe.

Ultimately, the Apple Lisa met an early end, leaving behind technology that shaped the entire industry. The Apple IIe remained a reliable breadwinner during uncertain times in the early life of the Macintosh and remained the flagship member of Apple’s popular 8-bit computer line until it ended in 1993.

Here’s the cover of the March 1983 issue of Popular Computing which featured Apple’s two new machines. It has always been one of my favorite vintage computer magazine covers.

By the way, I recently wrote an article about this anniversary for Macworld in case you’re interested.

[ From Popular Computing, March 1983, cover ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Have you ever used an Apple Lisa? What did you think about it?

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] “What’s Wrong With Copying Software?”

Monday, January 21st, 2008

SPA Anti-Software Piracy Ad

“…and that’s why every time you copy M.U.L.E., a baby dies.”

“Oh God, Bill. You’re making me cry.”

[ Scanned from Popular Computing, 1984 ]

If you use this image on your site, please support “Retro Scan of the Week” by giving us obvious credit for the original scan and entry. Thanks.

Retro Scan of the Week: The Ultimate Pac-Man Room

Monday, March 12th, 2007

The Ultimate Pac-Man Room

So tell me, Pac-Friends. How many of these Pac-Man items do you have? (Check the scans below to get a full description of all the items.)

Pac-Man this, Pac-Man that. It seems like they made a Pac-Man version of everything in the early 1980s. My brother’s friend had a metal Pac-Man trashcan that I was always jealous of (and to think that he wouldn’t give it to me!). Unfortunately, that item is not in the picture. My family bought a second-hand copy of the marblelicious Pac-Man board game you see on the floor there. It was pretty dumb, if I recall — nothing could compare to playing the actual video game on our Atari 800 at the time. And another of my brother’s friends had the Pac-Man Fever album, but they never let me listen to it. I still hold it against them to this day.

Anyway, check out the other full scans below and behold the power of merchandising! Warning — the full images are pretty big. Enjoy!

The Ultimate Pac-Man Room 1 The Ultimate Pac-Man Room 2

[ Scanned by VC&G from Popular Computing Magazine, December 1982 ]

If you use these images on your site or blog, please support “Retro Scan of the Week” by giving us obvious credit for the original scan and entry. Thanks! We really appreciate it.