Discussion Topic of the Week: What's your favorite winter sport(s) video game? This is mine.
My father bought the Macintosh SE you see in this photo pretty soon after it came out in 1987. It proved to be a key tool in launching his business the following year. His company's logo, sales literature, and product manuals were all designed on it. It was an amazing upgrade over a DOS-based PC.
Naturally, my brother and I immediately started to use the SE to play games. We had access to very few titles, though — we played Shadowgate, Dungeon of Doom, Silent Service, and that's about it. I was always disappointed with the Mac's lack of color, but the sharpness and resolution of its display were hard to beat at the time. And the sound was amazing too. The evil laugh in the beginning of Shadowgate still rings clear in my memory.
The SE pictured in this photo remains in my collection to this day, and I boot it up from time to tinker with it. Perhaps I should fire it up again today in honor of my dad.
Discussion Topic of the Week: Did you ever use a computer in one of your parents' offices? Tell us about it.
Back in the mid-late 1990s, an Internet-based BBS platform called Hotline sprung up and quickly spread throughout the Macintosh community. It was basically a client/server BBS software suite that allowed for multi-user chat, file transfers, and message boards.
By the early 2000s, though, Hotline had mostly died out. Today, only a handful of servers remain. But guess what? You can still connect to them — on Windows or a Mac. A new article I wrote for Macworld, "Hotline Revisted," tells you how.
Have fun. Remember to be kind to the Hotline veterans when you visit.
I last updated you on my Macworld work back in January. Since then, I've been busy writing more historically-minded pieces for the site as well as its sister site, TechHive. Below you'll find a list of the ones I haven't mentioned yet on this blog in convenient digest form.
- 01-30-2013- The Little-Known Apple Lisa: Five Quirks and Oddities
- 02-08-2013 - The History of Electronic Board Games
- 02-11-2013 - The Mac Color Classic, 20 Years Later
- 02-16-2013 - Abandoned Apples
- 02-18-2013 - Evolution of the Smartwatch
- 03-01-2013 - The Evolution of Apple Pointing Devices
- 03-15-2013 - Teach Your Old iPod New Tricks
- 03-22-2013 - Apple's Five Most Important Displays
Phew. I've been busy! Of those eight pieces, the Apple Lisa one can't be missed. Plenty of interesting little-known history there. The Mac Color Classic and Abandoned Apples pieces are some of my favorites as well.
I'm not sure, but I get the feeling from the lack of comments on my Apple-related posts that not many Apple or Mac fans visit VC&G. Not quite sure why that is, but if you're out there, let me know.
This week we're taking a look at another image that made the rounds in the BBS days, DRAGON6.GIF. In it, we see two digitally illustrated Chinese dragons who appear to be springing forth from a magical stone. Iridescent waves crash around them, and smoke curls throughout an ethereal void. The color palette is rich and bold, underscoring the image's Eastern art influence.
At the moment, the artist behind this amazing work of digital art remains unknown. Still, we can narrow down when the image was made and how by taking a look at its resolution, color depth, and file date.
Since my last update on the articles I've written for Macworld in November, I've written at least a handful more vintage-related stories for the publication that I haven't mentioned on this blog. To remedy that, I thought I'd share them below in convenient digest form.
- 12-21-2012 - The Forgotten eMate 300 — 15 Years Later
- 12-28-2012 - How to Make a Mac Plus Clock
- 01-11-2013 - Apple Knockoffs Through the Years
- 01-18-2013 - 30 Years of the Apple Lisa and the Apple IIe
The Mac Plus Clock piece is particularly fun, and I think VC&G fans will really enjoy it.
If I recall correctly, the MacCharlie was essentially an IBM PC clone in a beige box that hooked to the Mac's serial port. As a result, the Mac merely served as a serial terminal for the MacCharlie via custom terminal software running on the Mac. That's not a particularly efficient setup, but the lack of expansion ports on the original Macintosh meant that there was no other reasonable point of entry.
Since it worked through the serial port, the MacCharlie could only run text-based MS-DOS applications. Conveniently, the MacCharlie shipped with a keyboard extender that added the IBM PC's special function keys and a numeric keypad to the Macintosh keyboard.
Discussion Topic of the Week: Have you ever used a hardware system adapter (something that lets you use software from one platform on another through hardware, not software emulation) for any computer system?
In honor of the impending New Year, I bring you this ray traced image that dates back to December 1992 — 20 years ago — and celebrates New Year 1993.
As per its inscription, this image was created using StrataVision 3D and retouched with PhotoMac by its author, CT. I have not determined who CT is yet, but I will do some more poking around soon and update this entry if I find out. (If you find out first, please let me know.)
Happy New Year!
|Retro GIF of the Week Fact Box|
|Source File Name:||NEWYEAR.GIF|
|Source File Date:||December 16, 1992|
|Source File Format:||GIF - 87a (non-interlaced)|
|Dimensions:||640 x 480 pixels|
(bits per pixel):
|8-bit (256 color)|
|Creation Date:||Likely December 1992|
|If you know more about the origin of this image, please leave a comment.|
Just in time for Christmas: Macworld has posted a slideshow of vintage Christmas-related Macintosh art and ephemera that I created for that site. I hope you enjoy it.
In the BBS world of the late 1980s and early 1990s, one could easily find digital art that celebrated consumer brands, like the image of a Coke can seen here. In fact, I'd say brand art was a particularly distinctive genre of early computer art.
If I had to explain why brand art was so common, I'd first speculate that when people needed something to test out their imaging equipment with — say, a new scanner or a video digitizer card — an advertisement or product package was always at hand to be a guinea pig.
More importantly, consumer brands also inspire loyalty that consumers identify with personally. Think Doritos and Mountain Dew. Fans of those products like to spread their love of them as a cultural identifier, and the same was true in the 1980s and 1990s online space.