December 11th, 2012 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Christmas, Retro Scan, freelance work, Apple, Nintendo, Zelda, Coco, PC World, PCMag, NES, art, 2012
It's that time of year again: the Yuletide. In celebration, I thought I'd dredge through the VC&G archives for Christmas material and collect it all in one place. (I also did this last year, but I have updated the list of links with new material for 2012.)
Below you will find a list of everything Yule-flavored from this site and my offsite freelance work. There are a couple slideshow gems in there that you don't want to miss, so check those out if you haven't already.
I have a soft spot for Christmas, having been raised with the tradition, so this list is for me as much as it is for everyone else. After going through these things again, it's amazing to see how much Christmas stuff I've posted over the years. I hope you enjoy it.
[ Continue reading The VC&G Christmas Collection (2012 Edition) » ]
August 2nd, 2012 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Commodore, Commodore 64, freelance work, anniversaries, PC World, 1982
Thirty years ago, Commodore Business Machines released the Commodore 64, an 8-bit home computer that served up early computer experiences for millions of users around the world. By some estimates, the little brown wonder sold as many as 17 million units during its 12 year lifespan, which means there are a lot of C64 fans out there.
In honor of both the machine and its fans, I recently locked myself in a room with the vintage machine for a week to put it through its paces and see if I could use it as a work machine. In the process, I tested it as a word processor, game console, and even used it to send a few tweets. I did it all with vintage hardware and software, so you'll find no Ethernet adapters or SD card drives here.
If, while reading, you feel anything is missing, that's because the piece got quite a chopping — I did so much in my week with the C64 that the full report on my activities was way too long for publication. For example, sections on GEOS, my pirated disk collection, and more were dropped. Perhaps those will show up somewhere else in the future.
Still, the result should be quite a fun read for any vintage computing fan. I hope you enjoy it.
July 10th, 2012 by Benj Edwards
Tags: IBM, IBM PS/2, VGA, floppy drives, freelance work, anniversaries, PC World, 1987
25 years ago, IBM introduced the Personal System/2 (PS/2), a computer series that brought VGA, PS/2 ports, 3.5″ floppy drives, and more to the world of PC compatibles.
In honor of this anniversary, I wrote an article about the first set of PS/2 computers (released April 1987) for PCWorld.com.
One of my first PCs was an IBM PS/2 Model 25 — the famous all-in-one IBM PC that found its way into many homes and schools due to its relatively low price. The Model 25 is not mentioned in the article, however, because it was not a member of the original April 1987 lineup (I believe it launched later that year).
I hope you enjoy the piece.
June 25th, 2012 by Benj Edwards
Tags: social networking, computer networks, Friendster, SixDegrees.com, Internet, BBS, anniversaries, freelance work, PC World
This year marks the 10th anniversary of Friendster, and the 15th anniversary of the launch of SixDegrees.com, the first social networking website.
Up now on PCWorld.com is a slideshow (created by yours truly) to celebrate these anniversaries by examining the world of computerized social networking in the pre-Web era. It covers the usual suspects like Usenet, CompuServe, and BBSes, plus some surprising early services of which you may not have heard. I hope you enjoy it.
As a side note, I'd like to add that this will be my last slideshow edited by Ed Albro, my long-time PC World editor whom I have worked with since 2008. It's been a pleasure working with Ed, and I wish him all the best in his future endeavors.
May 28th, 2012 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Magnavox Odyssey, Magnavox, Ralph Baer, teardowns, anniversaries, freelance work, moss, 1972, PC World
Believe it or not, it's been almost two years since I did my last tech teardown slideshow for PC World. After 11 visual disassemblies with my haggard workbench as a backdrop, I figured I'd give the series a rest until an interesting new venue came along.
Fast forward to April 2012 — it was a beautiful spring day outside, and I had decided to take apart a 1972 Magnavox Odyssey (the first commercial video game console) in honor of its 40th anniversary. I walked out to my back yard, sat down on the moss, and the result is now up on PCWorld.com.
I hope you enjoy it.
Here are my previous tech teardowns: Nintendo NES, Atari 1040STf, Atari 800, Commodore Amiga 1000, Commodore 64, Nintendo Game Boy, Nintendo Famicom, Apple IIc, IBM Model M Keyboard, TRS-80 Model 100, and Macintosh Portable.
January 24th, 2012 by Benj Edwards
Tags: IBM, IBM PC, shareware, freelance work, PC World, slideshow
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.
If you love shareware games, check out my 2009 interviews with the twin titans of PC shareware, Scott Miller of Apogee and Tim Sweeney of Epic MegaGames.
January 18th, 2012 by Benj Edwards
Tags: PC World, freelance work, SSD, Evolution of, slideshow
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.
Previous entries in Benj's "Evolution of…" series:
Evolution of Computer Displays
Evolution of Video Game Media
Evolution of Removable Storage
Evolution of The Cell Phone
August 12th, 2011 by Benj Edwards
Tags: IBM, IBM PC, anniversaries, freelance work, PC World, Technologizer, oddities, 1981
If you haven't heard by now, the IBM PC platforms turned 30 years old today. On August 12th, 1981, IBM announced its new PC, the 5150, at a press conference in New York. It was a big deal then, and it's an even bigger deal now. For the last 30 years, most of us have been using computers descended from a standard set in motion 30 years ago.
To celebrate this momentous anniversary, I've put together a few articles for PC World and Technologizer. The first is titled, "Can You Do Real Work With the 30-Year-Old IBM 5150?" A few weeks ago, I locked myself in a room with a vintage IBM PC 5150 to see if I could use it for real, modern computing work. That article spells out the results.
The second is something more predictable: IBM PC Oddities over at Technologizer. It's the latest in my Oddities series of interesting and bizarre trivia slideshows for that site. If you've ever used a PC, you should enjoy it.
Then there's the stuff at VC&G. I just posted a few thoughts on the IBM PC's anniversary and an essay on history's treatment of the IBM PC, and on Monday I posted a new Retro Scan of the Week that features a 1982 IBM PC ad. In turn, that Retro Scan post lists previous Retro Scan entries that deal with the PC.
Happy Birthday, IBM PC!
March 18th, 2010 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Atari, Atari ST, Atari 1040STf, teardowns, workbench teardowns, freelance work, PC World
Atari Corporation premiered the first member of its ST series, the Atari 520ST, at the Winter Consumer Electronics Show 25 years ago this January. After the 520ST shipped mid-1985, Atari released an upgraded model in 1986 called the Atari 1040STf — variations of which remained best sellers throughout the ST's run.
In honor of the Atari ST series' 25th anniversary, I've dissected the popular Atari 1040STf in my usual style for PC World, making this the ninth entry in my "workbench series" of tech autopsies. I think it turned out very well, and I hope you enjoy it.
I have fond memories of the 1040STf because my father bought one for the family back in 1986. Games like Phantasie, SunDog, Exodus, and Gauntlet always come to mind when I think of Atari's GUI-based wonder.
Is anybody else out there a fan of the Atari ST series? If so, tell us about it. What ST model(s) did/do you have? What are your favorite ST games? Bonus points to anyone who can provide a picture of themselves using an Atari ST before 1990!
Here are my previous workbench teardowns, if you're interested: Atari 800, Commodore 64, Nintendo Game Boy, Nintendo Famicom, Apple IIc, IBM Model M Keyboard, TRS-80 Model 100, and Macintosh Portable.