April 2nd, 2013 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Hotline, BBS, internet BBS, Apple, Macintosh, Windows, Macworld, freelance work, 1996
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.
March 23rd, 2013 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Apple, Macintosh, iPod, smartwatch, Apple Lisa, Mac Color Classic, Electronic Board Games, abandoned, mice, displays, pointing devices, Macworld, TechHive, freelance work
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.
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.
March 23rd, 2013 by Benj Edwards
Tags: VCR Games, Clue, Trivial Pursuit, TechHive, freelance work, Captain Power, Rich Little, 1985
Does anybody out there remember VCR games? They were typically board games that integrated a pseudo-interactive VHS video tape into the game play. The first two to be released were the Clue VCR Mystery Game and Rich Little's VCR Charades Game, both by Parker Brothers in 1985.
They weren't video games, per se, but you could call them "video tape games," or VCR games, as I preferred in the recent slideshow of 1980s and '90s VCR game classics I assembled for TechHive. Here's an excerpt from the intro:
The rise of the home VCR in the early 1980s brought about that last innovation, which resulted in dozens of board games (and eventually toys as well) that shipped with VHS tapes designed to be played at certain points in the game. Players had to follow cues in the game in order to call up the right segment to play on the videocassette—all in all, a tedious business.
Personally, I remember playing the Clue VCR game at a friend's house as a kid not long after it came out. It seemed pretty amazing at the time. I also vaguely remember playing some beach-themed game, and maybe one based on Trivial Pursuit.
Oh, and I also had the white Captain Power ship and some tapes. Loved that stuff.
The same sort of pseudo-interactive game format later made its way to DVDs, but the rise of multimedia video games (and ever-better graphics) essentially killed whatever chance they had of becoming a classic game genre.
January 25th, 2013 by Benj Edwards
Tags: art, woman, SAGE, 1956, pin-up, computer porn, sex, freelance work
Thirty-five thousand years ago, when massive beasts still roamed the earth, an early modern human carved the figure of a sexually robust woman into a piece of woolly mammoth tusk, creating the earliest known figurative artwork. During a time of almost certain hardship and scarcity, when acquiring that tusk involved slaying an animal 100 times one's weight, the artist devoted countless hours to create a sculpture that idolized nothing less than sex itself.
35 millennia later, during a time when computing power was so scarce that it required a government defense budget to finance it, a late modern human utilized a $238 million military computer, the largest such machine ever built, to render an image of a sexually robust woman on a glowing cathode ray tube screen. The year was 1956, and its creation was a landmark moment in computer graphics and cultural history that has gone unnoticed until now.
You can read the full story I wrote about this landmark piece of digital art over at The Atlantic. I'd like to personally thank Lawrence Tipton, Robert Martina, and all of the SAGE veterans who helped me research this piece.
January 25th, 2013 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Apple, Macintosh, Apple Lisa, Apple IIe, Apple II, Macworld, freelance work, eMate 300, Mac Plus, clock
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.
The Mac Plus Clock piece is particularly fun, and I think VC&G fans will really enjoy it.
January 21st, 2013 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Apple, Apple Lisa, Apple IIe, Apple II, Popular Computing, anniversaries, freelance work, Macworld, 1983
APPLE'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?
December 24th, 2012 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Christmas, art, Macintosh, Macworld, freelance work, slideshow, Apple
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.
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) » ]
November 26th, 2012 by Benj Edwards
Tags: Apple, Macintosh, Macworld, freelance work, Steve Jobs
As long time readers of VC&G know, I usually post short entries about my non-blog writing activities on this blog so you can enjoy them.
Recently, I've been so engrossed in writing Macworld articles that I have neglected to mention them. Consider that remedied with this handy digest of pieces I've written over the past two months for said Mac-related publication. Conveniently, they all have history angles to them (or else I wouldn't list them here):
There's more on the way, so stay tuned to see whether I neglect to mention those here as well. The excitement is palpable!
October 1st, 2012 by Benj Edwards
Tags: TechHive, Compact Disc, CD Players, CDP-101, freelance work, anniversaries, 1982
Thirty years ago today, Sony released the first commercially available Compact Disc player, the CDP-101. It launched alongside 50 CDs in Japan, marking the commercial birth of the widely popular digital audio medium.
Over at TechHive (a new site run by the folks behind PC World), I've written an in-depth piece that details the history and impact of the CD as a medium for both audio and computer data. I hope you enjoy it.