Archive for the 'VC&G Announcements' Category

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Surfin’ The Net!

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

PopSci for Kids September-October 1995 CoverOuch. Get off my hand, you tiny mounted knight.

Few magazine covers represent the playful optimism of the early Internet craze years like this cover of PopSci for Kids from 1995. Before the public understood what the Internet really meant, it was up to journalists (who usually didn’t know either) to tell them. This resulted in lots of visual hyperbole (see children happily trapped inside a computer above) and colorful metaphors like “surfin’ the net” to convey the energy and potential of something that, in reality, looked rather mundane on the screen.

Did these whimsical and exaggerated media tactics succeed? I think so, because that little thing called The Internet became much more popular than even journalists in 1995 could imagine. There is no doubt that the media played a large part in popularizing the global computer network in its early public years.

[ From PopSci for Kids, September/October 1995, cover ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: When was the first time you surfed the ‘Net? Did you feel like you were actually surfing on a digital surf board made of ones and zeros?

10 Classic Video Game Hacks Everyone Should Play

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

10 Classic Video Game Hacks Everyone Should Play

Fans of my old VC&G column Hacksterpiece Theatre will enjoy my new slideshow on PCMag.com that profiles 10 amazing classic video game ROM hacks. Not surprisingly, the piece is titled, 10 Classic Video Game Hacks Everyone Should Play.

I’m sure you can suggest some great hacks too, so I’d like to know — what are your favorite ROM hacks?

Benj Talks Piracy and History on Public Radio

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Why History Needs Software PiracyYesterday I made a live appearance on Word of Mouth, a show on New Hampshire Public Radio, talking about my recent piece, “Why History Needs Software Piracy.” You can listen to the audio of the interview online. The interview appeared at the top of the show and lasted about 9 minutes.

It was my first live radio interview, so I’m not sure if I made any sense. Even if I didn’t, you can check out the dulcet tones of my telephone speaking voice.

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet

Monday, January 9th, 2012

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.

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

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.

Time for a VC&G Redesign?

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Vintage Computing and Gaming LogoVintage Computing and Gaming has retained the same general site design, albeit with a few aesthetic changes, since it started in 2005. Do you think it’s time to change the layout of the site? Do you think I should add any features to the site to make it like more modern blogs?

For VC&G, my philosophy has long been, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” And I defintely don’t think the site is broken. But perhaps it is time to modernize a few elements of the blog. The thing I’d like to add most is a tag-based post system. I think that would work better than post categories as they now stand.

The commenting system works pretty well for the number of comments we get, so I don’t think we need a complex comment rating or moderation system at the moment.

As for the current design, I like the fact that, because I haven’t added complex bells and whistles to the site’s software, VC&G is easy to view on older computers with slightly older browsers. It’s simple and it does the trick.

Let’s put it this way: do you think if I redesigned the site that more people would read VC&G? (Although statistically speaking, we have more readers than ever.) Is the design out of touch with a “modern” web audience? Your thoughts count, so let me know in the comments.

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] A Packard Bell

Monday, May 30th, 2011

Packard Bell Legend 650 Plus in Sears Wish Book 1992It’s just, you know, one a them computers. One a them things. Don’t work.

[ From Sears Wish Book, 1992, p.728 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: In your words, what is a computer?

One Scan Per Week for Five Years

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Retro Scan of the Week Turns Five

As of today, I have posted a Retro Scan of the Week every Monday for five years. That’s 263 entries total — each post containing at least one scan of something deliciously vintage for you and yours to enjoy.

But wait a minute. Let’s back up a bit to the “every Monday for five years” part. I can’t quite believe that. Have I really been doing these scans for five years? Every single week? Dear God. As crazy as it sounds, the answer is yes.

I hear some of you chanting “speech,” (or maybe that’s just the audience of one inside by head) so I will say a few words of reflection.

[ Continue reading One Scan Per Week for Five Years » ]

The Web Browser Turns 20

Friday, December 24th, 2010

20 Years of the Web Browser - Web Browsers through the Ages

The first version of the first web browser ever — Tim Berners-Lee’s WorldWideWeb — carried with it a date of 12/25/1990. That’s 20 years ago tomorrow.

Most people won’t notice this anniversary, however, because CERN decided to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the WWW last year. Why’d they do that? Well, 1989 is when Berners-Lee first conceived of the WWW and wrote about the idea in a document to his supervisor. 1990, however, is when the web actually went live. Happy 20th birthday, WWW!

I emailed Berners-Lee to ask him about the original release date of WorldWideWeb (a browser only available only for the NeXT platform, by the way), and he responded with the truth behind the Christmas release date:

I wrote the web browser between September and mid-November 1990. I had to stop work because (a) CERN was closed for the Christmas break (around the 13th maybe) and (b) a first child was due Dec 24. So though the software version was wrapped some time well before Christmas. I labeled it version 901225 to be a memorable version number!

So there you have it from the inventor of the Web himself.

In honor of this occasion, I put together a slideshow of “Web Browsers Through the Ages” for PC World. I hope you enjoy it.

Five Years of VC&G

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Vintage Computing and Gaming LogoFive years ago today, I published my first post on Vintage Computing and Gaming.

The funny thing is that when I started this blog in 2005, I had no idea I would still be doing it five years later — or that it would become the nucleus of a career in writing. No idea.

It’s amazing how life can guide you in new and unexpected directions.

So what this anniversary really means that my career as a professional writer is now five years old. I’ve written for a dozen or so web and print publications over the last five years, and I still enjoy every minute of it.

[ Continue reading Five Years of VC&G » ]

A Reminder: Benj is on Twitter

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

I mentioned this last year, but I figure more people are using Twitter now. So if you want to Twitterize together, feel free to folllow @benjedwards. Help me build a massive, influential Twitter army through which I can disseminate my august opinions on technology, vintage computing, and Burt Reynolds. (Or at least help me eclipse 100 followers — that’s right, I said oooone hundred!) With numbers like that, we could organize some crazy flash mobs.