Archive for April, 2010

Mario’s Namesake Revealed

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

The True Face of Mario on Technologizer

Technologizer just published the first photograph of Mario Segale to ever grace the intricate tubes of the Internet. And it happened in an article written by yours truly. It’s titled “The True Face of Mario.”

Who’s Mario Segale, you ask? He’s the man that inspired Mario’s name and Italian heritage. To see the photo and to read more about how Nintendo’s famous plumber got his name, mosey on over to the Technologizer and check it out.

P.S. If you like it, please digg it and spread the word.

P.P.S. I thought I had this post up publicly yesterday, but just realized I didn’t. Oops.

Four Reasons the LaserWriter Mattered

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Five Reasons the Apple LaserWriter Mattered

Twenty-five years ago this spring, Apple released the LaserWriter, its first laser printer. Few today remember that Apple’s hefty printing machine had as much of an impact on the way the world uses computers as the Macintosh itself. In conjunction with Apple’s famous PC, the LaserWriter pushed the personal computer into the worlds of graphic design and publishing.

So begins my latest piece over at, which examines four reasons why we should care about the historical legacy of Apple’s first laser printer. It also touches on the early Apple-Adobe relationship, which began with the LaserWriter. That relationship has come under closer scrutiny recently thanks to the nasty iPhone-iPad /Adobe Flash feud.

If you’re interested in more Apple printer information, check out this article I did for Macworld last year. It lists “Apple’s Five Most Important Printers.” Supposedly.

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Magical Nipples of Solstice

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Solstice NES Ad - 1991Our hero stands alone in a dungeon, screaming profanities at the ceiling.

You might remember our intrepid hero, a loincloth-bedecked body builder, from last year’s VC&G Halloween Costume Ideas. This beefcakey portrayal of Solstice’s main character is as amusing now as it was then, so I figured it deserved its own RSOTW.

The character’s name is actually Shadax, if you’re interested. If you’re not, I don’t blame you. He’s not normally like this, I swear. Shadax wears a modest, body-enveloping robe throughout the entire game. He only gets naked when he’s had too much of the ‘ole Green Fairy.

[ From Video Games and Computer Entertainment, April 1991, p.75 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What’s your favorite NES puzzle game? For bonus points: what’s the most obscure NES puzzle game you can name?

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] IBM ScrollPoint Mouse

Monday, April 19th, 2010

IBM ScrollPoint Mouse Ad - 1997Overcome one of the Internet’s least annoying problems.

Ever since Microsoft introduced its first mouse with a scroll wheel, the IntelliPoint Explorer, in 1996, mouse designers have been tripping over themselves to solve the non-problem of how to allow a user to scroll a document horizontally as well as vertically. Along the way, we’ve seen solutions like the IBM TrackPoint (above), Microsoft’s own “tilt wheel” mice, and more recently the “scroll ball” on Apple’s Mighty Mouse. In the case of the ScrollPoint mouse seen above, it looks like IBM simply took its TrackPoint pointing device and stuck it on a mouse where a scroll wheel should be.

It’s all been for naught, though, because 99% of mouse users don’t care about scrolling horizontally. In fact, if you have to scroll horizontally to view a website — the task most often enhanced by a scroll wheel — the website has been terribly designed. As a result, I suspect that horizontal scrolling apparatus tend to annoy users more than help them. I’m sure someone out there will read this and swear by their horizontal scrolling mouse, but I’m also fairly certain that person is in the minority.

For more on mouse history, check out this nifty article I did for Macworld a few years ago. It includes a handy mouse technology timeline.

[ From PC World, November 1997, p.27 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Does your mouse provide the means to scroll horizontally as well as vertically? How do you feel about it?

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Harvest Moon 64

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Harvest Moon 64 Nintendo 64 Ad - 2000Nose Not Required

From a kinder, gentler time when computer-rendered 3D logos were mandatory.

[ From Electronic Gaming Monthly, February 2000, p.95 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What’s your favorite entry in the Harvest Moon game series? Has Natsume made too many of them?

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] The Too-Personal Computer

Monday, April 5th, 2010

IMS International Ad - 1983“Is your personal computer TOO personal?”

Facetious 1980s computer manual quote: “Never operate a computer with the monitor sitting directly in front of you. Neck torsion increases muscle tone and blood flow to the brain, resulting in higher computing performance.”

[ From Interface Age, November 1983, p.13 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Have you ever been forced to share a PC with someone else? Tell us about it.

Ed Roberts (1941-2010)

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Ed RobertsIn Memoriam: Ed Roberts (1941-2010), creator of the Altair 8800.