Archive for July, 2010

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] The Whole Dam Thing

Monday, July 26th, 2010

Portrait Display Labs Pivot 1700 Monitor Ad - 1997The Portrait Display Labs Pivot 1700

When I was a kid, I found myself wondering why all monitors didn’t rotate from a horizontal to a vertical orientation. I thought I had invented the idea myself. Turns out, at least one company actually did make a monitor like that — the Pivot 1700 — and you’re looking at it now.

Full-page displays were something of a marketing fad during the rise of the desktop publishing revolution from the mid-1980s to early 1990s. They were designed with a vertical orientation so that someone could read or edit a full 8.5″ x 11″ letter-sized page on screen at one time.

I have no doubt those displays came in handy for certain document designers and secretaries, but their high price and specialized function limited them to a small market. To this day I have never seen one being used in the wild, although I have encountered a few full page displays out of service in my collecting adventures.

In more recent years, I’ve seen some LCD monitors that can rotate on their base to change orientations rather easily. There’s no doubt that it’s a much easier trick to pull off considering the small size and weight of LCD panels verses their bulky CRT counterparts. Now whether anybody needs it or not with today’s super high resolultion 30″ displays, I don’t know.

[ From PC Magazine, March 4, 1997, p.242 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What’s the largest CRT computer monitor you’ve ever used? How big is your monitor (any kind) now?

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Road Rash 64

Monday, July 19th, 2010

Road Rash 64 N64 Nintendo 64 Ad - 1999Road + Baby = Road Baby

[ From Electronic Gaming Monthly, September 1999, p.41 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What’s the best four player game for the Nintendo 64? Feel free to list a few if you like.

[ Retro Scan Special ] IBM Taught Me How to Read

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

IBM Writing to Read Journal 5

Periodically, I visit my parents’ house and pick through the material vestiges of my childhood. Old toys, broken knickknacks, and drawings rendered in crayon litter their dusty attic. My mom, being the mother she was, tucked them away as small monuments to her child’s journey through life. I’m happy she did.

During one of these visits in 2008, I ran across this curious artifact of my early education. It’s one of my kindergarten spelling workbooks, still filled out in my meandering 5-year old hand all these years later.

IBM Writing to Read Journal 5   IBM Writing to Read Journal 5

As I flipped through its pages, memories of my kindergarten year — 1986 — began to bubble up from the deepest corners of my brain. I remembered the workbook’s contents surprisingly well: it contained simple words with letters omitted, replaced with blanks in which I scrawled awkward glyphs.

I recalled having my spelling knowledge put to the test on primitive PCs of the day, which I had always assumed were Apple IIs in retrospect. But when my eyes fell upon the famous IBM logo printed on the cover, a strange realization washed over me: IBM taught me how to read.

[ Continue reading [ Retro Scan Special ] IBM Taught Me How to Read » ]

Eventually, the Yeti Will Eat Us All

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Yeti Food

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Rampant Inflation

Monday, July 5th, 2010

Dig Dug Atari 2600 5200 Ad - 1983So that’s what belly buttons are for. (Dig Dug)

[ From Electronic Games, December 1983 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: In your opinion, which is the superior system: Atari 2600 or Atari 5200? And I’m not talking tech specs.