Archive for December, 2010

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Datalife Holiday Pack

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Datalife 5.25 Floppy Disk box Christmas Ad - 1983It’s the Datalife Holiday Pack!

It’s Christmas morning, 1983. You eagerly run downstairs to the fireplace and notice a stocking stuffed to the brim with goodies. You dump it out and find ten boxes of Datalife 5.25″ floppy diskettes.

Choose your own Adventure:

a) You are happy because disks are expensive for a kid and you use a personal computer.

b) You’d rather have candy.

[ From Personal Computing, November 1983, p.82 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What did you get for Christmas this year? Any gadgets, games, or computer stuff?

May the Triforce Be With You

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

Custom Homemade Zelda Triforce Christmas Ornament

Merry Christmas from Vintage Computing and Gaming

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.

Homemade Zelda Ornament

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Custom Homemade Zelda Triforce Christmas Ornament

I whipped up this Zelda-themed ornament a few days ago out of some leftover polymer clay I had lying around. I thought you might enjoy it.

Have you ever made video game or computer themed ornaments? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Animated Christmas GIFs of Yore

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Christmas Animated GIF

A few days ago, published a slideshow of vintage Christmas graphics files that I put together. Some of those images were stills from animated GIFs. Below, you’ll find the full animated GIF files featured in the article and a whole lot more. Merry Christmas!

Prepare to be besparkled.

[ Continue reading Animated Christmas GIFs of Yore » ]

The Ghost of Christmas Graphics Past

Monday, December 20th, 2010

The Ghost of Christmas Graphics Past - Vintage Christmas Graphics - slideshow on

I’ve been collecting vintage Christmas GIF files for a while now, and I finally decided to put some of the best ones from the 256-color PC era together in a slideshow. You can check it out over at

Please disregard the “Christmas Card” stuff they inserted in the title and introduction — I’m not sure why they did that. The images have nothing to do with Christmas cards (those paper things you mail to people). I guess it’s hard to concisely describe to the general public what exactly these images are and why someone would want to look at them. Also, the captions are to the upper right of each image. Hope you enjoy it. Merry Christmas.

Update (12/21/2010): I just posted a bunch of animated Christmas GIFs, including those featured in this slideshow.

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Nintendo vs. Sega: Christmas 1987 Shootout

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Toys'R'Us Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Master System Ad - December 1987Who will win the battle of the Zappers?

Merry Christmas from Vintage Computing and Gaming

[ From Popular Mechanics, December 1987, insert ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Name any item you received as a present for Christmas in 1987. Don’t remember? Guess!

The Digital Camera Turns 35

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

35 Years of the Digital Camera Slideshow at PC World

35 years ago this month, Steve Sasson and his crew at a Kodak laboratory in Rochester, NY tested the world’s first digital camera for the first time. The device only took 100×100 pixel photos, storing them on audio cassette tape.

Sounds like a good excuse to create a slideshow overview of digital camera history, doesn’t it? Mosey on over to PC World and check out what I put together — “35 Years of the Digital Camera.”

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Give Your Apple Vision for Christmas

Monday, December 13th, 2010

The Micro Works DS-65 Digisector Video Digitizer for Apple II Ad - 1979How your Apple II sees itself.
(click above to see full ad)

This early Apple II video digitizer (the DS-65 Digiselector) took a regular video input and…well, digitized it. The result was a 256×256 pixel greyscale still image that you could manipulate on your Apple II. In an age before consumer digital cameras, this was quite a novel feat of technical wizardry.

It sold for $349.95 in 1979, which is equivalent to $1,054.24 in 2010 dollars. That’s actually not too bad.

[ From Byte Magazine, December 1979, p.226 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Have you ever owned a video capture card? Tell us about it.

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Duke Nukem Boy

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Duke Nukem for Game Boy Color Ad - 1999“Your Game Boy is about to become a man.”

While I’ve been a fan of Duke Nukem since his initial shareware debut in 1991, I’ve never played this 2D platformer for the Game Boy Color. It arrived relatively fresh on the heels of the mega-success that was Duke Nukem 3D in 1996, along with a handful of other spin-off titles for various game consoles.

The true sequel to Duke Nukem 3D, Duke Nukem Forever, is supposedly coming soon (after 14 years in development hell), and I look forward to playing that when it arrives.

By the way — if you like Duke Nukem, you may enjoy reading this interview of 3D Realms founder and president Scott Miller that I did last year.

[ From Electronic Gaming Monthly, September 1999, p.37 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Which is the better game: Doom, Duke Nukem 3D, or Quake? (Not just technologically speaking, but based on the overall experience.)