Archive for March, 2013

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] At Home in High Heels

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Business woman on Family & Home Office Computing Cover October 1987“Pardon me, m’am, but your wall is glowing.”

The cover of this October 1987 issue of Family & Home Office Computing is so sociologically charged that you could interpret it in dozens of ways — some of them seemingly contradictory.

The cover story and art are reflective of the 1970s women’s movement in the US that empowered women to more freely seek careers outside of the home. And yet it’s referring to a woman working from home — while wearing semi-formal business attire, nonetheless. (I’m not particularly equipped to critique women’s fashion, but I can imagine that some women today would find the idea of working at home in this kind of outfit to be amusing.)

Plenty of people do office-style work from home these days, but in 1987, that was a very new concept. It was all made possible by advances in telecommunications and personal computers. But the concept brought with it many new challenges.

The lady seen here is a mom (see mug), and she has to worry about “juggling career and family,” as the cover states — a tricky issue that will never fully be resolved in any decade. Does she care for her children during the day, or are they at school? Is she an employee or a business owner? Why did she choose an Epson-brand PC compatible machine?

While these are all very real concerns, in this case we can answer every question quite easily: she’s just a model in a magazine cover shoot.

[ From Compute!, November 1985, p.33 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Do any women read this blog? [echo, echo…] What do you think of this cover image?

[ Fuzzy Memory ] Windows CGI Promotional Video

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

Fuzzy MemoryEvery once and a while, I receive emails from people looking for a certain game, electronic toy, or computer from their distant past. I then pass it on to intrepid VC&G readers to crack the case.

The Clues

Matt V writes:

I forget whether it was on Windows 3.1 or Windows 95, but I remember Windows coming with a CGI video that was something like a ball going through a Rube Goldberg machine… at the very end, the ball rolls up to a guy (maybe Bill Gates?) who looks at the camera and says “Cool!”

I don’t remember it being shown anywhere specifically; I seem to remember finding it by looking through random directories for *.mid files (back when hearing music from a computer was fascinating) …

It’s possible that it wasn’t specifically a Windows video, I suppose it could have been installed when I got my sound card as well.

Anyone else remember this?

The Search Begins

It’s up to you to find the object of Matt’s fuzzy memory. Post any thoughts or suggestions in the comments section below. Matt will be monitoring the comments, so if you need to clarify something with him, ask away. Good luck!

Have a memory of a computer, video game, computer software, or electronic toy you need help identifying? Send me an email describing your memories in detail. Hopefully, the collective genius of the VC&G readership can help solve your mystery.

[ Retro GIF of the Week ] Delicious Strawberry

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Amiga Strawberry Art 1986 Retro GIFClick to see other views of this image: [ Original Size ] [ 2X Zoom ] [ 4:3 Ratio ]

It’s hard to believe that an artist created this delectable representation of a strawberry using only tiny digital squares in a mere 16 different shades. Whomever made it did so in 1986 on a Commodore Amiga: the signature date, image dimensions, color depth, and color resolution all point to those facts.

Obviously, due to its age, this image did not originate as a GIF. CompuServe introduced the first GIF standard in 1987.

I know of three other works by this same artist (all signed with the same signature), and they’re all amazing. I’ll probably post them in the future, but for reference, those other works depict a stylized lion head, a pair of feminine human lips, and a “Liquid Light” logo.

But I can’t quite read the signature. It looks like it starts with a “K.” Can anybody out there help me find this artists’ name?

[ Update: 03/06/2013 – Gino in the comments identified this image as the work of Kara Blohm, a well-known Amiga font and graphics artist who is now sadly deceased. Thanks, Gino! ]

[ Wondering what a GIF is? Read the introduction to this column. ]

Retro GIF of the Week Fact Box
Source File Name: STRAWBRY.GIF
Oldest Known File Date: January 21, 1993 – 2:43:32 AM Eastern
Source File Format: GIF – 87a (non-interlaced)
Dimensions: 640 x 400 pixels
Color Depth: 4-bit (16 color)
Color Resolution
(palette size):
12-bit (4096 colors)
Origin Platform: Amiga
Derived From: Unknown
Creation Date: 1986
Artist: Kara Blohm
If you know more about the origin of this image, please leave a comment.