Friday, November 30, 2007

25 Years of Water Effects in Computer Games

A collection of pictures of water in computer games over the last 25 years. You can see how video games went from unrealistic to photo realistic.

Steve Russell Demonstrates Space War

Steve Russell, one of the creators of Space War, demonstrates the game at the Computer History Museum. This video was taken during the Vintage Computer Festival 2006. Russell and some friends at MIT wrote Space War between 1960 and 1962. While others had created Pong-like games in the 50's, Space War was the first non-pong video game ever designed. The computer here is a restored DEC PDP-1, which is the original hardware for which the game was designed.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Barcode Battler Review

Dr Ashen reviews the Barcode Battler. This device was released in 1991, and competed against other popular hand-held gaming devices such as Sega's Game Gear and the Nintendo Game Boy. The Battler was a rudimentary fighting game that displayed fights as numbers on the screen. To fight you have to swipe special barcode-equipped cards through the console's card reader.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Friday, November 23, 2007

'Internet van' turns 30

TechRepublic reports: "The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., celebrates a nondescript converted bread truck for its instrumental role in developing the first mobile and wireless Internet connection.'s Kara Tsuboi introduces the engineers behind a feat that happened three decades ago this month."

I never even heard of the Internet van until I saw this video. Its very interesting if you know nothing about this van.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The 20 Worst Venture Capital Investments of All Time

Inside CRM reports: "Some things were just never meant to be, but that doesn't mean that investors won't pile millions of dollars upon a bad idea — or even a good idea gone bad. Whether they crashed and burned or sucked investors dry, these ventures just didn't work out. Check out our graveyard of dreams and money to get a look at VC (venture-capital) investments that just weren't wise."

10 Tech Pioneers: Where Are They Now?

PC World reports: "These former technology luminaries have all taken different paths. How different? One's a country doctor, one's a budding movie mogul, and one teaches toddlers--and he's not even alive."

Monday, November 19, 2007

Vintage Computer Commercials

Since the Introduction of the first games consoles like Pong and the first personal computers like the Altair. These devices have forever changed our lives by making computer technology available to the masses.

As time passes new generation of game consoles and computers are created. Each of these new devices is generally better then its predecessors, and each one trying to build on the success for the previous generation.

Today we have game consoles and computers that are literally tens, hundreds or thousands of time more powerful then those only one or two decades previous. Also the graphics and sound rendering on some of the latest video games systems are more realistic then any previous generation of these devices.

The television commercial of vintage computer and game console listed give you a brief look at how things once were.
  • Atari 400: An early attempt by Atari to enter the home computer market (circa 1978).
  • Atari 2600: One of Atari's most successful games system ever created.
  • Commodore VIC-20: The VIC-20 was a low-powered home computer, but what is different about this commercial was that William Shatner stars in it. Tag line "Wonder Computer Of The 1980's" (circa 1982).
  • Commodore 64: The Commodore 64 was one of the most successful home computers ever produced. It was a great computer, and it was affordable. Tag line "What no one else can give you at twice the price" (circa 1982)
  • Coleco Adam: A home computer created in the early 1980s by the toy manufacturer Coleco to follow on the success of its ColecoVision game console (circa 1983).
  • TI-99/4A: The TI99/4A was never a great or really successful home computer, but they did own a third of the home computer market at one time. In this commercial Bill Cosby is pushing a $100 rebate on this computer (circa 1983).
  • Kaypro: One of many CP/M-based computer sold in the 80's. Tag line "The complete computer" (circa 1984).
  • Apple Lisa: The Apple Lisa was the first commercial computer to have a graphical user interface.
  • IBM PC/AT: This is one many commercials that IBM did in the 80's using a Charlie Chaplin like character (circa 1986).
  • Apple //c: A compact, low-cost, non-expandable version of the Apple ][ line of computers.
  • Amiga 1000: This is an early Amiga Commodore commercial (circa 1986). Watch for the spining red/white ball at the end, that graphic made this computer famous.
  • Tandy 1000: Radio Shack's entry into the IBM PC compatible market. They really need to make their commercials more compelling. I almost hate including this one because its not very interesting.
  • Apple Newton: The Newton was the first PDA, and it was really was great device. The handwriting recognition on it never worked very well, but it was still cool. Although this device is huge by today's standards.
  • Atari Jaguar: Advertised itself as the first 64-bit game console. Here is a Wikipedia article with all the information.
    • A compilation of more Atari Jaguar commercials.
  • Atari Lynx: The Lynx was Atari's first entry into the hand-held cartridge video game market which was popularized by the Gameboy.
  • IBM PS/2: IBM attempt to regain the control of the PC compatible market by introducing a proprietary architecture that they controlled. This commercial also includes a reunion of the original M*A*S*H characters (circa 1988).
  • Windows 95: While not a computer or game console, Windows 95 was significant. Tag line "Where do you want to go today" (circa 1995).
  • Packard Bell: I was never a Packard Bell computer fan, they made IBM PC compatibles during the 90's. Although, they did a great job on this commercial (circa 1996).
  • Dell: Bootcamp: I really enjoyed this commercial from Dell. Although it doesn't hold a candle to some of Mac ads created by Apple over the years (circa 2005).
    • Dell Dude: This is the first of a series of the 'Dell Dude' (aka Ben Curtis) commercials. Tag line: "Dude, you're gettin' a Dell!"
  • iPod: While its not a computer, its still a device that has caused the a cultural revolution of its own (circa 2005).
If you notice that I have not included a lot of Apple commercials, check out the following article. This articles includes real Macintosh commercials, and several parodies.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Photos: A 'Cipher Challenge' for Colossus

CNET reports: "The World War II-era computer Colossus helped crack the secret codes of the Third Reich and speed the end of the war. For more than a decade, a team has been working to rebuild a Colossus Mark II (pictured). The computer resides at Bletchley Park in England, home to the National Museum of Computing. On Thursday and Friday in the 'Cipher Challenge,' Colossus will go up against a team of people using modern computing power to decode encrypted radio communications broadcast from Germany."

It took 14-years to build a replica of the original Colossus computer. All the information for the project came from six black-and-whites photo and some circuit diagram fragments. The original information was burned in 1960.

Gallery: The Rocky History of Rockers in Videogames

Wired reports: "Guitar Hero III has become one of the best-selling games in America. Activision licensed the likenesses of real musicians, so players can face off against Slash (Guns N' Roses), Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine) and Bret Michaels (Poison), instead of shredding contests with Axel Steel and Izzy Sparks. ... But these are only the latest in an illustrious history of rockers and rappers licensing their identities for videogames. Starting in the late 1970s, canny managers and videogame-obsessed musicians urged clients and bandmates to sign their names to pinball and game projects. Some turned out to be classics. Here are our favorite rocker videogames, the best of the nerdy synergy of two overly indulgent mediums."

Do you remember any of these games? I know I recognize a few from my childhood.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

[video] Vintage Computer Festival: The rare, historic, and bizarre

CNET "Computer collectors find it all at annual event ... Blow off the dust and get ready to dig through boxes.’s Kara Tsuboi takes a tour of the biggest garage sale for antique computers, vintage video games, and discarded gadgets--the Vintage Computer Festival at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif. And for the first time in decades, the 45-year-old LINC personal computer lights up."

I wish I could have gone to the Vintage Computer Festival this year, maybe I will make it next year.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Photos: Dinosaur Sightings: 1970s computers

CNET reports: "This gallery showcases several 1970s-era machines from Steven Stengel's vintage computer collection. Stengel has graciously allowed CNET to republish his photos and descriptions. You can find much more detailed information on each machine and additional photos of the collection on his Web site"

Great set of pictures of collectible computers.