Archive for technology

Thumbing through a SkyMall catalog from 1996

Posted in magazine, nostalgia, pop culture with tags , , , , on August 25, 2014 by Paxton

Right after college I joined an IT consulting firm. Our business was based on clients. So I traveled 100% to client sites all over the country implementing a corporate financials software suite called PeopleSoft.  So, during my eight years as an IT consultant I became very familiar with airplanes and flying across the country.  Because I was flying nearly every week I picked up one of the first commercially available portable DVD players on the market back in 1999, the Panasonic DVD L-50.  I still have it and it still works.  I literally just let my nearly 4 year old son use it a few weeks ago when the family flew to Colorado.

Because I was on planes 50 weeks out of the year I also became intimately familiar with the in flight magazines.  Namely, the SkyMall Catalog.  It offered interesting products the likes of which you wouldn’t see unless you walked into a Brookstone in the mall.  It was fascinating every month to check out what oddball items were being offered that you could order directly off the Airfone.

During my recent family trip to Colorado I thumbed through the current magazine and thought back longingly to the old catalogs from back in the day.  What would they look like now?  Well, I got an old copy of the catalog so let’s take a look at the treasures contained within.

The SkyMall copy I have is from mid 1996 and is stamped Southwest Airlines.

SkyMall cover

Each airline had their own version of SkyMall, the main difference being that there were a few pages in the back that sold clothing and items emblazoned with the airlines’ logo.  But they all had the same awesome merch and (now) vintage technology.

So let’s get started.

Les Concierges
This ad for a concierge company looks like the cover of a 90s video game simulator called something like Rich & Famous where you play as a wealthy CEO.  I imagine it’s a game like Aerobiz.

Health Rider
There are several things that are guaranteed and written into the laws of nature. Death, of course. Taxes. And companies will never stop trying to develop the “perfect” exercise machine. And they’ll all make you look equally ridiculous when you use them (I’m looking at you, Health Rider).

Bolle Sport glasses Auto Tint Sunglasses
Another guaranteed truth. Companies will always try to design new “gimmick” sunglasses that vaguely perform some “new, cool” function but they look like rejected props from a DEVO video.  Or any 60s movie that features people from the future.

Pop Up Hot Dog cooker
This pop up hot dog cooker/bun warmer is STILL sold in SkyMall magazine today. With nearly the exact same picture. Either it’s a best seller or they sold out 20 years ago and just forgot that it was still in the catalog.

Golf Club flask
This is straight up Rodney Dangerfield from Caddyshack awesome.  I would play golf just so I could use this.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Nerd Lunch Episode 144 – Adventures in Craigslisting

Posted in internet, podcast, pop culture, technology, websites with tags , , , , on August 12, 2014 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast

And we meet again. This week the nerds are joined by former Atomic Geek and current Classic Film Jerk Andrew Bloom to talk about that ancient bastion of Internet classifieds, Craigslist.

bill_delivers5

We all delve into our local Craigslist Classifieds and find some nerdy and weird ads featuring VHS tapes, compulsively curated comic book collections, the Fun TV portable videotape player and Bill. Who makes deliveries.  It’s a fun discussion with lots of Internet craziness.  Come check it out.

Download this episode from iTunes, Stitcher or listen to it on Feedburner. Or listen to it online right here.

Nerd Lunch Episode 26: Talking memories of Retro Technology with The Retroist

Posted in podcast, technology with tags , , , , on February 28, 2012 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast

And we are BACK after our 25th episode spectacular. This week we have a very special guest. The guys and I are a big fan of him and I know you are too. This week we are joined by The Retroist, the brains behind the Retroist site and the awesome Retroist podcast.

The Retroist

This week, we take the opportunity of having an expert in “retro-ology” to look back at our memories of retro technology. We talk about things like cameras, Fox Photo, VCRs and the Atari 2600. It’s a lively discussion that will have you skipping down memory lane. And for you youngsters, you can hear what it was like “back in our day”.

Download this episode from iTunes or listen to it on Feedburner. And, of course, Zune Marketplace.

Jeeg tried to find a way to fax the episode to you, but the solution involved an RCA to coax converter and copious amounts of black magic.  It seemed like a lot of work.

18 Slot machines based on movies and TV shows

Posted in casinos, movies, slot machines, technology, TV shows, video games with tags , , , , , , on September 8, 2011 by Paxton

I mentioned last week that I was going to Vegas with my wife to renew our vows with Elvis. While there, we spent some time in a few casinos. I’m not a big gambler but I love walking casino floors and checking out the other gamblers and the various themed slot machines.

Casinos are awesome. It’s like walking into an arcade back in the 80s. Lots of lights and noise. People hunched over lighted consoles hoping to get high scores. I love going to casinos. Like I said, I’m not a huge gambler, but I love looking at slot machines. They are the modern equivalent of upright arcade games. I’ve talked about my love for slot machines before and their taking the torch of the arcade machine.

Anyway, here are 18 slot machines I found that are based on movies or TV shows. You can click any of these images to see them bigger.

The Hangover slots
The Hangover – I’ll start with this one because it’s the most obvious.  Expect to see images of tigers and babies on the reels.  “Tootle-loo, mutha-f**kaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!”

Alien slots 1 Alien slots 2
Alien – As you can see, there are two versions of the Ridley Scott Alien slot machine. One slot machine has the picture of the egg from the theatrical one-sheet and the other has a picture of the alien xenomorph and includes a special Alien Hunt bonus.

Alien vs Predator slots
Alien vs Predator – You got an alien slot machine, you also get an Alien vs Predator. Unfortunately, there isn’t a standalone Predator machine.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail slots
Monty Python and the Holy Grail – One of my favorite movies of all time. This slot was great because it had a ton of quotes from the movie, as well as clips and a special bonus round where you fought the black knight. There were even “hot spots” on the screen you could touch to generate a random quote or sound from the movie.

Star Wars Droid Hunt Star Wars Droid Hunt screen
Star Wars Droid Hunt – This slot machine was pretty awesome. Lots of images and sounds from the original trilogy. Back in the late 90s, there was another Star Wars slot machine called Death Star Escape. It was cool because there was a bonus round that activated a model Death Star built into the housing that started spinning. Funny, I’ve never found a Star Wars slot machine based on the prequel movies.

Continue reading

Uploading the Mad Magazine Computer issue from 1985

Posted in 80s, computers, Mad magazine, magazine, pop culture, technology with tags , , , , , , on August 19, 2011 by Paxton

Badass Book Report

Earlier this week I looked at the awesome Star Wars Q&A Book About Computers from 1983. In there we got to see Artoo and Threepio show us the until then current history of computers including an awesome painting of the droids playing an upright video game.

Then I took at look at the Marvel Super Heroes Computer Fun Book Two from 1984.  In there we saw lots of BASIC code for programs based on Marvel Super Hero adventures like the Iron Man Robot Retriever and Doctor Strange and the Computer Gremlin.

Today, I’m continuing my look at vintage computer activity books with Mad Magazine #258 from October 1985.

Mad magazine 258

This particular issue of Mad had a special “computer section” in the middle of the magazine. The feature article in that section was the Mad Computer Program.

Mad Computer Program 1
Mad Computer Program 2

The article provided code for three major BASIC platforms that you could enter into your computer and when you run the program, it would print out a special surprise output.  You can click the images above to see the code more clearly.

Continue reading

Learning BASIC with the Marvel Super Heroes

Posted in 80s, books, comic books, nostalgia, pop culture, reviews with tags , , , , , , , on August 17, 2011 by Paxton

Badass Book Report

Yesterday I looked at the Star Wars Q&A Book about Computers. It featured a history of the computer (through 1983) and some awesome art by Ken Barr. Today, I’m looking at another awesomely vintage computer book, it’s the Marvel Super Heroes Computer Fun Book Two from 1984.

This book is LOOOOOOOOONG and it features A LOT of programs.  I’ll just be looking at some of the more notable programs and artwork.  You can check out my Flickr set to see more.

Marvel Computer Fun cover Marvel Computer Fun cover2

Here’s the cover to the activity book and the intro page telling you what to expect inside.

How to use this book
And here’s the Fantastic Four to tell you how to use this book (in case you weren’t already aware that you used it to, you know, program your computer).

Capt America 900 lines 900 lines 2 900 lines 3

Here’s Capt America reminding you to code your 900 lines.  He gives you 9 examples (there’s another page of code I’m not showing you) of 900 lines from different BASIC environments like the Commodore 64, IBM PC and Apple II.

Cap program
Here’s a program featuring Cap called Menace of the Gray Gargoyle.  It’s a “fence busting” program.  See the code here.  Man, that Gray Gargoyle looks lame.

Iron Man to the RescueIron Man to the Rescue Code 1Iron Man to the Rescue Code 2

This program is called Iron Man to the Rescue.  It’s a game in which Iron Man has to stop a ship from shooting missiles at a school filled with children.  Hope you get them all or the deaths of thousands of small schoolchildren on your head.  Is it just me or does that seem like a needlessly violent scenario for a kid’s computing activity book?

Iron Man's Robot Retriever Iron Man's Lock Problem

There are two other Iron Man programs.  The first is called Robot Retriever. It’s awesome because the title page features MODOK and ROM: Spaceknight.  The other is Iron Man’s Lock Problem.  I like the artwork on the title page.  I didn’t realize Iron Man was popular enough in the 1980s to get three programs in this book.

The article continues below the break…
Thor continue

Continue reading

A look at the Star Wars Q&A Book about computers (1983)

Posted in 80s, books, computers, movies, pop culture, reviews, Star Wars, technology with tags , , , , , , , on August 15, 2011 by Paxton

Badass Book Report

I love vintage kids books.  I love vintage pop culture books.  I also love vintage books looking at early computing technology.  This week, I get all three wrapped into one.  I’ll be looking at three early 80s activity books featuring awesomely retro computing technology.  Being a tech guy and a pop culture guy sure pays off some days. The first book I’ll be looking at is the Star Wars Question and Answer Book about Computers from 1983. SW Q&A book cover Yes, I know, mixing Star Wars and computer technology? Yes, please.  And the book is filled with some of the most awesome artwork mixing R2-D2 and C3PO and computer machinery. SW Q&A title The artwork in this book is by Ken Barr. Ken Barr is a comic artist. He’s done a lot of work for Marvel, especially back in the 70s and 80s with titles like Deadly Hands of Kung Fu, Doc Savage, Savage Sword of Conan and Rampaging Hulk.  Most of that work being for Marvel magazines that showcase the really nice painted look of Barr’s creations.  You can see a lot of that here, too. This book is mainly an information dump about computers, how they began and what they can be used for.  Much of the information is surrounded by Barr’s gorgeous paintings. However there are also pages without artwork but instead use photographs of actual computer machinery.

SW Q&A intro SW Q&A AppleIIe

Here’s the intro to the book explaining about computers. Next to the intro is another information page featuring a picture of an Apple II.  Click the images to make them BIGGER.

SW Q&A chess SW Q&A arcade

Here are some pages talking about computers and video games. You can see an adorable picture of R2-D2 playing chess against a computer and both Artoo and Threepio playing an upright arcade machine. I’m seriously in love with that arcade machine painting. See it much bigger here. Continue reading