The Vanished Era of the Magical AT&T Merlin Phone System

Posted by Michael Pinto on Aug 23, 2009 in Tech

This rather well produced 1984 commercial showcases the then new AT&T Merlin system — which finally was discontinued in 2006. Today this technology doesn’t look like much, but back then it was a breakthrough, in fact I remember being lectured once in the early 90s that what was on my desk “was not a phone, but a voice terminal!” What made the Merlin unique was that it had a central control unit, and also that a small business could now afford all those nifty features like conference calling and speed dialing. Read more…

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Family Guy’s Animated Homage to the Revenge of the Nerds

Posted by Michael Pinto on May 17, 2009 in Animation

On the final episode of this season’s Family Guy they’re doing a cute tribute to infamous musical triumph sequence of the 1984 film Revenge of the Nerds. The term “nerd” itself became re-popularized in the 70s due to Happy Days where Fonzie would always refer to Richie Cunningham and his friends as nerds. And of course in the 70s everybody wanted to be Foznie, but by the 80s the baby boomers went in a more yuppie direction and started to focus on wealth — so he financial success of the computer industry (due to folks like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates) started to make it socially acceptable to be a nerd again. Although acceptable still wasn’t cool, that would have to wait until the 90s when publications like Wired made nerds look like rock stars on their covers. Read more…

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Ghostbusters the Videogame: Will it be Humous or Horrible?

Posted by Michael Pinto on Dec 6, 2008 in Cinema, Horror, Videogames

The trailer for this videogame looks like it’s very true to the 1984 film of the same name, but as a fanboy I’m asking if this is really a good thing? Yeah on a technical level I’m impressed that Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd look exactly like Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd, but does that mean it will make a good videogame? I think sometimes the best thing to do with a Hollywood based title is to have some fun with it (example: Batman Lego) but for a film that was a comedy this title seems a tad serious from this first glance.

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The Flintstones Meet Crudely Anime Styled Aliens

Posted by Michael Pinto on Dec 1, 2008 in Animation

What’s so odd about this Japanese commercial from 1984 is that it features the Flintstones meeting space aliens who have a vague anime feeling to them. What’s also strange about this advert is for the Lake Hotel is that the animation breaks away from the limited flat look of the original series in several shots — it’s very weird to see Fred Flintstone walk toward the camera.

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