Rebuilding the EDSAC: An Innovative British Computer from 1949

Posted by Michael Pinto on Jul 18, 2011 in Tech

The EDSAC computer from 1949

This wonderful video below gives an overview of the effort to rebuild a fully working version of the Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator (EDSAC). EDSAC was an early British computer from 1949 which was one of the first machines which was able to store software. The computer did this with little more than vacuum tubes, punched tape and a teleprinter: Read more…



The Network Computer: The Revolution That Never Was…

Posted by Michael Pinto on Dec 5, 2010 in Tech

The Oracle Network Computer standard: The Acorn Network Computer

By chance I was watching the Bloomberg TV show Game Changers and they had an interesting biography of Larry Ellison. Honestly not being a database guy I thought it was going to be dull, but then there was an amazing segment of the show which which explored Ellison’s lost project from the mid-90s: The Network Computer. Read more…



Meet Jean Bartik, a Computer Programmer from the 1940s!

Posted by Michael Pinto on Nov 22, 2010 in Tech

The ENIAC Women

This amazing video clip below features Jean Bartik who was one of the first generation of computer programmers from the 1940s. Her first job was working on the ENIAC computer in 1945: Read more…

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Hacking a 1959 Basketball Game

Posted by Michael Pinto on Sep 25, 2010 in Tech

The above film titled The Electronic Coach was produced in 1959 by IBM to show off their IBM 650. My favorite part of the film is when the coach pulls out reams of paper in the middle of the game to figure out who to send out next on to the basketball court. Although while the technology looks awkward it’s important to keep in mind that the IBM 650 was one of the first mass computers ever made with over 2,000 shipping between 1954 and 1962. Read more…

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Atari Concept Art from a Future Past

Posted by Michael Sacco on Sep 6, 2010 in Tech

Atari concept art

The world of personal electronics is currently in an arms race to see who can come up with the smallest, coolest-looking entertainment devices, but there was a time when the mere concept of a “home computer” was almost unbelievable. Atari may not have had decades of staying power in the PC market, but the Atari name will always be synonymous with early efforts in home computing and video gaming, and these amazing technical drawings and pieces of concept art drawn up by Atari industrial designer Regan Cheng in 1981 show why. Read more…

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A Sneak Preview of a Revolution

Posted by Michael Pinto on May 19, 2010 in Tech

This is teaser video for the Revolution: The First 2000 Years of Computing exhibition which will be staged at the Computer Museum in Mountain View, California in January, 2011. For me it’s a special treat to see the likes of Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates and Eric Schmidt in the same video — but it shows you the geek love for those who came before. From what I can see the exhibition will offer a chance to see many gems in one location. Read more…

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Babbage and Lovelace: A Space:1999 Tribute to the Pioneers of Computing

Posted by Michael Pinto on May 10, 2010 in Fandom, Tech

As both a tech geek and a Space:1999 fanboy I loved this fan made video tribute to Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace. I also found the entire steampunk look of the video quite pleasing: Read more…

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Sun Microsystems: The Sunrise and Sunset of a Silicon Valley Icon

Posted by Michael Pinto on Mar 8, 2010 in Tech

The above heartbreaking video shows the founders of Sun Microsystems talking about the founding of the company which lasted from 1982 until they were acquired by Oracle in January of this year. As sad as I am for the company, the ability for any tech firm to to last for twenty eight years is an amazing feat. Their golden age for for me was in the late 80s when they dominated the workstation market. Read more…



How Steve Wozniak Colorized Personal Computing

Posted by Michael Pinto on Feb 5, 2010 in Tech

Apple fanboys always love Jobs, however engineering fanboys will always love Woz. In this video Steve Wozniak recounts his creative process of bringing colors to personal computers. While I love the story what’s interesting to be as a videogame fanboy is hearing how he and Jobs were working on designing games at Atari. What’s fascinating is that Woz describes creating the games not as a software programming exercise but as a hardware project! Read more…

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Vint Cerf Scares Web Dudes by Mentioning Time-sharing

Posted by Michael Pinto on Feb 4, 2010 in Tech

When everyone started talking about the cloud my first thought was “isn’t this a throw back to mainframe computers from a pre-PC era when dumb terminals always needed to dial in?” So I was blown away to watch this video of Vint Cerf (who has been credited as the father of the Internet) suddenly mention mainframe time-sharing in the middle of a chat on cloud-to-cloud operability. It’s also interesting to hear that Cerf feels that it will take about five years for real standards to occur that allow one cloud to share data with another. By the way it’s interesting to note that Google now employs Cerf which is quite a coup. Read more…

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How DEC Failed to Enter the PC Market: A 1982 Documentary

Posted by Michael Pinto on Nov 23, 2009 in Tech

Digital Equipment Corporation LogoThis is an amazing promotional film produced by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) documents their attempt to enter the PC market in 1982. DEC owned a major chunk of the mini-computer market and to their credit they got the idea that the PC was the wave of the future and they knew they had to compete. Although in retrospect by 1982 it may have already been too late to get into the game when you think about the fact that the Apple II hit the market in 1977 (not to mention the fact that they were hitting the market after IBM defined it). Here’s the DEC Rainbow Triple Boot Computer which DEC introduced in May of 1982: Read more…

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Vintage Computer Festival East 6.0: Retro Computing Heaven

Posted by Michael Pinto on Sep 16, 2009 in Tech

Vintage Computer Festival East 6.0: A Commodore 64 version of Guitar Hero

I was lucky that my good friend Christian Liendo got quite a few photos of the Vintage Computer Festival East 6.0 which took place this past weekend. Shown above is a young lady trying out Guitar Hero on a Commodore 64! Below is a collection of just a few of the vintage computers and related paraphernalia that was on display: Read more…



Vintage Computer Festival East: A Must Attend Retro Computing Event

Posted by Michael Pinto on Sep 2, 2009 in Fandom, Tech

If you live in my neck of the woods you may want to think about attending the Vintage Computer Festival East this year: It’s running from September 12th until 13th at the InfoAge Science Center in Wall, New Jersey. Shown above is an amazing video from last year which shows an ancient PDP 8 computer running Space War. This year the fest will feature an 8-bit music concert, a by-the-pound book sale, a build-your-own PockeTerm workshop, and the BASIC Programming Challenge. The keynote speaker is Ted Hurewitz who worked on RCA computers in the 1950s. A single day is $10 and a weekend pass will cost you $15 (hell that’s coat check tip at one of those fancy web 3.0 conferences).

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CompuServe: A Ground Breaking Online Fades Out After 40 Years

Posted by Michael Pinto on Jul 5, 2009 in Tech

CompuServe photo by Guille Avalos

Above: CompuServe hit their high point during the golden age of 300 baud modems. Photo by Guille Avalos.

Founded in 1969 CompuServe was an early powerhouse of connecting people online before the era of the web. And at the end of June AOL killed off CompuServe Classic which was the last surviving bit of that service, the only thing now left is a tombstone “web portal” and a low rent ISP service. It’s a sad ending, but once upon a time in the 80s and early 90s CompuServe was THE online service. Read more…



A Commodore 64 on Your iPhone: An Exclusive Interview with Manomio

Posted by Michael Pinto on Jun 22, 2009 in Tech, Videogames

A C64 on Your iPhone: Apple you've got to do this!

If you’re a retro computing fanboy like me on Saturday you were devastated to learn that Apple denied permission to the developer who created a Commodore 64 emulator for the iPhone. Now normally this news wouldn’t surprise me, but what broke my fanboy heart is that the developer jumped through all the right hoops: Not only did they get a license from the owners of Commodore but they even got positive signals early on from Apple. Read more…

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Crazy Eddie Has Some Insane Retro Computers for You

Posted by Michael Pinto on Jan 17, 2009 in Tech

The year is 1982 and Crazy Eddie (with prices so low he’s practically giving everything away) decides to hawk home computers like the Commodore VIC-20 and the Apple ][. Crazy Eddie was a retail chain that was started in Brooklyn in the early 70s and hit a high point in the 80s until the Feds shut them down for fraud charges. By the way the guy in the commercial isn’t the owner of the store who was busted — he’s Jerry Carroll who was an FM radio DJ at the time. Here is an example of his more creative work: Read more…



The Sharp X68000: The Retro Japanese Sister of the Mac and Amiga

Posted by Michael Pinto on Dec 14, 2008 in Tech

In my final year of art school (which was 1987) I had a friend from Japan who owned the Sharp X68000 — in fact the computer was only ever sold in Japan. As you can see in the commercial above this machine was very friendly for folks who liked to work with video and graphics, and that wasn’t by accident as the box was powered by a Motorola 68000 CPU which was the same family of chips that powered the other artist friendly machines of that era which were the Macintosh and the Amiga. The first model of this system ran at 10 MHz, had 1 meg of of RAM and no built in hard drive, so it’s sort of amazing just how much this system could do. It’s also interesting to note that many game designers in Japan created arcade games using the X68000 and today you can find emulators for the system. Read more…

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Recreating a 2000-Year-Old Computer

Posted by Michael Pinto on Dec 13, 2008 in Tech

The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient calculator that was discovered in Greece over 100 years ago, what makes it amazing is that it’s over 2,000 years old and uses similar technology that wasn’t available until the 18th century. But what’s very cool is that scientists have recently reconstructed a working model of the mechanism which was used to calculate the positions of the sun, moon, and the planets: Read more…

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