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RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



The Smith Corona Wordsmith. A typewriter - with spellcheck! These things had two modes. One was standard typewriter where it would print the letters as you typed like normal, or you could attempt to set margins and type a line at the time and then commit it to paper. There was a tiny display screen that allowed you to make corrections as you typed in this mode. If you misspelled a word, it'd make a very loud and annoying beeping sound. There was a slightly less annoying, but no less loud sound if you made it to the perceived margin. Perceived as in, the margin recognition was horrible.

I used this thing for essays for a bit as though we had a decent computer at this time, the printer was awful and my parents didn't want to spring for another printer that also wasn't going to work (plus being the mid-1990s, it wasn't easy to find a printer for a Mac).

Speaking of that Mac, it had eWorld. I know next to nothing about eWorld, as Dad was the only one curious enough to set it up and that experiment didn't last long as he found out about long distance internet charges. No local number existed until 1996.

This is a photo from the first digital camera I ever toyed with.



It's from 1999. We had the camera in technology lab and this was our school gym. No display on the back, no video capability and it used 3.5 floppy disks.

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RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



JediTalentAgent posted:

About 5-8 years ago there was a minor bump in the US for store-bought HDD DVRs that weren't part of any subscription plan like Tivo or part of your cable/sat. plans.

Several companies made them, then overnight they all seemed to vanish. I think Magnavox was the one lone company that was still producing them for a US market, but not even Wal-mart or Amazon seems to have them now. (They've gone from about $200 new to over $400 USED. New ones on Amazon are listed at over $1000) However, I hear that part of the issue with why these devices stopped being made was because other companies held patents and the growing number of people with DVRs with their cable or satellite just didn't need or want them.

It's sort of funny because when I mention them to people they're really interested in them because they feel it would suit them perfectly.

Even something like the Sandisk V-Mate, which seemed poorly reviewed upon release, has managed to gain a following now and used ones go for about the same price as new when they came out.

edit: Are there even any decent DVD recorders with built-in tuners, anymore?

Wait. What? I use a Toshiba DVD recorder with tuner that I got at the end of 2008. I had no idea that these things are difficult to find now. A quick search says a 4-year-old piece of electronics is selling for more than I bought it ($110, I think).

I'm also still occasionally using a Sanyo VCR for when I'm not sure I want to permanently save it.

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



SimplyCosmic posted:


The Curta handheld calculator from 1948, designed by Curt Herzstark while a prisoner in the Buchenwald concentration camp.

While cleaning out my grandmother's house a few years ago, I found my Dad's calculator:



And here's something I thought would be obsolete by now, but shockingly still exists: [Classic] StarLab. Once per year, this thing would roll around to all the schools in the county and we'd spend one class period in this stuffy, cramped thing and not have a clue as to what we were seeing.

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



Bonzo posted:

If you want to run central air or be able to have the TV on while you run the hairdryer you'll need to upgrade your electrical system. The house I live in now was built in 1920 and just had the electrical updated before I moved in a few years ago.

Since we're now living a few miles and I'm in an apartment, I took my laundry over to grandma's last week. The first thing I was told was I couldn't run the washer and dryer at the same time because it'd break the circuit.

The wiring is old enough that when grandma finally had to replace her console TV because she only picks up over the air channels, I suggested a surge protector. One was purchased, but she can't use it. The outlets are all two-pronged.

She also has this on her back porch:



(Not hers but quite similar.)

I think the original color was white, but the exterior is rusted over. The interior still looks good and still works. I suspect my grandparents bought it in the early 1960s. There are separate fridge and freezer sections, but there aren't separate doors for them.

I haven't been able to track down a picture of another outdated piece of technology that's in her bathroom. There is a heater built into the wall. It's a Westinghouse and I've never known it to be operational.

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



Radium Springs was a very popular place to swim for years and one of Albany, Ga.'s ritzier sections, back when Albany had ritzy sections.

Swimming is not allowed now, but it's because the water is too dirty. Guess the radium content is too minute to do anything.

And then, these:

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



Test patterns. Instead of infomercials, television stations used to run test patterns, which also could be used to calibrate sets.

This one, from Baltimore, shows a station co-owned by a newspaper.



Also in these days, it wasn't unheard of for stations to cherry pick programs from across different networks as there wasn't much television competition. This station, WALB-TV in Albany, was the first in its area and being the only station, it could pretty much whatever it wanted. In this case, it could be cheap and was probably the third priority for its owner, who also controlled the city's radio station (also WALB) and the daily newspaper.

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



When I was in elementary school, a few classrooms had a machine called a System 80.



They were outdated even then, as the school had purchased Commodore 64s a couple of years earlier.

The programs were on plastic punch cards that you you slid into the slot. From what I remember, the machine was insanely loud and because it was relying on young kids to slide a plastic punch card into a hole, it barely worked.

This 1971 article is one of the few I can find about them.

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



Someone cleaned out an old desk at work. This was the highlight:





Considering our current technology, this was probably used in the past 10 years.

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



I don't think I've posted about this in this thread, but when the Commodore 64 was the computer we had at home, Dad bought The Incredible Musical Keyboard. He never bought any further software for it, so it couldn't do the awesome music videos shown in the demos, but you could flip over the floppy disk and play a bit.



These are the demos that were on the disk:

3001 A Sound Odyssey (program demo)

Music Processor (Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This))

Kawasaki Rhythm Rocker (spaceships!)

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



DrBouvenstein posted:

Fun fact: Atari joysticks have the same shape and number of pins as a Sega Genesis controller.

You can use a Sega controller for an Atari (just have to do some testing to see what button does what,) but I don't think you can use the Atari joystick for a Genesis, since there won't be enough buttons.

Both will fit into a Commodore 64 port, too. The Genesis controller is pretty much non-functional, though. At least it was in Moon Patrol.

Grumbletron 4000 posted:

Forever and always my favorite keyboard...



They are getting rare and pricey, especially for a new one.

We have several Mac versions at work. I recently switched mine out for a thinner keyboard because some of the keys were beginning to stick. A coworker still uses his and the person who mentioned they were a bitch to clean is absolutely right. His keyboard was shining from grease from years of meals being eaten there. During his week of vacation, I scrubbed it down.

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



For some reason at work today, I started remembering Magic Fingers. Stick a quarter (or 50 cents) in in a hotel bed and it would vibrate for a few minutes. If it worked. They were a dying breed in my youth, but I clearly remember some of them stealing money. I don't think I've seen one in person since the mid-1990s.



Amazingly, there's still an active company, but there's apparently only one hotel actively promoting it now. Can't say that I'll be in Coeur d'Alene anytime soon. Indeed, the business is trying to promote an in-home unit now.

YouTube does not seem to have a video properly demonstrating Magic Fingers, but for the curious, pop in Vacation. The Griswolds encounter one.

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



Delivery McGee posted:

I can't find a cite, but I remember reading that the reason broadcast TV started at channel 3 back in the day is because the lower end overlaps with police/taxi 2-way radio bands.

Channel 2 is very much a station. Channel 1 was until 1948.

Early Television Museum, which has a lot of interesting stuff, includes this Andrea set that tunes channel one:



Unfortunately, digital conversion means you can no longer rig up a late 1930s television to fully work.

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



Fozaldo posted:

Has no one mentioned the Mellotron yet? It's a keyboard that plays individual reels of pre recorded tape. I absolutely love this video.

No Mellotron mention is complete without Rick Wakeman.

This is from a Yes concert and is excerpts from his album The Six Wives of Henry VIII. The live playing and the album is essentially keyboard porn. Wakeman's rig was legendary back then. He still uses a large variety of keyboards in concerts.

The whole album is up on Spotify and so is this (Yessongs). Some of the pre-recorded strips start playing at 2:45.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W69rdh0dD44



In concert, c. 1974:



Wakeman was also instrumental in the development of the Birotron.



There was incredible demand for it, but for a variety of reasons, very few were manufactured. Wakeman estimated that no more than 8 were fully made and his number seems to be accurate. Of the 8, it's possible that are none are in perfect working order.

Wikipedia posted:

It is unclear how many sounds were put onto 8-track tapes for use in the machine. Some sounds that have been found on tapes are 'mixed choir', 'violin', 'organ', 'cello', 'flute', 'viola section', 'mixed strings', and 'mixed brass'. There are probably more as three different versions of the instrument were produced.

These sounds (when played from unmagnetized tapes) have characteristics of the Mellotron and Chamberlin, having both brightness and warm mid-range depending on the instrument sound and the analogue recording itself.

Physical evidence exists suggesting that there may be no Birotron left at all with a complete, fully working, unmagnetized tape set. Many found tapes and 8-track tape cartridges themselves are so worn, damaged and delicate, that they exist as mere remnants more than functional parts. Only one unmagnetized tape set is known to exist and still provide an accurate representation of Birotron sounds.

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



mystes posted:

Or you could load Print Shop Deluxe in DOS and make a card on your monochrome dot matrix printer in the comfort of your own home .

I had Print Master on the Commodore 64 and my Okimate printer did have a color cartridge.

It never worked properly.



RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



Humphreys posted:

Just something else that was a mysterious wonder from the 90's before there were PVRs there was:

G-Code/VCR-Plus!




I have an RCA model that does VCR Plus+. I bought it off eBay long after the function was obsolete, but it's a heavily touted option on the menus.

Our first family VCR was this beast. It's a General Electric and from what I've been told, cost my parents a lot of c. 1985 money.



You see that 0217 to the far right? That's not time elapsed. The VCR could be programmed to record at a certain time, but it did not measure tapes in time. It used tracking numbers.

I don't think it had an actual menu on the screen, either. You programmed it by opening the front right panel and setting switch-type things. I have yet to find a photo that shows it opened and I can't exactly remember how it worked, but it was strange.

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



M.Ciaster posted:

Oh god, that just dredged up some painful memories. Of the time when you needed this piece of crap player to view like 3/4th of the videos you got online.

I loving loathe Quicktime

RealAudio

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



MA-Horus posted:

My parents used to have one of those old frigidares with the handle that's also a latch for the beer fridge, thing must have been 40 years old and still ran like a champ

Until a power surge killed it.

My grandmother has an ancient Kelvinator fridge on her back porch. I have no idea of its age, as the one inside the house has been there my whole life. The interior is a sea green, so I'm guessing 1950s-60s.

This is the sticker on the back of it:

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



p-hop posted:

When I was in elementary school (1995-2000 or so) we still had these. Kodak carousel slide projector with either a reel to reel or cassette audio track that beeped when the teacher had to advance the slide. I guess that somewhere around that time computers reached a decent price point for educational use, or my school district had a major funding windfall. In middle school we went from slide projectors and green monotone PCs running 3.1 in the computer labs to eMacs and even carts with 30+ Mac laptops with OS X that teachers could request for their class periods.

Both Apple and Commodore were widespread in schools in the 1980s and in full color. I did learn BASIC on some variety of monochrome IBM beast that had the screen and double disk drive as a single unit (and raised hell if you turned it on with the keyboard unplugged). High school started with 3.1 and went to Windows 95 the next year. Only one classroom was wired for the internet when I graduated.

I can't recall us using the slide projector very often, but do remember listening to The Three Musketeers on it. It had to be very abridged as I think we powered through it in one class session. I think every classroom in elementary school also had a record player, which is how I was introduced to Disco Duck.

I know I've mentioned these before in this thread, but here's a real piece of obsolete school technology: System 80. It was a punch card machine. The cards were plastic and had a plastic handle on the end so you could easily slide them in and out. This article is dated 1971. We were still using them in the late 1980s, though you probably imagine the problems with punch cards. It had no brains at all to it and was completely reliable on the cards to work. Not to mention that it sounded like a jet taking off. If I remember correctly, they also were extremely hot to the touch.

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



karl fungus posted:

Speaking of obsolete services, here's something on Prodigy: http://www.theatlantic.com/technolo...hey-die/374099/

On a related note, I'm curious as to how online shopping worked in the early days around the late 80s and early 90s. Was it just as simple as providing a credit card number and having things shipped to your door? How secure was any of this?

I can't remember the year of my first eBay purchase, but PayPal hadn't been invented yet. I paid by calling the seller - it was a business auctioning the item - and gave them my credit card number over the phone. From there, it was shipped to my door.

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



The main power switch on my Panasonic record player/tape deck/8-track player finally died last night after 40 years of use. Luckily, it died while it was on and all I have to do is get one of those extension cord switch things. Wish I could take it apart and fix it myself, but I don't trust myself disassembling it, re-rigging the switch and then successfully putting it back together; the only screws are on the record player and sides.

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



Ensign Expendable posted:

I remember when I bought my first digital camera, it came with a whopping 16 MB memory card.

The first digital camera I used didn't have a memory card. You slid a floppy into it and it saved pictures on that.

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



Aleph Null posted:

One of these?

We had one of these at my second real job and I thought if was the coolest thing ever.

I believe it was that exact model.

This was the first digital camera I owned, the Polaroid Fun Flash 640.




From a PC Mag review of it:

quote:

The number of shots takenónot the number remainingódisplays on the control panel; the 2MB of built-in memory can save up to 18 images.

There was a feature to let it take a smaller-sized image, but it was aggravating to set. The review also brags on the image quality. If there was so much as a breeze, the picture looked horrendous.

Speaking of demos, I think it had to be a demo of Crystal Caliburn pinball that I got for the Mac as I sure don't remember anyone buying it. It was awesome.



AOL sent a different type of demo once, via MAD Magazine. AOL bundled with a sampler of greatest hits: It's a Gas, Barely Alive, Green Jelly's Blind Date. I still have that one.

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



Tubesock Holocaust posted:



Anyone remember playing with these as a kid? It was a staple of the local libraries' kid sections.

We had one for 6th grade social studies class. It was awesome the very few times I had to chance to play with it, but that was rare because we were a bad class and not allowed to enjoy any free time.

I had one of these as a kid. I think I had the Sesame Street one pictured and absolutely remember a book/tape for Inspector Gadget and Hello Kitty.

RC and Moon Pie has a new favorite as of 03:50 on Apr 24, 2015

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



I hope I haven't posted this at some point.

The Commodore 64 was capable of many things. Among them was musical instrument and music video processor. You could also play music on your old IBMs in DOS, but it wasn't nearly as cool as the Incredible Musical Keyboard.

This doohickey fit over your keyboard. A keyboard on a keyboard.





Once your fired up the demo disk, you realized just how pathetic your options were if you just paid for the basic apparatus. The flipside of this single disk could only do a few sounds, couldn't be saved and didn't have any of the video bits with it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxyAe0vWE0M

(And I just noticed that Deniece Williams' name is misspelled at 1:56.)

Look at this awesomeness.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZBzhO8_FFc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pl51dHcDdo8

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



While looking for an image of the particular Sylvania TV my grandparents had (and left in their sitting room once it died), I came across this ad:

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



It may not have been a Motorola, but it was quite similar to this:



It plugged into the power outlet of your car.

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



Jmcrofts posted:

Speaking of obsolete phones, remember Tracfone? Apparently the company still exists, though I can't imagine who has one other than drug dealers.



Man what a ripoff. I recall it being $20 for 60 minutes? And texts cost .25 minutes, sending OR recieving. Nowadays I can get 5gb of 4g and unlimited texting for $30 a month.


I had essentially that model for five years. Couldn't kill the little bastard. It still worked perfectly when I switched to a flip, except that you had to do some maneuvering to get the minutes added.

Tracfone's less about the minutes than it is the service. The $20 for 60 minutes extended your service 90 days and if you updated online, there were all kinds of bonuses and offers. I still use them because I barely use a phone. Wi-fi is free and it's really not that bad on your minutes if you use the internet without wi-fi. Texts still cost about the same, a bit more if it has an attachment.

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



While recycling an old Windows 95 desktop this afternoon, I was reminded by how far we've come in another way: disk space. The computer, which I think was purchased at Walmart, came with some obscenely low amount of disk space. I can't remember the exact figure, but when a local computer tech upgraded it to 2 gigs, that could fit everything. Also, he charged about $200. This was 1996ish.

My first flash drive held 64 megs. I bought that alongside a laptop in I think 2003.

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



1500quidporsche posted:

Question because I've been looking through old Hifi catalogues: How common was it for people to actually buy their hifi system as a complete set?

My parent's one growing up was cobbled together from a bunch of different brands but I'm assuming that was more due to them not having a lot of money and buying whatever was cheapest at the time.

My father bought a complete Panasonic system. It was c. 1976 and he paid about $350, I think. I'm still using it. It has a record player/radio/8-track player, two speakers and a tape deck. The radio antenna doesn't even need to be set up properly to pick up a huge amount of stations.

My grandparents had a console-based record player and 8-track player. There may be more to it. It's massive and when they quit using it for music, it became a table to hold all the family photos.

It looks something like this.

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



Athenry posted:

Which was a catalog retailer, not unlike Sears (when Sears still did the mail order catalogs), but instead of having retail stores, they operated "Catalog Showrooms."

So instead of going into the store, picking what you wanted, paying and then leaving; the contents of their catalog were on display and you could then place your catalog order in store to be shipped to you. They had some portion of the warehouse on site, because you could also get things that day and they'd come out on this conveyor belt. Even when I was younger it just seemed ludicrous.

Sears had something similar. My very small hometown had a Sears Catalog Store.

There were some appliances on the showroom floor and possible a few other big ticket items on display. I can't remember if Sears would ship to you, but you could order out of the catalog and pick it up there later. That's how I got a Nintendo, except that someone else had ordered one and never came by to pick it up. They had not paid and it was still sitting there and the cashier/customer service person let us purchase the unit.

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



axolotl farmer posted:

Brian Wilson recorded in mono and tested all songs on a tiny crappy speaker.

He wanted his music to sound good in a 1960s car radio.

Brian Wilson is also deaf in one ear.

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



Looking for scores, TV listings, golf tips, soap opera updates or even nursery rhymes for the kiddos? Welcome to 1993.

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



open24hours posted:

I remember getting 256k 'broadband' for the first time. Before that I was on a dialup connection that would be lucky to get speeds above 36k. Absolutely blew my mind, only six hours to download a movie!?!?!

That's why Download Accelerator existed.

36K would have been a dream. My dial-up didn't go past 14.4K. The first modem I had was 2400 baud. Even going to an interface as simple as Yahoo's was back then needed about 10 minutes to download a single page.

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



DrBouvenstein posted:

Anyone else use Scour? I think it was pretty short-lived, I feel like it lived and died during the span of my freshman year of college (2000-2001.)

After that, I went to iMesh, then Limewire, then Frostwire, which was like a "third-party" Limewire that stripped out the Spyware, then KaZaa, then something like K++ or KaZaa++ that, like Frostwire, was )in theory) spyware free. Never really had any interaction with Morpheus, Grokster, or Usenet sharing.

AudioGalaxy was where I started. BearShare was also around, but I don't remember it being very useful.

I remember accessing usenet through DejaNews, which I think had another name at one point. I wasn't looking in the right places, so all I really remember were the alt.binaries which had what was all the rage at that point - screencaps.

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



Kwyndig posted:

I didn't see the issue at first, as dilators are used for serious cases of vaginismus, then I realized these were rectal dilators.

We also had the Recto Rotor

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



I also work for a newspaper. It's a treasure trove of technology dating back 10-20 years as no one has cleaned out anything since then. We also have an old darkroom, likely with some chemicals remaining. There are certainly the clothespins to hang drying images. Film was still in use until perhaps 2003ish, based on the CDs I can find.

Found these artifacts in some desk drawers:





There are LAYERS of these. I'm going to check the area Goodwills to see if I can find a reader. None will likely work, but I'm curious. Our online archives don't go that far back.

Also found some old laptops that came complete with a file listing free dialup numbers when using them on the road.

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



Remulak posted:

Dammit somebody figure out the Cover Story disk with Batman on it. What the hell is i?

Weekly syndicated packages for newspapers, from what I can find.

It's c. 1995-96. Perhaps it's an interface for accessing an FTP or some kind of binaries database. That's the only thing that makes sense to me as to why there would be several different versions.

Everything like that now is a simple PDF. I can only imagine how horrendous it would have been then.

I'll bring the disk home and see if it's still readable.

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



RC and Moon Pie posted:

Weekly syndicated packages for newspapers, from what I can find.

It's c. 1995-96. Perhaps it's an interface for accessing an FTP or some kind of binaries database. That's the only thing that makes sense to me as to why there would be several different versions.

Everything like that now is a simple PDF. I can only imagine how horrendous it would have been then.

I'll bring the disk home and see if it's still readable.

Update: Batman disk is not working with my USB disk drive.

It was a syndication package, but looking at the disks' covers (none are working), it appears it wasn't any kind of gateway or ftp. It looks like a regular ol' subscription service. As odd as it sounds, I would believe that these would be snail mailed at intervals. The packages themselves would probably be so general that they could be tossed in at just about any time and not be out of date.

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



Guy Axlerod posted:

My Mom had a typewriter with this function. It would beep when you typed a word it didn't know. Being a typewriter, a correction isn't really an option.

It also had a memory so you could print multiple copies of a thing on demand, like your resume or family christmas letter.

My folks had a Smith-Corona that was similar. It beeped at on you on words it didn't know and had a bit of a memory. You could type a line into the memory before telling it to print on paper. Fixing errors was awful, though.

I used that thing for a year in high school because the Mac printer we had was horrible and my parents didn't want to spend money to replace it. They soon replaced the Mac with an Wal-Mart special AST that we expanded to have 2 GIGS of space.

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RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011



1000 Brown M and Ms posted:

I also remember how CD games from the Windows 95 era didn't bother with copy protection at all, because the size of the game itself was the main way of preventing that. Hard drives didn't have much more space than CDs and CD burners weren't around yet.

I remember it costing $250 to update our Windows 95-running AST to a whopping 2 gigs of hard drive space.

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