The unique 1-bit look of early Mac software—especially its games!—are now more easily revisited thanks to the Internet Archive's Macintosh Software Library. Check out Dark Castle, Lode Runner and Wizardry, then write up your thoughts in MacWrite!
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In 1990, probably around the time that the last film with the cast of the original Star Trek TV show had just finished wrapping up the principle shooting of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (which came out in 1991), MCI somehow managed to wrangle all the cast members, including William (I-Really-Don’t-Want-Anything-To-Do-With-The-Rest-Of-You) Shatner into making this commercial for MCI for their new “Friends and Family” package.
MC-who? For many of us over the age of 40, that was our phone company before it sailed into the corporate void and was bought and put into stasis. It still exists, and is now owned by Verizon, but are there any MCI customers still out there? Maybe they are marooned on the planet where Kirk died after living in a time warp for a century before being killed in a meaningless gesture in Star Trek: Generations. Or maybe he died on some other planet … I’ve managed to erase most of the movie from my mind.
While the commercial's dialogue never rises above late 1980s television cheese, at least it attempts to feed into the actors' onscreen characters. Of course Leonard Nimoy comes off best—he was always the coolest guy on the bridge. Read the rest
Rose-Colored gaming's producing a limited run of transparent Super Nintendo consoles, refurbished from cosmetically-damaged originals. The guts are painted and polished to be pretty behind the new acrylic enclosures. [via]
These SNES consoles have been treated to a 100% brand new, hand-built exterior, all while retaining complete original function. Each is assembled by hand with the care and attention to detail that you have come to expect from RCG. The housing consists of laser cut and etched acrylic components which have been drilled, bent, bonded, threaded, & assembled using all new anodized aluminum hardware. Many internal components have been slathered in various finishes then etched in order to accentuate items which were never meant to be seen. All hand-built, these units will only be available in VERY limited quantities upon release, with each being treated to a unique serial number.
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When I first picked up this issue of Worlds Of IF, I have to admit that I didn't have high hopes. This hodge-podge collage of a cover simply didn't instill confidence that what I would find inside would be of much quality. Boy was I wrong. The illustrations in this issue are simply delightful. The cover is actually attributed to a specific story, so I guess an artist set out to create what, in my mind, looks like an introduction to microsoft powerpoint. Then again, this was the 60s, maybe this layout was new and edgy back then. Read the rest
Why have 3.5 inches of delicate magnetic medium and clattery mechanisms, when you can have a beautiful 3.5 feet replica? The first can coast one drink; the latter a great many. Floppytable is made of hot-rolled steel and the creator, Neulant van Exel, will apparently make one for you if you get in touch.
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I like modern Mini Coopers, but whenever I see a one of the originals (like the one I saw in Japan a few weeks ago, below) I wish they would have made the new ones look exactly like the old ones.
I suppose there's a bunch of safety regulations that make it difficult to build exact reproductions of old cars (I wouldn't want my kids driving the no-front-end 1971 VW camper van I drove in high school). But I should have known that there are companies making near-faithful replicas of classic cars. They cost a fortune, but they look great. Core77 has an article about this trend, titled, "Beyond Retro Design: People Want New Things That are Old, or Old Things That are New."
Core77 wishes that this trend could take off in the consumer products space, too.
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While these cars are obviously out-of-reach by folks of average income, I wouldn't mind seeing this new-old or old-new trend applied to other original designs in the consumer products space. For example, after writing the History of Braun Design series some years ago, I became so smitten with their 1962 Sixtant SM 31 electric razor that I had to have one.
I tracked down and found one on the secondhand market that had been shipped from Italy. It's heavy and substantial, has an internal voltage converter so works on 110V and despite being over 50 years old it still works like it's brand-new. It's one of my favorite possessions. I paid $23 for it and I will keep it forever.
Last year, Jeep2003 decided to frankenstein a new lawnmower using parts from an old snowblower, a smoker grille, and retro motorcycle-style fenders, detailing the build process on the Old Mini Bikes forums. The results are gorgeous: tail-lights, hood ornament, and all!
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Christopher Tan created Retrocade, a delightful 3D printed arcade machine project that lets users play classic games. He's even releasing the files and instructions. Read the rest
Yes, Destination Isolation
has some lovely footage of Asher Pacey's surfing. But what make it great is "Pip, Pip Yeah" by Indonesian girl group Dara Puspita. Read the rest
Aluminum, mylar, and space-age plastics await you as you take a trip through Christmases past with 43 prime examples of middle aged women posing by their mid-20th century Christmas trees. Apparently, either a dog or a drink was a required accessory. Crème de menthe, anyone? Read the rest
This generates names of Defunct Computer Companies That You're Sure You Can Remember From the 19A0s
Doshisha’s new Vintage Taste 20-inch LCD Television has HDMI, AV, USB, LAN inputs, and digital audio outputs, coated in a plastic craptastic retro veneer. It's main selling point is a clickable knob to change channels.
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Andrew Lekashman offers a brief pictorial a history of mechanical keyboards, from adding machines to dumb terminals to Symbolics monstrosities to modern blank-key hacker totems. There was a lot of ingenious tech left by the wayside on the way to finding the perfect click.
Pictured above is one not included in the roundup, a particularly beautiful Raytheon(!) model that can be bought on eBay for $300, then sent to me.
Lekashman's tastes are grittier:
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Ultrasonic I Plus
This keyboard is acoustic and operates entirely by vibration. This makes it more like a musical instrument than a workplace device. This is something that hasn’t been replicated in the keyboard market since 1982. The specific principle that allows it to work is called Time Difference Of Arrival (TDOA). This is like a form of echo-location to measure which key hits the acoustic transfer bar. Whenever a switch is pressed, a metal “slapper” strikes the bar, and transducers measure the sound wave produced, which differs based on the distance of the slapper from the transducer. Typing on the keyboard is delightfully clicky and pleasantly tactile.
Centron Corp. was good enough to prepare this helpful safety video for pre-helicopter parenting days. Oh, for the days when you'd send your kids out for a night of trick-or-treating at strangers' houses with nary an adult in sight, all the time wearing sight-restricting masks and dark clothes. Read the rest
If you grew up in certain areas of the country, you may have been subjected to a lot of education about the dangers of blasting caps, like this PSA by The Institute Of Makers Of Explosives. Read the rest
Now there are three: Neil Gaiman's best-loved novels are being re-released with gorgeous pulp covers; back in August, it was American Gods, in a month you'll be able to marry it up with the stupendous Anansi Boys, to be followed in November by Neverwhere (painted by Robert E McGinnis, lettering by Todd Klein). (via Neil Gaiman)
Update: Ooh, Stardust, too! Read the rest
RetroConnector (aka Charles Mangin) makes tiny Raspberry Pi cases in the form of mininature reproductions of Apple IIs, Lisas and Atari XLs—and more besides. The pitch is simple: "Connect your old Apple computer to new computers and peripherals. Outfit your desk with nostalgic miniatures." Read the rest