Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy 1985 Everybody!

2015? Who needs it? 2014 was all military invasions, plane crashes and beating your wife in elevators, what makes you think next year will be any better? Yeah, that's what I thought. Instead, let's celebrate the closing out of a way more excellent year, 1984, with superstars Lily Tomlin and Chaka Khan! And if you don't know who those people are, go back to Reddit or and ask someone. Word up!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Betamaxmas: Updated for Mobile

Is it real, or is it Betamaxmas?
It's that time of the year once again and as always, the Retrogeeker likes to turn to his favorite Holiday-themed site and bask in the warm glow of yesteryear's CRTs and cheap Korean animation whilst waiting for the pop-corn machine to warm up. Yes that's right, it's time for, the site that let's you slip back onto that basement couch parked in front of a 4:3 TV and watch all of your favorite 80s Christmas shows and more! Of course, even Retrogeeker's can't live in the past forever (although we do try) and thus, the mysterious web coder, known only to me as Jeffery, has overhauled the entire site to comply with today's modern mobile web standards so that you no longer have to remain tethered to your desktop or laptop in order to enjoy a slice of 80s cheese. That's right, is now 100% Flash-free and mobile-friendly. So fire up your iPad or Galaxy Tab, squeeze into your favorite pair of Underoos and enjoy some Christmas cheer while sitting on the toilet.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

The future is retro

♫ Make new friends, but keep the old, one is retro and the other's not ♫
One thing I've noticed about the my most fiendish Retrogeeker friends, they're some of the most cutting-edge mofos I know. If the idea of a retro computing nut makes you think of that dad–the one who spent countless evenings typing in basic programs from magazines on his C-64, to store on C-90 compact cassettes–but then stopped using computers altogether by 1986–think again; this ain't your grandfather's retro. Every true retrophile I know today is also a true technophile. (Which I guess makes them/us retro-techno-philes?)

Examples are all around me, incidentally with dudes who've been my friend for 20 - 30 years:

  • Mark, the guy who runs is already running iOS9 on an iPhone 7 (impossible, right?) but he also has a basement full of Performas and 8-bit Atari computers that he still puts to good use.

See 43 weird articles of
 promotional crap that
fetches mad ducketts on

  • My friend KevinO is the first person in the known universe to start geocaching, yet when asked about the upcoming release of the Apple Watch, said, "I got an Apple Watch btw. No big whoop."

  • I use my quad-core i7 Mavericks machine to automate the most menial tasks, recognize my voice commands over the telephone, and flip on and off light switches in Bangkok. Yet few would believe that I sent my first e-mail in the summer of '81, coded my first webpage in 1993, and was the first person to register back when domains could be registered at no cost. And yet, my latest purchase was a dusty old Pong machine - a chip-for-chip clone of Atari's 1972 coin-op hit released by Allied Leisure in March of 1973 called "Paddle Battle."

I've been reflecting on stuff like this a lot lately, and today stumbled upon this essay reflecting on our brief tech history and how it intersects with our humanity. Highly-recommended 23-minute read:

Friday, August 1, 2014

Can you pick Ally Sheedy out of a lineup?

Today's retro quiz - go back to 1975 and tell me - which of these three young ladies is the real Alley Sheedy, the one you later came to adore in 80's classics like Short Circuit, The Breakfast Club, and WarGames?

This is a difficult task so we'll give you the advantage of placing your answer 40 years in the future. No cheating!

Friday, July 25, 2014

HISHE: Tron Rap

An example of early computer animation.

If you're a dork like me, you'll love this. Although I still would have preferred a more old-school rap style for this particular video, like UTFO.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

eBay Watch: Mini Arcade Replicas

Not real, but an incredible simulation.
Some amazingly cool U.K. artist is selling super-awesome mini arcade machine replicas on eBay for pretty darned cheap. These hand-made little gems are non-functioning and are for display only, but feature some amazingly precise detailing and very faithful cabinet design. For around $60 U.S. you can pick three designs from over 100, including all of your favorites like Pac-Man, Tempest and Paperboy, and they'll arrive fully constructed, signed and numbered by the artist himself. And since the replicas stand around 6" tall, they're a perfect match for your nerdy action figures!


Friday, July 11, 2014

The Animated Adventures of Indiana Jones

"Soooo are you still up for doing Indiana Jones 5?"

Quick! What could be better than watching Steven Spielberg's classic adventure, Raiders of the Lost Ark, right now on your Multimedia PC for free? Well, not much, but this animated version from Squirrels Ink Productions is pretty awesome. Happy Friday and enjoy!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Division Bell 20th Anniversary

Some of the many variations of the Division Bell album cover.

It's hard to believe that it's been 20 years since the last Pink Floyd studio release, The Division Bell, which also ended up serving as their swan song. Since then the band have continued to pay for their wait-staff and limo drivers by repackaging and reselling their extensive back catalog as well as releasing the occasional live album every few years. In celebration of this David Gilmour solo album  classic Floyd album, the surviving members of the band have issued a special 20th anniversary boxed set full of all kinds of crap that only a collector will find of any value, plus a remaster of the original CD. Here's a recap of the entire contents from Rolling Stone:

The set boasts a two-LP, 180-gram vinyl edition of the album, remastered from the original analog tapes by Doug Sax and filled with all the original full-length tracks, which were initially shortened to fit on a single LP. The vinyl will also be available as a separate purchase from the box set.
The box set also includes a version of the album mixed in 5.1 surround sound on a Blu-Ray disc that also contains an HD stereo mix of the album and a brand new video for "Marooned." Directed by Aubrey Powell, the clip opens with digital footage of an ostensibly abandoned space station, before returning to Earth where the camera follows a man as he runs through ruins, which still bear markers of the Soviet Union. The clip was shot in Ukraine during the first week of April, and is streaming below.
The rest of the six disc set will include a CD of the 2011 Discovery version of The Division Bell, plus three replica colored vinyl: A red 7-inch single for "Take it Back" with a live rendition of "Astronomy Domine" on the B side; a clear 7-inch with edits of "High Hopes" and "Keep Talking"; and a blue 12-inch disc with the full versions of "High Hopes" and "Keep Talking," plus a live version of "One of These Days" (the flip side of that last disc also features a laser-etched design).
To top it off, the set will come with five collector' art prints designed by Hipgnosis/StormStudios, who also designed the 180-gram LP's gatefold sleeve.

In addition, Floyd has also released a brand-new video for the Division Bell instrumental, Marooned, which you can check out below.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Captain Nicole Janeway

Nicole vs. Kathryn

You may know her as the powerful inmate Galina "Red" Reznikov on the Netflix original series, Orange is the New Black, but to me, Kate Mulgrew will always be Captain Kathryn Janeway, the bold and decisive intra-galactic spacefarer from Star Trek: Voyager (and also that evil bitch from Throw Momma From the Train). Mulgrew made headlines at the time of Voyager's premiere as the first female captain to head a Star Trek series. But it almost wasn't so. Despite the fact that Kate nailed the part in her audition and subsequently went on to become a fan-favorite, the part had originally been cast with another actress, Geneviève Bujold, as Captain Nicole Janeway.  However, the Canadian actress best known for her portrayal of Anne Boleyn in the film Anne of the Thousand Days (1969), was not up to the rigorous production schedule of a weekly television series, and promptly left the show after shooting only a handful of scenes for the first episode. Lucky for us, Kate was waiting in the wings to take the helm, literally, and the rest is Trek history. Thanks to the tireless video-editing efforts of a fan known only as "aobadge," we can now get a glimpse of how Geneviève might have performed in the lead role had she chosen to stay on board with the crew of the Voyager back in 1994. Check out the video below for a look at what might have been, at the time, the future of Star Trek.


Friday, June 20, 2014

The Return of Retro-Cade

Good news everyone, after a brief hiatus, the Retrogeeker Retro-Cade is back online! For the grand re-opening we're featuring the video-game classics, Ms.Pac-Man and Q*Bert, with more to come soon! Scroll on down for some glorious 8-bit action!!


Retro Reading

My kids think magazines are broken iPads.
If you really want to get your retrogeeking on, you've got to put down the mouse, walk away from your computer, and sign up for a subscription to the newest retro-gaming magazine on the newsstands -- yes I said "magazine" and yes I said "newsstands" -- titled simply Retro. Although now that I think about it, you'll probably have to sit back down at your computer to actually set up the subscription. So forget what I just said. Anyway, this Kickstarter-funded publication is now on its fourth issue and as a subscriber myself, I can attest to its retro-goodness. Led by native-Californian and founder of, Mike Kennedy, Retro features a team of video-game experts whose talent and experience spans a whopping three decades and promises to be your next go-to source for all things digital and retro. Check out their Kickstarter video below to hear more about it!


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Today in Music: June 1984

From left: Joe Jackson, Culture Club, Phil McKraken, Two of the Pointer Sisters and of course, Sirhan Sirhan

Quick! Can you name all 20 of Billboard's hottest singles for June…of 1984?! Don't know? Don't care? Weren't aware that time goes back further than 1992? Well check out today's video for a little refresher, courtesy of Billboard Magazine!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Retro Round-Up

Lordy have we got a lot of retro-geekin' news for you on this lovely Tuesday! Today's Retro Round-Up includes Amiga computers, acquitted murderers, new Star Wars and old Star Trek, what more could you ask for? Check out the links below before you get any older, gramps.

Lando Calrissian Returns in Star Wars: Rebels Animated Series
Dissed by Abrams but still loved by Disney, our favorite space-scoundrel-turned-malt-liquor-pimp strikes back!

The City on the Edge of Forever #1 Out This Wednesday
The classic Harlan Ellison-penned original series Star Trek episode gets its own graphic novel this week.

Turn Your Old Mac Into a New Amiga
Got some old Amiga software? Got a PowerPC computer you're not using? Well then, you're probably the only person you know who'll enjoy this.

It Was 20 Years Ago Today: The OJ. Chase
Relive the excitement of television's first combination live celebrity car chase and Ford Bronco commercial!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Star Wars VII Cast Announced

No Lando?

If you haven't already heard, the cast for the upcoming Episode VII of the Star Wars has finally been announced: John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow. And as expected, original trilogy stars Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Kenny Baker have all been confirmed as well.


Monday, April 28, 2014

The Terminator - How It Should End

"I'll be governor!"
Everyone loved the Terminator movies, right? But that franchise's glory days were pretty much over once director James Cameron's involvement with the series came to an end. And while his action-packed, pseudo-sci-fiction "duology" pretty much stood on its own with the first two films, Hollywood as usual, got its evil mitts on the property and began to spawn terrible sequels and ho-hum TV shows and really just a bunch of un-necessary stuff that no one needed to see.

So leave it to the geniuses at "How It Should Have Ended" to come up with a final story to permanently close the series' final plot-loop-hole* and terminate the franchise forever. And how does one achieve this? Why, go back in time and kill the man who invented time-travel, of course! Enjoy the video!

*Patent-pending on that word.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Breaking: E.T. Atari Cart Landfill Legend

Instant Karma Got Atari
There are tons of posts from other bloggers on the web that talk about the infamous "worst-game-ever" from former king-of-the-hill game-maker, Atari, so I'll spare you the personal experiences this time. 

Here's the brief: Around Christmas '82, Atari released a rushed E.T. game for their 2600 home system. The game blew so it stopped selling and the company was left with tons of unsold inventory on their embarrassed hands. About a year later the media reported that Atari would be dumping 14 truckloads of games and other gear into a landfill somewhere in New Mexico so that they could write off the loss. Of course, rumors immediately sprang up speculating that thousands of leftover E.T. carts were part of the burial. Not too long after this incident, the entire video-game market crashed hard and of course, people eventually began to point to the shamefully horrible E.T. game as one of the many nails in the Atari coffin.

But now, today in fact (April 26, 2014), this enduring mystery may finally be solved. A group of filmmakers are currently in New Mexico digging up the infamous site in hopes to finally get an answer to this 30 year-old legend.



Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mad Ducketts: Every Video Game Manual Ever

OK the title of this post was a bit exaggerated, but there's a gentleman on eBay selling his collection of over 800 classic video game manuals for only…drumroll please…$1,300. He's also taking best offers so you might throw him a lowball offer of like 20 bucks and see what happens. Who knows?
Here's the list of included items:

  • Approx. 120 poster inserts
  • 5 PS1 Manuals
  • 2 large posters
  • 10 PS2 Manuals
  • 7 M Network Manuals
  • 6 xbox live and other code papers. I do not know if the xbox live free months have been used.
  • 8 Sega Dreamcast Manuals 
  • 4 PS3 Manuals and 1 PS3 Art cover
  • 5 NES Manuals
  • 2 SNES Manuals
  • 3 N64 Operational Cards
  • Approx. 350 Random manuals and inserts
  • 107 Sega Genesis & Game Gear Manuals
  • 7 Atari/Sega Manuals
  • 12 GameCube Manuals
  • 5 Intellivision Manuals
  • 16 Sega Saturn Manuals
  • 10 Imagic Manuals
  • 39 Activision Manuals
  • 2 Xbox Manuals
  • 2 Sears Tele-games
  • 2 Wii Manuals
  • 9 Sega CD Manuals
  • 19 Coleco Vision Manuals
  • 85 Atari

Before the internet, words lived on paper.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Kids React to Walkman

Little River Band cassette not included.
Technology moves so damned fast that by the time you've saved enough money to buy that cool electronic trinket you saw on the shelf at Woolworth's, it's probably become obsolete and been replaced by something newer and better. Well, being replaced by something newer and better seems to have become Sony's corporate-mantra lately. The Japanese tech giant once held the enviable position of being the inventor of the Walkman, the first truly portable consumer stereo cassette player, but ended up losing it's winning grip on mobile music in the 2000s to Apple's juggernaut iPod. Oh they tried extending the brand to the Discman and the MiniDisc Walkman, and Sony enjoyed a brief bit of success with those formats, however with the mass-consumer drive towards digital music during the 21st century, physical storage formats like the Compact Cassette were clearly on their way out and the digital mp3 format was set to preside over their respective funerals. To an old fart like me, it doesn't seem that long ago that I was making kickin' mix tapes on my dual-deck to give to my sweetheart, but to any kid born in the last decade or so, it may as well have been a century. Check out this video of some little peeps pondering a portable cassette player and enjoy their frustrated and embarrassed reactions whilst we sit back and chuckle. Of course I make sure my kids are well-versed in ancient technologies like Atari, VHS and toaster ovens so that this never happens to them. They may grow up to be friendless and weird, but dammit, at least they'll know how to properly clean an LP.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tastes just like the 80's

Quick! How many monster cereals were there? Two? Or Three? Or more???

Just watch this ridiculous video for a silly romp back to mornings of carefree hyperactive breakfasts haunted with artificially-flavored, artificially-colored, full-sugar madness.

Building a retro gaming engine is more affordable than ever before, thanks to the RetroPie Project

AKA ♪♫ Tonight we're gonna compute like it's 1999 ♬

What if you could buy a computer brand new in 2014 that was equally as powerful as the Pentium III you used in 1999? That would be pretty retro right? But what if that computer only cost $35 and had a motherboard slightly bigger than a credit card allowing it to conveniently fit just about anywhere?

If your first thought is "that would run MAME," LEVEL UP: you're a true Retrogeeker.™

But a wise geeker doesn't have the spare geek hours for yet another knock-down drag-out tech project that would waste time-better-spent playing Centipede. No, a wise retrogeeker would put that idea on the back burner until a preconfigured bootable SD image is released by someone with geek to burn.

  1. That time is now.
  2. That download is called "Retro Pie."
  3. That project makes it easy to emulate your favorite games from some of the most nostalgia-inducing systems including:
  • MAME
  • Intellivision
  • Amiga
  • Game Boy Advance
  • Atari 2600
  • NeoGeo
  • Sega Master System
  • Sega Megadrive
  • Super-NES
  • Turbo Grafx 16
  • Playstation 1 
  • and others

These videos like motherfucking Clarissa explain it all:

Basic overview

Install and configure

Add games


All the steps are detailed in this Lifehacker article. And updated Retropie info can be found at

More links

Adafruit's excellent overview of basically the same project

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

People We'll Miss: Harold Ramis

Harold Ramis 1944-2014
Comedian, actor, writer, director and producer Harold Ramis died yesterday, February 24, 2014. He has left an enormous legacy behind him having worked on countless films, television shows and even radio shows, where he got his start on National Lampoon's Radio Hour. You can read all about Harold's achievements on the web as he was an active force even up until his final days, but I won't go into any of that here. Suffice it to say that while he was alive he made many, many people laugh either directly or indirectly. So in tribute to this comedy legend, I present to you one of my favorite scenes from one of my all-time favorite sci-fi movies, Heavy Metal (1981), in which Harold starred along with some his fellow SCTV alums, including John Candy, Eugene Levy and Joe Flaherty.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Game Boy in the Palm of Your Hand

12 AA batteries not required
It's not an app, it's not platform dependent, it doesn't cost money so you should just go visit Ben Midi's GameBoy page right now cuz it's freakin' cool. Tap the link below on your touch-screen phone (tablets and PCs work too but don't scale well) and you'll be magically whisked away to a webpage that turns your incredibly expensive, state-of-the-art smartphone into a classic 8-bit monochrome Nintendo GameBoy! LTE data speeds and 8-core CPUs don't mean sh*t when you're playing Mario Bros on a 160x144 pixel black and white screen! The full list of playable games includes: Mario Land, Tetris, Dr. Mario, Bomberman, Kirby's Dream Land, Kirby XXL, Space Invaders, Motocross Maniacs, Bomb Jack, Boxxle 2, Castelian, Centipede and Stopwatch (haven't tried this one out yet, I think I know how it works, though). After recently watching Nintendo smash down anyone trying to steal from their holy vault of intellectual property, however, you can bet Ben's GameBoy page will be coming down fairly quickly so you may want to check it out sooner rather than later (Lawyers? Anyone else smell lawyers?)


Friday, February 21, 2014

Goodnight Dune

It is by will alone my teddy bear sets its mind in motion.
If you were an American kid at any point in the latter half of the 20th century, you probably have fond memories of reading the classic bedtime story, Goodnight Moon, before getting tucked in at night. Written in 1947 by the prolific children's book author, Margaret Wise Brown, this tale of sleepy bunnies, kittens and mittens has long been a staple of nighttime beddy-byes and has helped soothe countless little ones to sleep for years.

But there's always room for improvement,

Enter, Goodnight Dune, by Julia Yu. After stumbling upon a College Humor parody on Reddit about sci-fi children's books, Julia was inspired to create a mash-up of Brown's beloved bedtime story and David Lynch's eerily depicted world of Frank Herbert's Dune, as seen in the 1984 sci-fi epic. Got a geeky kid who loves sandworms and knows what a Gom Jabbar is? Then snuggle up with your little Quisach Haderach and a cup of hot cocoa (spiced, of course) and enjoy this excellent little tribute to two awesome American classics.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Super-Frosted Sugar-Bombs

I prefer Mr. & Mrs. T, myself.
People are always asking me why I love the 80s so much (lie) and here's one of my favorite reasons: because we all got to eat candy for breakfast. Yup, as a child, about half of my favorite brekfast cereals had the word "sugar" their name, and the other half were inspired by toys, games and Saturday morning cartoons. Granted, here in the 21st century you can go out and pick up a box of questionably nutritious Reeses Puffs or Hershey's Cookies and Creme, but it seems like you've got to wade through oceans of Fiber One, Muselix and Shredded Wheat (still? really?) to get to the score. But back when Mr.T and Pac-Man ruled the world, along with He-Man and Strawberry Shortcake, the cereal aisle at our local supermarket was pretty much a giant billboard for all of my favorite TV shows and movies, including Alf.
So let's take a look back at some of those classic, diabetes-inducing offerings from an age where money was God and good health and nutrition were just for hippies.

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Voice…Not.

That's British for "you suck."
Something happened to pop music singers between the 1980s and the 2010s. There was a time not too long ago (or maybe it was) when you could flip on your car radio (car radio?) and get a blast of alterno-caterwauling from someone like Robert Smith of the Cure, Perry Farrell of Jane's Addiction or David Burne of the Talking Heads, and you wouldn't feel one bit bad about trying to sing along with them. These folks may not technically have been the best vocalizers in the world of pop-rock, but they managed to stand way out and neatly fit in all at the same time. Their lack of technical perfection was in fact, part of the charm and appeal of their music. Can you imagine Just Like Heaven or Burning Down the House being sung by Robin Thicke or Rihanna? Yeah, that ProTools experiment might be interesting for about half a minute, but the final result would be A) nowhere near as good as the originals, you know it, and B) devoid of any human character, you know that too. Suffice to say, Smith's all-over-the-place vocals and Farrell's raspy whine were artistic statements as much as they were instruments that served the music. So put on all of the meat-suits and funny glasses you want, Gaga, your songs are still pablum.

So there we are in late '89, trucking away to the sound of Van Halen slowly turning into the worst band in the universe, and along comes the 90s. Then suddenly, for some unexplained reason, every male lead singer between the ages of 18 and 35 decided that it would be better if they sounded exactly like Eddie Vedder, even Scott Weiland. Sadly this trend contaminated the genetic lineage of pop music so thoroughly that even today, bands still crop up at random sporting a Vedder wannabe at the mic. Things only got worse when a little band called Green Day came out of nowhere and decided to screw up punk rock forever by putting a professionally-trained singer at the helm. (wtf?) Luckily, Billy-Ray Arrmstrong's over-the-top SoCal accent caused so much confusion amongst the masses that nobody even noticed. "Is he trying to sound British?"

But then, in 2002, the game changed forever. After a decade of everyone complaining about how pop music and its associated artists no longer had any heart and had just become part of a massive manufacturing process which removed anything remotely human from the source talent in order to form it into the perfect plastic product, along comes Simon Fuller with American Idol. Bastard. This Gong Show retread took the world by storm and slowly killed off the notion that anything less than utter perfection in a vocalist was desirable. The inevitable imitators followed en masse and now every kid that's grown up in the last decade thinks Daughtry is the pinnacle of rock and roll.

Digital perfection. That's all popular music is about now. No heart, no earth, no whimsy. Just Taylor Swift.

So since there's no longer anything worth listening to on the radio (was there ever, really?) I'm going to put on some Talking Heads. Enjoy and have a good weekend.

Talking Heads - Once In A Lifetime by hushhush112

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Star Trek Continues

Star Trek: The Re-Reboot

Who needs big budget reboots when you've got fans? While J.J. Abrams' 2009 reboot of the original Star Trek breathed new life into this venerable 60s television property, fan remakes, created with arguably more authenticity and unquestionably more love, have have been circulating the internet for years now. For hardcore Trekkers and casual fans alike, these independent remakes, such as Starship Exeter and Star Trek: New Voyages (later renamed Star Trek: Phase II), have provided new windows into creator Gene Roddenberry's futuristic world, which franchise-owner, Paramount Studios, would never consider producing due to their potentially limited appeal. The more successful of these fan-made series nearly always hark back to the original 1960s incarnation of the show, closely mimicking its style by employing more subtle special effects and exploring social, political and philosophical themes.

The latest entry into this sci-fi sub-genre is titled Star Trek Continues, an off-Hollywood but fairly professional attempt to continue the original five-year mission of the starship Enterprise and her loyal crew. Featuring one of James Doohan's own sons, Christopher, reprising his father's role as Scotty, the ship's hard-drinking, fist-throwing engineer, Star Trek Continues does an admirable job of emulating the Crayola-color lighting, the oddball camera angles and the quirky TV dialogue of those late-1960s Desilu productions and even manages to make you forget you're watching a fan-flick, most of the time. Although I'd say the casting could use some tweaking, and some of the acting is, well, bad, the impressive attention to detail and the bonus inclusion of original series guest star, Michael Forest, who played Apollo in the episode Who Mourns for Adonais?, makes the whole affair a worthy homage to an American science fiction classic. Check the video below for a look at the very first episode, Pilgrim of Eternity -- and to you mega-geeks out there, make sure to watch (and listen) for some quick but notable cameos by some space-opera royalty including Marina Sirtis from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Go ahead, watch it. What else you doing on a cold-ass Saturday afternoon?


Star Trek Continues E01 "Pilgrim of Eternity" from Star Trek Continues on Vimeo.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Happy Birthday Mac!

It's the Mac's 30th birthday today and in true Apple style, I'm celebrating minimalistically. Now watch this video from 1986's Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, which features my favorite on-screen appearance by today's birthday-box, second only to that scene from Zoolander where Wilson throws the iMac over the balcony. Here's to another 30 years.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

1984 Revisited

Not as confusing as Prometheus
On January 22nd, 1984, Apple Computer ran, what was at the time, the most expensive 1-minute television commercial ever produced, titled "1984." The $900,000 ad, directed by Ridley Scott, was shown only once during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII and it was immediately recognized as something special and unique, winning several awards and helping to kickstart the tradition of producing elaborate, over-the-top commercials for the Super Bowl. Apple's purpose behind the ad was to whip up enthusiasm for the company's next big product at the time, the Macintosh. As you may or may not know, the Macintosh computer introduced the concepts of the mouse and icon-driven computing environments in 1984 to a market who had been, up until then, operating their computers by typing in cryptic codes and commands via keyboard. After shaking up the advertising world with its innovative commercial, Apple successfully shook up the computer world with the introduction of its radical new machine two days later on January 24th, 1984.

Do you prefer brand X over brand Y?

Yesterday was the 30th anniversary of the commercial's original public broadcast and tomorrow will be the 30th anniversary of the introduction of Macintosh itself. When you get a chance, take a minute or two to watch Apple's little micro-epic and consider how much our world has changed in the years between 1984 and 2014. Thirty years may seem like a long time, but as the great philosopher, Ferris Bueller once said: life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Abbey Road: Live!

Huh, I guess Paul IS dead.
Hey kids, what could be more retro than the legendary Beatles? Well for the purposes of today's post, nothing! For those of you who don't already know, the Beatles were a very popular rock band back in the 60s who pioneered, among other things, writing their own songs, playing in sports stadiums, and creating concept albums. The band officially broke up in 1970 shortly after the release of their final album, Abbey Road, which was named after the studio in which it was recorded, which itself was named after the street on which it was located. The cover of the LP featured the four members of the group, walking across Abbey Road on a sunny London day. So iconic was this classic rock and roll image that it's now been parodied and homaged dozens if not hundreds of times by the likes of the Simpsons, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and even former Beatles bass-player, Paul McCartney himself. Now, thanks to the magic of the information superhighway, we can pay a visit to this legendary locale any time we like, day or night. Fancy a peek at what those crazy Britons are doing right now on ol' Abbey Road? Click the link below to check it out for yourself via the Abbey Road Crossing Cam, courtesy of Abbey Road Studios. Be warned, you'll need Flash to view the page. Flash, that's almost retro, right?


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Future Retrospect

Thomas Watson of IBM: Not as visionary as one might think.

Technology. You're soaking in it.

It wasn't that long ago that you had to sit down at a computer desk to access the internet, or actually go to the phone to get a pizza delivered. Well flash forward a few years later and here we are, posting video rants on YouTube and ordering sandwiches from Jimmy Johns all while dropping a deuce in the bathroom. Thank you smartphone!

Yes, we modernaires rarely get blindsided by new technology anymore; in fact we pretty much expect that everything new and cool that was invented this year will be completely obsolete by the next.  But humanity wasn't always so forward-thinking and people actually used to possess an arguably healthy skepticism regarding new-fangled devices and concepts. This, hilariously, led to even our best and brightest minds making wildly inaccurate predictions about the future which now seem completely ridiculous. As they say, hindsight is something something so let's take a peek at a few of these short-sighted quotes regarding the future of modern technology.

On Computers:

"Where a calculator on the ENIAC is equipped with 18,000 vacuum tubes and weighs 30 tons, computers in the future may have only 1,000 vacuum tubes and weigh only 1.5 tons." -- Popular Mechanics, 1949

"But it good for?" -- Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." -- Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." -- Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977.

On Phones, Radio, Television and Film:

"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." -- Western Union internal memo, 1876.

"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?" -- David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s

"While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially it is an impossibility." -- Lee DeForest, inventor.

"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" -- H. M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927.

"Radio has no future. Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible. X-rays will prove to be a hoax." -- William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, British scientist, 1899.

On the Rest:

"Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy." -- Workers whom Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil in 1859.

"We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out." -- Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962.

"Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value." -- Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre.

"There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will." -- Albert Einstein, 1932.

Quotes courtesy of

Friday, January 17, 2014

Lost: The Sitcom

Believe it or not, this year (2014) will mark the 10th anniversary of the hugely influential and often divisive supernatural television drama, Lost. Yup, it's been a decade since viewers first witnessed all those pretty young people crash their Boeing 747 onto the beautiful beaches of Hawaii, um,  I mean a strange and mysterious island somewhere in the South Pacific. But what if that island hadn't been so strange and mysterious? What if our beloved Losties were able to just kick back and enjoy an extended vacation in that sun-drenched paradise without the threat of polar bears or magical smoke monsters? Well, it may have looked something like this:

Monday, January 13, 2014

Cassettes Come Back

Courtesy of stealing from the internet.

You gotta love hipsters if only because they do nothing without being ironic. They drink the worst beer on the planet, they wear t-shirts from bands they don't listen to, they love dorky outdated glasses that no one in their right mind should find appealing (even after drinking several of those crappy beers) -- and now these hipper-than-thous have somehow managed to bring back…wait for it...the compact audio cassette, known the world over for having the lowest fidelity and reliability of just about any audio format invented since the 1960s. Yikes. Actual real-life bands have even started releasing their albums on this completely outdated format. Granted, the appreciation of any sort of retro technology makes me smile inside, but I could do without the irony. Check out this video for a look at this recent phenomenon. God help us if those hipsters discover VHS, God help us all.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Stalking E.T.

Do not attempt this at home.
By the early 1980s, Steven Spielberg was already becoming a household name with movies like Jaws, Close Encounters and Raiders of the Lost Ark firmly tucked under his director's belt. But 1982 would turn out to be the year ol' Steve would finally earn his place amongst the most successful movie makers of the 20th century with the release of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, a sci-fi-esque tale about a boy and his xenobiological buddy from outer space. While Spielberg's pal, George Lucas (of Star Wars fame) had already taught Hollywood how to make tons of cash by filming plastic models, blue screens and puppets, the box office earnings of Steven's E.T. proved that in the end, all they really needed was the puppets. Even without the fantastic space battles and over-the-top effects, E.T. managed to capture the imaginations of 80s moviegoers by expertly pulling their heart-strings in a totally non-stupid way and in doing so introduced them to the then-budding genre of the "feel-good-movie," something that pretty much only Disney had dabbled with up to that point.

Unlike Star Wars, the story of E.T. is not set in a galaxy far, far away and in fact takes place entirely on our own planet, which may help explain the film's more universal appeal. Instead of trying to digest a menagerie of alien peoples and bizarre locales, viewers quickly embraced the story of a single, out-of-place alien set against the backdrop of a comfortably familiar suburban America. The realistic accessibility of the film's settings, coupled with the emotional artillery of Spielberg's vision, is why, I believe, so many stalkers fans have sought these locations out, in hopes of reconnecting with their childhood memories and feelings, basically the same reason I write this blog.

Well if you were one of those kids whose favorite candy suddenly became Reese's Pieces because of this adorable little puppet invader alien, then check out this video by amateur filmmaker, Herve Attia. In it, he nicely dovetails contemporary photos of the various E.T. filming locations into original scenes from the film and surprisingly, many of the areas he visited haven't changed much in the last 30 years. The video is very well done and worth a look, especially if you're a fan. But if you're not, then go visit or something and read about bacon, which in fact, is not really that geeky no matter what they claim.