Do They Know It’s Christmas Yet?: They took a trip back to 1984 and broke it.

Thirty-somethings Tash and her brother Jamie didn’t mean to time travel back to October 1984, but bizarrely they did on the very day that Bob Geldof watched the BBC news report which moved him to form Band Aid and record “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” Except their arrival caused him to miss it. So because of them, there’ll be no Band Aid, no USA For Africa, and no Live Aid.
Jamie wants to find Bob and put things right. Tash wants to go straight back to the 21st century – she has a 5-month-old baby waiting for her… More here.

I just know that I will enjoy reading this.

Apple’s biggest disaster

As disastrous as the Newton was from a business perspective I still look at it with some fondness. It feels ahead of its time in terms of how personal it was to use, but strangely for Apple it was much more complex than the competition.

The Psion range was easier to use, much more reliable and was actually useful whereas the Newton felt like an experiment. Sadly Psion did not make proper efforts to crack the US and Palm only appeared a few years later so in some ways the Newton should have succeeded. I owned one later on for 3 days (bought from eBay) before I resold it pretty quickly. It was, to be frank, awful.

It failed because it was ahead of its time and had to concentrate on features no one really needed, and just perhaps it was the reason the iPhone turned out to be the way it was when released. The Newton was the wayward father of the iPhone which outshone him with ease.

Consoles of the ’70s

As the first home console ever, the Odyssey ran on batteries and games came on removable circuit cards, not cartridges. The Odyssey tragically lacked sound capability, but that was later rectified. Also looks uncannily like a defibrillator… More here.

I would love to say that there are some fond memories here, but I don’t remember many of these. Still, it is good to see what helped to create what we have now and that feeling when I first played Pong at home as a young child will never leave me.

Recovering lost software

At the beginning of the home computer revolution, the humble compact cassette was far and away the most popular choice for microcomputer data storage, especially on the European continent. As a volunteer at the Museum of Computing, [Keith] was instrumental in recovering and archiving the early works of Roger Dymond, a pioneering developer of early computer software in the United Kingdom… More here.

There are some titles I would love to play again. Jumpy on the Psion and Badlands on the Atari STE spring to mind.

As I was searching for an image of Jumpy I found an interview I did with the developer 11 years ago. You can read it here.

Pong decoded

Here the circuitry to display the score has been added. It uses a 7-segment LED decoder to convert the digits into segments that can be displayed on the screen with some logic. Some additional logic makes sure that the decoder’s blank input is low if we’re not in the correct place on the screen… More here.

I literally have no idea what most of the content means, but I loved the game when I was a kid and I enjoy seeing the complexity within something that looks so simple on the surface.

The Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk1: cooler than most other cars on the road?

I ended up stopped next to a Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk1 over the weekend and my word it was a vision!

It was small, very small compared to most cars of today, but was in near perfect condition and it took me back many years in a matter of seconds.

If a Ferrari or a Lamborghini appeared next to it the Golf would still stand out as the coolest of them all, perhaps the coolest car in town that day.

When you consider the price they are today the value is amazing. Practical it isn’t, but it has something so special about it, it really does.