August 29, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:35 pm

Which is. . . . History Channel’s “Modern Marvels”. That show is freakin’ amazing. They can take darn near anything and make it interesting. Last week I watched an hour on. . . .I kid you not. . .truck stops. Well, it wasn’t strictly truck stops, much of it was the history of trucking, truck technology and what not. But check out this place.

Anyway, tonight is a repeat of ’70’s tech’ which I haven’t seen yet. I’ve also been reading The Martian Landscape which is about the Viking landers and the imaging systems and contains a lot of photographs. That was kind of an amazing project itself. I remember as a kid watching one of the first photographs from the surface coming in and they showed it live on TV. I was just absolutely flabbergasted that here we were looking at a picture on another planet. It still gives me chills.

We didn’t have a Pong, but we did have the Odyssey. Funny, but I don’t remember ours looking like the ones on that page. I thought it was yellow and more rounded. Huh. I need to see if my mom still has it in the basement. Probably not, she got rid of our TI-99 computer, too. And then people wonder why I ended up a geek. . . .

UPDATE: It was pretty good (the 1970s tech). I must go back on the earlier pronouncement above that we had an Odyssey, unless we had a slightly later version that was yellow and more rounded. Must be some other device name that is escaping me.

Anyway, the rest of it was pretty neat, albeit maybe. . . .misguided? I don’t quite know how the Trans Am was really a “tech” object as much as it was symbolic of the decade. Muscle car enthusiasts would probably point to the Barracuda as the ultimate ’70s muscle car, but I suppose in the popular mind the Smokey and the Bandit car probably is more reminiscent of the 1970s. I still think that generation of Camaro/Firebird was the best looking of the bunch. The first version seemed sorta slapped together as a response to the Mustang, but that gen was distinct. It’s probably my favorite car of the decade, even though it’s gotten such a black-t-shirt-wearing-mullet-head vibe ever since that I probably wouldn’t actually own one. But, who knows, maybe.

They also did the CB radio craze. That, we never had, and I never wanted one. Many of my friends were really into the whole big-rig trucker CB talkin’ schtick, but not me.

I am surprised (unless I missed it) that they didn’t show any personal computers! The Apple II! The Commodore PET! The TI-99! The Altair! The TRS-80 (aka, Trash 80)! And who can forget Visicalc and the Vax? Maybe they decided that was too big for even a mention and went with maybe lesser-known stuff.

Yeah, I was one of those dweebs who would go to the personal computer sections of stores and type in an infinite recursion program in Basic:

1 Print “Hello!”
2 GOTO 1

Yuk yuk.

UPDATE II: You know, I was thinking about this whole “Which care represents the 1970s” thing and I started thinking that maybe most people associate “The ’70s” with more the latter part than the earlier, and kind of lump the early ’70s in with the ’60s. Most people, I think, tend to think of “The ’60s” as the latter part anyway when you had Woodstock, hippies, the Beatles with long hair, etc. Similarly with the 1950s, it was more the latter part, with the ‘57 Chevy doin’ the representin’.

That thesis kinda fell apart with the 1980s though, because that decade is probably best remembered for the early part, Reagan, MTV, etc. I don’t know yet what “The ’90s” is remembered by. Probably the latter part with the .com boom and all that.

1 Comment

  1. Wholeheartedly agree about Modern Marvels. How It’s Made is another good one.

    Thanks for the heads up about Martian Landscapes. Pretty old. No wonder I never heard of it. But I found it and ordered it through the Maryland Interlibrary Loan system.

    I try to read all things non-fiction about Mars.

    Comment by mikem — August 30, 2007 @ 4:50 pm

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