Techie’s Startup from yesterday stirred a few memories that I had very nearly succeeded in burying from the most awkward parts of my childhood. Seriously, I’m going to have to send Techie the therapy bill now. Mostly, it just reminded me that I am just enough of a nerd to build a rig [...]
You know when you sign up for some new account, and they make you fill out security questions, and then you hope that you can remember what the heck the answers were? The one that always gets me is the 1st/2nd/3rd grade teacher. I am absolutely horribly with names, so I have no idea what those poor ladies names were. My anti-recall powers also extend to friends that I had, especially since back when I was a kid we moved around a fair bit. This meant that I had lots of different friends in lots of different places, some more memorable than others.
Where is this all going? Well, when I was in 3rd and 4th grade I was friends with a guy whose name I actually remember, Zach Baker. (Hopefully that is a generic enough name that he doesn’t get offended that I used his whole name, but that’s how I remember him, first and last name. And Zach, if you see this and remember the story, shoot me an email, we’ll catch up!) Zach was a good dude, and at the time he happened to own a Casio watch–with a built in radio! To our fourth grade selves, this was the awesomest thing ever. I happened to have a mildly ineffective metal detector at this same time, that had come with a small single ear head phone. We schemed how we could wear sweatshirts and take turns listening to the radio in class and no one would ever know. Although it seemed like the perfect plan, we never did actually try it.
Now, you may have heard of the Casio FM radio receiver watch, or like me had the pleasure of knowing someone who had one, or perhaps, you were lucky enough to own one. But did you know that Casio actually made a watch with an FM transmitter built in? It was the TM-100, a digital watch of similar style to the Casio calculator watch we all know and love.
Continue reading Watch Out!
Good morning everyone, and happy Saturday. Today I would like to tell you all a story, a story of a place where children once went to spend many a Saturday of youth. That place was called the arcade, and it was filled to the brim with all sorts of fantastic video games encased in big cabinets. Now this story isn’t about the arcade, per say, I am not here to lament its loss exactly, but about the games themselves. In recent years I have been to some establishments that traditionally held an arcade–a pizza parlor perhaps, or bowling alley–and it seems that there do indeed still exist those places of gaming. No, the question is, what ever has become of those cabinet based arcade games?
Continue reading What Ever Became of…Cabinet Arcade Games?
Welcome to another fantastic iteration of your favorite Saturday (it’s still Saturday, right?) mystery, Quixotic Quantum Quandary! Hopefully you all had fun being befuddled by OA5599, and let me again throw in a plug that if you have any sort of oddities that might make a good mystery, please send them in! Today I want to talk about the crisp fall season. The changing of the weather always brings with it certain delicious fall sensations that often insert themselves into our collective memories.
Continue reading Q³: Fall Festival
Gee Whiz! It’s the Midville Soap Box Derby Finals! What will happen? Who will win? What mysterious company is sponsoring this dramatic race? Check out this 1961 Boys’ Life ad and you will find the answers that you seek! But be sure to follow the rules and build carefully.
Continue reading Boys’ Life: Get on Your Soapbox
Comic books and other magazines of the pulpy variety used to offer up the wonder product seen above, the chance to buy real live pets that you grow yourself! Judging by the strange illustrations you would soon have a tiny family of immodest creatures to provide you with hours of entertainment. I would say that Sea Monkeys stayed around long enough that there must have been people who weren’t totally disappointed in the misleading ads and actually enjoyed their little shrimp, but where have they gotten off to? Did you know that you could once even buy a racetrack to race your monkeys?
Continue reading What Ever Became of…Sea Monkeys?
When I was a young nerd, I long promised myself that there were certain things I would have some day. Some day, I thought, some day I’ll have… that. Or that. Or that. Let’s face it, there were a lot of things I lusted after, reading magazines, watching movies, playing video [...]
Sure, you could buy one of those fancy-pants airsoft pellet guns and assail your friends with tiny plastic balls. But wouldn’t you rather just make loud noises in their general direction? Whether you prefer ring caps, strip caps, or an endless roll, there are guns out there for you–at least there used to be. Now it seems like even the discounted dollar store plastic pistolas have disappeared.
Continue reading What Ever Became of…Cap Guns?
Today is the start of Memorial Day weekend here in the US of A, unless of course you were lucky enough to scam a four day out of your workplace. So here at AT you can expect to see some tasteful technology style tributes coming your way, kicked off this morning by the highly coincidentally well timed start of the USS Iowa trip. And since I wouldn’t want you starting your weekend without a dose of ‘What Ever Became of…’ I thought perhaps I could work some sort of military technology tie-in. Then I discovered the not-insignificant difficulty that most military tech was developed for a certain purpose, and asking the question ‘Why don’t we use this old way of fighting wars anymore?’ didn’t really seem appropriate for the upcoming day.
So I decided to go a different way, and take a look at something many of us have probably had very little opportunity to use, and that is probably about as far from military technology as you can get–Lee Press-On Nails. I remember when I was a kid you couldn’t watch television for more that 10 minutes without having the virtues of this temporary cosmetic solution cheerfully presented too you. Now they seem to have disappeared, and it has been years since I have seen even a cheap knock-off advertised.
Continue reading What Ever Became of…Press-On Nails?
For those of you lucky enough to have some beautiful blessed children, have you ever given them something of yours to play with, only to return a few minutes later to find it has been summarily destroyed? Those of you that have not yet progenated (maybe even those that have), perhaps you yourself have played the role of destructor? I always try to ensure that I do not hand over things that I may have an irrational emotional attachment to, but still sometimes the speed and breadth of annihilation catches me by surprise. On the plus side however, it can yield a glimpse into the hidden inner workings of some fascinating technology, and today I have some obfuscated pictorial evidence of just such a secret world. So get on your thinking caps and get cracking on the Quixotic Quantum Quandary!
Continue reading Q³: Kids Do the Darndest Things