“Following an early morning status check of their vintage electronic equipment, two computer engineers “throw down” in an awkward dance-off that innacurately echoes the development of information technolgy and the internet from 1951 up to the present day. The film features a catchy jingle by pop impresario Jim Guthrie.
*: The point at which a given species cedes planetary control to robots or machines.
Production notes: This film was produced by Superbrothers in 2006 before the establishment of Superbrothers Inc., but it was not until after incorporation that the film was eventually released. Critical reception of the film was positive, although most felt that the aim of the film was less lofty than its acclaimed predecessor THE CHILDREN OF THE CLONE, and that its creators had gone soft, already drifting from their revolutionary roots.
Interestingly, the film caught the attention of a number of internet web logs, leading to criticism by the notoriously tech savvy internet web log users, who responded harshly to home viewings of the film with comments like these: “Lame. Stupid. Fail. The depiction of Computer Systems of each period are so innacurate as to be totally misleading.” or worse, “Lame on SOOOO many levels. Not even deinterlaced properly, which is amazing considering it’s trying to look 8-bit. I was wondering how this crap got voted up, then saw, of course, Mr.BabyMan’s fan army voted it up”.
“Pirates of Silicon Valley is a 1999 made-for-television film directed by Martyn Burke and based on the book Fire in the Valley: The Making of The Personal Computer by Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine. The film documents the impact on the development of the personal computer of the rivalry between Apple Computer and Microsoft. It spans the time period of the early 1970s to 1997, when Steve Jobs (Noah Wyle) and Bill Gates (Anthony Michael Hall) develop a partnership after Jobs returns to Apple Computer. It aired on Turner Network Television on April 6 & 7, 1999.”
“A profile on computer pioneer Gary Kildall and the important contributions he made to the PC industry including the true story on how IBM ended up using MS-DOS rather than CP/M. Kildall developed CP/M, the first personal computer operating system. He was also a co-host on the early Computer Chronicles series. Includes comments by Gordon Eubanks, Symantec; Tom Rolander, DRI; Tim Bajarin, Creative Strategies; Lee Lorenzen, DRI; Jacqui Morby, TA Associates; Alan Cooper, CP/M applications developer. Originally broadcast in 1995.”
Triumph of the Nerds: Impressing Their Friends (1996 Documentary)
I’m not sure how I never saw this before but I’m sure glad that I’m viewing it now. This is excellent!
“Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires (1996) is a documentary film written and hosted by Robert X. Cringely and produced for British television by Oregon Public Broadcasting. The title refers to the 1984 film, Revenge of the Nerds, and the documentary itself is based on Cringely’s book Accidental Empires. The three-part film first premiered on PBS in June 1996.
The documentary chronicles the rise of the personal computer/home computer beginning in the 1970s with the Altair 8800, Apple I and Apple II and VisiCalc. It continues through the IBM PC and Apple Macintosh revolution through the 1980s and the mid 1990s, ending at the beginning of the Dot-com boom with the release of Windows 95. It includes interviews with many influential figures in the PC industry, including Apple’s Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, and Oracle’s Larry Ellison.
I got out my Atari 2600 for my son to play with a bit tonight and snapped some pics to post. As you can tell, this is not one of the original versions of the Atari 2600. This is an Atari 2600 Jr. It has all of the same capabilities as the original versions but was a later model that was smaller in size and cheaper. It sold for around $50 when new. This one obviously is not in great shape but my main goal when I purchased off of Ebay last year was not to drop $150 on a mint unit without games or controllers. I instead just wanted something that was playable and came with everything or almost everything that I needed to get started. For the most part I got all of what I have for around $100. The unit itself with one joystick and a few games was about $70 which is what you can probably expect to pay for a unit like this these days. The rest of the stuff I bought is small lots of games on Ebay or off of atari2600.com (which I can highly recommend buying from). I saved a lot of money by buying some of the torn label games since I really only wanted playable games and didn’t really care to much about what they looked like.
As I’ve said before, I really want my son to experience some “retro gaming” before he really gets into the new mainstream stuff when he gets older. I guess I feel that maybe he will have a better appreciation for what is around now, like I do, than if he hadn’t ever seen old technology before. It’s worth a shot anyway and for now he thinks it’s cool but he wants to change the game cartridge about every 2 minutes saying “How bout a new game”. I’m sure that will change once he’s a little older and kind of knows what the point of the game actually is. Until then, you can’t help but to smile while he gladly plays what is basically vintage gaming history.
I did not have an Atari 2600 when I was young. My first console was the NES which sadly I sold long ago. I had some older friends that did have the classic Atari 2600 though and I remember fondly the times that we had playing Pitfall and other classic games in the living room of their homes. That was cutting edge stuff back then! You didn’t have to go to Aladdin’s Castle at the local “mall” to play arcade games! What a concept!
Electric Dreams BBC TV Series - A clip from the 80’s episode
In this clip the family goes shopping for a 1980’s personal computer.
If you are not familiar with BBC’s “Electric Dreams” I highly recommend you watch the whole series with your family. It’s educational and entertaining and very well done. It was rebroadcast locally not too long ago on PBS stations in the US. The basic idea is that they take a modern family and take away all the technology in their home and each day is one year from the past. They start in 1960 and go through 1999. Each day they get upgrades from that time period.
I absolutely loved this series and I think anyone remotely interested in technology today will enjoy this as well. Many of the full episodes are available on YouTube in parts with a little searching.
More information about the series can be found on it’s BBC website.
This is really funny and kind of sad at the same time. I recently purchased an Atari 2600 off of eBay so I can show my now 2 year old son how it used to be before he gets really into the new gaming systems which are at earlier and earlier ages these days. I hope we can get a little bit of enjoyment out of it. My aim is that maybe he will appreciate what he will be given after experiencing some of the old technology.