Feeds

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Ten tech treats from yesteryear

The kit we wanted but Santa never brought. Bastard.

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Xmas Round-up Christmas isn’t just a time for celebration – it’s also a time for bitter, tearful reflection on the things that might have been and the gifts you’d have received if only you worked harder at that paper round, or your parents loved you enough.

So we at The Reg decided to sift the salty tears of seasonal recrimination and seek out some of the top tech gifts of yesteryear all us budding nerds desperately wanted but never got. In reverse release-date order, then...

Sinclair Microvision (1977)

Reg Hardware retro numbers

A seasonal family row is just the thing to make you wish you could retire to a quiet room – or even out in the park – and watch whatever you want. Today we might use a smartphone or 4G-enabled tablet; back in the day we might have had Sinclair’s two-inch Microvision.

Costing £200 in 1977 – £1,050 in today’s money – it was no bargain, and with just three channels to choose from the in the UK, very much a luxury.

Sinclair Microvision ads

Click for larger image

Sir Clive tried again the following year with a Europe-only model at half the price, and again in 1983 with the FTV1, which used a novel sideways CRT to create a flat screen. By then there were four channels to watch for your 80 quid, but LCD-based sets from Japanese manufacturers were hard on its heels, and none of the Microvision models was a real success.

Arguably, aside from entertaining security guards, pocket-size TV is still a solution looking for a problem to solve. Still wanted one though...

 

Atari Video Computer System (1978)

Reg Hardware retro numbers

Some of us had to make to with an Ingersoll or Binatone TV game rig, offering variations on a theme of "turn a knob to move a white block" or "shoot a white square". The cool kids up the road, however, had an Atari VCS, later renamed the 2600.

To a late 1970s kid, those silver switches, the fake wood and the whole design seemed glamorously American. This was the future, in your living room, and if you didn’t have a VCS yourself, you'd beg to be allowed to go play Space Invaders or Pac-Man with your friends.

Atari VCS

Source: moparx

The plug-in cartridges offered a world of choice, far more than the half dozen or so of previous "TV games" – there was even a Raiders of the Lost Ark spin-off.

And perhaps the VCS had another legacy too: with its fairly simple graphics, it wasn’t long before some owners realised that they could create the same sort of thing themselves, using the home computers of the early 1980s.

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Next page: Big Trak (1979)

More from The Register

next story
Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop
Web giant looking into why version 5.0 of Android is crippling older slabs
Heyyy! NICE e-bracelet you've got there ... SHAME if someone were to SUBPOENA it
Court pops open cans of worms and whup-ass in Fitbit case
SLURP! Flick your TONGUE around our LOLLIPOP – Google
Android 5 is coming – IF you're lucky enough to have the right gadget
Official: European members prefer to fondle Apple iPads
Only 7 of 50 parliamentarians plump for Samsung Galaxy S
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode
Frontier cops an epic kicking in its own forums ahead of December revival
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management
How using vulnerability assessments to identify exploitable weaknesses and take corrective action can reduce the risk of hackers finding your site and attacking it.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.