Feeds

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Ten tech treats from yesteryear

The kit we wanted but Santa never brought. Bastard.

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Big Trak (1979)

Reg Hardware retro numbers

Just a year after wowing – and frustrating – us with Simon, toy-maker Milton Bradley pulled another great gadget out of its bag in the shape of Big Trak.

This 1979 truck has a slight air of Space 1999 about it. The only way to check a program – up to 16 steps – was to run it. But if your aim is solely to annoy a younger sibling who was playing with their dolls, or upset Granny by firing the "laser" at her during the Queen’s speech, that's not necessarily a problem.

Milton Bradley Big Trak

Source: Dan Hodgett

Big Trak may lack the collision detectors we’d expect to find in robots these days, but it did at least have a simple encoder in the gearbox that ensured a reasonable degree of repeatability in the programs. Looking at it now, however, what it clearly lacks is enough space on the top to balance a gin and tonic.

 

Sony Walkman (1980)

Reg Hardware retro numbers

Back in 1980, you spent your Sunday evenings with a radio cassette taping the hits from the chart show or Annie Nightingale’s request programme. You listened to it on the same bit of kit, or perhaps on the family music centre if your dad let you. And then came the Walkman.

Rather than the "impersonal" device it was often perceived to be, the original model had sockets for two pairs of headphones for sharing sounds. P2P = person to person.

Sony Walkman TPS-L2

The most important thing though was stereo sound, on the move. Finally teenagers had an easy way to ignore their parents and teachers, and the rest of the world had to learn to deal with annoying tish-tish-tish background noise.

It wasn't perfect, though – some early models needed a separate pack on your belt with two whopping Every Ready HP2 batteries if they were to last a decent length of time.

Other manufacturers piled in with clones, more and more features were added - and it wasn’t long before Walkman-style players were so ubiquitous that even Cliff Richard was singing about them.

Boost IT visibility and business value

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.