Archive for the ‘Retro’ Category
You’ve seen Super Mario evolve from a modest 2D sprite into a 3D world-exploring superhero mechanic, but have you ever seen life through his eyes? Here’s your opportunity, as a fanmade animation treats us to a first-person view of the intrepid Italian’s adventures through the familiar World 1-1. There are kill streaks, achievements like “headbanger” and “pole dancer,” and some extremely realistic sound effects to set the mood. The priceless video follows after the break.
For a man that spent the best part of his acting career representing a savvy dude from the future, William Shatner looks pretty well at home in the past as well. This video, dusted off from AT&T’s Tech Channel archives, shows Shatner dressed in a casual tan ensemble and dropping some knowledge on the subject of microprocessors. Aside from the retro visuals and presentation, what’s great about the vid is that the seemingly lavish claims about where computers could take us — and their own move toward increasing importance, utility and ubiquity — actually seem pretty tame in light of what we know today. Beam yourself past the break to see this golden nugget from the Bell Labs archives.
Before there were electronic computers, there were mechanical computers, and one of the most important uses of these was in directing gunfire on surface warships. Mechanical fire control computers took inputs from manned instruments that visually tracked enemy ships, and also considered variables such as wind speed and direction, the firing ship’s heading and velocity, etc. That information—completely in the form of physical displacements of mechanical movements—was cranked through a complex train of shafts, gears, cams, and differentials that computed the optimal firing solution, and automatically aimed the guns accordingly.
This film series, produced by the US Navy in black-and-white sprocket-clatter 1950s glory, explains the general principles of mechanical computation, as applied to fire control systems, in clear and engaging language with nice animated diagrams. It’s been ported to YouTube in seven parts by user navyreviewer. Totally engrossing. [via Boing Boing]
Or maybe the right metaphor is a used car salesman on late-night TV: “Come on down to Crazy Bolden’s! [Flings money in air] We’re givin’ em away!”
Because, in point of fact, they are. Not counting tax, title, and license, of course, which in the Space Shuttle’s case amount to some $28 million. When Discovery returns from its final mission today, some 21 museums will be waiting in the wings to see which will become the lucky custodian of Orbital Vehicle 103, artifact. Atlantis and Endeavour (OVs 4 and 5, respectively) are also up for grabs. Contending institutions include the Johnson Space Center in Houston, the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum in Manhattan, Seattle’s Museum of Flight, Florida’s Kennedy Space Center, and the Smithsonian. More details and used-car metaphors at The New York Times.
Hold on to your Zapper, because we’re about to blow some minds — this Nintendo Entertainment System has been outfitted with a USB port, and its Tetris cartridge transformed into an 8GB USB flash drive. Not only that, there are simple step-by-step instructions to craft your own online, so you too can slot, socket, mount and feel blissfully anachronistic all the same time. Speaking of time — it looks like we’ve finally got a sufficiently retro alternative to your Iomega ZIP drive.