In the 2nd part of the blog I looked at some more old technology that the Queen has seen come and go during her six decades on the throne including the floppy disk and the humble pager.
In this final part I take a look at four more bits of redundant old technology that I found growing mold in a recent loft clearance:
Old Technology: 7. The Game Boy
As I approach 40, I am able to take a look back at four decades of gaming tech. I kicked off my gaming journey on a friend’s Atari 2600 in the late Seventies and when the Eighties arrived, so did my dad’s 1k ZX81 with it’s very basic gaming capabilities.
I moved on to the ZX Spectrum in 1983, more of which below, before I moved onto the Commodore Amiga and then a Playstation, which I found in the loft, alongside a PS2. Now that I’m allegedly a grown-up, I have a PS3 which I don’t get on too often, although my girlfriend would probably argue that wasn’t the case.
Anyway, amongst the loft junk, I came across my old Game Boy along with a Tetris cartridge that would make many a train or bus journey fly by.
Launched in 1989, the Game Boy now looks incredibly dated when you compare it to the HD handheld machines of today such as the PS Vita. But with a mere mono 8-bit screen and a little D-pad with just two buttons to play games, the Game Boy sold nearly 120 million units during the four years it remained in production and blitzed anything that Atari and Sega could offer.
It kept kids quiet in the car on a long drive and was the mainstay for gamers until games were introduced onto mobile phones and Nintendo ceased production in 2003.
Old Technology: 8. Sinclair ZX81 & ZX Spectrum
As mentioned above, my introduction to computers started with the humble ZX81 back in 1981 (as the name would suggest). With three young boys to feed, I can’t imagine that my mum would have been too chuffed with my dad spending £70 (equivalent to £200 in 2012) on a computer that really didn’t do a fat lot.
The successor to the ZX80, the ZX81 was launched in March 1981 by Sinclair and was designed to be a low-cost introduction to computing for the general public. Hooked up to a normal TV set, the ZX81 had no moving parts, not even a power switch and used a touch sensitive membrane keyboard for manual input.
I would sit for hours programming the little machine and then proudly showing my parents that I’d managed to make an analogue clock appear on the screen, when really I should have been out and about on my Raleigh Grifter with my mates.
And in the Christmas of 1983 I received what is still my favourite Christmas present of all time, the quite brilliant ZX Spectrum 48k.
The Spectrum enabled me to get into serious gaming for the first time, and I would fill up many a C90 with gems such as Manic Miner, Back to Skool and Spy vs. Spy.
Over the Spectrum’s ten year lifespan from 1982 to 1992, Sinclair launched eight different models from the rubber keyed 48k to the 128k +3 model complete with floppy disk capability.
Selling over 5 million units and earning Clive Sinclair a knighthood for services to computing, the Spectrum will be fondly remembered by many and launched thousands of people into the IT industry.
I’ve decided to salvage my ZX81 and Spectrum from the loft and put them on display in my office/to gather dust, next to anothe bit of old technology, an Astro Wars, Slinky and Weebles.
Old Technology: 9. PDA
PDAs or Personal Digital Assistant was a phrase that was coined by Apple in 1992.
The PDA I found nestling in the loft was a Psion Organiser II which I bought in 1987 before the term PDA was even a part of the public psyche.
I’ve no idea what exactly I had to organise as a 14 year old lad as I’m pretty sure my paper round was every morning, as was school. But like most blokes, I love a good gadget, although I’m not really sure you could call the Organiser II a good gadget.
And I probably saved up many weeks of pocket money to purchase the Psion machine only to be massively disappointed by its pathetic capabilities.
Formed in 1980, Psion built a lot of it’s early success on the back of PDAs and are now focused soley on mobile computing solutions. It withdrew from the consumer devices marketplace in 2001 and only a few days ago on 15 June 2012, it was announced that Motorola Solutions had agreed to buy the company for $200 million.
Old Technology: 10. The Teasmaid (or Teasmade)
Now seen more often in the London Science Museum than in people’s bedrooms, the Teasmaid was popular throughout the UK in the Sixties and Seventies.
I was given my parent’s old 1970s Goblin Teasmaid and displayed it proudly in my first post-university dwelling as some kind of ironic arty retro chic.
In reality nothing says naff more that a teasmaid and my model brewed up something which was closer to Bisto than a decent cup of tea and subsequently found his way back in a box and eventually into the loft.
The original automatic tea-making device was invented way back in 1891 by Samuel Rowbottom and had a clockwork alarm clock, a gas ring and pilot light.
And back in 2009, a survey placed the Teasmaid fifth on a list of the worst household gadgets of all time. It was only beaten by a Sodastream, an electric nail file, battery-powered candles and the leak-prone shower radio.
And although the Teasmaid had made something of a resurgence, I prefer to go and fill a kettle with fresh water rather than drink something that has been stagnating overnight.
I hope you have enjoyed my nostalgic look through the old technology in my loft. Do let us know if you have your own favourite bits of old technology that is no longer with us?