The Chemistry Kit

November 26, 2019 4 min to read

The Chemistry Kit

Category : Educational, Games

Safety is a good thing, but have we gone too far? One of the casualties of the modern obsession with safety is the chemistry kit, an educational toy that helped generations of children to discover the fun of chemistry. First Experiments The first chemistry kits were developed in the early 19th century to teach chemistry t...

The Chess Machine

November 18, 2019 6 min to read

The Chess Machine

Category : Games

Modern computers are multi-purpose devices: your cellphone can do everything from telling the time to watching live video from across the globe, depending on what app you run. It wasn’t always that way, though: some of the first home computers were built and programmed to perform only one task, such as playing chess. These che...

The Casio QV-10 Digital Camera

November 5, 2019 7 min to read

The Casio QV-10 Digital Camera

Category : Cameras

The first few products in a new category often end up defining that category. That is definitely true of digital cameras, where one of these mold makers was the Casio QV-10: the first consumer digital camera that included an LCD screen. Launched in 1995, the QV-10 was one of the first consumer digital cameras (see note 1). A...

The Calculator Watch

November 5, 2019 4 min to read

The Calculator Watch

Category : Watches

Sting isn’t usually thought of as a geek hero. But, if you look carefully at the cover of the Police single “Wrapped Around Your Finger”, you’ll see that he is proudly wearing a symbol of geekdom from the late 1970s and 1980s. Similarly, geek icon Marty McFly is seen to be wearing the same symbol in Back To The Future: a...

The Polaroid SX70 Instant Camera

November 5, 2019 7 min to read

The Polaroid SX70 Instant Camera

Category : Cameras

Photography used to be a passive experience: you would take the photo, send the film off to develop and then get the prints back weeks later, long after you had forgotten taking them. Digital photography changed all that, but the digital camera was not the world’s first experience of instant photography. That came many years befor...

The Nokia 9000 Communicator

November 5, 2019 4 min to read

The Nokia 9000 Communicator

Category : Cell Phones, PDAs

The evolution of the modern smartphone is a complex business, with numerous extinct species that never quite made it. Some of these were just plain odd, and others were just before their time. The Nokia 9000 Communicator was one of these, a cell phone that was a smartphone before the word was invented. It rolled all of the features ...

The BBC Micro

November 5, 2019 7 min to read

The BBC Micro

Category : Computers

Ask any computer programmer from the UK over thirty where they got their first experience of computers, and I’ll bet you that most would say one thing: the BBC Micro. This pioneering computer was where a generation of programmers and hackers cut their computing teeth, creating games like Elite and the first shareware and open sour...

The Texas Instruments Speak & Spell

November 5, 2019 5 min to read

The Texas Instruments Speak & Spell

Category : Toys

For many people, their first glimpse of the power of technology wasn’t a laptop or a cell phone. It was a bright orange device that spoke in an odd, rattling voice: The Texas Instruments Speak & Spell. The first version of the Speak & Spell, which had physical keys rather than the membrane keyboard of later mo...

The Palm V PDA

November 5, 2019 4 min to read

The Palm V PDA

Category : PDAs

The philosopher Plato believed that all things have a perfect form, an abstract ideal that represents the essence of the thing in its purest form. Although the perfect form is unattainable in the physical world, the Palm V probably represents the closest that we have come to the perfect form of the stand-alone PDA. The Palm ...

The Motorola StarTAC

November 5, 2019 3 min to read

The Motorola StarTAC

Category : Cell Phones

Once upon a time, cell phones were clumsy and awkward devices. Some might argue that they still are, but back in the mid-1990s they were dumb as well: most couldn’t do much more than make a phone call. That might have been okay if they looked cool, but instead, phones like the Nokia 2120 were, well, functional is...

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