John Cleese Explains Why The Compaq II Is Better Than A Dead Fish

Let's see, to begin with, the fish weighed 22 pounds. So did the Compaq Portable II » 11/10/08 12:46pm 11/10/08 12:46pm computer (in retrospect, perhaps "luggable" is more accurate). Here, in a British commercial from 1986 or so, former Python John Cleese lays out the rest of the argument for the computer's superiority - including its big 4.2 megabytes…

Lonely Computer Begs Uninterested Public to "Touch Me" in 1983

I had no idea that there was a personal computer with a touchscreen on the market twenty-five years ago, but indeed there was: the HP-150 from Hewlett Packard (also the first computer to use the rigid 3.5” diskette » 8/12/08 1:00pm 8/12/08 1:00pm). While not a "true" touchscreen (), it's still jarring to see a feature that seems so modern set in a…

Training for the Automated Office of Tomorrow—Today! 1984

Learn how in a mere 24 weeks you can become a word-processing secretary using all the latest computer technology in this 1984 ad for MBTI (Manpower Business Training Institute) featuring Voice of the Milwaukee Bucks, Eddie Doucette. I left Milwaukee a year later—and with no training at all was soon using a computer… » 5/01/08 1:22pm 5/01/08 1:22pm

Gigantic Computers, Huge Reels of Tape - Remember the 80s?

At my first office job in the mid-80s, we backed up the computer every night on reels of magnetic tape. Here, in a scene from a slide show of 1980s IBM mainframe computer ops (all set to a snappy Sousa-esque march), tape librarians and console operators show how they did it at a large data center - which makes the… » 4/21/08 1:22pm 4/21/08 1:22pm

Univac Predicts Data Drives Smaller Than Cold Capsules, 1969

"The white ones are the men and the yellow ones are the women" is the tag line on this odd ad for Univac's experiemental photochromatic technology. Odd because it was 1969 and drugs were the new social scourge - at least the ones used by hippies. Diet pills, cold capsules, and tranquilizers - those were respectable… » 4/10/08 1:33pm 4/10/08 1:33pm

The World's Biggest Computer Kept Us Safe from Cold War Commies

Listen to the heartbeat of SAGE (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment), IBM's giant air defense computer, in this propaganda ... I mean, educational ... film from approximately 1956. Weighing in 250 tons and using 60,000 vacuum tubes, SAGE "was the largest computer ever built." It required an acre of floor space. » 3/04/08 12:40pm 3/04/08 12:40pm