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At 16th February of 1984, IBM introduces the IBM Portable Personal Computer 5155, an early portable computer. It featured a 4.77MHz Intel 8088 processor, 256KB RAM, a 9 inch amber monitor, a 5.25″ floppy drive, and the DOS 2.1 operating system. It weighed 30 pounds and cost $2,795.

Portable computers like laptops and tablets are a regular part of the modern lifestyle now, but it wasn’t always that way. It wasn’t too long ago where computing of any kind was just a pipe dream, let alone the portable devices that are popular today. It seems as though you could miss ‘the latest thing’ if you were distracted long enough. And the compact size of today’s portable computers make that even more likely.

The first modern-style laptop computer that featured a flat display screen that folded down onto the keyboard came out around 1982. It was called the GRID Compass and it had the same clamshell style design that’s still used for most of today’s laptops. It did have battery-power capabilities, but it still floundered in the commercial market due to a high price tag and incompatibility with IBM products. In the end, the primary users of the GRID Compass were NASA and the US Military.

In 1983, a couple of portable computers were introduced that would see a little more commercial success. One was the Epson HX-20 and the other was The Compaq Portable. The Compaq computer still needed AC power to work, but it was the first portable computer that was compatible with IBM software and the MS-DOS operating system.

The Epson HX-20 computer was quite simple when it came to programming, but it could also be run on rechargeable batteries, making it truly portable. By the end of 1983, a small laptop called the Kyocera Kyotronic 85 had made its way to North America from Japan. This computer had an internal modem and ran several programs that were designed by Microsoft. It was small and relatively inexpensive, making it a favorite among journalists.

Since IBM was the primary operating platform for the majority of desktop computers, it was important that laptop computers also be IBM compatible. This way, users could transfer data from one computer to the other without incident. And since none of the earlier portable computers could fulfill this need effectively, IBM and Toshiba each produced laptops between 1984 and 1987 that were IBM compatible.

These computers were world beaters as far as operation was concerned, but they did run on batteries, were light enough to carry around in a backpack and each had a pause feature that enabled users to continue on with their work from a previous session without restarting.

The IBM Portable PC was IBM's answer to Compaq and their Portable. The IBM machine boasted 100% IBM compatibility, of course, whereas the Compaq couldn't quite get there (mainly because they couldn't put BASIC in ROM). The IBM Portable PC was actually a tiny bit smaller then the Compaq and just a little less expensive. The competition spurred Compaq to produce some smaller, more powerful and less expensive machines.

The unit also had a new, lightweight keyboard and a universal power supply. The system board is the same as that of the IBM Personal Computer XT with 256Kb of memory that is expandable to 512Kb using the memory expansion option. Five expansion slots are available for the connection of most IBM Personal Computer options. The system has identical function and performance characteristics to an equivalently configured IBM Personal Computer.

Unlike the Compaq Portable, which used a dual-mode monitor and special display card, IBM used a stock CGA card and a 9" amber monochrome composite monitor, which had lower resolution. It could, however, display color if connected to an external monitor or television. A separate 83-key keyboard and cable was provided. If a bit less sophisticated than the Compaq Portable, IBM's machine had the advantage of a lower price tag.

The motherboard had eight expansion slots. The power supply was rated 114 watts and was suitable for operation on either 120 or 230 VAC. Hard disks were a very common third-party add-on as IBM did not offer them from the factory. Typically in a two-drive context, floppy drive A: ran the operating system, and drive B: would be used for application and data diskettes.

Its selling point as a "portable" was that it combined the monitor into a base unit approximating a medium-sized suitcase that could be simply set on its flat side, plugged in, the keyboard folded down or detached, and booted up for use, though printers at the time, if needed, still tended to be less "portable".

The screen on the IBM PC Portable was one of its strong points. The bright amber display was both attractive and easy on the eyes. The PC Portable was a transportable machine. This one came with the optional IBM carrying case made of sturdy blue canvas capable of holding the considerable weight of this machine.

#IBM5155 #Onthisday #Technology
#PC #Computer #IBM #PortablePC
#80sTechnology #RetroComputing
#Oldschool #Vintage #Retro


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At 28th January of 1986, the U.S. space shuttle Challenger exploded just after takeoff. The space shuttle Challenger was one of NASA's greatest triumphs. It was the second shuttle to reach space, in April 1983. It successfully completed nine milestone missions. But Challenger was also NASA's darkest tragedy. On its 10th launch, on Jan. 28, 1986, the shuttle exploded 73 seconds after liftoff, killing the seven crew members. The accident changed the space program forever.

If you’re age 40 years or older, you’d probably remember January 28, 1986. That was day of the Challenger disaster, when the NASA Space Shuttle orbiter Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida at 11:38 EST. All seven crew members were killed, including five NASA astronauts and two payload specialists.

Millions of Americans (17% of the total population) watched the launch live on TV because of Payload Specialist Christa McAuliffe, the first teacher in space. Media coverage of the explosion was extensive: one study reported that 85% of Americans surveyed had heard the news within an hour of the accident. Every January, NASA pauses to remember the last crew of Challenger, and the other crews lost in pursuing space, on a NASA Day of Remembrance.

In the early days of the Space Race, there were some different schools of thought on ways to move people and cargo to and from space. The ballistic folks thought in terms of artillery shells, missiles, and stuff that shoots straight up and eventually plows back through the atmosphere. The jet jockeys operated under the belief that the best ways to get to and from space involved interacting with the air, like a plane.

So, for a number of years stretching from the mid-to-late 1960s onward, the general belief was that if any system was going to shuttling John Q. Public to and from space, it would be a kind of hopped-up airplane… like the Space Shuttle.

NASA and others put quite a bit of stock in the idea that we could build something like a 747 for space. Early estimates pegged the number of Shuttle flights at somewhere around 130 over a two-year span. Instead, we got 135 actual Shuttle missions flown over the 30-year life of the program.

Rather than 65 flights per year, we got an average of 4.5. Even so, in the early years of the Shuttle, a lot of folks really wanted to believe that NASA would solve the problems and make the spacecraft perform as promised if it were just given enough time and resources to do so.

NASA tried so very, very hard to live up to those hopes and aspirations, launching Shuttles as fast as it could manage; nine Shuttle missions in the year before the Challenger disaster, in fact. At the time, all kinds of civilians had blasted off: payload specialists (industrial astronauts!), military payload specialists, and congressmen.

A second shuttle launch site was under construction in California to allow the shuttle to orbit the planet from pole to pole, rather than around the equator. Interplanetary robotic missions launched from the Shuttle's cargo bay were in the offing, and NASA was developing a potentially booming satellite repair business.

The Teacher in Space program, announced by President Ronald Reagan in 1984, was another major step. The idea was for a teacher to be selected from among thousands of applicants to fly on the Challenger and deliver two 15-minute teaching lessons from space.

Kids across the US spent weeks prepping for this big national moment in science education. Christa McAuliffe, who taught social studies at a high school in New Hampshire, could have been anyone's teacher. Meanwhile, the public was left to wonder if maybe, just maybe, the average person might be able to get themselves to space within a couple decades.

The morning of the launch, some 17 percent of the US viewing audience watched the launch live as all those idle notions and distant fantasies about an optimistic future in space were blown across the Florida sky and killed just as surely as Christa McAuliffe, the five NASA astronauts, and two payload specialists had been. Here was an individual who had been celebrated and touted as a normal, everyday kind of person, and she'd died a tragic death on national TV for audaciously embodying the idea that anyone could go to space.

The Challenger disaster brought a high-flying part of the American psyche back down to earth, and it's unclear if, when, or how that will ever change. But a new wave of innovation, led by entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk's SpaceX, Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin, and Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic is slowly rekindling those idle thoughts about space.

A 2010 poll shows that almost two-thirds of the American public expects to see an astronaut on Mars by 2050, while a bit more than half thinks that ordinary people will fly in space by then.

It's far too early to tell if the latest phase of space exploration, both government and privately-led, will succeed in getting astronauts to Mars or average folks to space. While it's nice to see some public optimism on that front, it's also important to realize how quickly those aspirations can be blown to pieces.

#SpaceShuttleChallenger #SpaceShuttle
#Onthisday #NASA #STS51L
#Inmemoryof #Challenger
#History #80sMemories #Shuttle
#SpaceExploration #DayOfRemembrance


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At 24th January of 1984, the first Apple Macintosh Computer goes on sale. This was the first mass-market personal computer featuring an integral graphical user interface and mouse. This first model was later renamed to "Macintosh 128k" for uniqueness amongst a populous family of subsequently updated models which are also based on Apple's same proprietary architecture. The Macintosh 128K hit the market two days after it was announced to the world in the now-legendary commercial aired during Super Bowl XVIII.

The Apple Macintosh revolutionized the entire computer industry by the year of 1984. Steve Jobs and his ingenious Macintosh team arranged for the computer to be used by the normal “person in the street”, and not only by experts.

Before the Macintosh, all computers were 'text-based', you operated them by typing words onto the keyboard. The Macintosh is run by activating pictures (icons) on the screen with a small hand-operated device called a "mouse".

Most modern-day computers now operate on this principle, including modern Apple computers and most others which run the Microsoft Windows operating system. Except for the very expensive and unpopular Apple Lisa which came out in 1983, the Macintosh is considered to be the first commercially successful computer to use a GUI (Graphical User Interface).

“Insanely great”, Steve Jobs could hardly put into words his enthusiasm by the launch of the Macintosh. On the legendary annual general meeting of January 24th, 1984, in the Flint Center not far from the Apple Campus in Cupertino, the Apple co-founder initially quoted Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’” in order to then polemicize against an imminent predominance of the young computer industry by IBM.

Apple didn't introduce the Macintosh all by itself; at the same January 24 meeting, it unveiled a less expensive Lisa, the Lisa 2. The new Lisa used the same 3.5" disk as the Mac and could run either the Lisa OS or the Mac OS.

It shipped with 512 KB of memory and was even available with a 10 MB hard drive. In fact, only the Lisa and Lisa 2 had enough memory for anyone to do program development for the RAM-limited Macintosh and all the Mac software run on the Lisa 2 could automatically take advantage of the extra memory.

The Macintosh was designed to achieve adequate graphics performance, which had previously required hardware costing over US$100,000, a price inaccessible to the middle class. This narrow goal resulted in an efficient design which traded off expandability but met or exceeded the baseline performance of its competitors. Like the Commodore Amiga 1000 and the Macintosh Portable, the Macintosh has the signatures of the designer's cast into the inside of the case.

The Macintosh 128K screamed along at 8 MHz, featured two serial ports and could accommodate one 3.5-inch floppy disc. It ran the Mac OS 1.0, came with a 9-inch black-and-white monitor and sold for a cool $2,500 (the equivalent of $5,000 in today's dollars). In a little under three months, Apple sold 50,000 of these babies, not exactly an avalanche.

In 1985, the "Macintosh" computer line received a big sales boost with the introduction of the LaserWriter printer and Aldus PageMaker, home desktop publishing was now possible. But 1985 was also the year when the original founders of Apple left the company. Steve Wozniak returned to college and Steve Jobs was fired, his difficulties with John Sculley coming to a head.

Jobs had decided, to regain control of the company away from Sculley, he scheduled a business meeting in China for Sculley and planned for a corporate take-over, when Sculley would be absent.

Information about Jobs' true motives, reached Sculley before the China trip, he confronted Jobs and asked Apple's Board of Directors to vote on the issue. Cveryone voted for Sculley and Jobs quit, in lieu of being fired. Jobs later rejoined Apple in 1996 and has happily worked there ever since. Sculley was eventually replaced as CEO of Apple.

Realizing the limitations of the 128 KB Macintosh and seeing RAM prices drop, Apple introduced the Fat Mac with 512 KB of memory in September. The original Mac, commonly called the 128K, remained on the market until October 1985, leaving the Mac 512K as the only model until January 1986.

#AppleMacintosh #Macintosh #Apple
#PC #Computer #Technology #Onthisday
#80sTechnology #RetroComputing
#Oldschool #Retro #Vintage

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At 22nd January of 1984, during CBS's broadcast of Super Bowl XVIII, Apple Computer Company heralds the introduction of its Apple Macintosh personal computer with the famous advertisement "1984", the only time it is broadcast on national television. Originally a subject of contention within Apple, it has subsequently been called a watershed event and a masterpiece in advertising. In 1995, The Clio Awards added it to its Hall of Fame, and Advertising Age placed it on the top of its list of 50 greatest commercials.

33 ago today, Apple defined the Super Bowl Commercial as a cultural phenomenon. Prior to Super Bowl XVIII, nobody watched the game "just for the commercials", but one epic TV spot, directed by sci-fi legend Ridley Scott, changed all that.

The tagline "Why 1984 Won't Be Like '1984'" references George Orwell's 1949 novel '1984', which envisioned a dystopian future, controlled by a televised "Big Brother." The tagline was written by Brent Thomas and Steve Hayden of the ad firm Chiat\Day in 1982, and the pair tried to sell it to various companies (including Apple, for the Apple II computer) but were turned down repeatedly.

When Steve Jobs heard the pitch in 1983, he was sold, he saw the Macintosh as a "revolutionary" product, and wanted advertising to match. Jobs saw IBM as Big Brother, and wanted to position Apple as the world's last chance to escape IBM's domination of the personal computer industry.

The Mac was scheduled to launch in late January of 1984, a week after the Super Bowl. IBM already held the nickname "Big Blue," so the parallels, at least to Jobs, were too delicious to miss. Chiat\Day hired Ridley Scott, whose 1982 sci-fi film 'Blade Runner' had the dystopian tone they were looking for (and 'Alien' wasn't so bad either).

Scott filmed the ad in London, using actual skinheads playing the mute bald men; they were paid $125 a day to sit and stare at Big Brother; those who still had hair were paid to shave their heads for the shoot. Anya Major, a discus thrower and actress, was cast as the woman with the sledgehammer largely because she was actually capable of wielding the thing.

When the ad aired, controversy erupted; viewers either loved or hated the ad, and it spurred a wave of media coverage that involved news shows replaying the ad as part of covering it, leading to estimates of an additional $5 million in "free" airtime for the ad. All three national networks, plus countless local markets, ran news stories about the ad.

"1984" become a cultural event, and served as a blueprint for future Apple product launches. The marketing logic was brilliantly simple: create an ad campaign that sparked controversy (for example, by insinuating that IBM was like Big Brother), and the media will cover your launch for free, amplifying the message.

In 2004, the ad was updated for the launch of the iPod. The only change was that the woman with the hammer was now listening to an iPod, which remained clipped to her belt as she ran.

#AppleMacintosh #Apple
#Retro #Oldschool
#80sMemories #1984Commercial
#Onthisday #Commercial
#Vintage #Macintosh

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At 19th January of 1983, at an introductory price of $9995, Apple introduces the Lisa computer: the first computer with a GUI (Graphical User Interface). The Lisa sold poorly, with only 100,000 units sold.

The Apple Lisa was a personal computer designed at Apple Computer, Inc. during the early 1980s. Officially, “Lisa” stood for “Local Integrated Software Architecture”, but it was also the name of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ daughter. The Lisa project was started at Apple in 1978 and evolved into a project to design a powerful personal computer with a graphical user interface (GUI) that would be targeted toward business customers.

In September 1980, Steve Jobs was forced out of the Lisa project, so he joined the Macintosh project instead. Contrary to popular belief, the Macintosh is not a direct descendant of Lisa, although there are obvious similarities between the systems and the final revision, the Lisa 2/10, was modified and sold as the Macintosh XL.

The Lisa was a more advanced (and far more expensive) system than the Macintosh of that time in many respects, such as its inclusion of protected memory, cooperative multitasking, a generally more sophisticated hard disk based operating system, a built-in screensaver, an advanced calculator with a paper tape and RPN, support for up to 2 megabytes of RAM, expansion slots, and a larger higher resolution display.

It would be many years before many of those features were implemented on the Macintosh platform. Protected memory, for instance, did not arrive until the Mac OS X operating system was released in 2001.

The Macintosh, however, featured a faster 68000 processor (7.89 MHz) and sound. The complexity of the Lisa operating system and its programs taxed the 5 MHz Motorola 68000 microprocessor so that the system felt sluggish, particularly when scrolling in documents.

The Lisa was first introduced in January 19, 1983 at a cost of $9,995 US ($21,482.26 in 2008 dollars). It is one of the first commercial personal computers to have a GUI and a mouse. It used a Motorola 68000 CPU at a 5 MHz clock rate and had 1 MB RAM.

The original Lisa has two Apple FileWare 5¼ inch double-sided floppy disk drives, more commonly known by Apple’s internal code name for the drive, “Twiggy”. They have a capacity of approximately 871 kilobytes each, but required special diskettes.

The drives have the reputation of not being reliable, so the Macintosh, which was originally designed to have a single Twiggy, was revised to use a Sony 400k microfloppy drive in January 1984. An optional external 5 MB or, later, a 10 MB Apple ProFile hard drive (originally designed for the Apple III) was also offered.

The Apple Lisa turned out to be a commercial failure for Apple, the largest since the Apple III disaster of 1980. The intended business computing customers balked at Lisa’s high price and largely opted to run less expensive IBM PCs, which were already beginning to dominate business desktop computing. The largest Lisa customer was NASA, which used LisaProject for project management and which was faced with significant problems when the Lisa was discontinued.

The Lisa is also seen as being a bit slow in spite of its innovative interface. The release of the Apple Macintosh in 1984, which received far better marketing, was the most significant factor in the Lisa’s demise. The Macintosh appeared, on the surface due to its GUI and mouse, to be a wholesale improvement and was far less expensive.

Two later Lisa models were released (the Lisa 2 and its Mac ROM-enabled sibling Macintosh XL) before the Lisa line was discontinued in April 1985. In 1986, Apple offered all Lisa/XL owners the opportunity to turn in their computer and along with US$1,498.00, would receive a Macintosh Plus and Hard Disk 20 (a US$4,098.00 value at the time).

#AppleLisa #Apple #Lisa
#PC #Computer #Onthisday
#80sTechnology #RetroComputing
#Technology #DesktopComputer
#Oldschool #Retro #Vintage

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At 16th January of 1986, Apple releases the Macintosh Plus. The Macintosh Plus computer is the third model in the Macintosh line, introduced on January 16, 1986, two years after the original Macintosh and a little more than a year after the Macintosh 512K, with a price tag of US$2599. As an evolutionary improvement over the 512K, it shipped with 1 MB of RAM standard, expandable to 4 MB, and an external SCSI peripheral bus, among smaller improvements. It is the earliest Macintosh model able to run System 7 OS.

Following the release of the original Macintosh in 1984 and the Macintosh 512K in 1985, Apple released the Macintosh Plus in 1986, now with 1 MB of RAM, an 800 kB 3.5” floppy disk drive, and a SCSI port.

The original Macintosh (Macintosh 128K), the Macintosh 512K, and the Macintosh Plus had the same basic design. Thus, we can consider these three models as the first generation of Macintosh computers. They were all based on the Motorola 68000 microprocessor, which was one of the most powerful CPUs available at the time, and had a 9-inch black-and-white video monitor with a resolution of 512 x 342 integrated on the computer’s body.

The main difference between the three models is the amount of RAM (128 KB, 512 KB or 1 MB). However, while the first two models didn’t allow the user to add more memory, the Macintosh Plus uses SIMM-30 memory modules, allowing users to expand the memory up to 4 MB, as we will explain. In fact, in January 1988, Apple released models of the Macintosh Plus with 2 MB or 4 MB of RAM.

Another difference between the three models was with the floppy disk drive. The Macintosh 128K used a 400 kB 3.5” floppy disk drive. The first models of the Macintosh 512K (part number “M0001W”) also used a 400 kB 3.5” floppy disk drive, but later models (part numbers “M0001E” and “M0001D”) used an 800 kB 3.5” floppy disk drive. The Macintosh Plus came with an 800 kB 3.5” floppy disk drive.

None of these computers come with a hard drive, so the operating system and programs must have been loaded through floppy disks. All of the time, we see people listing first-generation Macs on eBay, saying that the computer is “defective” because the operating system is not loading and the computer is showing an icon with a floppy disk and a question mark.

This is the normal behavior of the computer when it doesn’t find a floppy containing the operating system, and it means the computer is working as expected.

The Macintosh Plus, however, was the first Macintosh computer to come with a SCSI port. This allowed you to install an external hard disk drive to this computer. Originally, the Macintosh Plus was released in yellow, just like the Macintosh 128K and the Macintosh 512K. However, in January 1987, its color was changed to the light gray color (called “platinum”) that Apple started using on its computers from then on.

Differently from the Apple II and Apple III, the keyboard was not part of the body of the computer. It was connected to the computer using a spiraled cable similar to the ones used by telephones.

The keyboard was mechanical and almost identical to the one used with the Apple IIe, except that the old Open Apple and Solid Apple keys were replaced by the Command and the Option keys, respectively. The keyboard of the Macintosh Plus was different from the one used with the Macintosh 128K and the Macintosh 512K, as it now had a numeric keypad.

The versatility of this machine is so great, that it stayed on Apple's product line longer than any other machine, almost five years. Even today, thousands of Mac Pluses are used in schools, businesses, and homes. Steve Wozniak, who was awarded the 1 millionth Macintosh shipped (a Mac Plus) still uses it in his office along with his PowerBook 180.

You can even see a Mac Plus in the movie "Star Trek IV: The Journey Home" where Scotty uses it to create a new kind of industrial-strength plastic. There have even been articles and discussion groups that find new ways to keep this little machine alive. It's just another one of Apple's great little beige boxes.

#Macintosh #MacintoshPlus #Apple
#DesktopComputer #PC #Computer #Technology
#80sTechnology #Onthisday #RetroComputing
#Oldschool #Retro #Vintage

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At 13th January of 1984, the KoalaPad Touch Tablet was released. The KoalaPad is a graphics tablet produced by U.S. company Koala Technologies for several early 8-bit home computers, including the Apple II family, TRS-80 Color Computer (TRS-80 Touch Pad), Atari 8-bit family, and Commodore 64, as well as for the IBM PC.

The touchscreen, a display that's sensitive to human touch or a stylus, has been around for nearly half a century. It's used on ATM machines, GPS systems, cash registers, medical monitors, game consoles, computers, phones and continues to appear in newer technologies. E.A. Johnson is believed to be the first to develop the touchscreen in 1965. But the tablet, which was patented in 1969, could only read one touch at a time, and it was used for air traffic control until about 1995.

Bent Stumpe and Frank Beck, two engineers at CERN, developed a transparent, capacitive touch screen in the early 1970s. This kind of screen relies on having an object pressing particularly hard against its surface, and will only react to certain objects like a stylus.

It was manufactured by CERN and utilized in 1973. Samuel G. Hurst founded the resistive touchscreen in the 1971. Hurst's sensor, called the "Elograph," was named after his company Elographics, but it was not mass-produced and sold until the early 1980s.

Unlike a capacitive screen, the resistive design is made of several layers, and responds to touch of a finger or stylus. The outer layer flexes under any touch, and is pushed back onto a layer behind it. This completes a circuit, telling the device which part of the screen is being pressed.

Multi-touch technology began in 1982, when the University of Toronto developed a tablet that could read multiple points of contact. Bell Labs developed a touchscreen that could change images with more than one hand in 1984. Around the same time, Myron Krueger developed an optical system that tracks hand movements. This was the beginning for the gestures we've adapted to so easily today.

The next time you use your shiny new Wacom tablet and Adobe Photoshop CC 2017, think back to a time before time; a time before blends, morphs, heal brushes, and 10-megapixel images. A time like 1984, which, for computer graphics, was darker than the Dark Ages.

It was a time when you could buy an $90.00 KoalaPad Touch Tablet for your Atari 8-bit home computer. Touch technology and tablets in 1984 was quite too early for its commercial primetime but Koala Technologies made one for the Commodore, Apple and Atari machines. They even got the ‘Pad’ name and a Koala as a mascot without people chuckling.

Originally designed by Dr. David Thornburg as a low-cost computer drawing tool for schools, the KoalaPad consisted of a 4″x4″ drawing area and two buttons. The KoalaPad also came with KoalaPainter, a relatively basic drawing program that allowed budding artists to draw basic shapes, swap colors, and load and save their creations. It was no PhotoShop, but for the time, it was pretty awesome.

The KoalaPad could be operated with the pressure of a pen stylus, or a finger for less precise work. It included two buttons along the top for operating additional software features. The top-mounted buttons tended to be somewhat frustrating to use, as the user had to "reach around" the stylus to push the buttons in order to start or stop drawing. A similar tablet from Atari, the "Atari CX77 Touch Tablet", addressed this with a built-in button on the stylus, which some enterprising users adapted for use with their KoalaPad.

The pad shipped with a simple bitmap graphics editor called KoalaPainter (aka KoalaPaint or PC Design), developed for Koala by Audio Light, Inc. Although bundled with the pad, KoalaPainter could also be operated using an ordinary digital joystick.

One unique feature of the program, for its time, was that it held two pictures in the computer's memory, allowing the user to flip from one to the other, a function commonly used in order to study the differences between an original and modified picture, and to copy and paste between two different pictures.

Some third-party bitmap editors could also be used with the KoalaPad, such as Broderbund's Dazzle Draw for the Apple II. While inferior for modern technological standards, the KoalaPad Touch Tablet was an impressive piece of hardware and a well designed and brilliant idea at the time.

#KoalaPad #Vintage
#Gadgets #Retro #Technology
#Oldschool #80sTechnology
#Onthisday #Tablet #GraphicsTablet
#80sMemories #KoalaTechnologies

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At 11th January of 1989, President of the United States Ronald Reagan delivers his farewell address to the nation. President Ronald Reagan helped redefine the purpose of government and pressured the Soviet Union to end the Cold War. He solidified the conservative agenda for decades after his presidency. An icon among Republicans, he ranks favorably in public and critical opinion of U.S. Presidents.

Turn the pages of history in the American politics and you are sure to find a name that changed the political and economic condition of the country for a glorious future. Ronald Reagan served as the 33rd Governor of California, an office which he served for two consecutive terms before being appointed as the 40th President of the United States of America in 1980, a position he held until January 1989.

However, a peep into the life of this iconic personality leaves one perplexed watching the stark opposition between his early and later life. It is interesting to note that before taking a plunge into politics and pursuing a substantial career in the same, President Reagan was in the field of entertainment and served as the radio sports announcer and later on as an actor. He even took to playing the host for several television series and held the chair of the President for Screen Actors Guild.

Ronald Reagan was born to John Edward ‘Jack’ Reagan and Nellie Wilson Reagan in Tampico, Illinois. He had an elder brother Neil. Fondly called ‘Dutch’, thanks to his Dutchman-like appearance and haircut, the nickname stayed with him throughout youth.

He completed his preliminary education from Dixon High School post which he got a scholarship at Eureka College to study Economics and Sociology. While he was academically proficient, his performance as an athlete, swimmer and actor, won him the chair of the President of the student body. Upon completing his graduation, he worked as a radio sports announcer in Iowa, after which he was hired by WHO radio. In 1937, a screen test with the Warner Brothers led to his signing a contract with the company.

In his three decades long Hollywood career, he acted in several movies. While initially he found himself roles in ‘B-films’, soon his performance was appreciated by audience and critics alike. His most iconic movies were ‘Knute Rockne, All American’ and ‘Kings Row’. It was during his years as a television host that his ideology shifted from that of a liberal to a conservative. He entered into the political limelight in 1964 with his speech favouring Republican candidate Barry Goldwater.

In 1966, he ran for the first time for a government office, for the post of the Governor of California and eventually ended up winning the same by almost 1 million votes. He was re-elected for a second term in 1970, which he served until 1974. Establishing himself as a Republican Party conservative candidate, he contested the 1980 presidential election. The result of the election was spell-binding, as he convincingly defeated Democratic President Jimmy Carter, gaining 51% of the popular votes.

He was sworn in as the President of the USA on January 20, 1981. In his inaugural speech, he called for a renewal of the nation and the government which he designated to be ‘the problem’ instead of being the ‘problem-solver’.

During his term, he brought about numerous social, economic, domestic and international policies. He enhanced the military budget, reduced spending in certain social programs such as Medicaid, food stamps and federal education programs and de-regulated businesses. He brought an end to the price controls on domestic oils which led to an unhindered supply of energy in the 1980s, much unlike the 1970s.

In 1985 when Mikhail Gorbachev became leader of the Soviet Union, Reagan saw an opportunity for peace. The two leaders agreed to reduce their stockpile of nuclear missiles. Reagan is famous for his speech at the Berlin Wall where he said to Gorbachev "Mr. Chairman, tear down this wall". Two years later, in 1989, the Berlin Wall, separating communist East Germany from democratic West Germany, was torn down. The Cold War was over.

Reagan met actress Nancy Davis (1921–2016) in 1949 after she contacted him in his capacity as president of the Screen Actors Guild to help her with issues regarding her name appearing on a Communist blacklist in Hollywood.

They were engaged at Chasen's restaurant in Los Angeles and were married on March 4, 1952, at the Little Brown Church in the Valley (North Hollywood, now Studio City) San Fernando Valley. They had two children: Patti and Ronald "Ron" Jr.

Thought of as America’s first couple, the Reagans appeared to embody traditional American values. Their appeal reflected America’s love affair with movies and the actors in them. Americans ate up images of Ronald and Nancy’s public expressions of sincere devotion and they were often photographed together on their ranch in California or dancing in each other’s arms at state functions.

After eight years as president of the United States, Ronald Reagan gives his farewell address to the American people. In his speech, President Reagan spoke with particular enthusiasm about the foreign policy achievements of his administration.

In his speech, President Reagan declared that America “rediscovered” its commitment to world freedom in the 1980s. The United States was “respected again in the world and looked to for leadership.” The key, according to the president, was a return to “common sense” that “told us that to preserve the peace, we’d have to become strong again after years of weakness.”

Shortly after leaving office, Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and the ever-devoted, stalwart Nancy took care of him until his death in 2004 at the age of 93. The achievements of his administration gained him much favor with the American public, and Ronald Reagan left office as one of the most popular modern U.S. presidents.

#RonaldReagan #President #USPresident
#PresidentReagan #Leadership #Onthisday
#80sMemories #History #America #WhiteHouse

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On this day:
At 9th January of 1986, Kodak got out of the instant camera business after 10 years due to a loss in a court battle that claimed that Kodak copied Polaroid patents.

In 1947, Edwin Land unveiled a new process that would change the direction of amateur photography. It was a one-step, one-minute process that produced a fully finished photograph, something no one had ever seen before. This process was the beginning of a new genre of creating photographs called instant photography. The camera that was made for this in-camera process was the Land camera, named for the inventor of synthetic polarizer and the instant film process, and the founder of the Polaroid Corporation.

Many different models of these first Polaroid cameras, as well as many later models, can be viewed at Special Collections in the Ryerson University Library Archives, along with examples of different Polaroid photographs and instant film.

Polaroid dominated the market for this unique and easy photographic process that was a huge hit with amateur and professional consumers. However, also among the shelves of Special Collections, are examples of cameras, prints and film made by a number of different manufacturing companies who tried to get in on this popular genre of photography.

None were nearly as successful, as no one could compete with the Polaroid name or their (what is often referred to as brilliant) marketing campaign. Stars such as Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Sir Lawrence Olivier, Mariette Hartley & James Garner, Blyth Danner, Candice Bergen, and The Muppets loaned their talents to promoting Polaroid products at a time when many stars were wary of doing commercials.

Then, in 1976, Polaroid was finally faced with their first real competitor for the instant photography market, an already established manufacturer of photographic equipment and materials: the Eastman Kodak Company. But Polaroid was prepared to deal with their competition, and by 1986, all of Kodak’s instant photography films and cameras had been pulled from the market, and Kodak ceased to manufacture any products that would directly compete with Polaroid’s instant photography niche.

In fact, from 1963-1969, the Eastman Kodak Company had actually manufactured Polaroid’s instant film for them. At this time, Kodak was planning to introduce themselves to the market with a packfilm design, but later, after Polaroid released their SX-70 system in 1972, Kodak decided to go in a different direction and follow Polaroid with an integral type process instead.

Although Kodak’s design differed from Polaroid’s in numerous ways, Polaroid filed suit against Kodak mere months after the release of the new products for the infringement of 12 Polaroid patents, accusing Kodak of illegally incorporating instant photography technology into their products. They claimed that during the 10 years the Eastman Kodak Company produced instant photography materials, they had cost the Polaroid Corporation $12 billion.

The final charges, announced in 1990, did not amount to $12 billion (what many considered a huge exaggeration), but at $909 million, they did come close to a billion. Found guilty on 7 of the 12 patent infringements after a trial in 1985, Kodak was forced out of instant photography the following year. The widely reported ruling was bad news for customers who had purchased a Kodak Instant camera.

The case did end favourably for Kodak though, especially after the high demands from Polaroid, who felt that Kodak had intentionally copied their technology. After a 14-year legal battle, in 1991 Kodak was finally ordered to pay Polaroid a total of $909 million, $925 million with interest, the largest settlement ever paid out until last year when Apple was awarded $1.049 billion in damages from Samsung infringements.

As part of the settlement, Kodak needed to provide compensation for customers who had bought any of their instant cameras between 1976 and 1986 and would no longer be able to purchase film to use in them. Owners of Kodak instant cameras were invited to call a toll free number and register themselves in order to receive a settlement packet.

The packet was mailed out to those who registered, and provided customers with instructions of how to receive a rebate check or certificate, which often involved removing the name plate off of the front of the camera and mailing it in as proof of purchase.

The Eastman Kodak Company did manage to recover after the Polaroid lawsuit, and with the sales of their popular movie films were able to regain their success. Unfortunately, the company was much slower with the uptake of the digital market, and in 2012 filed for bankruptcy due to lack of demand for the primary products made by their company, photographic films.

#Kodak #Polaroid #Camera
#Retro #Vintage #Oldschool
#History #Technology
#Onthisday #80sMemories

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At 7th January of 1982, Commodore unveils the Commodore 64 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Built in just two months around the VIC-II Video Integrated Circuit and the SID Sound Interface Device chips, the C64 used the 6510 processor to access 64K of RAM plus 16K of switchable ROM. This "epitome of the 8-bit computer" sold up to 30 million units in the next decade.

For those of you too young to remember, Commodore was a hot company in the mid-1980s. It was a leader in personal computers, shipping thousands of Commodore 64 desktops daily. Guinness has named it the single biggest-selling computer ever, the company sold as many as 30 million of them and the brand name is still widely remembered. Still, the company went bankrupt in 1994, and the brand saw several fuzzy changes of trademark ownership over the years.

The 64 began its design life in January of 1981 when MOS Technology engineers decided they needed a new chip project. MOS’ Albert Charpentier had been responsible for several of the highly successful VIC-20 chips.

By November of 1981, the chips were completed but Commodores president Jack Tramiel decided against using them in the faltering arcade game market. Instead he tasked the engineers with developing a 64 kilobyte home computer for show at the Winter Consumer Electronics Show (CES) the second week of January 1982; just 6 weeks away.

Two days after Jacks request, the basic design was completed and by the end of December 1981 the hardware for five VIC-30 (the C64’s development name) prototypes was assembled. In the remaining two weeks, the VIC-20 operating system was stretched onto the C64. With an estimated retail price of just $595, it was the buzz of the show.

It did not hurt that there were no other new powerful machines shown at CES by Commodores competitors that year. The Commodore 64 was alive: it was immediately ordered into production which hit full stride by August 1982. In addition to being vastly more powerful than anything on the market at the time, it was drastically cheaper than its competitors like the Apple II, IBM PC, or TRS-80.

The 64’s initial production cost target was $130; it actually came in at $135. The opening price of $595 would leave a handsome profit for Commodore, even after packaging, promotion and distribution. Within a few years, it was estimated that component cost decreases and economies of scale, had dropped the cost of manufacture to less than $50!

The C64 uses Commodore Basic version 2.0 even though a substantially improved Commodore PET Basic 4.0 was available. This is because the upgrade would have required more Read Only Memory (ROM) which would have cost more.

The Commodore 64 is arguably the easiest to use programmable computer that has ever been made. Like the PET and VIC-20 before it, the 64 booted to a friendly screen with the Commodore Basic Operating System ready and waiting for instruction.

If writing your own programs was daunting, and loading software from cassettes or floppies was ‘just too much’ for you, you could just jam a cartridge in the back of the unit and like magic your machine was doing whatever you wanted it to.

Creating the best selling machine in history is no small feat. Commodore did not ‘knock the ball out of the park’, they ‘knocked the park into the next city’. The pushed the industry to a level of scale that was previously thought impossible.

Like its VIC-20 predecessor, the 64 was the first computer that millions of today’s programmers, designers, engineers and enthusiasts had ever used. It has inspired a countless volume of software and hardware for the C64 and other non-Commodore platforms.

#Commodore64 #Commodore #Onthisday
#HomeComputer #Computer #C64 #Technology
#80sTechnology #RetroComputing #8Bit
#Oldschool #Retro #Vintage
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