Writing about technology as it was thirty years ago, I realized that 1979 was perhaps the last year before a digital tsunami hit, sweeping clean the analog era that had persisted for decades.
From 1979: A source "close to the matter" claims this document outlines a future Audio format that would utilize a tapeless design, and *snort* use lasers as some sort of record needle. Sounds like Bullshit to me.
Seymour Cray's big super computer was crazy. It's signals between components had to be timed by trimming long cables up to 1/16th of an inch at a time by hand and was basically interwoven with a giant refrigeration system.
Many of our Gizmodo '79 posts have illustrated just how far we've come in the past three decades, but in one important tech example, 1979 kicks 2009's ass: The Concorde Jet.
Even back then, there were computers for people who couldn't afford the more expensive stuff. Take this Tandy, which costs little more than a upgraded Netbook today. From Core Memory, photographed by Mark Richards and written by John Alderman.
Lenses being equal, a large format 8x10 piece of film can capture the equivalent of 800 Megapixels. Just saying. But does it matter? Discuss!
Q: What classic computer and Apple II competitor opened its steel case up like a car hood? And was named after a domestic rock toy popular at the time?
You may think the weird Happy Meal bundling came during the '80s, but McDonalds was already busy making sure kids got their fix of movie-promotion McNuggets by 1979. Today is a good day to supersize.
We pointed out why gadgets were more expensive 30 years ago, but it is also important to note that many of these gadgets were hilariously huge. I've collected eight examples, I'll leave it up to you to add the rest.
Hartmut Esslinger's Frog Design made WEGA/Sony's electronics fetish items, and then designed the "Snow White" language the Mac used. He's a design legend and an author. Here he tells us about the challenges of designing, then and now.
You think you enjoyed Blu-ray vs HD DVD? Memory Stick vs SD? Pshaw! You haven't seen a format war until you've witnessed the betrayal and bloodbath that was Betamax vs VHS.
Sinclair's little ultra-sharp black and white TV was meant to be a pocket set. But with a 4x6-inch footprint, it was impossible to stash in most disco-tight pockets at the time, even if it was under 2 inches thick.
The Speak and Spell, which was first shown at CES in 1978 and sold in 1979, was one of the first gadgets with a visual display to use interchangeable game cartridges, and it taught a whole generation how to spell.