radio shack: you've got questions. we've got nostalgia!

(5 comments)
December 10, 2008

I know it's just the neatness of photographs cropped to have a blank background, but I find the photos page of the Obsolete Technology Website to be compelling:
I was kind of bummed that they didn't have the specific model of my first laptop, the Tandy 1100FD. So that inspired some Googling, and I ran into RadioShackCatalogs.com. What a find! I had forgotten what a oddly huge impression the 1987 Radio Shack Catalog had left one me... the way kids can turn catalogs into these almost sacred relics, not just of consumer desire, but of trying to learn more about a the world of manmade objects, especially in that pre-Internet-age, when TV was about the only other alternative to physical stores for this kind of stuff.

The site has a funky "page-turn" interface... usually I hate that stuff, but here, revisiting material I'm surprised to find burned into my back brain, it's oddly effective, I can almost smell the distinctive newsprint they used...

So the Tandy 1100FD... I found it on page 21 of the 91 Tandy Computer catalog. I talked my mom into getting this for me right before I headed off to college (I was kind of amazed to see a laptop marked down to around $500) and put it to very good use, I was a painfully early adopter in using it to take notes in class. (The thing had an oversized-Gameboy style screen and no harddrive, but had a very decent text processor built right in, so after 3 seconds I was ready to take my ASCII-art notes.)

Heh, also in the 91 catalog, page 51: the toastersized cellphone + handset combo that I was entrusted with while working at Camp Happiness in Cleveland. What a beast!

So I submitted the Radio Shack Catalog site to BoingBoing gadgets, and they posted it-- that post then got mentioned on the main Boingboing site, which probably led to the site being slashdotted the other day (whoops) but it seems to be better now.

Quote of the Moment
There is something, that comes suddenly like a wind on a warm summer's evening. It takes you off guard, and leaves you without peace. It follows you like a shadow, and it's impossible to shake. I don't know what it is, so I can only call it love.
--Yu Hong's Diary, from "Summer Palace". Or maybe more like today, the strong, rain-pelting wind on a stunningly warm pre-Winter's day...


Gas stations disable the stops that let the handle stay by itself. Praise for my mad holding skills? to ensure if there's a fire I'm in it?
Glue-sticked that old wallet yet again; at this point it's beyond frugal, maybe beyond digging the slender construction; it's a challenge
Obligatory holy cats, what a nice day post: Holy cats, what a nice day!
And by "holy cats nice" I mean windy and sprinkle-swept, but WARM.
"Thank you for shopping at the iTunes Store" is Apple's subject line of choice - grabs attention, need to check it's not a receipt. Meh.
"Do people suck more, or do computers?" "Loaded question." "You're right. Maybe it's just the intersection that's awful" "Exactly right."
"I celebrate myself, and sing myself, 'cause damned if I can get someone else to do it for me." Hm. That sounded even worse than I intended.
Overused joke: whenever there's something bad in food, the chemicals of diet coke, dioxins in beef, saying that's what makes it delicious!"