Travel back in time to the decade that kick-started the home personal computer boom: the 1980s.
Hands up if you owned a computer in the 80s! After making some tentative steps in the late 70s, the 1980s saw home computing really take off. Back then, no young adult’s bedroom was complete without a computer, tape deck, and trusty joystick on display.
One of my earliest gaming memories involves trading illegal goods, hunting down pirates, mining asteroids and generally gallivanting around the galaxy as the intrepid Commander Jameson in the Amiga version of Elite. Unfortunately, the Amiga was killed off soon afterwards -- or so we thought. It turns out that the Amiga brand, kind of like Cthulu, was just biding its time. Commodore USA just announced it's releasing a new small form factor PC sporting the Amiga name, but packing a much, much bigger punch than its predecessor.
Load"*",8,1. If you understand what that means, then clearly you were rocking a PC well before this age of the Internet when PCs became socially hip. Those loading instructions are instantly familiar to anyone who ever owned a Commodore 64, still the best selling single model PC of all time, but what isn't familiar is a Core i7 2720QM processor nestled inside that little beige keyboard you used to own. Commodore is getting with the times.
Picture, if you will, the year 1981. A year prior the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan; in 1981, the first Space Shuttle, Columbia, blasted off into orbit; a royal wedding, involving a Prince Charles and Diana Spencer, took place; MTV was born; personal/residential satellite dishes are approved by the FCC; the first HIV/AIDS deaths were reported; Pac Man is exported by Japan in a successful attempt to sabotage US worker productivity; President Ronald Regan is shot and takes his frustrations out on Libya, sending ships to the Gulf of Sidra to the outrage of “President” Colonel Momar Khadafi; and a small business machine company called Commodore introduced its second personal computer, the Vic 20, and a legend was born.
Before reading this, take a moment to stare at your computer. Check out the crisp, high definition picture you're gazing at right now, as you hum along at a stable and steady broadband speed. We forget sometimes how far we've come, so as a reminder, we decided to dedicate this gallery to 25 of the most influential machines in PC history. Enjoy!
For those of you who cut your tech teeth on the Commodore 64 of yeasteryear, you'll soon have a chance to reunite with the wildly popular PC that refuses to fade from memory. That's because Commodore USA this week announced a full line of new Commodore branded all-in-one (AIO) keyboard computers, including the PC64, an Intel Atom-powered replica of the original C64.
There won't be any typing out of Load"*",8,1 commands or Epyx Fast Load cartridges to fumble around with. The PC64 is a nettop in disguise, and a fairly potent one at that (at least as far as netbooks go).
In addition to the Atom 525 processor, the C64 is being reborn with Nvidia's Ion 2 graphics platform, 4GB of DDR3 memory, a generous 1TB hard drive, DVD/CD burner (Blu-ray is optional), dual-link DVI, six USB ports, 802.n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and a 6-in-1 media card reader.
All this comes crammed in and around the original beige C64 chassis and will reportedly ship in time for the holidays.
Weren't expecting us back so soon? Well get used to it—the Maximum PC No BS Podcast is back at it's regularly-schedule Friday afternoon timeslot. This weeks episode sees the gang discussing the Nexus One, Internet Explorer 9, and the possibility of a new Commodore computer. Nathan has his Brando moment, and Gordon serves up a big bottle of W.T.F.
Do you have a tech question? A comment? A tale of technological triumph? Just need to get something off your chest? A secret to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our 24-hour No BS Podcast hotline at 877.404.1337 x1337--operators are standing by.
Like most old school geeks, we have some fond memories of Commodore computers. We probably typed Load"*",8,1 a million times, but those were simpler times, back before 3D graphics cards and double-clicking icons.
Well, the Commodore is back, though don't go dusting off your Epyx Fast Load cartridge or your floppy bin. Barry Altman, president and CEO of Commodore USA, filed all the necessary paperwork to secure rights to the Commodore name, which he'll use to market and sell a keyboard computer.
It will come branded with the same Commodore logo you remember from three decades ago, but the hardware is nothing like your old C64. Altman says you can expect an Intel Core 2 Duo or Core 2 Quad processor, up to 2TB of disk space, up to 4GB of memory, a DVD burner, four USB 2.0 ports, dual-link DVI port, memory card reader, and other modern day amenities.
No word yet on this revival will take place or how much it will cost.
Thirty years ago the Commodore VIC-20 was real screamer of a machine. It boasted a 1.02MHz processor and 5KB of RAM. Don’t laugh, that’s over one-million whole hertz of processing power. The VIC-20, introduced in 1980, had its time in the sun until it was discontinued in 1985. Now The Personal Computing Museum is bringing the once proud VIC-20 into the twenty-first century in the least dignified way possible, it’s going to send a tweet.
On February 20th the tape drive of the Commodore VIC-20 will be fed a program called Tweetver allowing it to send out a tweet. The museum says this about making history by getting “one of the lowest-powered personal computers” on Twitter. We imagine it’s more about getting publicity, but we’re cynics.
You are all invited to come to the museum to watch the VIC-20 do its thing. Or if you prefer to catch all the fun from home, the museum’s Twitter feed is technically where all the action is happening anyway.