Vincent Safuto’s Weblog

Notes and observations

‘Triumph of the Nerds’ brings back the memories

Like the Internet itself, you can find yourself linking to a lot of other things from one event.

The death of my cousin Angelo led me to reconnect my VCR to the TV so I could view the tapes he and I made of our flying adventures, and this led to me breaking out some old VHS stuff that I had saved, including “The Beatles Anthology” and the three-part series “Triumph of the Nerds.”

I watched the first 45 minutes of the first tape last night, and it was fascinating to see how the computer and software industry looked back on itself in 1997, nearly 14 years ago. I was partially motivated by seeing the “60 Minutes” segment about Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, and hearing about his new book “Idea Man,” a part of which I read in Vanity Fair magazine. I just had a free excerpt downloaded to my Kindle.

Sitting here and typing on my Dell PC, which I bought in 2005 and still use today, it’s hard to imagine a time when being a writer meant having a typewriter. Every job I’ve had since I quit the post office has involved sitting at a desk and using a computer, and it’s as natural as eating from vending machines. But there was a time when computers were so different and few used them in their work.

I plan on watching “Nerds 2.0.1: A Brief History of the Internet” after I finish the three-part series. By the way, Wikipedia notes that my three-tape set of “Triumph” is very rare and highly prized. A DVD version came out, but with some things excised for some reason.

There’s a whole generation around now that cannot remember a time before the Internet, though of course personal computers have been around since the late 1970s. I can’t conceive of a time before TV and radio, and remember the fun times with the Atari game consoles and Pong, and even when I thought Intellivision was so awesome.

One of these days, I’ll do a list of all the PCs I have owned before. You wouldn’t believe which company made the first machine I owned …


April 19, 2011 - Posted by | Living in the modern age | , , , , , , ,

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