Ready Player One

Not everyone will like what you like

Recently the trailer for the upcoming film, Ready Player One hit the internet. Based on the nostalgia drenched book by Ernest Cline and directed by Steven Spielberg, the film has been enthusiastically anticipated by a lot of people who frequent this site. For those who have not seen it, here is the trailer.

As you might guess from the title of this site, I think this is pretty cool. But it turns out a lot of people don’t. This has caused a very minor controversy on the internet. Are we seeing a backlash against nostalgia? Have we had enough eighties pop culture? The answer to both is maybe and it doesn’t matter. At least it doesn’t matter to me.

I am going to see Ready Player One because I am into it. But I am into a lot of things that people are not into. It is folly to think that everyone will be. We have been lucky enough to live in bit of a geek culture explosion. I would like to think that it will last forever, but if I have learned anything about pop culture over the years, it will not.

Whatever you are into, be it this film, Star Trek Discovery or drone racing, just enjoy it. Know that people might not agree with your choice in entertainment, they might be downright hostile to it. Valid or not, they have their reasons. Greeting them with equal hostility is not going to change that. Most likely, nothing will change that.

My feeling is why bother. Instead take advantage of this brief period where what you love is in the spotlight. You only have a finite amount of time when these things will get made. So stop caring how other people think or react.

Geeky things have been around for a very long time. Long before they were a hot commodity. Eventually they will be pushed back in the cultural hierarchy again. It will be a sad day, but it will come sooner than we think. So don’t spend this precious era worrying about backlashes or who cares about what. Just enjoy it.

Video Professor

Learn to use the Internet with Video Professor

Many people have heard of Video Professor. They ran commercial on cable TV channels and on late night programming throughout the nineties. I recall seeing the commercials and laughing at some of the concepts. In the mid-nineties, I was already “online” most days. So a lot of the concepts in videos like Learn to use the Internet seemed comically simple.

Now I wish I had watched them back then, because it would ad a nice layer of nostalgia to my appreciation of them. And I do appreciate them. Why? Because they capture a wonderful moment in time. An era before the internet became ubiquitous and before slick video production would become commonplace.

Watching this now, I am struck by how information packed this 46 minute video is. It walks you through concepts and ideas that were new to people at the time. While at the same time gives you practical advice on using the internet through Prodigy.

We learn not only the hows and whys of getting online, but what to do once you do. From email to emojis and from auto-updates to Yahoo! It is all covered in this simple video.

Read Quantum Link for the Commodore 64

If you happened to be around during this time in the internet’s history, you will find this a fun trip back in time. When blue links lead to mysterious and unpredictable places and images were few and far between. This was the internet where I saw a possible career for myself, so watching this walk-through takes me back to a time when each click of the mouse shined a light on all the potential for this burgeoning technology.

I read that Video Professor had some legal issues in their later years. Some of them well into the new millennium. Which is shocking to me, I don’t recall seeing their ads after the nineties ended, but I guess they did. Seems like the business took a dark turn at some point before disappearing.

Now I feel guilty about my negative feelings towards Video Professor in the nineties. I don’t know much about their later products, but this video is a wonderful set of instructions for early users of the web. Without videos like these, how many people would have never gotten online in the early days? So a big thanks to Video Professor for being a cheerleader and educator of this technology I love so much.

Watch Learn to use the Internet with Video Professor

“What Retroist Means to Me…” By Allison Venezio

In salute to the ongoing and unending appreciation for Retroist by the people that are the heart and soul of the site, I (among others) was asked to tell the world (preach from the rooftops, if you will!) what Retroist means to me. Give me eleven minutes, and I’ll be happy to tell you why!

Not exactly short, sweet, and to the point, but it is important to remind our readers and contributors about why we do this.

As we move into 2017, I’d love to continue to give unending thanks for the opportunity that has challenged me, made me excited to write, and given me a huge source of pride and contributed to the happiness I was able to find within myself.

And if my response wasn’t short, this one is:

Allison has been contributing to Retroist since July 2015, and has published a new article almost weekly since then. She has bragger’s rights to a large collection of retro commercials, plus she has a knack for finding the obscure nostalgia we may have forgotten…or never knew about. If you like everything you’ve seen here (check out her Retroist writer’s profile), she has her own blog, Allison’s Written Words. You can follow her blog on Facebook, and her on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut.

Please express your appreciation for Retroist (and what it means to you) with #ThankYouRetroist. She is huge on solidarity, and feels this is a great step in that direction. She’ll see you in 2017!

What Do You…Doo…When Shaggy And Scooby Are Your Checkout Attendant?

If you are like me the answer to that question is you find a great big smile spreading on your face as you watch this video from Jeff Twomby’s YouTube channel. I am going to assume that the young man who works at a Wal-Mart in this video sees nothing wrong with trying to brighten the day of those he interacts with and in this case he appears to have succeeded with his impersonations of Norville “Shaggy” Rogers and Scooby-Doo.

I truly hope this young man isn’t given any grief over this recorded interaction because don’t we all need a couple of more reasons to smile throughout the day? What do you think of this impersonation, Scoob?

Dive into an Archive of Vintage Pulp Magazines

I spend a lot of time at the Internet Archive. Any why wouldn’t I? They have music, podcasts, newspapers, magazines, video games and so much more. Recently my attention has turned to their vast collection of literature in the public domain, especially their The Pulp Magazine Archive.

Pulp magazines (often referred to as “the pulps”), also collectively known as pulp fiction, refers to inexpensive fiction magazines published from 1896 through the 1950s.

Filled with thousands of magazines, all of which you can read online or download and put on your Kindle or other e-reader, the The Pulp Magazine Archive has become my one-stop shop for bedtime reading fun. Especially great is their collection of “IF Magazine”, which has become an obsession lately. It is fulled with gems from amazing writers, most of which I had never heard of before. Not familiar with “IF?”

If was an American science fiction magazine launched in March 1952 by Quinn Publications, owned by James L. Quinn. The magazine was moderately successful, though it was never regarded as one of the first rank of science fiction magazines. It achieved its greatest success under editor Frederik Pohl, winning the Hugo Award for best professional magazine three years running from 1966 to 1968. If was merged into Galaxy Science Fiction after the December 1974 issue, its 175th issue overall.

So if you are a fan of the Pulp genre and especially enjoy Science Fiction, drop by The Pulp Magazine Archive.

Note for Kindle readers. Reading it online gives you a richer “pulpier” experience since, but you can download all of these files in .mobi format, which will work on your Kindle, although the formatting does not always hold up. I do not have any other E-Paper readers, but I imagine the experience will be similar.