Founder Of Commodore Computers: Jack Tramiel R.I.P. (1928-2012)

[Photo Via] Wikipedia

Sad news today for those of us whose first experience with a computer was a Commodore product. It was announced by Jack Tramiel’s family that the man responsible for the Vic 20 and the Commodore 64 passed away last Sunday at the age of 83.

Thanks to Forbes contributor, Dave Thier for the heads up on this bit of news as well as this excerpt from his article:

“Jack Tramiel was an immense influence in the consumer electronics and computing industries. A name once uttered in the same vein as Steve Jobs is today, his journey from concentration camp survivor to captain of industry is the stuff of legends,” says Martin Goldberg, a writer working on a book about the Atari brand and the early days of video games and computing with Atari Museum founder Curt Vendel.

“His legacy are the generations upon generations of computer scientists, engineers, and gamers who had their first exposure to high technology because of his affordable computers – ‘for the masses and not the classes.’”

To learn more about Tramiel and the Commodore legacy he helped to craft make sure to check out the Retroist’s VIC 20 podcast!

Creator of Hot Wheels Remembered

Elliot Handler, creator of Hot Wheels cars and the co-founder of Mattel toys, passed away a few weeks ago at the age of 95.

According to legend, Elliot wanted something that would appeal to little boys as strongly as his wife Ruth’s creation (Barbie) appealed to little girls. He found the answer in tiny race cars: Hot Wheels. According to Elliot, the difference between his cars and other small, metal cars were in the wheels. The wheels on Hot Wheels cars were designed to spin fast and go far, and that they did.

I don’t know where it came from — probably a garage sale — but as a kid I had a big cardboard box full of mismatched Hot Wheels track pieces. I’d say that 95% of what I had were red, blue, and orange straight pieces, along with the little plastic tabs that allowed you to connect track pieces together. I used to spend hours in my room making tracks from one end to the other, complete with little loops and jumps for the little cars to attempt.

One of my favorite cars of all time was the Red Baron.

The only problem with the Red Baron was that, because it was so light, it would often sail far past any landing strip I had prepared for the cars. I remember studying every inch of that little car and wishing that someone would create a real-life version. Just think how safe it would be! Who needs seat belts when you’re sitting underneath a giant metal helmet?

And who could possibly compete with the Red Baron in a head-to-head race? How about Speed Racer!

Because the trunk never opened, I always secretly wondered if Spridle and Chim-Chim were stuck in there …

Please post pictures (or at the least the names) of some of your favorite Hot Wheels cars of all time. With 10,000+ different models to choose from, I’d like to hear which ones were your favorites!