Category Archives: History

Whiskas “No More Birds” (circa 1993)

So many riffs on George H.W. Bush’s famous “Read My Lips” speech. This one is among the oddest.

White House “Sip ‘n Snack” (circa 1992)

Perfect for suburban kids’ sport practices or homework sessions, it’s a packaged combination of White House apple juice and Cheetos-style snacks. With a catchy jingle that touts the product’s supposed healthful qualities, it’s close to the pinnacle of pre-9/11 American society.

The Real Yellow Pages “Same Day Service” (circa 1989)

Once upon a time, children, we didn’t have the collected knowledge of all mankind available on demand from tiny computers in our pockets. If we needed to find information about a local business, we had to look them up. In a book.

Light ‘n’ Lively Yogurt: “Ask The Experts” (circa 1992)

Nothing sells products better than kids reciting scripted responses to a celebrity swimsuit model!

Soldering Supercut: The RC2014 Homebrew Z80 Computer Kit (Long Play)

Assembling and soldering Grant Searle’s Z80 homebrew computer kit, the RC2014. This is a long-play video with no commentary. just some groovy tunes by the one-and-only Anders Enger Jensen. Sit back, grab a beverage, and chill to the vibes.

Watch the fully annotated video on element14: LINK
Check out more of Anders’s music here: https://www.youtube.com/user/HariboOSX

Mego 2XL Robot Teardown

The Mego 2XL Robot is an interesting piece from the very beginning of interactive electronic toys. The 1970s 2XL incorporated little more than a modified 8-track player to provide hours of entertainment on specially-formatted cassette tapes. In this Mego 2XL teardown, we’ll look at how the toy was built, the basic working mechanism, and attempt to diagnose a 2XL not working.

RESOURCES:

2XL Documents (contains US Patent and component data sheets)

What Is Electrodermal Activity?

Skin conductance, galvanic skin response, electrodermal activity: What is the phenomenon that describes how electricity is conducted across human skin? In this video, we’ll take a quick look at the history and the mechanism of electrodermal activity, how it’s used, and whether we can trust the results. If you want to know how a lie detector works, how a love tester works, or how an e-meter works, then sit down for a quick primer!

Get the Arduino code, bill of materials, and more on element14.com/presents

Check out the rest of Project Eros here

You’re Not Fully Clean Unless You’re Zestfully Clean! (Zest soap circa 1988)

One of those little jingles that got caught in my head as a child and creeps its way back into my consciousness every so often.

Coleco Electronic Quarterback Teardown

In the late 1970s-early 1980s, we didn’t have fancy touchscreens or dot matrices with stereo sound, we had an LED matrix and a handful of 7-series logic chips AND THAT WAS GOOD ENOUGH FOR US! In this video, we’ll teardown the iconic Coleco Electronic Quarterback handheld game and see just exactly what makes it tick. Later, as part of Project Hawthorne on element14 Presents, we’ll build a new LED handheld game from scratch and attempt to repair this one, so stay tuned!

Watch the rest of Project Hawthorne on element14

Digital Archaeology: Exploring An Old Hard Drive

As part of Project Xyberpunk for element14 Presents, I wanted to explore the original, stock hard drive from the Xybernaut MAIV wearable computer. In this video, I’ll use Linux Mint to explore the contents of the drive, see what kind of software support was required for the Xybernaut MAIV wearable computer, and get an idea of what it would take to replicate the system on modern hardware.