I made a behind the scenes video for the Patreon contributors as a thank-you for their continued support. I'm also posting it here, however it's not going public on youtube as I don't feel everyone could cope with the fly-on-the-wall nature of the production.
Note - links are affiliated. The long term reliability of any items reviewed cannot be assessed. This dashcam has been in use for three months with no problems.
Sometimes you don't realise how far you have come until you look back over your shoulder. While 1998 doesn't feel like ancient history to me, in home video camera terms it was a completely different era.
Watch the video below to find out about what has to be one of the worst ideas that Sony brought to market, eighteen years ago.
I've collected the pictures of the inside of the video cart into a zip file. It seemed a shame to just delete them. You can click the image below to download the photos.
Here's a video about cheap flip clocks.
Here's some links to buy flip clocks.
I bought a scanner recently to use in making another video. I thought it would be prudent to make a quick video about this. However if the comments on youtube are to be believed I would have been better off opening the gates to hell and unleashing something that killed everyone's mother. Here's the offending video.
If you want to buy one, here's some links
I'm just going to be making videos, upoading them and moving straight on to the next one for a while. I won't have time to read or respond to any comments while I catch up on a large amount of outstanding projects.
It’s an unusual experience to know that a man-made thing you hold in your hands is the only one in existence in the world. Of course it happens all the time in nature, pick up a rock or a leaf and it’s unique…but when it comes to a master tape containing recordings heard by millions, it's not something that happens every day.
When you consider the time and the people involved in making it, the writers, musicians, recording equipment…all used just to get one good recording on a few feet of tape on a reel...you'd think this would be priceless, but we'll just call it £40 (plus postage).
One of the benefits of assembling a HiFi that can play a large number of recording formats is that whenever an opportunity arises to buy an unusual recording off eBay, I'll happily put in a bid…and that’s how I came to own this master tape of advertisement jingles from the 1960s.
I bought this more out of curiosity than anything. I was hoping that there would be some interesting jingles that I could use in future videos and I also wanted to find out how well a 2-track recording would play back on a 4-track machine.
It was only when I looked into the history of the tape that I found out it was one degree of separation away from many important pop culture events from the last fifty years. So in this video I'll be playing back some of the contents of the tape and explaining it's cultural significance along the way....you might even hear a couple of familiar voices from yesterday.
If you want to read more about CTS Studios - this is an excellent resource.
The Heinz Soup Advertisement heard in the video can be watched here.
Master Tapes can sometimes be found on eBay
I have a few ideas that wouldn't be suitable for one of my full length videos, but might be interesting in a sub five minute clip. I decided to try this out by re-visiting an idea I used in a video a few years ago.
Since so many people ask questions about the wall art behind me I thought I could kill two birds with one stone and explain the art as well as show how to make your own.
Most vinyl frames are cheaper than the ones I used, however these allow you to swap out the sleeves in seconds. If that's not important to you, you can pick up basic vinyl frames in Ikea as well as some bargain shops and record stores.
I have a love/not-so-much-love relationship with old computers. I love some of the old designs, but when it comes to actually using one...they don't really do a lot. Unlike a classic car that can take you down to the shops on a sunny day, or an old hifi that can play new music...an old computer just sits there looking retro-cool, but doing nothing.
Without high speed graphical internet access to any of the services I need, they're just a dumb beautiful piece of history. "But", I hear someone cry, "ACTUALLY..." (my most disliked word to start a statement with) "actually....you can get an old computer to tweet after installing a serial to ethernet connector combined with a custom o/s and an accelerator board, and a new rom chip, now you can't view pictures or gifs or videos or play mp3s, but I think you'll find that it does work, actually so ner..".... or I could just use my phone.
The old computer designs I like the most are the Mac Classic and the Apple //c with it's Monitor and stand...in fact anything with a small purpose built monitor. I think it's because the monitor is the thing you look at...so it's out there in front of you. Attach an Atari ST to a new flat panel TV, and most of your experience is coming from the TV, you could put the ST in a cabinet then you're just watching a new TV...the retro part of the experience has been hidden away (apart from the lack of modern internet based usefulness, which is plain to see). So in effect you are getting a new TV experience combined with old computer usefulness...which is probably the worst of both worlds when it comes to retro-enjoyment.
One of the first computers I remember seeing in a shop window was the Osbourne 1 and the idea of carrying around a computer with a built in screen fascinated me. The Commodore SX64 reminds me of the Osbourne, but with the added benefit of a catalogue of hundreds of games, colour display, joystick ports and a massive community of enthusiasts.
Whilst 1980s people in the US were paying the equivalent of £40 for a 2K game Cartridge for their Atari VCS, and later the NES...people in the U.K. were paying £5.99 for games on tape. There were hundreds (thousands?) of games realised for the Commodore 64 and they can all now be had for the price of a £40 SD card reader...and a machine to play them on. Yes of course you could play these on an emulator...but getting back to my 1980s retro-computer experience package, by using an emulator you're turning that retro dial way down, so all you'd have left is old games that don't look too great on a brand new machine....with Twitter just a click away.
So in this video, I get to experience the trading-places alternative 1980s that a much richer version of me would have lived with a Commodore SX-64 and all the games I could ever want. However dreams don't come easy....'if you want games, then games cost, and right here's where you start paying...with sweat'.
If you've subscribed to my youtube channel for a while you'll have seen that I have an attraction to music visualisation. I've made a number of videos featuring different sound-to-light devices and the positive feedback I received from my recent SAE Oscilloscope Tuner video shows that there are a lot of other people out there who also enjoy having some visuals to go along with their audio.
The Laserdock takes the idea of music visualisation and turns it up to 11. It's a projector that anyone can use to generate coloured laser-drawn patterns synchronised to music. The images it displays are impressively bright, sharp and responsive.
The visualisation software for the projector resides on a Windows or Mac computer - and the more advanced users can use various software packages to create their own custom animations and laser shows. I'll be interested to see what applications are created for a home laser projector. I'd love to see an emulator for the Cinematronics style Vector arcade games. Just imagine playing the Star Wars arcade game...on the wall of a house.
Watch the video below to see the Laserdock in action. The hardware shown is the finished version however the software is an early beta.
In this video I'm looking at another forgotten format. This one is the RCA Victor Tape Cartridge, also known as the Sound Tape Cartridge and the Snap Load Cartridge.
I'll try to find out what RCA got right and wrong, attempt to repair a machine and finally demonstrate this 1950's cartridge system that introduced a number of new ideas which went on to become standards.
After you've watched the main video, you may want to listen to the Bel Canto demo tape in full - so that can be heard here.
You can also watch the 1958 RCA Cartridge introduction film which also contains an introduction to stereo which explains how a record can hold two tracks read by one stylus.