GEEK HEAVEN: I had a double barreled dose of vintage technology today–I received an advance copy of the August 2002 issue of Poptronics, which has my article about the rise and fall and rise again (sort of), of the Atari 2600, complete with quotes from an interview I did early this year with Nolan Bushnell, the man who started it all. (Special thanks to my wife Nina, who served with Nolan on the board of a Silicon Valley start-up in the late ’90s, for arranging an introduction, and to Best Electronics, who allowed me to photograph several pieces of vintage Atari hardware and software from their inventory.)
I wasted many, many hours with an Atari 2600–when I wasn’t using the Altair 8800 at school, or the Radio Shack at home TRS-80 in my teens, so it was fun to finally put that hard-won (cough, cough, snort, chuckle) knowledge and experience to use!
The second half of today’s geek-a-pooloza came from my interview with the man who installed Stanley Kubrick’s first home computers (he wrote the script to Full Metal Jacket on them).
I’d like to think I’m a reasonably rational person. But I’ve had periods of drinking entire buckets of Kubrick Kool-Aide. And while I try to keep my inner Kubrick-geekhood well submerged, this was a chance to wallow in it.
I know he’s not for all tastes, but as anyone who knows me well will tell you, I was, and still am, a huge Stanley Kubrick fan, ever since college, when I would raid the library (and nearby libraries) for books, magazine articles and newspaper clippings about Kubrick. I’ve probably since acquired about 30 books related to him, and far too many articles as well. (Not to mention having bought most of his films on VHS, laser disc and DVD.) Kubrick had an incredible ability to layer an incredible amount of information and subtext in his films, and was arguably the director of post World War II American film in the twentieth Century. Star Wars would be inconceivable without Kubrick’s pioneering efforts on 2001: A Space Odyssey.
So it was lots of fun earlier today when I spent a half hour interviewing Alan Bowker for an upcoming article. Bowker was an engineer with Dolby in the late 1970s, who helped install Stanley Kubrick’s first home computer . Lots of Kubrick stories, very much in keeping with the profile of Kubrick by Michael Herr.
So, Ataris and Stanley Kubrick’s first PCs. Not a bad way to start the week!