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Issue 064: Retrocomputing

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Issue 064: Retrocomputing

Welcome to the sixty-fourth issue of De Programmatica Ipsum, about Retrocomputing. In this edition, we look at the reasons behind the resurgence in popularity of retrocomputing; in the Library section, we review “Home Computers” by Alex Wiltshire and John Short; and in our Vidéothèque section, we watch some episodes of the TV show "Computer Chronicles".

Return to Innocence

The pages of this magazine have often orbited around the subject of retrocomputing. Take, for example, the editions about sustainability, computer museums, hardware, hobbies, gaming, operating systems, or the one about BASIC published last summer. If you pay attention, you most probably have realized how much retrocomputing has grown in popularity in the past few decades, with more and more people learning on YouTube or TikTok how to replace the batteries or leaking capacitors from the motherboards of all kinds of computers of yesteryear.

Stewart Cheifet

The same way kids are addicted to TikTok nowadays, I was addicted to TV as a kid. In the place and time of my teenage years, that is Argentina during the 1980s, it was the times of hyperinflation and eternal crisis (which begs the question: has anything changed in forty years?) Such a tense situation also meant that there was not much content on the telly about a subject that I was definitely interested in since a young age: computers. I mean, you could barely afford food, so, understandably enough, computing was scarce. Maslow's pyramid, yadda yadda.

Alex Wiltshire & John Short

Last September, we reviewed our first "coffee table book": a precious and unwieldy volume by Taschen called “The Computer”, written by Jens Müller and Julius Wiedemann. At the end of that article, we mentioned another coffee table book, and it is about time we talk about it in detail. This month's Library entry is, then, "Home Computers: 100 Icons that Defined a Digital Generation" by Alex Wiltshire, featuring photographs by John Short, published by MIT Press in 2020.

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