Monthly Archives: November 2019

TRS-80 Color Computer, by Tandy

The Ad Game: Isaac Asimov, TRS-80 Computer Mouthpiece

Isaac Asimov.  He was one of the most influential writers of our time, having written the Foundation series, along with many other SF and non-fiction works, a list of which would be too exhaustive to repeat here. And not only was he a great writer, he could rock the mutton chops and also knew a good deal when he saw one:

Here’s another one:

Ad with science fiction author Isaac Asimov shilling for the Tandy TRS-80 Color Computer

“What a value!”, 1983

 

And…

Ad with science fiction author Isaac Asimov shilling for the Tandy TRS-80 Color Computer

Some practical advice from Isaac Asimov, 1982

 

Even as Tandy computer spokesperson, I have a feeling Mr. Asimov didn’t say all those things. Perhaps not a single one of them. It must be a weird thing for an ad copywriter to put words into the mouth of Isaac Asimov, but they give it the old college try in this campaign. “An exciting entertainer”?  “Just one of many fine computers from Radio Shack”? “During the day I might write about starships. At night, I blast ’em on my Color Computer”?!!! I also like the images of him holding the joystick like someone just plopped it into his hand,  a rictus grin forming on his face with the thought “What the f**k is this thing?”.

But still, you have to take it from Isaac. What a value!

source of first ad: knmoor, via his flickr stream

(This article was originally posted to The Dot Eaters on Feb. 2, 2013)

Sierra Explains Online Jargon and Emoticons on The Sierra Network

In 1991, Sierra was on the vanguard of online graphical virtual worlds, as The Sierra Network, initially devised by co-founder Ken Williams as a service for house-bound seniors called The Constant Companion, moved from test marketing to nationwide service.

Moving from simple parlour games like chess and backgammon to action games like Red Baron and The Shadow of YserbiusTSN also promised virtual “theme-parks” like SierraLand and LarryLand.

In addition, users could communicate with each other across live conference areas. To help new users parse the strange text they might be seeing online, in the Summer of 1992 Sierra-published magazine InterAction helpfully provided a guide to this arcane language:

A guide to jargon on The Sierra Network, an online virtual community

It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it

It’s interesting to see how online shorthand has evolved from the early days of virtual communities. For instance, <ROF,L>  The comma seems a bit superfluous if you’re trying to acronym something. And <G,D&R> for grinning, ducking and running. That’s waaaay too much work.

As for the emoticons, I have to say that (a smiling person wearing a striped necktie) and (Uncle Sam) are two amazing feats of engineering, but regular use for them in the vernacular is dubious. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Or so says a smiling Batman B-)

<ROF,L>