Category Archives: Computers, User Interfaces

Introduction to my Unisonic PONG Console from 1977

I created this short teaser video to introduce you to my Unisonic PONG Console that I played with when I was 7 years old. It still works great!

And if that short 4 minute teaser left you wanting more, then you’re in luck! You can also watch a 19 minute detailed walk-through version where I spend time giving the history of Pong clones and my teenagers also help me play all of the games on my Unisonic Tournament 2000!

Pong clone consoles were all the rage in the mid to late 1970’s. Mostly because several chip manufacturers started selling pong-on-a-chip micro-chips or integrated circuits.

My Unisonic Tournament 2000 model Pong clone console is not really all that rare. They were very popular in 1977 and gently used working models can be found and purchased pretty easily, even today.

Thanks for your interest!

Kurt

Introduction to my MERLIN handheld electronic game from 1978

I created this short teaser video to introduce you to my MERLIN handheld electronic game that I played with when I was 8 years old. It still works!

And if that short 1.5 minute teaser left you wanting more, then you’re in luck! You can also watch a 23 minute detailed walk-through version where I spend time explaining and playing each of the 6 games!

Here’s the classic Merlin commercial from 1978! If you were alive then, you will surely remember it! Good luck getting this ear-worm of a jingle out of your head!

“Merlin is a computer with personality! Plays 6 different games! Talks with 20 sounds!” I love the marketing creativity!

And here is commercial number 2 from 1980! They used the same ear-worm of a jingle with different lyrics.

Merlin was invented by former NASA employee Bob Doyle. I think he may have created this website called TheElectronicWizard.com which has an awesome interactive Merlin app which actually lets you play with Merlin right in your web browser! Incredible!

Thanks for your interest!

Kurt

My Trip to Berlin, Germany: The Conference

Delivery of Things World

Last week I had the honor of giving the opening keynote presentation at the Delivery of Things World enterprise software developer conference in Berlin GermanyEnterprise software is just another way to say business software.

source: Facebook

Here is the Delivery of Things World conference website!  (Check it out!  It actually has my face on it!)

source: deliveryofthingsworld.com

Delivery of Things World is a 2 day conference for enterprise software developers.  During those 2 days, Delivery of Things World packed in 7 separate keynotes, 27 technical sessions, and many interactive and intimate group workshop sessions!  It was a pretty great event and the organizers were very professional and they did a wonderful job!

The Delivery of Things World organizers feel strongly enough about using only live speakers, that they pay for their airfare,  hotel,  and food.

Keynote

My keynote presentation is story-based and it is called “Pioneering Mars!”  It presents the story of how we will get to Mars in the year 2034.  It describes all the missions that will pave the way and all the technologies that have to be invented first.

source: Facebook

My keynote presentation was very well received and I got a ton of compliments and attendees lined up afterwards to talk to me and to ask me more questions.

Science Center & Planetarium

While I was in Berlin, I also gave two other shorter presentations on the topic of NASA’s plans to live off the land on Mars. I gave the first presentation to a small audience of about 20 junior high and high school aged students at the Science Center Spectrum. The students in attendance were very interested in the topic and they asked a lot of great questions afterwards.

© SDTB / Foto: Oelke

I gave the second presentation to an audience of about 100 members of the general public at the Planetarium am Insulaner. It’s pretty cool to give a presentation inside the large dome of a planetarium!  It was kinda dark in there, so I don’t have any photos.  But it was a pretty great experience!  This particular audience asked so many great questions that we went way past our scheduled time of one hour and had to actually cut off questions after more than 2 hours had elapsed!

Thanks

This trip was only the third time I’d ever left the United States.  It was a pretty great trip and I had a lot of fun!  In my next post, I will talk about the sightseeing I was able to do in Berlin during my personal time there!

Thanks for your interest!

Kurt

My Trip To Malmo, Sweden: The Conference

Öredev

Last week I had the honor of giving the closing keynote presentation at the 13th annual Öredev software developer conference in Malmo, Sweden!

Here is the Öredev conference website!  (Check it out!  It actually has my face on it!)

http://oredev.org

oredev

Öredev is a 3 day conference for software developers with an attendance of a maximum of 1200 developers.  It is pretty popular in Scandinavia and has sold out for the past several years now.  During those 3 days, Öredev packed in 8 separate keynotes and a total of 140 separate technical sessions!  The schedule each day was jam packed with 7 simultaneous speakers every hour all day long with no scheduled breaks!  It was a pretty great event and the organizers did a wonderful job!

source: Twitter

The Öredev organizers feel strongly enough about using only live speakers, that they pay for their airfare,  hotel,  and food.  The venue for the conference is an old slaughterhouse that has been cleaned up and converted into a performance theater and meeting place.  The theater seats 900, I believe.

source: Twitter

Keynote

My keynote presentation is story-based and it is called “Pioneering Mars!”  It presents the story of how we will get to Mars in the year 2034.  It describes all the missions that will pave the way and all the technologies that have to be invented first.  This version of my presentation is nearly an hour long, but I plan to create several versions of various lengths that I can pull out and present to various audience types.

Here is the official Öredev 2017 video of my 60 minute keynote on Vimeo:

My keynote presentation was very well received and I got a ton of compliments from both attendees and from other speakers!

Technical

I also gave a 40 minute technical presentation called “Writing Apps For Mars” which compares common mobile apps to the software running onboard the Mars rovers.  It was a very fun talk to create and to present.

Here is the official Öredev 2017 video of my 40 minute technical presentation on Vimeo:

Videos

Full videos of all the keynotes and talks, are posted on the Öredev Vimeo channel.  And if you’re really into it, you can even scroll through and watch keynotes and technical talks from prior years!

https://vimeo.com/oredev/videos/sort:date/format:thumbnail

Thanks

Also, this was only the second time I’d ever left the United States.  I had a really great experience!  Tomorrow I’ll publish a blog post about a children’s activity center that I got to visit and speak at while I was in Malmo.

Thanks for your interest!

Kurt

Three reasons I love Battlestar Galactica (1978)

Here are my top 3 reasons to love Battlestar Galactica (1978):

Three:

The premise was that life didn’t start on Earth and they were actually searching for this “legendary” planet called Earth.

Two:

The show has 6 foot tall Cylons with one red eye moving side to side, which was also used for K.I.T.T. in the 1982 TV show Knight Rider! Both shows were written by Glen A. Larson, along with The Fall Guy and Magnum P.I.!

One:

The most futuristic and advanced computer imaginable, the Tandy (Radio Shack) TRS-80, was used onboard the ship!

Why do you love Battlestar Galactica (1978)?  Post your reasons below in the comments!

Thanks for your interest!

Kurt