Test Pattern History: How Color Bars Became a TV Staple

The history of color bars, the most common television test pattern out there, and what they actually do. (Also, Netflix has some weird test programming.) | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 13 days ago

Why Apple Ditched PowerPC, and What It Says About Apple Ditching Intel

Looking back at Apple’s transition from PowerPC to Intel CPUs, and considering why Intel now finds itself in the same position PowerPC did 15 years ago. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 25 days ago

Minimal Web Browsers: Why You Need Less Stuff on the Browser

The case for minimal web browsers: Perhaps the problem with the modern web browser is that there’s just too much stuff. What if we cut things down? | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 2 months ago

Why Old Operating Systems Never Go Away (2017)

It ain’t just about Windows, macOS, or Linux. Also-ran or fairly obscure operating systems, like OS/2, are everywhere—in some cases, hiding under your nose. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 2 months ago

Pac-Man Patterns: The Secret to a High Score

Pac-Man’s fun and addictive nature captured public imagination and kicked off an entire culture of video game mastery that’s still going strong today. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 2 months ago

AT&T WorldNet vs. AOL: How Flat-Fee Access Disrupted Dial-Up Internet

Many early ISPs—particularly AOL—weren’t ready to offer unlimited internet access in the mid-’90s. That is, until a surprising disruptor appeared: AT&T. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 2 months ago

Con Artists: Why They Tend to Take Us In

Why do people believe con artists? Part of it might come down to the fact that we want to believe in something that’s too good to be true. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 2 months ago

The Aloha point-of-sale system

Unless you work in a restaurant, you may not know what the Aloha point-of-sale system is. But if you do, you’ve probably seen it everywhere. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 4 months ago

Cidco Mailstation History: Email, in Appliance Form

The story of the MailStation, an information appliance that didn’t do much, really, except send email. That, somehow, makes it even more interesting today. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 5 months ago

Résumé History: A Sudden Rise to Modern Irrelevance

The résumé, a document that largely gained prominence in the past half-century, was once a key part of getting a job. Soon, it might just disappear entirely. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 5 months ago

Mistakes were made: ERP screwups

Technology vendors like SAP may rake in billions of dollars a year helping big companies build complex tech infrastructures, but they screw up—often. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 5 months ago

The Inbox Pioneer: This Is True, an Email Newsletter Going Since ’94

For more than 25 years, this newsletter author has been snarking wise about weird news. Here’s the tale of This is True, one of the first inbox success stories. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 6 months ago

White Plastic Devices: From Apple to Zire, a Century-Long Story

Nintendo copied Apple, while Apple copied Braun. Why are there so many electronics made of white polycarbonate, no matter the decade? | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 6 months ago

Elf Bowling History: It’s Not a Virus. It’s Not Spyware. (2017)

How Elf Bowling, the incredibly popular viral game from 1999, gained an unfounded, false reputation as a piece of malware and spyware. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 6 months ago

Cidco made hundreds of millions of dollars off of caller ID devices in the ’90s

Over the past 35 years, our views on privacy and Caller ID technology have totally flipped. The concern used to be about the caller. Now, it’s the recipient. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 7 months ago

Penn Jillette’s Surprising Success as a Computer Columnist

Pondering the success that Penn Jillette, the loud half of Penn & Teller, found as a sometimes-rebellious big-name computer magazine columnist in the ’90s. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 8 months ago

SharkWire: The Nintendo 64’s GameShark-Operated Online Service

That time the company behind the GameShark cheating device came up with a dial-up online service for the Nintendo 64. SharkWire strangely targeted 7-year-olds. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 9 months ago

DualDisc Format History: Not Quite a CD, Technically a DVD

The DualDisc format, which combined CDs with DVDs, led a fleeting and ephemeral existence, despite a heavy push from the music industry. What happened? | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 9 months ago

Planned Obsolescence: We’re Killing Old Technology with New Technology

How we keep screwing over yesterday’s technology due to an intent focus on what we’re doing today. The problem of planned obsolescence is getting worse. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 10 months ago

Pressing Forward: Mechanical keyboards have become hip again

Mechanical keyboards have become hip again, despite near-complete disinterest in the form by mainstream computer-makers. The little guy is picking up the slack. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 11 months ago

Why Trapper Keepers Are Hard to Find in Stores These Days

The Trapper Keeper is a beacon of nostalgia, but genericized branding and school rules have pushed it off to the side. Good luck finding a new one in 2018. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 12 months ago

Connectix Quickcam Drivers: Lessons from a Retro Installation Failure

Why USB ports changed the world for the better, or what I learned from a futile month of trying to get a 25-year-old webcam working on a modern PC. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 12 months ago

Interactive Fiction History: Adventures Without Graphics

Interactive text adventures were a big part of the early days of gaming—and still lots of fun today. Who needs fancy graphics when you have your imagination? | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 1 year ago

Air Conditioning Created Lazier Architecture

For more than 100 years, the cool breezes of air conditioning have taken hold around the world. It took us about as long to even consider the side effects. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 1 year ago

The Lost (and Found) Levels (2016)

Video games are full of unused content that developers assumed would never been seen. A group of digital archaeologists, however, are proving them wrong. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 1 year ago

Why Most Marketing Emails Still Use HTML Tables

How HTML helped, then hindered, the evolution of email, or why all those fancy marketing emails you get in your inbox still rely on HTML tables in 2019. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 1 year ago

The Other Windows: GeoWorks. Its story, AOL, its death, and its extra lives

Before Windows became a fact of life for most computer users, a scrappy upstart named GeoWorks tried taking Microsoft on. It failed, but it gave us AOL. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 1 year ago

OS/2 powered the NYC Subway for decades

Vintage technology has powered the innards of the NYC subway system for decades—and sometimes, it surfaces in interesting ways. This one’s for you, OS/2 fans. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 1 year ago

Slot Wars

The battle to replace the standard expansion slot in the IBM PC reflected an effort by two sides of the PC world to gain control. Spoiler: The clone-makers won. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 1 year ago

Why Your Next Home Computer Should Be an Old Xeon Workstation

The charm of buying old workstation hardware on the cheap to support your modern computing needs. If it doesn’t work for them, it might just work for you. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 1 year ago

PowerPC Mac in 2019: Is It Still Useful?

Does the PowerPC-based Mac Mini G4 make a useful daily driver in 2019? We wrote this article with it, so we know the answer. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 1 year ago

Michael Wolff’s Internet Book Empire

The Trump administration tell-all scribe has a history with digital publishing that goes way back. In fact, he edited one of the first guides to the internet. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 1 year ago

Electronic University History: TeleLearning at 300 Baud

The story of the world’s first Electronic University, which came to life a lot earlier than you might expect given that moniker. Modems were involved. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 1 year ago

Microsoft’s Project Photon: A Stunted Effort to Rebuild Windows Mobile

Microsoft’s late-era Windows Phone 7 did away with a decade of evolution. Its Photon project tried to do the same—while keeping the Windows Mobile legacy alive. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 1 year ago

Deep Dish (2015)

For a short period in the early 1980s, giant satellite dishes ruled the land. It was a rare moment when big telecom wasn't in control. That quickly changed. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 1 year ago

Wikitorial History: The Los Angeles Times’ Failed Wiki Experiment

Looking with fresh eyes at the Wikitorial, the Los Angeles Times’ extremely misguided attempt to bring the wiki concept to the newspaper editorial page. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 1 year ago

Matrox History: A Computer Graphics Also-Ran’s Second Life

Is there a more misunderstood technology company than Matrox? Let’s ponder the second life of the graphics card maker, long considered a 3D graphics also-ran. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 1 year ago

Digital Television: Our Annoying National Upgrade

The benefits of digital television conversion were clear, but convincing everyone to upgrade their sets? For the U.S. government, that was the hard part. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 1 year ago

The Ghosts of Windows 3.1

The weird places that Windows 3.1 showed up throughout the ’90s, including a hated CD-i competitor and an unusual update of the Commodore 64. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 1 year ago

Unusual musical instruments: Searching for the perfect tones

Guitars, bass, piano, and drums aren't the only way to make a tune. Check out the story of these unusual musical instruments—and the folks who played them. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 1 year ago

’60s Children’s Music: The Appeal for Early Electronic Musicians

Pondering the unusual association serious electronic composers had with children’s music in the 1960s—especially Raymond Scott. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 1 year ago

MSX History: The Platform Microsoft Forgot

The MSX computer standard was big in both Japan and Brazil. But despite a sizable cult, it may be the most obscure part of Microsoft’s history. Here’s why. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 1 year ago

The Department Store Guitar

A look back at the department store guitar and its impact on modern music. Sears' retail Harmony meant way more to our culture than some giant big-box stores. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 1 year ago

The concept of “DXing” (trying to capture TV or radio signals from far away)

The concept of "DXing"—basically, trying to capture TV or radio signals from far away—is nearly as old as the antenna. It's a great rabbit hole. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 1 year ago

Let’s Save Blogging

Continue reading

@tedium.co | 1 year ago

Broken Chain Restaurants: When Fast Food Franchises Go Solo

What a blogger learned from a year of traveling to restaurants that used to be part of much larger chains before being forced to fend for themselves. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 1 year ago

Processor Socket History: The Upgrade Path Is Shrinking

Why the processor socket, an important part of most desktop computers, lost its upgrade path as computers became smaller and more integrated. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 1 year ago

The Vacuum Tube’s Many Modern-Day Uses

The surprising modern status of the vacuum tube, a vintage technology that continues to maintain its value and use case in a world full of transistors. | Continue reading

@tedium.co | 1 year ago