Sunday, August 11, 2013

We remember when vinyl records and the IBM PC were 'state of the art' -- but we weren't here when Sue was alive

Monday, August 12 is Vinyl Record Day. Why august 12? Well, some sources claim Edison invented the phonograph on this date in 1877 (although others say Edison didn't complete the first phonograph until November 21 of that year). And Edison recorded sound on tinfoil first, later on wax (leading eventually to the old cliche "stacks of golden wax"). But, whenever Edison actually invented the phonograph, vinyl wasn't used as a medium for sound recording until after World War II.

There are probably 45 other days (or at least 33⅓ days) which would be as appropriate or more for Vinyl Record Day -- but, nevertheless, Monday is the big day.

Interestingly, vinyl records are not merely historic artifacts. Although they were virtually pushed out of the stores by CDs in the 80s and 90s (and CDs seem near extinct themselves, these days) vinyl records have begun to make a comeback in the last few years.

Monday is also IBM PC Day. It was on August 12, 1981 that IBM announced the release of personal computers to be sold for home use. That link will take you to IBM's complete press release announcing the new product but here is a brief excerpt from that now-historic document:
The IBM Personal Computer can be tailored to fit the user's needs. A basic system for home use attached to an audio tape cassette player and a television set would sell for approximately $1,565, in IBM Product Centers, while a more typical system for home or school with a memory of 64,000 bytes, a single diskette drive and its own display would be priced around $3,005. An expanded system for business with color graphics, two diskette drives and a printer would cost about $4,500.
And those were 5½ inch diskette drives, by the way.

A T-Rex named Sue.  Photo obtained from Wikipedia.
The United Nations offers International Youth Day as an August 12 observance. Usual Suspect Holiday Insights would focus attention instead on one particular type of youth, namely, the middle child. Holiday Insights tells us that Monday, August 12 is Middle Child's Day.

Isaac Singer received a patent for his sewing machine on August 12, 1851. This leads a number of the Usual Suspects to add Sewing Machine Day to the August 12 docket. And, finally, Sue, the tyrannosaurus rex skeleton that now resides in Chicago's Field Museum, was discovered on August 12, 1990.

No comments: