Arthur C Clarke's Mysterious World... of old keyboards :)

User avatar

17 Dec 2013, 21:37

I used to love this when I was little. Some good HP desktop calculator action in there (9100 series?) early on, and a rather amazing display of cutting edge graphics and communication tech around 5:00 - 6:00 ;)
There's some great data entry action shots in another episode, but I can't find it right now... ah, these dark evenings.


17 Dec 2013, 22:02

I forgot all about that show. I used to watch it too.

Arthur C. Clarke used a Kaypro II to communicate with the director during the making of 2010.

Later, he also apparently had an Amiga and made fractal landscapes with VistaPro. (not to be confused with the crap known as Windows Vista)

User avatar

17 Dec 2013, 22:37

Ah, I'm a sucker for Arthur C. Clarke and this was one I barely remembered. Thanks for the link.

Part 2 of 3 stars this guy, who's bringing serious technology to UFO footage analysis.
Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 09.14.43 pm.jpg
Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 09.14.43 pm.jpg (420.47 KiB) Viewed 1738 times
Bet those are double shots.
Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 09.14.24 pm.jpg
Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 09.14.24 pm.jpg (361.97 KiB) Viewed 1738 times
Damn it, don't make me want a grey numpad in Round 5!

Overall, it's the usual confusing affair of all UFO documentaries from back in the day before we all carried cameras as a matter of routine and sightings fell out of fashion. Namely: shaky shaky shaAaAaAaAakey reels of unidentifiable blobs you couldn't tell from a streetlight, backed with earnest descriptions from those present at the time. Then tales of close encounters from delightfully rustic folk (the Scottish park ranger's incident is still told here from time to time, and happened right down the road from where I lived back then, barely months old…) and closing with a monologue from Clarke where he politely refutes everything shown until that point. Including a memorable line bemoaning the absence of "fossilised transistor radios".

When they come, we'll know about it. Indeed. Funny bloody aliens, picking on simpletons without a way to prove it.

User avatar

19 Dec 2013, 20:22

Hmm, so this is from the "strange skies" episode. Anybody recognise the computer? (starts around 2:40)

I thought originally it might be a TRS-80 Colour, but it doesn't have the right keys. It does have the layout of an Apple ][, but not the colour or nameplate. Some clone or re-brand?
Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 19.12.54.png
Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 19.12.54.png (733.81 KiB) Viewed 1658 times
Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 19.14.49.png
Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 19.14.49.png (704.32 KiB) Viewed 1658 times
EDIT: Oh wait, I think I have it!

It looks like the Microsense/ITT 2020 (2nd version) as seen on this site.


19 Dec 2013, 20:36

I knew it was an Apple II clone by the layout. I think only the Apple II stupidly puts Reset where backspace should be and a white Power key below left shift. (...hmm... "white Power" was not meant to sound racist ;))

User avatar

19 Dec 2013, 21:51

The glowing power light was Apple's attempt at a backlit keyboard! At any rate, it made them instantly recognisable.

As did the cries of anguished BASIC programmers who had accidentally hit RESET.

User avatar

28 Dec 2013, 21:51

Blame Datanetics for that idiocy.

They made a decent cheap ASCII keyboard with that layout mistake, Apple recommended it for the Apple-1, and then they got a good deal on a tweaked version for the Apple ][.

They did ultimately fix it with the //e.

Post Reply

Return to “Keyboards”