Novel Completion Queries, Day Eleven
Posted on March 26, 2015 Posted by John Scalzi 132 Comments
Is the novel finished? NO
Today’s question: When you were fifteen, what was your favorite electric or electronic object? These can be computers, toys, phones, televisions, game consoles, etc. You get the idea.
My answer: Eddie Chowaiki’s Macintosh. He had one of the first of these computers, and I was in his dorm room constantly, using it to write short stories and other such things. I strongly suspect for a while there I was using it more than he was.
For those of you who don’t know, I went to boarding school, so dorm rooms at 15 would have been a thing.
Also, “Eddie Chowaiki’s Macintosh” is the name of my next band.
I’m a couple years older than you. My dad was a programmer and bought one of the original IBM PCs so that he could teach me to program at home. I spent countless hours in front of that thing.
and now the mystery of why there are no Eddie Chowaiki novels out there has been solved
Hm. That would have been 2000 for me. I’m guessing it was my Thinkpad laptop.
It was the first computer I owned: I found it in a local landfill of all places, lying on the top of a pile of electronics / metal. It seemed like it was in good condition, and I took it home. It turned out that all it needed was a new power cord, and it worked fine! I used it for a number of years before I upgraded to a desktop during college.
A miniature AM/FM transistor radio. I was fifteen before you… 😊
Without a doubt, my Commodore 64. This would have been 1985. I still have a box full of 5¼ floppy disks, but no way to test to see if they still work.
15 for me = 1973 so well before computers. My family did have a TV and I’m sure I was watching Star Trek then, but that was as close as I got to anything electronic.
I think that was the year before I got my Mac Plus so that would have been my parents TRS-80 Model III. Despite its numerous faults, I have enjoyed few games as much as I enjoyed playing Taipan on that beast.
Easy. My Mattel Classic Football 2 game.
My laptop, running Debian GNU/Linux. I spent almost three days holed up in my room tinkering and configuring it to perfection.
Well this would not be soo long ago so it definitely has to be my ipod. Gifted to me on my birthday with my name inscribed on it, it was definitely my favourite and my counterpart for car journeys. But my counterpart only till i got the iphone.
(should I be embarrassed)?
That would be the family television. When I was 15, they didn’t even have handheld calculators. I used a slide rule until the second year of university. Thanks for reminding me how old I am. :)
15 for me was 1952, the year before my family got its first TV. I’d have to say my favorite electric/electronic device was the little table radio (AM only) I had beside my bed; I’d hooked a long wire to its antenna feed and late at night I’d try to pull in the farthest stations I could reach. From my home in western KY I could get New York, New Orleans, Atlanta, St. Louis, Chicago, San Antonio, Ft. Worth, and Salt Lake City fairly reliably; the crowning moment was one night I pulled in KNBC in San Francisco.
The year was 1971. It took a while, but my summer jobs of mowing and painting barns finally yielded enough for me to buy my first cassette deck…a very monumental event for me. Because of that cassette deck, I fell in love with recording/producing. Been in broadcasting since 1975….
My beloved Commodore 64, without any doubt. I spent countless hours programming it and destroyed a dozen joysticks playing with it.
@JohnWinkelman It was 1985 for me too… but my C=64 still works! (well, it still worked a couple of years ago when I last checked)
hmmm, I think that would have been about the time that TI came out with the calculator for commecial sale…..
Of the ones I got to use regularly, the $200-each (in 1977 money) stereo receiver, turntable and speakers I paid for myself. The speakers lasted through college and a number of married years, spent years in the basement and were sold at a garage sale for $10 even though the speaker cones had dry rotted away.
Of the ones I envied and only got to touch every once in a while, the IMSAI 8080 PC my friend’s dad had assembled, which took generally 30 minutes to boot to Collosal Cave, and would play for about 10 minutes before static electricity would crash it.
I had a desktop computer. I’d bought it with my babysitting and lawn mowing money, so I got to keep it in my room, even though my parents suspected it wasn’t just for homework. It wasn’t connected to the internet, but it did have an oh-so-fancy color monitor.
Ahh, 1987. It would be a dead heat between my Commodore 64, and my much beloved, gloriously comfy, tosty warm and much missed soft-sided waterbed.
Though that was the Christmas I received my first digital watch, which I only stopped wearing this Christmas just gone. Alas, it was finally gettng just that bit too long in the tooth.
Of the three, it’s the waterbed I miss the most though, as does my back.
That would have to be my friends’ Atari 2600’s.
Several of my friends had the 2600. I did not.
I’m not bitter. Not. At. All.
1967? A small portable stereo record player…yes, vinyl discs with a single groove that guided a stylus and produced electric impulses that were routed to an amplifier, then converted to audio through a pair of speakers. Computers? Sure, if you could find a friend who could get you to a terminal where you could access a mainframe….hahaha.
Does banging rocks together to make sparks count as “electric”?
Honestly though, I think I was that age when the first cheap digital watches came out, and I got one. It wasn’t until I was 16 that I got a calculator, and only because they had come down in price barely enough that my high school chemistry / physics teachers transitioned to mandating them instead of slide rules.
(For that calculator, I handmade a leather case that hung from my belt, which was possibly even more geeky than it sounds.)
The stereo (LP player + AM/FM radio) in the big RCA entertainment console my parents had. Whenever no one else was home, I’d be blasting Beethoven’s 7th or WCLV, the local classical station, at full volume. Heaven it was.
I have the console in my dining room now – gutted of all its 1960s circuitry – and hope to repurpose it someday when time and $$ permit. The wood is gorgeous walnut, but not as gorgeous as the music in my memories. Thanks for this question John!
I guess it would the hand-me-down computer my grandfather sent us after he built himself a better one. Pretty much just used it for Oregon Trail. You’d think we’d have more technology around in 2000, but my parent’s kept us mostly unplugged. They didn’t get a tv until after I graduated from college.
the Merlin! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merlin_%28game%29
A tiny portable mono record player, because my transistor radio had stopped working.
My stereo. Had cassette player and am/fm radio and I had a record player. I remember the radio stations would play whole albums and I’d tape them.
Probably a radio for music on the only station it got. That or a reading lamp.
My Atari 2600.
I think that’s got to be my Casio FX-7500G Graphics scientific calculator. My dad bought it second-hand off another parent and that thing is/was a beaut. When I went to grad school I had to get it new batteries because I couldn’t swing it without it. (I’m not completely sure I had it when I was 15 though. Might have been 16.)
That thing could change bases, hold long equations, let you go back and edit previously input equations, graph multiple equations, do all the usual trigonometric functions and then some. And it’s stylistically really attractive and ergonomic. With a flip-open case that is like a mini preview of my current laptop,excellent action on the keyboard and raised dots on some of the keys, it was an engineering marvel.
Unfortunately it stopped being able to graph things effectively sometime in college, but I still keep it around because the equations thing is like, well, like having a scientific computer in your hand.
At fifteen in Holland in 1976…?!
Still my small radio cassette recorder….
No question! The VCR!! Now we got to save bits and pieces of TV broadcasts that before were lost forever. And play movies!!! I think I wore out the tape on my copy of Fast times…
We really didn’t have any yet. It was 1975 and we lived in a very rural area. My dad’s calculator I guess. He paid almost $300 for it and it only did basic functions.
I assume the IBM-PC we had, mostly because in 1985 I was a voracious user of the original BBSs, particularly those in the SF Bay Area (Magrathea, the Forbin Project, Winner’s Circle, etc.). I mostly remember the first use of duuuudddezzzz!!!1!111111!!!! warez the waRRRez!!!!! by some kid named Donny who frequented those things.
1973, I had an old TV an uncle had given me in my bedroom. (The tubes were old and the picture only filled ~2/3 of the screen.) I recall staying up late and watching Monty Pythons Flying Circus, which the local PBS station had started re-broadcasting… That might have been after 1973.
Late 60s for me so probably my stereo. We had two TVs (one for parents, one in a basement rec room for 3 kids to share. I was the only sci-fi fan so I didn’t see Star Trek til it was in reruns. If I’d had my own TV that would probably have surpassed the stereo).
I was fifteen when I bought my first computer, an Acorn Atom with 2K of RAM (which was quickly expanded to 12K), and that was my very favourite thing in the whole world right then.
15 years old. Ah the year was 1970 and I remember it well. There were no “personal electronic gadgets” but my father did short wave radio so I enjoyed working the radio with him.
An 8mm/Super-8 “Movieola”-style film editor, so I could see what I was cutting, and edit right on the frame. I used that thing (a present for my 14th birthday) all the way through college…..
Hah. When I was fifteen there WERE no “computers, toys, game consoles, etc.” And if I had asked for a phone or television of my own I’d have been hit upside the head. Looking back over the comments, I’m not the only one in that bracket. I visualize a whole flock of us perched on trees and telephone poles, looking down at Scalzi and muttering “young whippersnapper…”
I was going to say the Apple IIe upon which I played Ultima IV, but it turns out that Ultima IV didn’t come out until I was 16. So I guess it’s the Apple ][+ on which I played Loderunner and Castle Wolfenstein. Or possibly my Sony Walkman.
RC car or stereo. The RC was probably the Traxxas Hawk truck by that time, but it was never as good as the old Tamiya Grasshopper that much rebuilt and modified. The stereo was massive pawn store speakers and hand-me-down components. But it was LOUD.
The “Wizard of Wor” video game at the local pizza parlor. My sister and I would play as a team and we could get a solid hour on a single play. Really pissed off the other kids. Pacific Rim was right about siblings being drift compatible. C and I were terrors in team play on almost any game.
Second would probably be the Tempest game at the local roller rink. Third would be Centipede. By college I was playing Galaga better than Matthew Broderick in War Games.
Wow, I played a lot of arcade video games as a teenager. My folks wouldn’t buy us a console.
The teletype machine in the science closet at my high school that talked to the mainframe at UC Berkeley. I had a backpack full of paper tapes that held my various BASIC programs.
The AM radio in my bedroom. I grew up in Minnesota and one of the happiest nights of my adolescence was spent listening to the reports on WDGY about the progress of the snowstorm that was heading straight down I-94 to the Twin Cities, secure in the knowledge that my school was going to call a Snow Day the next day.
Late 1966. Definitely the family colour television in the den. Avidly watching David McCallum and Robert Vaughn staring on The Man From U,N.C.L.E. Second place to my transistor radio and KLIF broadcasting top 40 rock and roll. Third place to my vinyl record player and accompanying various Beatles albums. NOT a Rolling Stones fan.
The Black Knight Pinball Game. (Yes, I have been gaming a *very* long time).
Ah, 1981. Definitely the Atari 2600. We also had an Intellivision game system too. Spent WAY too much time on those machines.
@aztraph I remember the Merlin! I actually still have mine. That was a blast!
15? Probably about the age my parents got me an Atari 800…..
At 15, it would have been my aunt’s PC, which I started using to write fiction in 1986, as well as write incredibly simplistic sf-themed programs in BASIC. I gave up the programming, but never the writing.
My 9-volt powered, AM-FM, made-in-Japan, transistor radidio with earplug, bought from either RatShack, Woolworth, or Zayre. Listened to Top 40 station KSTT-AM every moment I could grab. (I was 15 in 1971. Yes, I’m old. Yes, I know it. Shaddup, get offa my nonexistent lawn, yada yada…)
Hm. When I was 15, it was 1988. We had a computer and television–the computer was even technically mine, as I won it in an essay contest–but I was completely uninterested. I was reading lots of books, writing poetry and stories, painting, and spending a lot of time out in the woods near our house. I was not one of those teens who alternates between the phone, TV, and devices.
Not much has changed, except now I use a computer for work, the phone fits in my pocket, and I still don’t answer it. I think I was born a Luddite.
I don’t remember any particular hardware except my handheld football game. If you include software, I clearly remember an addiction to the game Bard’s Tale.
I was 15 in 1972. “Electronics” as they are generally thought of today did not exist at that point. My parents owned an ancient, tiny, B&W television with a flimsy set of rabbit-ear antennae, but we hardly ever watched it because the image was so fuzzy and the audio so distorted you could never really be completely certain what show was on.
I guess the only electrical gadget (other than kitchen appliances) that I really had available to me was my dad’s hi-fi set, and I did spend many, many hours listening to that. The year my folks split up, which would have been when I was about 16, I made up a mix tape of all the family favorite Christmas albums, with duplicate copies of it so each parent would have a set, and amusingly enough, my younger sister actually still has one of them.
This perhaps explains why my poor underprivileged offspring were the only kids in the neighborhood who didn’t have a video game console. I emerged perfectly happy and reasonably well adjusted after growing up without electronic entertainment, and I just didn’t see the need to change that pattern for them. They did both acquire game devices once they left the nest and got decent jobs, so it’s not like they were permanently warped by the experience.
For me the year was 1971 and I was fascinated by my father’s short-wave radio, which was about as close as I could get to personal world-wide communication at the time.
For me it was my stereo. I was a huge music fan, and would go on record buying expeditions every Saturday. My parents weren’t so inclined, so one birthday they bought me a real stereo that I got to have in my bedroom so I could play music as loud as I wanted whenever I wanted. BTW, at this time not only were there no ipods, but even the Walkman had not yet been invented.
I was 15 in 1977. If TV counts, I guess that was it, but Dad had veto power on TV choices. He was very nice about letting us watch stuff we liked, but choices were very limited in pre-cable days. For myself I guess, embarrassingly enough, it would be a transistor radio. My first stereo purchase, complete with cutting edge 8-track technology, was still a couple of years away. The transistor could be taken outside and I could listen to whatever music I wanted. In a large family, that is quite the treat.
Love the Webb reference!
The Commodore 64. Playing Bard’s Tale, M.U.L.E., Adventure Construction Set, the Ultima games, and so many more. What wonderful games those were.
Let’s see, that would be 1977, so I’d have to say my car stereo with the cassette player. It was quite an improvement over the old 8-track player that required one to wedge a matchbook between the 8-track cartridge and the top of the slot to get it to play correctly.
Thank you to the “over fifty” crowd, because I was beginning to think I was the only one who thought electronic meant the same as stereo. :) As joelfinkle mentioned my first purchase was a stereo with speakers which transformed my lifelong love affair with music from my mother’s records (Ray Charles, Nina Simone, etc.) to mine (Fifth Dimension, Jimi Hendrix, Earth Wind and Fire). I learned how to assemble and dismantle a receiver, turntable and speakers shortly (from my D.J. boyfriend) and I have never looked back!
There was a pinball game for the C64 that I played often. Also burned a lot of time with Merlin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merlin_%28game%29). Mostly waiting until the day I could take and pass the driving test.
For me that would be 1960. Since I interpret the question as my own personal item, not a family thing like the TV or console record player, I’d say it was my AM transistor radio. Tinny top 40 radio!
It was 1972. The only electronic device I owned was a Panasonic transistor radio. My family also had a single BW TV with something like a 12″ screen. Really. Oh, I also had a “Major Matt Mason” moon crawler, but I had probably outgrown it by then.
1982, so… the TV. My friend’s Atari 2600 had been retired to his attic, and we were into pen-and-paper role playing games (i.e., Dungeons & Dragons, etc.). The school had not yet purchased the TRS-80’s, and I was never really keen on those anyway; my parents had purchased a TI-99 4/A for me but it was a royal pain in the ass to use, so it was never popular or favorite with me. But Star Blazers and a handful of giant robot animes were on TV, so it was TV for me, when it wasn’t RPGs.
(it was mostly RPGs).
Merlin, Atari (technically the Sears-brand version), and my stereo. Stereo might take the top spot if I have to pick only one.
Without a doubt my Magnavox Stereo with AM/FM/FM Stereo and detachable speakers. This unit was purchased used with newspaper/babysitting/car washing earnings. First album purchased was Elton John – Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player. Don’t have the stereo but still have the vinyl with original songbook.
1981: I had heavy dictionaries that required careful handling because they had very thin pages: Latin and French. The Latin one had to be brought to school and back – on foot, 15 minutes – whenever we had a test.
I remember looking at them, and being totally certain that the next generation would have tiny, lightweight electronic dictionaries where you would type in a word and immediately get an answer, and feeling envious towards the not-yet-born.
So even back then, my favorite gadget were the current ones.
The year was 1962 and the “device” was my Amateur Radio rig. Kit-built receiver, home-built transmitter. Vacuum tube technology. And, yes, I still have the slide rule I used in college.
Our household was given a reel-to-reel tape recorder when I was around fifteen. I spent 3 days laboriously taping The Clash’s Sandinista! over a precious bootleg of Thelonious Monk. (The shame of it).
A hand-me-down Dragon 32 computer, until I saved up and bought myself an Atari ST later that year (1988).
In 1955, the transistor radio barely existed. My electric toys were my HO-gauge railroad, my radio, and my model-T spark coil. A friend had a reel-to-reel tape deck, and we had fun with that. My cousin and I built a Heathkit stereo, which kept burning out one set of tubes because of an error in the schematics; we also built other stuff from plans in Popular Electronics: a small audio amp, a Theremin,
My Eddystone shortwave radio in New Zealand. Built a cool antenna myself. Listened to stations from all over the globe, never expecting to visit many of those countries, and even live in a few of them.
My Super NES, followed my radio. We lived too far out in the country for cable and there were too many trees for a dsh. My main sources for entertainment were video games and music (other than books of course).
My baby blue princess phone. Or maybe my Chevy Impala (you could drive at 14 in South Dakota) hmm. Tough call.
You kids. In The Old Days we walked to school and there were none of these flying machines and teleportation stuff. And since I would have felt like a total doofus walking around with greasy hair holding a transistor radio to my ear, I really can’t think of any electronic-type device I loved. My family didn’t have a TV either. Ma Bell’s big black solid phones parked in the hallway never inspired much affection in anyone, I think.
But I did love gadgets. The stationery business had the most curious ones. I actually bought one of the miniature staplers, I was so taken with it. I sort of still am. I’ve kept it all these years and can’t bear to throw it out. I mean, it still works great!
For me it was my Zenith Cobra-matic Phonograph. It was portable!
15 for me was 1980.
One item would be my TI-55 calculator. It was modestly programmable.
A second would be my “bazillion electronic experiments” kit.
Ah, the fun….
1969 for me. While I certainly watched my share of television, I’d have to say my favorite was my record player. Didn’t have much money or the patience to save up for albums, but I did have an extensive collection of 45s.
My dad’s PDP/LSI-11 because it had Zork on it. Better than my Altair that had so little memory that I could fill it up by typing (4K iirc).
It almost hurts to think that far back, but when I was 15 Texas Instruments had just come out with their TI-30 calculator (with the red LED display!) and it was what a budding nerd dreams about. I also used to haunt the aisles of my local Radio Shack looking at the electronic experiment kits, and then the mail-order catalog for Edmund Scientific would come in and I would drool over the lasers and other gadgets and gizmos in it.
My walkman. (Not to be confused with a Walkman™) It was a long walk to school.
My home radio/tapedeck was a close second. It allowed me to make mix tapes for my walkman. It might have ranked higher, but there was math involved. And a stop watch.
I was 15 in 1959-60. My favorite electronic device was a phonograph that played only 78 RPM records.
’63 — I had a little TV in my room, used to stay up watching Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show.
My sony walkman tape player was pretty awesome when I was 15.
In 1972 our electronic devices at home were limited to a TV (color though – we bought it in honor of the moon landing). I believe I got my first (and last) slide rule that year. I did buy the first model of Macintosh ( 128K memory, no hard disk, one floppy) but that was when I was in grad school. I asked my Amazon Echo what happened in 1972 and it was depressingly about the Vietnam war but I did find out that Maggie Smith was nominated for Best Actress that year for “Travels with My Aunt” – which coincidentally I just bought as a streaming video from Amazon. She was 38 at the time but essentially playing the same age as she does now in Downton Abbey.
That would be 1989 and my freshman year. the DEC VAX at my high school.
When I was 15, I had a radio:
“Well, it’s 1969, okay
All across the U.S.A.
It’s another year for me and you
Another year with nothing to do”
My grandma gave me a Solitaire game when I was young. It continues to be my favourite game throughout the years.
Our school’s Panasonic WJ-AVE5. An audio-video mixer that didn’t need a time base corrector for its two main video inputs and one video keyer. It didn’t do as much as a Video Toaster, but it could do a LOT, especially if you had a flying erase head recorder. I was the only one who knew how to use it, until I taught all my friends how to use it. We had live student news and announcement broadcasts.
A Panasonic Take ‘n Tape portable tape recorder. (You don’t need much to afford her, the jingle said.)
My friends TI994/A. Untold hours playing Scott Adams adventure games and writing our own.
1n 1968 we were a bit beyond it being a light switch, but not by much.
So I would have to say my radio. The days when stations didn’t narrowcast and a single one would have an eclectic playlist from soul/R&B to pop to rock to country to classical.
I was 15 in 1969. My favorite electronic thing had to be the tv, Other than radio it was all there was!
1972 — a small portable TV set, which I got for my 15th birthday.
1999: Year 3 of junior high. That would have to be my hand-assembled 586 desktop, complete with dial up modem.
My parents resisted giving me a Walkman for the longest time. They thought I spent too much time in my own head already, and didn’t need a device which would deliberately cut me off from the rest of the world. But I kept asking for one, birthdays and Christmas, and eventually, they gave me one because they couldn’t think of anything I’d like better.
Books on tape, loud classical music while everyone else in the house was asleep, precious mix-tapes of 80s bands, recorded by holding the microphone on the tape-recorder in the lounge room up to the speaker when Countdown was on. Yes, it cut me off from the rest of the world. It was glorious.
In 1961 my favorite electric device was our sewing machine.
1993, so probably the 14.4 KBaud modem in the school library. My friends and I would dial in to a local BBS that actually had *gasp* email. High tech, indeed!
I got a portable cassette deck for my 15th birthday. I played that thing to death listening to Moody Blues, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Ten Years After, Jimi Hendrix, etc, etc.
When I was 15, that was the year before we got a ‘table telephone’ and we still had one that hung on the wall and you “dialled” with a hand crank or by telling the operator what number you wanted.
Things changed very quickly after that. But I think I’m kind of out of this thread.
Ti 99 4a. Cassette tape recorder for storage. Mom played dirty. The only games I got were Hunt the Whumpus that came with it and a text based adventure. So I learned Basic. I eventually got the expansion with a floppy and an extra 32KB of RAM. I was working on a FPS in basic. Remapped a bunch of fonts so I could draw the first person view. 10′ movement resolution. Something in the expansion box failed and that was that.
1992: I was just entering my cranky, pretentious, deliberately luddite stage that would last into college. I was hipster without knowing it. In my day it was just being an ‘asshole’. Although I DID get more use than you’d think out of an old 70’s-style tape deck I salavaged from dad’s closet…
I turned 15 in 1978, in the pre-dawn of personal computers. (That is, personal computer kits existed, dating back to the Simon in 1950, whose most famous user was probably Ivan Sutherland, but the Mac and PC were years in the future.) My favorite piece of gadgetry was an old-fashioned portable radio from the 1940s or 1950s, I think.
That would be my Gibson Studio Les Paul electric guitar. Ridiculously expensive, worth every cent.
You guys and your toys. Mine was a RadioShack multi-meter, one of those cheap little plastic case numbers you could put in your pocket. Used it first to troubleshoot a Cosmac Elf computer in 1976 (no, not Apple, get a grip) a fellow student had built but couldn’t get to work and continued to use it for all manner of things over the years.
Amazing thing? I still have it and it still works.
I was 15 in 1966, and my favorite was actually my 16th birthday gift, a reasonably decent portable stereo record player. I pretty much went through the local library’s collection of classical and jazz LPs (for the not-so-ancient, 33-1/3 RPM 12-inch vinyl records). My parents threatened to throw it into the woods after my umpteenth use of the Rite of Spring as music to go to sleep by (there was no headphone jack).
1968, I didn’t get to touch a computer until 1971, I used a non-electric typewriter, and one of those old calculators with a lever you pulled. The only electric thing I can think of is family TV. Watching Star Trek and Mission Impossible. And Secret Agent on re-runs, I was a Patrick McGoohan fan.
IBM Selectric with the correcting tape. Awesome. Built like a battleship and sounded like a machine gun.
It was Y2K, and it was my Nintendo 64.
I had a 286 PC that I absolutely loved. It was old by then, but it ran King’s Quest 5 and 6 (in 16 colors) and I still consider those two of the best games I’ve ever played. I also learned to program LOGO, Basic and Pascal on that machine. I have fond, fond memories of it. In fact, it may be my favorite piece of electronics ever.
I actually still have that computer sitting in my basement. I need to do a little work to it, but I think it might actually still work if I get it cleaned up.
I had shared resources (the glorious 24″ family color TV, the CRT to the dial-up mainframe) but the ones that were ALL MINE were my calculator with a whole bunch of buttons (better than anybody else’s in the school, even the rich kids) and the hand-me-down stereo from my older brother.
I had one of the second-generation iMacs, the ones with the transparent plastic cases. Mine was Blueberry.
I had an amiga commodore 64 on which I played lemmings. In 1999 it was already an old computer
That was the year I got a homebuilt weather station from Edmunds Scientific. I had to climb onto the roof to put up the anemometer and wind vane, and run the wiring through a hole I carved in the windowsill.
Probably my transistor radio. I would listen at night to radio on the AM band from far away – St. Louis, New York city, or Chicago….I wondered what those places were like and what the people were like there.
I have fond memories of AM radio DX-ing as well. I lived in Connecticut and used to get Chicago and Detroit fairly clearly. I graduated to shortwave after that and I still have a Sony portable shortwave/AM/FM radio in my kitchen.
Either my Gameboy or my PC, depending on which game I was hooked on.
1986 for me and a toss up between the hi-fi in my room (as this was also the year I got heavily into heavy metal) and the Sinclair ZX Spectrum downstairs.
1988. My friend’s Amiga computer. The graphics and interface were mind blowing for the time and he games seemed so much better than what was available for our clunky IBM PC. I especially remember the drawing program…
Well, my first thought was my TI-57, then I discovered, much to my horror, that the TI-57 didn’t come out until the *next* year (1977), so then I though it must have been my Sony walkman…crap, 1979. Ok, how about my beloved Breakout video game? Well, it came out in ’76, but since I didn’t get it until Christmas, I was already 16. Damn. So that leaves me with…my Panasonic 8-track tape player/RECORDER! Yes, I actually recorded my albums on to 8-track tape! (is the MPAA going to come after me now?)
My partner, nine years older than me, said the transistor radio. The family had a TV and a phone when I was 15, but Scalzi did say electric, so I’m gonna go with electric lights. I read more than I watched TV.
Someone above mentioned electric sewing machine, and that was definitely a contender for me, as well, but I may have been over 15 when I got it.
I think it would have to have been my cassette player. I spent hours listening to music.
It was 1968 and, though already a music fan, I’m not sure if I had yet graduated from a portable record player to my first, cheap, component stereo system (but it would have been whatever of those devices I owned at the time).
Being 15 would put the year at 1980, which would make me a freshman/sophomore in high school. Probably my favorite thingy was the now late lamented Tandy computer, complete with 5 1/4 inch floppies and a cassette player, in which I would create simply computer games.
well… I was 15 in 1970… no home computers, not even really any personal calculators. So for me the electronic items I really wanted was an IBM Selectric typewriter… Didn’t get one until I got to college, had a cheap electric Royal typewriter in high school.
So much electronostalgia!
In ’71 we were welfare poor, but I had managed to accumulate a heavily used vacuum tube experimenter’s kit with enough bits to make an AM receiver, or an amplifier (but not both at once), a shoebox cassette recorder (birthday gift, bought at a pawnshop), and a pocket transistor in a scruffy leather case. As a family we had an old Telefunken AM kitchen radio with a couple of shortwave bands (BBC time signal was the furthest thing I ever dx’d) and a balky ancient TV with murder in its high-voltage heart.
All treasured items, even the TV, on which we watched astronauts walking on the MOON !
1980, it was a guitar playing buddy’s Big Muff maestro fuzz pedal. They just don’t make em like that anymore.
We didn’t have a TV, I only started using the schools TRS-80’s a few months before I turned 16, so it was either the clock radio or the stereo system (which had a radio that got far worse reception than the clock radio, but had a perfectly functional turntable). What can I say, I liked music.
A small part of me really wants to hold out for electric lights, because I might have liked music, but I LOVE reading.