A gift guide to please any geek ... 25 years ago

Holiday gift-giving advice from Computer Chronicles, circa 1987

I recently stumbled across this 25-year-old holiday gift guide segment - highly amusing in retrospect - that was produced by Computer Chronicles, a popular PBS series from 1981 to 2002.

Featured hosts are Stewart Cheifet, Gary Kildall, George Morrow and Wendy Woods. There's a bullet list below the video for those who can't spare the 10 minutes.

So tucked under techie trees and into techie stockings were:

  • Sony Picture Computer, a device used to add titles and images to home VCR movies. Price: $400.
  • Byline from Ashton-Tate, "the best piece of desktop publishing software that's come along the pike." Price: $300.
  • Laplink: "... the perfect product ... you can't make a mistake." Price: $100.
  • doll
  • Higgins personal productivity software from Conetic Systems. (Here's a 1986 advertisement for the LAN version in Network World.) Price: $200.
  • Complete Hand Scanner from Complete PC, "a low-cost way of getting images into the computer system." Price: $249.
  • Toshiba T1000, "one of the newest portables ... very inexpensive ... the smallest, lightest thing around; about 6 pounds." Price: $800.
  • Diconix battery-operated printer; "very clever." Price: "$300 or $400."
  • Folding Velcro wallet that can hold up to nine 3.5-inch diskettes. Price: $20.
  • "Julie," a talking doll from World of Wonder: "Julie is supposed to be the world's most sophisticated doll. It's got 64K memory." Price: $100.  
  • Mr. Game Show, from Galoob, a character "that has a 700-word vocabulary and four different games. .. He comes back with all kinds of insults or compliments, depending on whether you do well or don't." TV commercial here. Price: $100
  • VideoWorks II, from MacroMind, animation/presentation software for the Mac. Price: $200.
  • Ask God, a program that would supposedly answer questions about the Bible. Price: $50.  
  • Fortune Cookies, an application: "Put it in your computer and every time you turn your computer on you get a fortune." Price: $6.95.

Looking for something more current? Try the Network World gift guide -- "Be a hero for the holidays" -- which features more than 150 products.

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