January 18 in nerd history: We have the technology

January 18 in nerd history: We have the technology

Happy National Thesaurus Day! We could also say have a cheerful Thesaurus Day, or joyful, jubilant, merry, gleeful, jolly, elated, and even mirthful. But we won’t, that would be weird.

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January 18 in Nerd History

Here are five things that happened on January 18th at the intersection of nerd and pop culture.

I.

Birthdays of honor: Kevin Costner (1955), Dave Bautista (1969), Cary Grant (1904), Jason Segel (1980), Oliver Hardy (1892), A. A. Milne (1882), Ted DiBiase (1954), Dave Attell (1965).

II.

We can rebuild him; we have the technology.

50 years ago TV got a lot more bionic-er when The Six Million Dollar Man premiered on ABC as a series, following three successful made-for-TV movies.

Starring Lee Majors as Steve Austin, the show followed the tale of an astronaut turned cyborg following a test flight accident. Of course, not only did the bionic implants give Steve Austin superpowers, they turned him into a damn icon.

With one arm, both legs, and his left eye replaced, Austin can run over 60 MPH, zoom in on anything at a 20:1 ratio and see in infrared, bulldoze anything with his super strength, and move in slow motion with a really cool sound effect.

The show ran for five seasons and 99 episodes, along with a total of six made-for-TV movies. It became huge in pop culture, and you can easily still utter Lee Majors’ name to broad adoration.

And in case you’re wondering, today he’d be more like a $184 million dollar man — or about a quarter of Shohei Ohtani’s contract with the Dodgers.

III.

In 1983, Apple released the first mass-market personal computer with a graphical user interface (GUI) with the Apple Lisa.

While GUIs had existed previously, the hardware, maintenance, and knowledge to actually use them was prohibitive to the common consumer. Lisa changed all that, but at a steep price — the cutting-edge tech ran a cool $9,995. That’s way too damn much even by today’s standards.

Only a total of 10,000 Lisas were ever sold, as Apple took the concept and made it much more affordable with their Macintosh line of computers.

IV.

“What’s that in your fist?”

“Dollars.”

Seems like a missed opportunity that those lines are never actually spoken in A Fistful of Dollars, which was released today in the US in 1967 following a successful three-year run across Europe.

The Italian film, starring Clint Eastwood in his first leading role, didn’t invent the Spaghetti Western genre, but it sure as hell brought it into the mainstream. Eastwood was paid just $15,000. In the long run, I think it worked out alright.

V.

Today in 1986 “That’s What Friends Are For” by Dionne Warwick and Friends Became the #1 Song in America. For good times and bad times, we’ll be here for you, reader.

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The AI-generated Image of the Day

The prompt: Garfield.

Yep, all I typed in was “Garfield”, and this is what it came up with. I think someone should check in on this AI…

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When was the first Apple Macintosh computer released?

If Steve Jobs had listened to me, we’d be roughly on the Apple XXV by now. But no, instead Apple had the idea to build an easy-to-use personal computer for the masses and decided to call it the Macintosh.

Fast forward a bit, and we now just call them Macs. Thank goodness, because who has the time for -intosh these days? And if you’re in a coffee shop with a laptop and it’s not a MacBook, you’re going to feel really awkward.

While these computers have become a core part of many people’s lives, some will remember the days when the very first Macintosh hit the market. When was that?

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