EDITOR’S NOTE – MARCH 24, 2009 – I get a lot of traffic to this story, a few e-mails asking questions, and great comments left for this blog entry. I’m really curious how you readers are finding this bit of text. Please leave a comment telling me how!
Behold, puny mortals, my latest thrift store acquisition! St. Vincent De Paul got the shaft as I saved 50% off this $1 piece of raw computational power. The 1986 Talking Computron by VTel features a membrane keyboard, eight-character red LED alpha-numeric display, 20 built-in programs, cartridge slot, and even a real electronic voice! It is powered by 6 C batteries or a 9v 300mA adapter. On the top of the unit written on tape it says verbatim “WURKS NEEDS BATTERYS.” Because I do not have C batteries available to power the unit I am left to wildly speculate as to the true capabilities of this device. To put this all into perspective I will compare and contrast with another deus ex machina, the Sony PlayStation 3.
- The Talking Computron has a built-in keyboard whereas the PS3 only has USB ports to plug one in. Advantage Computron.
- Both systems have fonts on the side of the machine that demand your focused attention. Advantage none.
- “Talking Computron” is 16 characters long while “PLAYSTATION 3” is only 11. Advantage Computron. Plus one for correct spacing for Computron. Minus one for PS3 for using CAPS LOCK.
- Both systems produce an image that hurts to look at in low definition. Advantage none.
- Talking Computron came with twenty built-in games plus a cartridge called “Dress Up and Theatre” while PS3 came with the Cross Media Bar. Advantage Computron.
- PS3 collects dust superbly on its shiny black surface. Talking Computron collects dust in impossible to clean edges. Advantage none.
- PS3 can interface with the PlayStation Portable. The Talking Computron has unknown interface capabilities. Which is scarier? The known or the unknown? Talking Computron plus one.
- I am drinking a tasty beverage responsibly whilst writing this. Plus one to me for responsible drinking and plus another for usage of “whilst.” Minus one for drinking it alone.
- Talking Computron features built in math software while the PS3 does not. Obviously people who blew $600 do not know the value of money. Advantage Talking Computron.
- The PS3 and Talking Computron both lack rumble functionality. Advantage none.
According to my rudimentary and lackluster American public education math skills the final totals come to Talking Computron with 6, PS3 with -1, and myself with a point. Not bad for a $0.50 investment.
September 3, 2009 Update: The Talking Computron sold for $23 on eBay sometime last month. I had no clue that it would fetch so much, let alone sell at all.