Menu

user avatar

Breaking My Nerd Cherry

My dad owned and operated a small bookstore in Brooklyn for the last 30 years.  One of my first and bestest memories of going into his store was playing with the cash register.  It looked very similar to the cash register in the photo above and I was blown away by it.  The green digital readout. The adding up of the numbers with those big clicky plastic keys. The printout of the receipt.  The noises it made and the fulfilling sound of the cash draw opening to take someones money.  This machine had me in awe and it was my first love of a gadget that I can remember.  It started a life-long bond with me and electronic/mechanical gadgetry.

What was your first gadget or piece of tech that you fell in love with?

Tags ,

24 comments

  • I can’t quite remember the name of it — Wizard, I think? — but it was shaped like a huge phone mouthpiece with a keypad that you punched in sequences for music and games. I played that thing to death.

  • We had a scientific calculator, which amazed and confused me at age 9. It was many years later that I started to understand what the buttons were for. Though I still remember the pi button gave 3.141592654

  • My dad had a C64 for years, but the first time I thought ‘wow, this is cool’ I was about 4 and he had ‘found’ a program called ‘Create with Garfield’ – you could make Garfield comics and stationery on it. I thought it was awesome.

    (I still have it, on my C64 emulator ;) It’s not really as cool as when I was 4)

  • I’m not sure how to explain the pneumatic tube system that existed at JL Hudson’s in Detroit up until the store was imploded in 1998, but when I was a kid, watching money get sucked through those tubes and moved from one place to another was fascinating. Apparently, there were 170 tubes that were connected to cash registers all over the store. Sad that store fell on hard times, and was destroyed.

  • Teddy Ruxpin animatronic talking bear (fascinating & terrifying for a child) && Sega Game Gear, Sega’s first handheld game console WHOOP WHOOP!…. playing Sonic the Hedgehog on the school bus was an epic memory for me, i remember being tempted in opening it up to see how it worked, i guess i needed closure for why i didn’t need to be laying on the floor with a bowl of cereal in front of the dial knob TV to play video games anymore.

  • 16mm movie projector. Especially plugging two of them together to do the reel change automatically. We used to show Disney films during short school days (real, quality Disney – Shaggy DA, Apple Dumpling Gang, Freaky Friday, Witch Mountain, etc.).

    Which of course led to Super 8 stop-motion animation and pinhole cameras and multi-screen slide shows and general old school AV geekery.

  • IDM computer.

    1994

    I was 4 years old, my dad was working on his resume for a promotion for 14-hours straight.

    I stumbled in the room…asked my dad for a cookie.

    He left to retrieve me sustenance.

    I got in the massive-computer chair. I scrolled the mouse to the top-left-corner.

    “SHUT-DOWN” it said.

    Dad came back with said cookie.

    I looked and smiled.

  • IBM computer.

    1994

    I was 4 years old, my dad was working on his resume for a promotion for 14-hours straight.

    I stumbled in the room…asked my dad for a cookie.

    He left to retrieve me sustenance.

    I got in the massive-computer chair. I scrolled the mouse to the top-left-corner.

    “SHUT-DOWN” it said.

    Dad came back with said cookie.

    I looked and smiled.

  • Showing my age, but when I was a kid, we would go to my father’s office, a law firm, on a sunday, and my brother and I would play with the electric typewriters on the secretaries’ (as they were known then) desks. It was endlessly fun, playing with those, and the photocopier. And the embossers.

  • I remember messing around with computers (Apple and IBM) when I was really little, but my love of technology wasn’t sparked until I got my NES at age 7.

  • Actually that cash register looks just like the one my parants had at their garage station. I loved that thing, people always give tips to the under ten year old serving them. although I seem to remember buying a lot more lollies for 20 cents than you do now days.

  • My first piece of tech that I loved was a Psion Organiser II that my Dad’s work gave him. He never used it, so it became mine by degrees.
    I remember typing in reams of OPL to get a little game working on it’s two line display. That was my first coding experience too! [sniff]