Tuesday, November 16, 2004
A student in WRT105 emailed me this link overnight. MB's Big Trak was one of my first electronic toys. I couldn't come up with the name of it when I was conferencing with the student the other day. He's working out a project that makes use of the cut-paste/remix/playback method; focusing on 1982, he's looking at "Mr. Roboto," the computer as Time's "man of the year," and early mechanical heart transplants, and something else.
A Google search for Big Trak turns up a bunch of late 70's/early 80's reminiscence. Must've been for my sixth or seventh birthday, but I remember programming the rover to roll around our small trailer-house on Winn Road. We had the dump-cart, too, and although it was disappointing (dump what? where?), we retro-fitted it with a cheap cup holder console (the sort with sand-weighted flaps), so the Big Trak could haul drinks from the kitchen to the living room fewer than ten feet away. And even though the path was potentially straight, programming a crooked course was all the fun.
I vaguely recollect the Big Trak was sore subject between my folks, too. M. refused to tell D. how much she paid for it; she just insisted--as often was the case--that J. and I must have the latest gadgets, whatever the cost. Other memories: the batteries required replacement too frequently, and batteries were expensive. Wasn't long before my older brother J. had the whole guts opened up, never to go together again.Posted by Derek Mueller at November 16, 2004 11:35 AM to Technologies