(You're reading all posts by Lewis Wallace) Lewis Wallace is a San Francisco-based writer and editor specializing in technology and culture.
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1976 Gibson Explorer
Ahead of its time when released in the 1950s, the Gibson Explorer fits right into the rock 'n' roll landscape two decades later. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Apple is born
Also in 1976, a couple of longhairs named Steve and Woz start a little computer company you might have heard of.
Rocky KOs the box office
Sylvester Stallone becomes a Hollywood heavyweight after his 1976 boxing movie turns into an unexpected hit.
VHS storms the screen
JVC's HR-3300 video cassette recorder, unveiled on September 9, 1976, becomes the first VHS-based machine to hit the market.
Jimmy Carter wins the White House
The humble peanut farmer from Plains, Georgia, defeats incumbent President Gerald Ford.
Kiss goes to 'Detroit Rock City'
Hot on the 7-inch heels of surprise hit Alive!, the paint-faced rockers unleash Destroyer in 1976.
U.S.A. blows out 200 candles
The nation's Bicentennial celebration drapes the United States in red, white and blue.
Howard the Duck gets his own comic
One of Marvel Comics' most unlikely heroes goes solo in 1976.
Mission to Mars
Viking 1 puts a lander on the Red Planet on July 20, 1976.
Wacky Packages peter out
The parody stickers' highly successful second run fades away with the 1976 series. Bubble gum was never so fun.
Cuckoo's Nest is crazy successful
Director Miloš Forman's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest wins big at the Academy Awards in 1976, sweeping the "big five" Oscars.
To me, the 1976 Gibson Explorer means lust at first sight, love at first feel and that rarest of man-machine crushes: an enduring passion that persists long after I plunked down my hard-earned cash.
Gibson’s luthiers prototyped the Explorer (alongside pointy siblings the Flying V and the apocryphal Moderne) in the ’50s. The space race was on, rock ‘n’ roll was coming into its own and cars boasted bold curves and sci-fi fins. The Explorer and Flying V were released in 1958, a year after the Soviets launched Sputnik 1. (The Moderne didn’t makes its official debut until 1982.)
Like the beautiful but doomed Power Mac G4 Cube, the radically shaped guitars were clearly ahead of their time: These pointy instruments, which years later would become staples of heavy metal and hard-rock style, flopped hard. Gibson discontinued both lines within a few years.
In 1976, spurred by the success of competitors’ Explorer clones, Gibson came to its senses and reissued the Explorer. The natural mahogany finish on the best of these, much like the lighter Korina of the original models, gave the strangely shaped guitars a retro-futuristic look. That marriage of old and new is coming back into fashion now as designers tumble to the innate beauty of natural materials.
AOL Time Warner
2000 kicks off with a big deal: AOL's $164 billion purchase of Time Warner. AOL chief Steve Case says the deal proves "new media has truly come of age." It's the biggest merger in history (and will eventually be known as the worst).
Hedy Lamarr dies at 85
Austrian actress Hedy Lamarr, often called "the most beautiful woman in films," goes to the great studio shoot in the sky at age 85 on January 19, 2000. Nerds will remember that the beauty had brains: Lamarr invented a "Secret Communication System," paving the way for modern wireless communications.
PlayStation 2 storms onto the scene
Sony unleashes its PS2 onto the gaming scene in March 2000. The black, blocky unit goes on to become the best-selling game console of all time.
Eminem drops The Marshall Mathers LP
Unlike Apple's Cube, Eminem's third studio album becomes a massive hit right out of the gate. Released May 23, 2000, the controversial album sells 1.76 million copies in the United States in its first week, fueled by the incredibly hooky single "The Real Slim Shady."
American Beauty rocks the Academy
Which is more memorable, Kevin Spacey's fantasy about Mena Suvari in a rose bath, or Annette Bening's manic "I will sell this house" scene? American Beauty, Sam Mendes' haunting film about suburban ennui, takes home five Oscars in 2000, including Best Picture.
Snoopy retires his typewriter
The final Sunday Peanuts strip by Charles M. Schulz is published February 13, 2000, a day after the cartoonist's death. Newspapers will never be the same.
Life's a beach for Richard Hatch
Another winner from 2000? Richard Hatch, who walks away with the title of Sole Survivor in the first season of reality TV show Survivor, thanks to some savvy strategy (and loads of naked ambition).
Dora packs her backpack for the first time
A spunky animated adventurer packs her backpack and jumps onto the silver screen as Dora the Explorer begins a long run at Nickelodeon on August 14, 2000.
As the 20th century waned, Apple laid a beautiful square egg.
The Power Mac G4 Cube, introduced in July 2000, delivered a fair amount of Apple computing power in a unique see-through enclosure made of acrylic glass. Designed by Jony Ive, the futuristic-looking Cube offered a glimpse of the sleek industrial design that would come to epitomize Apple’s upscale take on consumer technology.
“I just remember it being this incredibly elegant, sexy machine that looked nothing like a computer,” said Randall Greenwell, director of photography at The Virginian-Pilot and a longtime Apple aficionado, in an email to Cult of Mac.
The Mac turns 30 today. It’s a big day for Apple, and obviously it’s a big day for every member of the Cult of Mac (that means you!).
Here’s a roundup of all our stories about the Mac’s milestone:
Siri has a dark side. Try to send a text in a movie theater, and you might feel the life-destroying wrath of Apple’s perky AI helper.
That’s the message delivered in a new PSA-style video that’s the Alamo Drafthouse‘s latest salvo in the war on rude moviegoers. The creative clip, which will be shown ahead of screenings of Spike Jonze’s Her at the indie tastemaker’s theaters, uses the voice of Siri to send an anti-texting message.
It’s not easy making a posthumous movie about the world’s most well-known and beloved control freak. Just ask Joshua Michael Stern, director of new Steve Jobs biopic Jobs. The film delves into the early days of Apple Computer as Stern paints a picture of a man he calls a “brutally honest character.”
Don’t go into the PG-13 Jobs expecting any bombshells about Apple’s late, great maximum leader — you won’t find any. Instead, what you’ll get is a straightforward cinematic take on Jobs’ early partnership with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (played mostly for comic relief by Josh Gad), a healthy dose of Hollywood-style boardroom intrigue and a few glimpses into Jobs’ personal life. Many of the scenes, whether factually accurate or not, have been woven into the tapestry of tech history. And Jobs, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2011, obviously isn’t around to fact-check the past or exert his famous control over the final product.
“Part of the shackles for me as a director was, we really had to do everything that was sort of public domain, you know, we couldn’t stray too far off of what we basically knew about Steve,” Stern told Cult of Mac during a recent interview at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in San Francisco. “But the interesting thing about Steve, being such an enigma, there really isn’t that much more to know at all. I mean, everyone knows what they know.”
Some space geeks are calling today “The Day the Earth Smiled,” because the Cassini probe is set to take a picture of our planet as seen from Saturn later this afternoon. To honor this momentous occasion, the maker of astronomy software SkySafari is giving away basic versions for iOS and OS X (and discounting the Android version) through Sunday.