Nilay Patel, at The Verge:
[Walt has] assembled an impressive collection of notable gadgets over his two-decade run as a reviewer and columnist, and we asked him to talk us through some of the more notable items as he cleared out of his office.
This isn’t everything — there’s far too much for that. But there’s nothing quite like Walt talking about gadgets and what they mean, and we tried to pick a few that defined their moments in a way few products now seem to do.
Really nice article, with photos of the gadgets, one-paragraph text write-ups, and one-to-three-minute videos.
The collection includes the original Amazon Kindle (2007), the Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 100 — a personal favorite of mine, that I used extensively in the 80s — Motorola StarTac flip-phone, 1996; IBM ThinkPad, 1995; and the original iPhone, 2007.
Here’s Mossberg on the Model 100:
The Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 100 — or Trash 80, as it was affectionately called — was one of the first laptops. Or first tablets, if you squint. It ran on four AA batteries, and it was routinely given to journalists in the field because it had a built-in modem that could send files back to the office through an acoustic coupler for a landline phone handset. Mossberg used his TRS-80 all over the world as a reporter and editor for_ The Wall Street Journal_; as a deputy bureau chief he bought one for every reporter in the bureau. “I honestly think you could draw a line from this to the iPad,” he says.
Notice the dings and scratches on the gadgets in close-up — these were used in the field. I’ve never consistently used protective cases on my iPhones and iPads; I like them to collect dings and scratches and acquire a patina, like a leather jacket or boots.