News and notes from Reston (tm).

Monday, June 1, 2015

Flashback Monday: Reston, In All Its 8-Bit Glory

Sure, today Reston is home to high-tech companies like Google and Microsoft. We even had an Apple store a decade or two before they started selling those, whazzitcalled, iPods. But did you know that back in the dawn of the personal computer era, Reston was home to a software company so rad that they named it after the rad planned community that it called home?

That's right, if you had a fancy Atari 800 or Apple II, you could buy a giant, plate-sized floppy disk with Reston Software's programs on it. Set the controls of the Earth-Toned Wayback Machine to 1983, and we'll show you the hours of fun to be had!

There's Paint, which allowed early adopters to... um, paint we guess. No word on whether only earth toned colors were available in this Reston Software offering.

Then there's QuickFlix, which allowed programmers and nonprogrammers to make animated sequences and games. We're not sure, but maybe we can blame today's tedious Powerpoint animations on these guys.

Turns out there's still a Reston Software today, but they focus on your typical bomb-strapping-to-dolphins engineering kind of stuff that dominates the DC tech sector. And the original Reston Software's parent company, Reston Publishing, was "in the foreground of technical-book publishing when microcomputers were still becoming available," says Wikipedia. (You can read one of their books here.) Reston Publishing was part of Prentice Hall, which in turn is part of education giant Pearson.

Sadly, Reston Software's best-selling program, Virtual DRB, must have been lost to the mists of time. With 256-color displays at best, the technology at the time was too crude to capture the difference between Burnt Ochre and Beachwood. Besides, using a keyboard to tally up design violations couldn't possibly have been nearly as fun as using a touchscreen on today's tablets and phones to circle the offending dangly bits. Who knows, maybe it's time for Reston Software to rise again, using an idea we suggested some time ago:

DRB Something.jpg

1 comment:

  1. Check out that wickedoldschoolwayback zip code: 22090. I still have some old State Farm Ins address labels with that rad sequence. Back then the golf course personnel didn't mind if you were still there in the morning with a discarded bottle of Gatorade and Bacardi. Hole 7 was comfy for overnight sippin'.


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