Texas Nerd Road Trip – Part 3

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Texas Nerd Road Trip – Part 3

Welcome back to episode 3 of Texas Tech History In the last episode I did a road trip to Houston and showed the DeLorean Motor Company, found the original Compaq factory, and took a visit to NASA In this episode, I’ll be taking a roadtrip to Austin and San Antonio to look at some tech history there For those that don’t know, I rent my Tesla out on Turo, and it ended up being booked for the time I was planning to do this trip, so we decided to take my Wife’s Chevy Bolt We’ve never taken it on a road trip before, so this should add an interesting twist This is an older model so it has 238 miles of range, which is a little less than the current production model But it’s only about 200 miles to our destination, or just a bit over 3 hours drive And for all of those that are going to ask, my wife had the car wrapped with this purple pattern because she didn’t like the silver color we got Being this was Summer time in Texas, we were facing a brutal daytime temperature of 105 degrees Fahrenheit For those of you on the metric system, that’s over 40 degrees Celsius So, needless to say the air conditioning will be working overtime We decided to stop at the half way point in Waco, Texas and use the Electrify America station there We could have probably made it all of the way to our hotel in Austin without charging, but it might have been cutting close Besides we needed to use the restroom and we were only at the charger for 10 minutes It was dark by the time we made it to our hotel in Austin, and of course I always pick hotels that have charging stations That’s especially important since we plan to be here for 4 days to film everything We decided to head out the next morning to San Antonio, which is an additional hour and a half from Austin Unfortunately, at this point we got a nasty rock chip in our windshield, so that will have to be replaced, that’s like $500 down the toilet Unfortunately, this wouldn’t be the last thing to go wrong on this trip The San Antonio metro area is home to some two and a half million people There aren’t a huge number of tech companies in the city, but The main company I wanted to show was a somewhat forgotten company called Datapoint Don’t feel bad if you haven’t heard of them But, I think you’ll be surprised at how influential they were They produced one of the first, if not the first glass-teletype in 1969 called the 3300 ANSI computer terminal They were actually called Computer Terminal Corporation during this time, and would later change names to Datapoint Up to this point, the main way to interact with a computer was by using a teletype, which used a keyboard and a printer built in, which were noisy, bulky, and expensive to operate since it required a constantly supply of paper and ink Datapoint was also the first company to build an all-in-one personal computer called the Datapoint 2200, which came out in 1970 You can also thank Datapoint for the first single-chip microprocessor In 1972, Datapoint actually designed and commissioned Intel to build the 8008 CPU for use in their Datapoint 2200 computer And to top it off, in 1976 they developed ARCnet, the first local-area network for computer systems This is just the tip of the iceberg, but needless to say, all of this stuff happened right here in San Antonio, TX and I wanted to find the buildings where all of this magic happened Although Datapoint is long gone, the buildings still remain, but what is more interesting to me are the street names The factory itself is located at 9725 Datapoint Dr. So yes, this entire street was named after the company And this street is a little over a mile long Also next to the old datapoint factory, you’ll find computer drive, and one street over you’ll find console drive So these are like permanent artifacts here in the city left over from the days of Datapoint All right, so I’m currently standing in front of what was the old datapoint factory here in San Antonio Currently, it belongs to Parkhurst Nuvision and laser medspa, whatever that is But anyway, this is where all of the old Datapoint terminals were manufactured back in the 70s, so yeah I looked at that picture that I showed earlier and I was trying to figure out exactly where that sign was, and I actually think it was over here at the end of the street, so let’s go take a look at that Ok, so I think I’m standing where I think that brick sign was But it looks a little bit different today because there’s all of these trees and plants and you can’t see the building in the background as well, obviously the brick sign has been removed and it looks like they replaced it with this blank slate, but anyway yeah, I think that’s where it was If we drive just down the road to 8400 Datapoint Drive, you’ll find two other buildings The first one here on the right was Datapoint corporate headquarters And directly across the parking lot on the left was where Datapoint software development happened In fact, I have a photo of this building from back in the day and you can see the fancy logo in the grass there, as well as Datapoint corporation on the top of the building OK, so I’ve made this trek on this stiflingly hot day, and yes, I’m wearing shorts and I’m not even apologizing for it because it is so hot out here But, this particular spot should be on the list of any nerd wanting to create a travel itinerary for nerd sight seeing This is the birthplace of the microprocessor I mean, a lot of people don’t think about it But this is where the idea was come up with, and this is where they requested such a product

to be made Sure, Intel ended up making the processor in the end, but this is where the idea came from One little diversion Believe it or not, just a few miles down the road from Datapoint is the current location of NewTek, the company famous for the Video Toaster product for the Amiga, They used to be based out of Topeka Kansas, but are now based in San Antonio and are still in business And, so here I am in front of NewTek It’s actually not just this building behind me, it’s also that building over there It’s just a few miles away from where the datapoint location was Now, this is the company that of course invented the video toaster, but also really in many ways invented desktop video editing as we know it today, which I kind of owe my career to since I am a youtuber now Unfortunately, while it is the same company that did all of those things, most of those pioneering things they did back when they were in Topeka, Kansas So, not a whole lot of that happened here in San Antonio They didn’t actually move to this facility until 1997, I believe Since I was already in San Antonio, I thought I’d head downtown to the Alamo I wanted to say a few words about it mostly because of it’s relevance in Nerd lore to Star Trek Deep Space nine, where Chief O’Brein and Doctor Bashir have built a model of the Alamo and it is talked about in several episodes I figured some of my international viewers have probably seen this, but didn’t realize that what remains of the Alamo was in downtown San Antonio Unfortunately, when I arrived I found it was entirely barricaded off I thought maybe they were doing renovations but later I found it it was to protect it against possible riots due to some of the issues that have been happening around the country lately So, this is a no-go That kind of wraps it up for San Antonio So we headed back to Austin The Austin metro area also has about 2 and a half million people and is the capitol city of Texas I wind up traveling to Austin several times per year on average for various things, so I’m pretty familiar with the city Austin is home to many tech companies both past and present, including Dell, Electronic Arts, Apple, IBM, Origin Systems, and some other fun things I’m going to surprise you with, starting with this one OK, so we are on our way to visit another famous tech company, although I’m not entirely sure what this tech company actually did other than make a lot of TPS reports Yeah, the name of the company is Innitech, and of course it was the company in the movie office space That was filmed just right down here and we’re going to go have a look at it You’ll find the Initech building located at 4120 Freidrich Lane And it actually doesn’t look all that different, despite being filmed in the 1990s And here I am at the entrance to Innitech Obviously it looks just a little bit different than it did 21 years ago with the movie was filmed It used to be this art piece logo, metallic logo thing right there and there also used to be this scaffolding up ahead which all that fell down when the building burned down at the end of the movie, and of course they just put that there just for that scene And you may be wondering, didn’t they burn the building down at the end of the movie, well not exactly If you actually look really close at the video, one of the things you’ll notice is that first of all the building is entirely concrete on the top and the poles here these are all just concrete poles And, I think all they really did was set the hedge on fire If you look, of course, there isn’t any hedge anymore So, obviously they burned that down, but other than that, I don’t think the fire scene actually did any damage to this building If you turn around in the parking lot and look over there, you’ll find a ditch, which is where another scene from the movie was filmed This was where they were walking back and forth to the restaurant they had lunch at I thought I’d explore the ditch myself OK, so I actually think this is where they walked across this scene So, these hedge have certainly seen better days I mean, in the office space movie they were like this tall, but anyway they are still here But the thing is, the actual cut scenes that are before and after this scene where they walk across the ditch here aren’t anywhere around here In fact, some of them I think were actually filmed in Dallas But, the continuity works, it all fits together and looks like they are walking from one place to another, but yeah, there’s nothing on either side of this ditch that would have been in the movie As far as real tech companies go, Dell has a huge presence in Austin One interesting fact is if you go back to the mid 1990s, Texas was home to AST, Compaq, and Dell, the 3 largest personal computer manufacturers of the time So, if you bought a computer in the 1990s there’s a good chance it was made in Texas So, Dell has at least two large campuses here in Round Rock, which is a superb of Austin If you’re curious how Round Rock got its name, which you probably aren’t but I’ll tell you anyway, there’s a large, round rock protruding from the water in this creek And yep, that’s what the city was named after Anyway, This is the North Campus for Dell, and something unfortunate happened here As I was flying the drone I suddenly got a warning message that the drone had lost GPS That’s bad because it won’t hold its position and the wind started blowing it around So I immediately started trying to bring the drone back down I would have just brought it down in the parking lot here, but Dell security had already run

me out of the parking lot, so I was parked across the street I almost had it landed and another gust of wind blew it off course and my instinct was to go up so that I would have time to reposition it again for landing, which didn’t work out because then it went right into a tree And there it remains as I was unable to get it down So this tree is my equivalent to Charlie Brown’s kite eating tree Fortunately, I was able to download the footage from the drone remotely before the battery died But I guess that’s its new home until a thunderstorm blows it out of the tree So far I’ve lost a windshield and a drone What else could go wrong with this trip? Anyway, back to Dell Actually, before it was Dell it was called PC’s Limited The name wasn’t changed to Dell until around 1987 Believe it or not, Michael Dell started the company in his college dorm, so let’s see if we can find it OK, so we’re standing on top of a parking garage right across from Dobie Center Now the significance of that is, Michael Dell was going to university right over there in 1983 and 84 studying pre-med because his parents wanted him to be a doctor But, he actually lived right here on the 27th floor, way up there, of dogie center and that’s actually where he started his computer business So yeah, this is the birthplace of Dell Computer Of course PC’s Limited eventually needed their own factory and offices It actually took weeks of research and asking around before I was able to find the address of this place It’s located at 1611 Headway Cir, building number 3 This is not in Round Rock, by the way, this is actually in the city of Austin Now, I wish I could show you some, you know, drone footage of this place But that’s not going to happen OK, so here I am in front of Building 3, this is where PCs limited was, well where the first factory was So, essentially this was the first Dell factory One other little interesting tidbit Take a look at this tree here This was obviously a fairly small tree back in the 1980s, and well, take a look at it today Yeah, it’s grown quite a bit there, hasn’t it? There’s another PC manufacturer that was located here in Austin That, of course, is IBM This entire group of buildings here is the IBM campus and it’s been here for quite a long time And directly across the street from these buildings was this factory here I think this photo is from the 1960s And during this time what they were producing were the IBM Selectric typewriters Eventually the factory went on to build IBM’s portable computers, such as the IBM 5155 and I think also later the IBM PC Convertible I believe they also produced the PowerPC chips here in the 1990s and early 2000s Unfortunately, the building was torn down just a few years ago and today you’ll find a Nordstrom here instead OK, so here we are This is the facility where the IBM portables were manufactured as well as those Selectric typewriters But, as you can see, it’s gone It’s been replaced by this Nordstrom So, not a lot to see hereI guess it’s still sort of sacred ground But anyway, let’s move along Of course, thanks to Google Earth we can go back in time a bit and look at it So, here’s the IBM campus today, and the Nordstrom is to the left If we go back a few years ago you will find nothing but rubble there And go back a bit further and you’ll see the actual factory It was actually pretty darned big There is also a really, really large Apple campus here in Austin Now the interesting thing about this is it is relatively new Apple had planned to buy a large area of Land in Austin decades ago but then backed out Instead, that property ended up being bought by Electronic Arts and they build a large campus there I wish I had drone footage of it, but you know the story Of course, Electronic Arts bought out another software company that was also here in Austin, which was called Origin Systems They were known for such games as the Ultima series, which I grew up playing Also Wing Commander, which I wasted a lot of my teenage years playing as well And Times of Lore, and many other games Origin has had several different facilities here in Austin, starting with this one at 110 Wild Basin Road Now, At first they were only in one of these buildings, but later expanded into both But, they eventually ran out of room there and so they moved over to 5918 W Courtyard Dr. And so between these two sites, that’s where most of the famous origin games were created Origin, of course, was started Richard Garriot, sometimes referred to as Lord British himself After he sold Origin to Electronic Arts, he went on to do some interesting things in his retirement including paying the Russians to launch him to the international space station However, rather than show you a bunch of boring buildings, instead let’s take a little adventure There are two places setup by Richard Garriot that I want to show you One of them is open to the public, the other is not In order to get to these we have to drive out to the west side of Austin which surprisingly isn’t all that far from the city, but it looks sure looks like it is judging by the landscape out here Eventually we come to the end of the road as there are are just these gates I met up with 2 former Origin employees who are going to show me around So, this is Scott Jones, former art director, former lead concept artist for various Ultima games including Ultima 9, Ultima 3rd Dawn Ultima 3rd Dawn and Ultima online Indeed, so, but yeah, Scott Jones is is the actual former Origin employee

My name is Edward Vitralis I am a Portalarium former employee, so I was never quite part of the original Origin crew but I did get to work with some of those fantastic folks Edward gave me some neat Ultima swag, which I’ll show you a little bit later Then we followed the guys through the security gate and headed towards Castleton So it’s just a short drive through a bit of wilderness, and then it opens up into a small medieval village Although the first thing I noticed was this globe theatre So, this is the glorious curtain theatre It was a project created by Richard for his friends in the society of creative anachronisms, known as the SCA The SCA and the folks in it and his friends and the people who worked at Origin were part of the same big giant community He created many of the characters for his games from his friends in the SCA, most of whom and many of whom I should say still live in Austin to this very day And their desire not just for role playing but also acting and theatre gave birth to this place, which is a reproduction of the globe theatre There’s only like 4 of them I think in the United States, and this is one of two in Texas I think, if that’s correct I don’t know the exact details But, for the purposes of Texas so that we don’t like to swelter and die, this whole area is open air compared to what the globe would have once looked like It is a theater in the round, although in this case it is half round And it leads into this wonderful spot And typical to globe theater reproductions, it has both a heaven and a hell down here And even in his most recent games he’s been trying to cater to the idea of a theater crowd and create theater like performance areas In here is the back stage And you can see little posters and little objects that are placed up to honor all of the different productions that have been done here The Bensman, who is the acting group for this theater is composed of both SCA folk and former Origin employees, all of whom I’m worked with at some point including designers and programmers for Ultima 9 and Ultima Online And this is where the fourth mishap happened on this trip It was so hot, my sweat started to carry the sunscreen I was wearing into my eyes and I became almost debilitated for about an hour This is my wife trying to flush some of it out with some eye drops So, that was fun Anyway, moving along Just right near the globe theater is a little village, which has strong connections to the Ultima series of games I believe there are close to 20 little buildings, each one with it’s own story We’ll start by opening up the tavern So this is Castleton, we’re at the theater of Castleton, what is this the silver and copper tavern, I believe Uh yes Which, when people run events like myself, we tend to co-opt the name for something else But this is Richard’s medieval village, that each little building kind of has its own story It’s usually associated with some real-life person that one of the Ultima characters was named after This space is used by the Boy Scouts, the SCA, the folks for the lisp on the lake, I’ve run two live action role-play events that were Ultima themed here Richard’s birthday parties are here But yeah, so Here over that way there’s the fort, the pirate ship, that once upon a time had working air canons on the pirate ship and catapults at the fort, for pitched battles for various role play and reenactment groups And for you Ultima fans out there, each one of these cabins usually belongs to some real-world equivalent to one of the Ultima characters For example, this lighthouse over here, it belongs to Captain Elad, which is Dale backwards, the groundskeeper here at Castleton And his wife for those of you who know Ultima really well, is the real-world equivalent Katrina, the companion of humility So, everything here, basically everything in Ultima comes from something and for you Ultima fans, this place is nothing but meaning to be found in everything Absolutely Just a few minutes walk from the village you’ll find Richard’s boat house There’s a dock here with a few little boats in it I love the serpent boat, it looks like something right out of Ultima Then you’ll find one of his cars parked here, this Audi with the license plate Soyuz, no doubt a reference to his trip to space Right next to that is a nice little cabin, which apparently Richard stays at sometimes on weekends And then there is a geodesic dome nearby that houses a swimming pool Pretty neat And believe it or not, there is even a chicken coup with 3 chickens in it And so here I am, holding and talking to one of Richard’s chickens I love chickens! I haven’t held a chicken in like 20 years But I wuv them

Ok, you don’t like me Alright alright alright! Time to stop tormenting the chicken! All right, all right! So now we’re going back to that dead end street And we’re going to check out the Necropolis, which is a geo-caching treasure hunt type of thing and is open to the public Now the idea is, you are supposed to print out this clue sheet and drive around Austin filling in the clues so that you can find the necropolis However, I don’t have time to do this while I’m here, so the guys just showed me right where it is This is Necropolis And for those of you who come to see Necropolis, you might be wondering where you’re supposed to go Well, the Geocache actually starts on the other side of Austin And if you follow the entire geocache, you get clues all around town, which eventually lead you to here And this corner right here, you don’t go through that gate, you don’t go through that gate, but this corner right here is actually the entrance to Necropolis And, as you’ll see, there is a chain-link fence up here among other types of fences, and once upon a time, Necropolis was about twice maybe three times as wide as it is now There was a whole very wide winding path, that you could go on It took about 10 or 15 minutes to make our way down the path, which mostly ran up against this fence Apparently some of the property had been sold off and is now fenced off So from what I’m told, it used to be easier to traverse By the way, fun factoid, most people mistake that for Richard Garriot’s mansion Richard Garriot’s mansion has long since been torn down, that’s a Dell billionaire who never did finish his property, but everyone assumes because it has that observatory up top, cause so did Richard’s property, everyone assumes that that was actually Richard’s castle, but it’s not So, now we’re approaching the actual part of the geocache at this point, not the part, I mean maybe some of this was brought by fans, but originaly there were solar powered lights above that would shine down on you at night, but the whole path up to here used to be full of all of this wonderful spookiness like this So at one point this, looks like vandalized possibly At one point in time these were relatively intact, and one of the things that Richard liked to point out was that there was actually a child’s coffin back there at some point But I don’t know if this has been vandalized, or if it’s just weather at this point It could be weather, we’ve had bad storms and it doesn’t take much It takes some time to walk through the trails and there are a lot of sights to see along the way Granted, this would probably be more appropriate around Halloween Not only would the theme match, but the weather would be a lot more inviting in October than in the middle of Summer here in Texas But yeah, if you’re looking for an nerdy outdoor adventure in Texas, it’s probably worth trying to find the Necropolis Of course, we haven’t made it to the best part yet And you can look down into this At least you could once upon a time, If you wish to view the corpse, he’s inside But this is the end of the geocache This is the Necropolis tower and or overlook So, at this point, if you’ve found all of the necessary clues, you’ll have the combination to the door, you’ll find a whole bunch of spooky treasures In fact, there’s even one of those machines you can put a coin in and it will make you a souvenir Also inside is this medallion which Richard actually carried with him to space And you can even climb the ladder to the top of the tower There’s a pretty nice view from up there And that about wraps it up for Necropolis However, one more cool thing about Round Rock, Texas is Bo Zimmerman’s house He has one of the largest, if not THE largest collection of Commodore stuff in the world I am not sure if there is a Commodore machine that existed that he doesn’t have in this collection It’s really quite impressive! I’ve been here a few times, but wasn’t able to stop by this last time due to scheduling issues But, he does entertain guests, so if you’re going to be in the area, you might want to contact Bo to get a personal tour He also hosts the Central Texas Commodore User’s Group meetings here as well I had also promised to show you what Edward had given me out near the necropolis So here it is So first of all, a little joke for Ultima fans And an Ankh Funny thing, when I first pulled this out, I didn’t immediately think of Ultima Instead I thought of Logan’s Run Here’s a sticker for the Hearth of Brittania, which Edward runs, as well as a Origin patch But this is the coolest thing It’s a cloth map for Britannia, which isn’t all that different from what came in the box with the Ultima games, but on the back, it has a map of Castleton, the little village we toured earlier So that’s pretty cool But the best gift was when he showed up at my house a few days later with a surprise He had managed to rescue my drone and since he was headed to Chicago, he was passing through my area anyway Apparently he had used a really tall ladder, combined with a really long pole and managed to get the thing down So, that is certainly one less issue to deal with from this trip, but there’s still this windshield that we had to get replaced Anyway, I guess that wraps it up for this video In the next and final episode of this series, we’ll be going back to the Dallas area and

looking at all of the tech companies I missed in the first episode including places like mouser electronics, the Tandy center, Cyrix corporation, Microsoft, AST computer, Apple, and more So stay tuned for that