I’m the Computer Man

Sometimes credited as a commercial for Macs, this was a video created by the Mac IT department at Good Humor’s advertising agency. The video itself is a parody of a parody. Scatman was a hit song in the 90s, leading to a commercial parody by the Good Humor ice cream company, leading to the video I’m posting about today.

From Reddit:
“The original Scat Man song came out in 1994. Then Good Humor used in their famous commercial in 1996. Then the Mac IT department at Good Humor’s advertising agency (McCann-Erickson) created this parody video in 1997 for their company party. The ‘Computer Man’ was their head of McCann-Erickson’s Mac IT department, hence the digs at Windows 95. It wasn’t a real commercial that was aired on TV which is why there is no company contact information at the end of the commercial.

The reason the IT department at McCann-Erickson made this parody video is because the Good Humor commercial was very successful for their the company, so it was the kind of thing they’d joke around about at the company party. And of course they already had access to all of the music assets and talent they needed to record the parody song.”

Hyperland by Douglas Adams

Just finished watching Hyperland, a documentary about hypertext and other related computer technologies in 1990. It was created by Douglas Adams and stars Tom Baker (Doctor Who) as a software agent that shows Douglas the future of tv, Interactive Multimedia. I thought it was a fascinating time capsule of what Douglas thought the internet was going to be like in the future, even before people were using web browsers. The documentary talks to a variety of people like Ted Nelson and Robert Winter, but the highlight for me was Amanda Goodenough presenting Inigo Gets Out, an application for kids made with Hypercard. There’s even a fun little reference to Douglas Adams writing interactive fiction in the 80’s.

screenshot from Hyperland showing a hand choosing between icons that are hovering over someone's face while they talk

Hyperland gets some stuff wrong as anything like this is always going to but he was right about a surprising amount. Even less desirable elements like your fridge being connected to the internet are predicted here. If you have an interest in Douglas Adams or computer history I think it’s worth checking out. There’s a lot of interesting interviews about hypertext history, Tom Baker is a lot of fun to watch, and it’s only 50 minutes. You can watch it for free on the Internet Archive.