Permit me to introduce myself. I'm Labguy aka Richard Diehl
(Who says that obsessive compulsive behavior has to be a bad thing?)
LabGuy is an avid collector of vintage video recording technology and related historical information. He specializes in all aspects of video tape recorders that predate the accepted arrival of "home video". Mildly obsessive and manic, he runs the site in "cackling mad man" mode. His collections of almost antique video tape recorders and cameras is legendary. If it is electronic and makes pictures of any kind, he knows something useful about it.
A veteran of silicon valley boom years, Labguy has seen the most amazing technology be born, evolve and fade away. Alas it is the way of the magnetic tape. The last magnetic tape manufacture in the USA went out of business in 2005. Hopefully, Labguy will preserve the memory of this now obsolete technology. You youngsters, with you iPods and MP3's know nothing of the joy of digging jammed tapes out of cheap 8 track players or getting tangled up in miles of steel recording wire. Bet you've never even cut your own record! (A record? What's that? It's like a CD, only crappier.) Well, Labguy has done all that and more!
Prior to the arrival of Betamax and VHS, there were many failed attempts to launch home video recording and playback devices. Virtually all of them failed or were adopted into unexpected niches.
Labguy's World web site is both a valuable resource for researchers and a fun place to visit. There are numerous sites devoted to parts of the home video story, but here I will attempt to cover more of it. In cases where other sites have a better angle on the story, a link is provided. The information is far more important than my ego. This site takes a more technical view than most others. Some concentrate on social aspects of VTRs and others on the business point of view. I want to provide more of a boiler plate, hands on, experience and educate as to how this equipment worked and was used. Information for repairing and using the gear is provided.
If you have a question feel free to write. I will do my best to answer. Thank you for visiting Labguy's World.
Disclaimer: Materials offered for download from this site are for the personal entertainment or educational use of the website visitor. No challenge to the copyright or trademark rights of any third party is expressed or implied, and I believe that my use of copyrighted materials falls within the "fair use" exemption of the US copyright act. Any trademarks referenced remain the property of their respective owners. Reuse of the electronic documents and files posted on this site on other servers or websites is not permitted without my permission--but just ask, I am not unreasonable.
WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF THE NAME, "LABGUY" ?
Ancient philosophers of the future will ponder that very question. Like many great constructions of the universe, this moniker evolved from humble beginnings. The name, Labguy, has nothing to do with the video tape recorder topic of this site.
I worked for a Chinese owned telecom company many years ago. This company opened an office here in Silicon Valley that employed only four people. There was the actual owner of the company who was not around very much. There was his full time business manager and translator and a lady office manager. All things technical and engineering belonged to me. I was in charge of getting product designed and manufactured and ultimately shipped to China. At our tiny office suite, in Fremont, the spaces was very tight. My electronics lab was only 10 by 14 feet. In there, I performed one miracle after another to meet our delivery schedules. All while managing an army of consultants, PC board fabricators, board assembly houses, metal and plastics companies, component vendors and other technical service providers.
Occasionally, two or three of the younger engineers, from the Chinese home office, would come over to the States on temporary assignments. They observed the barely organized mayhem and chaos that underscores the electronics manufacturing industry. They saw all of us in the office pulling rabbits out of hats and stomping out fires. But, they were especially impressed with the technical miracles coming from my "lab". They started calling me the "Lab God". We found great humor in this and bonded like old friends. This nick name was used liberally around the office. Those were some of the best years I've had in this business.
During this same period, I discovered the internet. Immediately, the first inklings of this site were born. It started with only one and a half megabytes of server space. This is slightly more than a floppy disk holds. The new site had various silly names, like; The World Web Watering Hole, and such. Then it occurred to me to name it after my alter-ego, the Lab God. This was all in good fun. Until the HATE mail started to arrive.
It came from several people. They all had one thing common. They were psychotic born again Christians. Not that Christians in general are psychotic nor that these folks represent all Christians. These folks described, in great detail, what should "be done" to me. The glib use of the "God" part of the moniker obviously offended them. Fine. I'm sure that any actual deity, if any, would understand the meaning and would be amused. But it takes only one psychotic person to ruin your whole day. Welcome to the internet.
So, I thunk it through and decided I was just a "guy", albeit a poltroon. So "Lab Guy" was born. When did I contract the two words? Don't ask me. The spelling eventually, with no conscious effort on my part, became LABGUY. One word. Think of it a silly name, like Moon Unit or Dweezle. (Look them up if you don't already know who my greatest hero is.) At any rate, the hate mail stopped instantly and that was the goal. That and to show the world home video tape recorders existed before Betamax. OK. It also gave me an excuse to build the biggest pile of VTRs and cameras in the world. <smile>
So, there you have it. The long untold story of the name of the coolest web site on the internet. When I am in "old video recorder obsessive mode or "Labguy's World", the name is Labguy. All other times, it's simply Richard, Rich or hey you!
Here are a few projects I was lucky enough to be involved with in some
Television: LOST ~ Provided prop. in second season. A JVC CP-5000U Umatic VCR. (Probably not credited)
Television: This day in History ~ History Channel - research: intro date of CV-2000 VTR. (Probably not credited)
Individual Contributors' Credits
Last updated: 050109
The following is a list of the people who have contributed content to this web site. To all of you I say, "Thank you, very much"! If I've missed someone, let me know!
How to contact Labguy / Richard Diehl
BEFORE SENDING ME EMAIL, PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING:
1. Be sure you have read my [Frequently Asked Questions] page if you are writing with a technical question. This will save us both a lot of time. I love answering email, but it gets old explaining the same things over and over. Ninety percent of the common email topics are already covered there. If you see missing information or have constructive suggestions, by all means, feel free to write.
2. I no longer offer tape dubbing services. The success rate is so low, it is no longer worth my time and trouble. See the first entry(s) on my [Favorite Links Page] for available tape restoration services. You will find these links first thing, right at the top of the page. Thank you for your understanding.
3. Due to the recent massive increase in spam, I am now flagging ALL email that contains [none] as a subject line and coming from ANY address I do not recognize as SPAM. Acceptable subject lines should contain "Labguy", "vintage video", "Cartrivision question" or some other "on topic" and appropriate introduction.
4. I no longer post my email address in plain text. This prevents "web bots" from scooping it up for use in illicit mailing lists. Instead, I've embedded my address into the above picture. It MUST be read and copied manually, by a human being. No "web bot" is going to crack this method for some time to come. I apologize for the inconvenience. I trust you can understand the need, feel free to use this method too.
5. Keep in mind that if you manually lift my address for illicit or illegal purposes, this will be considered theft of personal information and immediately reported to any and all U.S. national and international law enforcement agencies.
ATTENTION FOREIGN VISITORS. Please write email in English. I humbly apologize for this inconvenience. Labguy graduated from a very poor quality U.S. High School. (It's not my fault! RBUHS) Sports was far more important than any academic pursuits, if you can believe that! Now you know why we have to import trained foreign workers to keep our industry running. Thank you for understanding. ~Labguy~
If your email header looks like this: It must be deleted unread.
For all of you numerologists, trivia and HTML freaks out there, this site now consists of 3,255 individual files. There are 2,692 image files as of tonight's update. Total computer storage space consumed is 228 megabytes. Annual cost for web site hosting, paid for out of the pocket of your gracious (though not very modest) host, is over $240 U.S. dollars a year. The web host server is located in Corpus Christi, Texas. Web hosting provided by Blue Domino dot com. The site is authored from San Jose, California on a Sony VAIO slimtop computer running Windows XP. The museum collection is approaching 200 artifacts. The collection lives in a 10 by 20 foot AND a 5 by 8 foot pair of storage lockers. Storage rental costs $320 a month. My total cash investment in vintage equipment, not counting recurring costs, has now reached the $60,000 mark. This site had been on line now for 9 years. LabGuy's World was launched in November, 1997. This site is dedicated to my father for his love and encouragement in the pursuits of my passions. Since that time, the site has been enriched by 77 official contributors and dozens of other generous folks who opted out of being officially named. Contributions of moral and economic support, information and equipment have come from dozens of countries located on all continents, except Antarctica! <hint, hint> Thank Ebay for accelerating the growth of LabGuy's World by bringing long lost artifacts to the light of day once again. Aren't you all glad I was wrong when I thought this was going to be a very limited data set? Be sure to NOT recommend LabGuy's World to anyone, except all your friends and enemies.
Once again, I wish to express my deepest appreciation to everyone who has contributed to this project. Peace to you all.
[MY PERSONAL MEMORIAL PAGE] This is where I remember those who were near and dear and are now gone.
Last updated: June 21, 2009