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Juriko
Jan 28, 2006


DNova posted:

OK I tried to not to sperg out after TomorrowComesToday's post but now I can't help it anymore.

First of all, those oldschool front- and rear-projection televisions use three small (5-10 inch) CRTs - one each of red, blue, and green - that run at extremely high brightness levels (relatively) to make the image. Not "bulbs." Sorry, I know that's pedantic. But yes, they were extremely susceptible to burn-in because of the high intensity that was required to throw enough light to make a passable image. Some of them were actually liquid-cooled.

Second, The rear-projection HDTVs of the early 2000s did NOT use the same technology - not even close. They used one of DLP or LCoS or LCDs to form the images and white light from a small metal halide lamp for illumination.

Finally, TomorrowComesToday, it's really too bad you don't still have some of that stuff still. What happened to it? Some of it would be worth a decent amount to collectors today.

I was going to do this too. Old school CRT stuff is really cool

Another thing about the image quality. While the lens at the front and the setups narrow viewing angles had a lot to do with poor image quality, a lot of it was also calibration and maintenance. Poor calibration, poor convergence, and one of the CRT's dying all contributed to really poor quality images. Basically most people just didn't know how to or realize they needed to maintain the things to keep them looking good. You used to see them in arcades all the time. The new machines would look great with a gorgeous screen, and 6 months later it would like like a dim, tinted, fringy pile of butt because they were on non stop and no one bothered to do upkeep on the display.

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ol qwerty bastard
Dec 13, 2005

If you want something done, do it yourself!

Groke posted:

This also requires us to mention one of the worst nuclear-age ideas ever, and here I'm talking about one of the very worst ideas from an age full of very bad ideas:

Project Pluto - the nuclear ramjet cruise missile.

Basically, with 1950s technology, you design a ramjet powered not by burning jet fuel but by passing air through an unshielded nuclear reactor core. It's a robotic craft so you don't have to worry about any crew (presumably they intended to launch the drat thing with strap-on solid-fuel boosters or something). Fucker can cruise along at low altitude and high speed for months, spewing radiation everywhere, and may have a payload of a bunch of thermonuclear bombs which it drops at pre-programmed points. Then eventually it fails/crashes/melts down (over enemy territory, presumably).

This was fortunately never built either, but they did get as far as building and testing a prototype of the engine before someone had the sense to cancel the drat thing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Pluto

Ahhh, the good ol' flying crowbar. Anywhere it flew over would be rendered uninhabitable - and this is by 1950s standards, none of this mincing "oh you should leave because you'll have a 0.01% higher chance of developing cancer at some point" that passes for "uninhabitable" these days.

AntiPseudonym
Apr 1, 2007
I EAT BABIES



Juriko posted:

You used to see them in arcades all the time. The new machines would look great with a gorgeous screen, and 6 months later it would like like a dim, tinted, fringy pile of butt because they were on non stop and no one bothered to do upkeep on the display.

Is THAT what caused that? I used to think I just remembered them being better than they were, like looking at N64 games these days.

Kwyndig
Sep 23, 2006

Heeeeeeey




Groke posted:

This also requires us to mention one of the worst nuclear-age ideas ever, and here I'm talking about one of the very worst ideas from an age full of very bad ideas:

Project Pluto - the nuclear ramjet cruise missile.

Basically, with 1950s technology, you design a ramjet powered not by burning jet fuel but by passing air through an unshielded nuclear reactor core. It's a robotic craft so you don't have to worry about any crew (presumably they intended to launch the drat thing with strap-on solid-fuel boosters or something). Fucker can cruise along at low altitude and high speed for months, spewing radiation everywhere, and may have a payload of a bunch of thermonuclear bombs which it drops at pre-programmed points. Then eventually it fails/crashes/melts down (over enemy territory, presumably).

This was fortunately never built either, but they did get as far as building and testing a prototype of the engine before someone had the sense to cancel the drat thing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Pluto

Well, it wasn't a total wash, since the guidance systems from Pluto were eventually refined into modern cruise missile tech.

Monkey Fracas
Sep 11, 2010

...but then you get to the end and a gorilla starts throwing barrels at you!


Grimey Drawer

Groke posted:

Project Pluto - the nuclear ramjet cruise missile.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Pluto

This is like some ridiculous concept that was too silly to put in a Fallout game or something. Who thought this was a good idea?

I suppose it can be attributed to nuclear power being all the rage those days- once an important new technology is discovered there tend to be a lot of dumb ideas that utilize it. Fortunately, they often lead to legitimately useful/non-earth-salting applications.

Groda
Mar 17, 2005



Hair Elf

WebDog posted:

I was messing around the other day with putting Blood Dragon through an old mac Monitor. Windows 8 is surprisingly scalable.



That's not an Apple IIc?

Phanatic
Mar 13, 2007

Please don't forget that I am an extremely racist idiot who also has terrible opinions about the Culture series.


Monkey Fracas posted:

This is like some ridiculous concept that was too silly to put in a Fallout game or something. Who thought this was a good idea?

I suppose it can be attributed to nuclear power being all the rage those days- once an important new technology is discovered there tend to be a lot of dumb ideas that utilize it. Fortunately, they often lead to legitimately useful/non-earth-salting applications.

It would have worked wonderfully at its intended purpose, and so isn't really ridiculous: Nuke us and we send this your way, so Do Not Nuke Us. This thing would have done Mach 3 at ground level, even the shockwave of its passage would have broken things.

The reason it wasn't built wasn't because people realized it was a dumb idea, it was because ICBMs turned out to be a lot easier to develop than expected. So stuff like this, and the nuclear-powered B-36 bomber (yes, that's right, a big fuckoff airplane with a nuclear reactor in it, it was actually built and actually flown with an operating nuclear reactor on board, although at that point in the R&D the reactor was just along for the ride, not actually keeping the plane in the air), ended up being canceled because if you did want to salt the earth there were easier ways that also couldn't be defended against.

Monkey Fracas
Sep 11, 2010

...but then you get to the end and a gorilla starts throwing barrels at you!


Grimey Drawer

Phanatic posted:

It would have worked wonderfully at its intended purpose, and so isn't really ridiculous: Nuke us and we send this your way, so Do Not Nuke Us. This thing would have done Mach 3 at ground level, even the shockwave of its passage would have broken things.

The reason it wasn't built wasn't because people realized it was a dumb idea, it was because ICBMs turned out to be a lot easier to develop than expected. So stuff like this, and the nuclear-powered B-36 bomber (yes, that's right, a big fuckoff airplane with a nuclear reactor in it, it was actually built and actually flown with an operating nuclear reactor on board, although at that point in the R&D the reactor was just along for the ride, not actually keeping the plane in the air), ended up being canceled because if you did want to salt the earth there were easier ways that also couldn't be defended against.

Jesus, the Cold War was scary as hell.

BogDew
Jun 14, 2006

E:\FILES>quickfli clown.fli

Groda posted:

That's not an Apple IIc?

Nope just the monitor hooked up via graphics card and a S-Video to composite cable.

Groda
Mar 17, 2005



Hair Elf

WebDog posted:

Nope just the monitor hooked up via graphics card and a S-Video to composite cable.

I mean the monitor of an Apple IIc, and not a Macintosh monitor.

Larry Horseplay
Oct 24, 2002



Groda posted:

I mean the monitor of an Apple IIc, and not a Macintosh monitor.

That is definitely a //c monitor. Stared at one of those for quite a while growing up.

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005




While we're on the subject of the Cold War, let's talk first-generation spy satellites. The Corona Program ran from June 1959 to May 1972, with a rapid increase in pace after Francis Gary Powers' U2 spyplane was shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960. The program was hugely successful in reducing the need to violate our adversaries' airspace with manned flights, and even more so in disproving the existence of the "bomber gap," slowing the arms race, and calming public fears surrounding Soviet first strike capability.

The program launched 39 satellites, 35 of which carried a total of 148 camera systems, which returned images 161 times. The project achieved several milestones in human spaceflight, including

Discoverer 1, the first man-made object placed in a polar orbit
Discoverer 2, the first three-axis-stabilized satellite
Discoverer 3, the test capsule from which was the first
Discoverer 13, the first successful aerial capture of an object returned from orbit
Discoverer 14 was launched on August 18, 1960, and returned the first usable images taken from a reconnaissance satellite.
And A whole lot of mission failures

The Corona Program included 8 generations of satellites designated Key Hole 1 - 4, 4A, 4B, 5, and 6. The 4B looked like this.


Part of the reason it took so long to return a usable image was that this was the era of film, and it came back in a container that looked like this ...


... and was recovered like this. This is a photo of the recovery of Discoverer 14's film capsule, which contained the first film recovered from space



Simply put, the Corona Program spent 13 years and almost $800,000,000 (adjusted for inflation to 2013) to develop, build, and launch really big disposable cameras into space.

Krispy Wafer
Jul 26, 2002

I shouted out "Free the exposed 67"
But they stood on my hair and told me I was fat



Grimey Drawer

Phanatic posted:

The reason it wasn't built wasn't because people realized it was a dumb idea, it was because ICBMs turned out to be a lot easier to develop than expected. So stuff like this, and the nuclear-powered B-36 bomber (yes, that's right, a big fuckoff airplane with a nuclear reactor in it, it was actually built and actually flown with an operating nuclear reactor on board, although at that point in the R&D the reactor was just along for the ride, not actually keeping the plane in the air), ended up being canceled because if you did want to salt the earth there were easier ways that also couldn't be defended against.

In Richard Feyman's autobiography he mentioned getting a patent on a nuke powered plane. Apparently Los Alamos was gung-ho to get as many nuke patents as possible and his was a plane.

Sure enough after the war some company came along and tried to get him to build it. Even though it was at best a theory and at worst several square miles of irradiated wasteland.

I'm really not sure how a nuke would power a plane. Would it boil water to create steam to push the turbines like a nuclear power plant?

Geoj
May 28, 2008

BITTER POOR PERSON


Krispy Kareem posted:

Would it boil water to create steam to push the turbines like a nuclear power plant?

Basically the reactor would generate heat, and instead of a turbofan burning jet fuel to propel the aircraft forward either the bare core itself (in a direct air cycle setup) or a heat exchanger (in an indirect air cycle setup) would heat air in a nuclear "jet engine", and the rapidly expanding hot air would provide thrust. In theory this isn't much different from the way a turbofan jet engine works now - the majority of its thrust comes from rapidly expanding exhaust gases.

Geoj has a new favorite as of 18:54 on May 6, 2013

MRC48B
Apr 2, 2012



IIRC the idea was to use the reactor to heat an intermediary, either liquid metal or water, and that would use a heat-exchanger to heat up air in the combustion section of the turbines.

Wikipedia has an image of the test setup:



Obviously, with the materials science of the 50s and 60s, it was unworkable.

muike
Mar 16, 2011


It looks like a robot trying to poo poo on my floor

Vincent Van Goatse
Nov 8, 2006

Don't be so gloomy. After all it's not that awful. Like the fella says, in Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance.


Smellrose

MRC48B posted:

IIRC the idea was to use the reactor to heat an intermediary, either liquid metal or water, and that would use a heat-exchanger to heat up air in the combustion section of the turbines.

Wikipedia has an image of the test setup:



Obviously, with the materials science of the 50s and 60s, it was unworkable.

It wasn't the materials science that made it unworkable, actually. It was the much more mundane reason that there was no way in hell to make a nuclear-powered aircraft a viable proposition (under anything other than experimental conditions, at least, because by all accounts the X-6 would've flown just fine) because it's a goddamned flying nuclear reactor.

Vincent Van Goatse has a new favorite as of 19:29 on May 6, 2013

sleepy gary
Jan 11, 2006



You Are A Elf posted:

I'm sorry, I grew up poor and didn't see many big-screen TVs or even an HDTV until I was given my first 720p HDTV in 2006. Until then, I was using used CRTs. I have virtually no idea about the inner workings of large projection TVs, but I really meant the burn-in happened, not that it was a myth. People would just yell at you "DON'T PAUSE IT TOO LONG OR YOU'LL BURN THE IMAGE IN! " all the time, so you listened. I used to take apart old broken CRTs as a kid and found the inner workings fascinating since there were these Radio Shack comics I used to collect and read about how electronics work. Oh, and those comics were and are still boss.

By all means sperg away if someone's incorrect, but it's not really so much pendantic as it is condescending when you put "bulbs" in parentheses. Just say it didn't use bulbs to correct me instead of "'bulbs', heh " When you're a small kid and only see a projection TV like the ones I'm talking about maybe twice in your short childhood life, then try to remember back to how they worked, those miniature CRT screens sure do look like a red, green, and blue stage light vv

I didn't grow up poor but we never had any bigscreen tvs, and my first "hdtv" was a store brand (dynex) 720p 32" affair that I got as a hand-me-down in 2011 or so. I sold it when I moved and I still haven't had anything better.

I'm sorry you were offended by my use of punctuation, but it was appropriate in context and I even apologized for being pedantic about it. What more can I do?


Qotile Swirl posted:

Maybe they weren't the most common type, I don't know, but CRT rear-projection HDTVs certainly did exist in that time period. My mother has one and still uses it. Bought it in 2002, I think.

I don't believe this at all. If I am wrong, I would really appreciate being set right (model information, etc) because I am always willing to learn. I've never heard of such a thing though.


Johnny Aztec posted:

I saw an example of something posted in this thread waay back. I was out at a flea market and saw a stack of something in the corner. Seemed like I had seen them before. Found me a stack of Video-discs.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Videodisc Essentially movies on vinyl, read with a needle in a plastic shell. Neat to find,never seen any in the wild before but essentially worthless. Even Star wars is only like 10 bucks on Ebay, and these were like 9 to 5, Gladiator, Heaven can wait, and some other forgettable 70's movies.

"Videodisc" (whoops I'm using quotes again; please don't get offended) is a generic term. Based on your description, you're talking about CEDs, which use a stylus to form an RC circuit with the disc to reproduce the recorded signal. It was a whacky system that never gained widespread adoption. The discs and players are gaining value in collector circles.

Phanatic
Mar 13, 2007

Please don't forget that I am an extremely racist idiot who also has terrible opinions about the Culture series.


Vincent Van Goatse posted:

It wasn't the materials science that made it unworkable, actually. It was the much more mundane reason that there was no way in hell to make a nuclear-powered aircraft a viable proposition (under anything other than experimental conditions, at least, because by all accounts the X-6 would've flown just fine) because it's a goddamned flying nuclear reactor.

It might have flown just fine once. But since aircraft are weight-critical there was no way they could carry enough shielding to shield the entire reactor, all they could do was to stick a big heavy shield in between the reactor and the crew.

Which is bad for the rest of the airplane. It's bad for hydraulic fluid, which the irradiation would have turned to ooze. It would turn the tires into crumbling blocks of rubber. The metal structure of the aircraft would be neutron-activated and embrittled. And how do you service the damned thing? Answer: land, taxi over a specially-excavated pit, and jettison the reactor, and now ground crew can come and hook up a tow line and pull your airplane away from the pit of red-hot radioactive death.

There was actually a research facility down outside of Atlanta, containing a completely unshielded 10-megawatt reactor. It was mounted on a hydraulic lift, in a pit, and samples of stuff they wanted to irradiate to see what the radiation did to it would be arrayed near the pit. Raise the reactor, zap the hell out of everything nearby. They did this enough that the surrounding area received more radiation exposure than it would have received via the direct effects and the fallout from a full-scale nuclear war. Grass died, trees dropped their leaves.

The reason we stopped spending money figuring out how to get things like that to work was because we figured out how to get ICBMs to work. You can shoot down a bomber, even a nuclear-powered one, shooting down a ballistic missile coming in at Mach 25 is a difficult problem, even today. We didn't know what the easiest way to go was, so we threw money at everything; if building Pluto turned out to be easy, we'd have built fleets of nuclear-ramjet-powered death-spewing cruise missiles. If the nuclear B-36 turned out to be easy, we'd have done that.

AlternateAccount
Apr 25, 2005
FYGM

DNova posted:

I don't believe this at all. If I am wrong, I would really appreciate being set right (model information, etc) because I am always willing to learn. I've never heard of such a thing though.

319lbs, I can't imagine this tech went very far. http://www.hometheater.com/content/...ection-crt-hdtv

sleepy gary
Jan 11, 2006




Haha, this is amazing. Thank you.

Qotile Swirl
Aug 15, 2011

Alone In the Dark, A ground breaking horror game.


DNova posted:

I don't believe this at all. If I am wrong, I would really appreciate being set right (model information, etc) because I am always willing to learn. I've never heard of such a thing though.
I think this is the one my mom has. It's a beast of a thing, but the picture is very nice so long as you're sitting directly in front of it and the room isn't too bright. I think the difficulty posed by getting it out of the house is a large part of the reason why she still has it.

sleepy gary
Jan 11, 2006



Qotile Swirl posted:

I think this is the one my mom has. It's a beast of a thing, but the picture is very nice so long as you're sitting directly in front of it and the room isn't too bright. I think the difficulty posed by getting it out of the house is a large part of the reason why she still has it.

This is really fantastic. I read that whole review and they seem quite impressed by it and it has a lot of cutting-edge features for the time. I would have lost money in a bet that such a thing existed, but now I know better.

Captain Postal
Sep 16, 2007


You guys are all missing the most interesting part of the nuclear plane technology. Check out the "Nuclear Airplane" doco, it's 45min long. Google it.

Briefly:
The NB-36 reactor was too low powered to fly the aircraft, primarily because of the weight of the heat exchange and the reactor shielding (which was just a barrier between the reactor and cockpit - nothing else was shielded)

The TU-95 reactor was plenty powerful enough to fly the aircraft, and it actually did. The russians replaced 2 engines with the 2 reactor engines. They did this by saving weight on a heat exchange (I think it was a direct cycle clean-air-in-radioactive-air-out, but it's been a while since I read up on it), and shielding (pilots are just another replaceable component)

janitorx
May 2, 2002

I'm cuckoo for cocoa cocks!

DNova posted:

This is really fantastic. I read that whole review and they seem quite impressed by it and it has a lot of cutting-edge features for the time. I would have lost money in a bet that such a thing existed, but now I know better.


My dad had a larger version of this one. It never had an actual HD source connected to it, but my brother worked at bestbuy and got a deal on it.

In his old age he has stopped sperging out about av, we had one of the first commercial laser disc players and VHS before it was the clear winner against beta, don't know what happened.

Sagebrush
Feb 26, 2012





GWBBQ posted:

... and was recovered like this. This is a photo of the recovery of Discoverer 14's film capsule, which contained the first film recovered from space


The reason it had to be recovered in midair like that is because the package was designed to self-destruct if it wasn't recovered, so that the Soviets couldn't find out what the Americans were spying on. There was a plug in the bottom of the canister made out of salt, and after a few minutes floating in the water the salt plug would dissolve, allowing water in. The film would be ruined and the whole thing would sink to the bottom of the ocean.

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005




Sagebrush posted:

The reason it had to be recovered in midair like that is because the package was designed to self-destruct if it wasn't recovered, so that the Soviets couldn't find out what the Americans were spying on. There was a plug in the bottom of the canister made out of salt, and after a few minutes floating in the water the salt plug would dissolve, allowing water in. The film would be ruined and the whole thing would sink to the bottom of the ocean.
It was more like two days to allow for recovery of a floating capsule, but yeah, it would dissolve and let the whole thing sink to prevent it from washing up onshore somewhere or being recovered by the Soviets.

Phanatic posted:

There was actually a research facility down outside of Atlanta, containing a completely unshielded 10-megawatt reactor. It was mounted on a hydraulic lift, in a pit, and samples of stuff they wanted to irradiate to see what the radiation did to it would be arrayed near the pit. Raise the reactor, zap the hell out of everything nearby. They did this enough that the surrounding area received more radiation exposure than it would have received via the direct effects and the fallout from a full-scale nuclear war. Grass died, trees dropped their leaves.
For anyone who's curious, Georgia Nuclear Aircraft Laboratory. Unfortunately, it's among the stubbiest of stub articles I've seen on Wikipedia. I've done a lot of research on the place, but it'll probably take a full day to write it up with references and I really don't know if I want to spend that much time on a Wikipedia article.

Base Emitter
Apr 1, 2012

?


Sagebrush posted:

The reason it had to be recovered in midair like that is because the package was designed to self-destruct if it wasn't recovered, so that the Soviets couldn't find out what the Americans were spying on. There was a plug in the bottom of the canister made out of salt, and after a few minutes floating in the water the salt plug would dissolve, allowing water in. The film would be ruined and the whole thing would sink to the bottom of the ocean.

Unless it falls onto Arctic ice and has to be recovered by Rock Hudson.

Apparently Ice Station Zebra was sort of based on a real event.

Groke
Jul 27, 2007
New Adventures In Mom Strength

Monkey Fracas posted:

Jesus, the Cold War was scary as hell.

Yah, this was the era that brought us Dr. Strangelove and all. That movie was a satire but you can bet your rear end there were at least done some serious feasibility studies of similar doomsday devices.

UnfortunateSexFart
May 18, 2008

𒃻 𒌓𒁉𒋫 𒆷𒁀𒅅𒆷
𒆠𒂖 𒌉 𒌫 𒁮𒈠𒈾𒅗 𒂉 𒉡𒌒𒂉𒊑




My family moved to New Zealand out of fear of nuclear war. It was considered inevitable by a lot of people at the time.

And to tie it all together, it was easy for my dad to transfer there because he worked for a large computer company most people under 30 probably have never heard of: Wang. It was destroyed by IBM and its wacky new invention called "personal computers."



"At its peak in the 1980s, Wang Laboratories had annual revenues of $3 billion and employed over 33,000 people." - wikipedia

Phanatic
Mar 13, 2007

Please don't forget that I am an extremely racist idiot who also has terrible opinions about the Culture series.


GWBBQ posted:


For anyone who's curious, Georgia Nuclear Aircraft Laboratory. Unfortunately, it's among the stubbiest of stub articles I've seen on Wikipedia. I've done a lot of research on the place, but it'll probably take a full day to write it up with references and I really don't know if I want to spend that much time on a Wikipedia article.

For anyone who's really curious, there's a good deal about it in this book:

http://www.amazon.com/Atomic-Awaken...r/dp/B008SLIAJ6

Dick Trauma
Nov 30, 2007

God damn it, you've got to be kind.

Clapping Larry

leidend posted:

And to tie it all together, it was easy for my dad to transfer there because he worked for a large computer company most people under 30 probably have never heard of: Wang.

I actually worked for Wang Global for a while back in the 1990s and it was one of the most unpleasant experiences of my career. A far cry from the original Wang Laboratories.

Phy
Jun 27, 2008





Fun Shoe

Dick Trauma posted:

I actually worked for Wang Global for a while back in the 1990s and it was one of the most unpleasant experiences of my career. A far cry from the original Wang Laboratories.

Well, that doesn't surprise me coming from you.

Jedit
Dec 10, 2011

Proudly supporting vanilla legends 1994-2014


Phy posted:

Well, that doesn't surprise me coming from you.

Perhaps he should change his name to Wang Trauma?

Fozaldo
Apr 18, 2004

Serenity Now. Serenity Now.


leidend posted:

My family moved to New Zealand out of fear of nuclear war. It was considered inevitable by a lot of people at the time.

And to tie it all together, it was easy for my dad to transfer there because he worked for a large computer company most people under 30 probably have never heard of: Wang. It was destroyed by IBM and its wacky new invention called "personal computers."



"At its peak in the 1980s, Wang Laboratories had annual revenues of $3 billion and employed over 33,000 people." - wikipedia

Martin Prince was certainly a fan.

3D Megadoodoo
Nov 25, 2010

BENIS



That's one alarmed-looking cassette drive.

Exit Strategy
Dec 10, 2010




You might want to get your Wang checked. It's lumpy and green.

Arsenic Lupin
Apr 11, 2012

This particularly rapid unintelligible patter isn't generally heard, and if it is, it doesn't matter.





Ladies and goons, the Alphasmart.
A tough little device that solves one problem: word-processing on the go. It boots up instantaneously, runs for days on 2 (later 3) AA batteries, and you have 4 lines to type in. You can't get to the Internet. You can't play Minecraft. You can't even obsess about that paragraph you wrote 10 lines ago. All you can do is move forward. I used mine on the train for years before I got my first netbook.

You could have precisely 8 files on an Alphasmart, each of which had 12.5 pages. Then you synced them, deleted them, and moved on. I had the bright and shiny Alphasmart Dana, which ran PalmOS . (note Palm stylus)


They're still sold (although I suspect not very often) to schools. I couldn't bear to throw mine away; it's still in my Graveyard of Computing. Just thinking about it gives me a rush of affection. I should find it and give it a spin. In fact, if I ever commute by mass transit again, I may rely on it again: it doesn't let you do anything but write, and that's a good thing. $30 on Ebay.

e:okay, okay, fix the blinkenlights

Arsenic Lupin has a new favorite as of 19:14 on May 8, 2013

the2ndgenesis
Mar 18, 2009

You, McNulty, are a gaping asshole. We both know this.


Arsenic Lupin posted:

Ladies and goons, the Alphasmart.
A tough little device that solves one problem: word-processing on the go. It boots up instantaneously, runs for days on 2 (later 3) AA batteries, and you have 4 lines to type in. You can't get to the Internet. You can't play Minecraft. You can't even obsess about that paragraph you wrote 10 lines ago. All you can do is move forward. I used mine on the train for years before I got my first netbook.

You could have precisely 8 files on an Alphasmart, each of which had 12.5 pages. Then you synced them, deleted them, and moved on.

Weird, I was just thinking about these the other day. These were the only things that allowed us to do any sort of word processing in middle and high school if the computer lab wasn't available.

It's amazing to think that even many public schools nowadays have carts of MacBooks that serve the same purpose. How'd we ever survive?

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Opinion Haver
Apr 9, 2007



I remember having one of those! IIRC you sent files to your computer by plugging it in and hitting a 'send' button, and it would then essentially act as a keyboard 'typing' out the document very quickly.

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