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Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




On Saturday, I was out shopping at Weird Stuff (they sell all sorts of odd, mostly old, tech) and saw a box full of laserdiscs for $1. Mostly Japanese concerts, but I spotted some good ones and grabbed them, because the covers looked good and I figured I could hang them on the walls or something.

Got interested, searched for laserdiscs on SA and found this thread. My fascination with old tech kicked in and I started the search for a Laserdisc player. Found one on Sunday and picked it up for free, along with about 30 free movies.

It's actually pretty cool. The picture looks good, although thanks to pan-and-scan or letterboxing, I have to fiddle to get my TV displaying things right.

The original 4 I picked up at the store:

A Clockwork Orange
Blazing Saddles
Spaceballs
Street Fighter

The other movies I got were primarily Disney, with some concert discs (oh boy, The Cure and A-ha), but there were a few interesting ones mixed in:

The Princess Bride
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Japanese "Bambi"
Japanese "Song of the South"
The Wizard of Oz
Buffy the Vampire Slayer

So now I have more laserdisc movies than I do DVDs. Thanks, thread!

Next up, my friend in New York is figuring out how to send me my old desk, which was actually a gutted HP-3000 Series 58 computer (see http://www.hpmuseum.net/display_item.php?hw=791). Absurdly heavy but really a pretty cool desk.

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Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




WebDog posted:

Where do you put your legs?

It's difficult to see in that picture, but the desk has a server rack-type cabinet on the right (where the red HP badge is) and a very shallow cable chase type area at the back of the rest. So the big pair of doors you can see open into an area about 2 inches deep. There's plenty of space for your legs, except over at the right side where the rack is. I used the deskspace on the far right for a lamp and some random crap.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




Bought a reel-to-reel player (Akai GX-255) at a thrift store last weekend. Yesterday, I finally got some tapes--a whole box of them! I've been going through the unlabeled ones; so far I've found Beethoven's 9th Symphony, "Tommy" by The Who, and a talk given in 1966 by someone from a college in Sacramento. Also verified that the recording function works by taping over part of a recording of a Christian radio station.

Playback on pretty much every tape is just a little bit too fast, so I'm going to crack open the case and see if I can debug it. Or break it.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




Ron Burgundy posted:

It's quite possible that your machine is fine, and the machine that recorded every one of those tapes was running slow. Have you tried a tape from another source?

I have 6 factory tapes, I was hoping to avoid listening to Barbara Streisand but I guess that's the price I must pay. The first one I tried last night was a commercial recording of some big band music, but in general I can only really notice the issue with vocals so if it was having the same problem I didn't notice.

You'd think it would be easier to sync this sort of thing... I'd have each machine lay a very narrow sync track along one edge as it recorded, so during playback you could read the sync track and adjust your motor speed accordingly. I guess back when these things were in more common use, most people would have relatively new (or recently-serviced) machines that had been adjusted using a tone tape, so speed drift wasn't as much of a problem.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




Code Jockey posted:

Post pictures of it! Reel to reels always seemed really cool to me.

Speaking of media which comes on reels, somewhere in my garage I have my old 8mm and a box full of old cartoon reels. I wonder if they're worth anything? The reels are in great shape, last I checked.

Here, have a lovely picture!



Is there a decent place to upload video clips beside Youtube? My Youtube account is tied to my main gmail account so

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




Ok, I was trying to judge speed by ear, then I realized my phone had the capabilities built in--Android has a little tool to recognize what song is playing. It couldn't recognize anything from the home-recorded tapes (Beatles, The Who, Black Sabbath). Then I put on a tape of big band music, it recognized it right away. Same for Barbara Streisand and another swing type tape; it was able to identify everything I tried for the commercial tapes. So I guess my player is fine, and whoever recorded all the others was running slow.

I made a video but I always feel like my voice sounds stupid... I may upload it later.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




0dB posted:

Do those buttons light up colours when playing and recording?
If they do, then I owned one of those WHEN IT FIRST CAME OUT :-/

Yep! The fast buttons light up yellow, the play buttons green, and of course record is red.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




Ron Burgundy posted:

Not my retirement fund!

Not sure what's happening with Pham's R2R video, but I thought I'd make one for all the reel nerds. Not sure why the sound is so muffled. Also I just woke up which explains the hair somewhat I guess.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4VkZlLc3z0

Ok, here's my poo poo video, enjoy my goony voice and ad-libbed narration: https://vimeo.com/66968184

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




0dB posted:

Thanks for that. Actually now I look more closely I don't think your one can hold bigger (10 inch?) reels. Looks like 7 inch is the biggest. So I must have had a taller version of that.

I think I will try get another but I want a 15ips 2 track. "Professional".

Yep, 7" maximum. It also only does 3 3/4 ips and 7 1/2 ips.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




Ron Burgundy posted:

Great video, nice machine. It's kind of sad that both our machines were premium brands, hand-built in Japan, but are now used for badging some pretty mediocre electronics.

So, on the reel to reel topic, I have a SM-57 clone mic, an XLR cable, and one of these: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000068O4H/

If I plug it in to one of the mic inputs on my machine, I hear a very loud hum through the monitor. If I ease the 1/4" plug out just a little, the buzzing stops and the mic appears to work normally.

Have I just bought the wrong adapter? I don't know exactly what kind of mic connectors/inputs the recorder is expecting.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




eddiewalker posted:

Balanced doesn't mean stereo. A 3-conductor balanced connector is still just mono, but yes, the recorder might be looking for a tip/sleeve unbalanced 1/4". To make that adapter, you'd connect XLR pin 2 to the 1/4" connector's "tip," then bridge pins 1 and 3 in the XLR and connect that to the 1/4" "sleeve."

(Or you could but this, I guess: http://www.amazon.com/XLR-Female-To...d_bxgy_MI_img_y )

Post a model number for the recorder?

It's an Akai GX-255

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




two forty posted:

How about Weather Underground's Telnet service?



I am sure this still has some practical use but I can't figure out what exactly it is. It was a relic when I first stumbled across it in 2003.

There's a little script in Plan 9 (another topic for this thread, but ye gods so much to write) that basically grabs the weather for the specified city. I'd always just run "weather roc" to check the current conditions and forecast for Rochester, it was faster than opening a web browser.

At one point (note that this was in 2009 or so), I had my Plan 9 box set up to run a cron job every morning when I needed to wake up. This cron job would print the weather on my dot-matrix printer, another piece of (mostly) obsolete but definitely not failed piece of technology. The screeching and clunking of the printer, which sat near the foot of my bed, would wake me quite handily, and in the process I'd get a report on how to dress that day.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




GWBBQ posted:

We had a DC++ network, too. Same deal with on-campus addresses and bandwidth only, and the IT department looked the other way because keeping it on campus meant no lawsuits or infringement notices.

DC network. DC++ is the Windows application to access DC hubs, you ignorant slut.

Yeah we had a DC network too. 70+TB and when it was taken down, we saturated all the outgoing links due to bittorrent traffic. Ah, RIT.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




Retrograde posted:

I found this former monster near the dumpster at work yesterday, gotta fire it up and see if it still works. I think there's a version of linux that runs on SPARC i could potentially put on it?



Use NetBSD. Linux and Solaris will be dog slow. I speak from experience.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




Ron Burgundy posted:

It's a shame so many things like that Casio get gutted for parts so someone can make their clock without buying NOS.

Guys check out my sweet steampunk nixie tube tophat. I couldn't figure out the electronics so I just painted in the numbers...

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




dobbymoodge posted:

Axeman Jim makes me think a new, awesome thread should be started.

Edit: and Brother Jonathan

Anoraks United: The Trainspotting Megathread?

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




KozmoNaut posted:

Probably wi-fi or cellphones.

Low-power non-ionizing radiation? We are literally putting radium up our assholes here.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




joat mon posted:

How, with what, and why?
Not kinkshaming, just confused (apparently we are all literally doing it)

I was just pointing out that the radiation from cell phones and wifi is incredibly harmless compared to actual ionizing radiation. All the cell phone will do is potentially warm your body very very slightly when in use.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




Delivery McGee posted:

And that got me thinking about how cool it would be to build a Beowulf cluster out of HTC Evos -- it would fit in a single standard ATX case and run on a single mains power outlet, especially if you strip them to the motherboards. Seems feasible; Android is Linux-based, so the software's already mostly written, right?

Ok allow me to for a moment. The term "Beowulf cluster" is bullshit. It just refers to a bunch of networked Linux machines running an MPI program.

ARM is not an especially great processor for HPC. We've built a cluster from Gumstix ARM devices, 49 to a little plastic box, but they just don't have a lot of power. The main thing in HPC these days is a good network interconnect and really good floating point capabilities. ARM isn't known for either.

You could probably get some Android phones running an MPI program, but it wouldn't be cost-effective or speedy. You'd be better off running the single-node version on a decent i7.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




Ishmael posted:

HP states they're running their HP website using moonshot. I am incredibly curious to see how far this technology goes.

http://www.businessinsider.com/hp-s...-website-2013-6

OK, enough derails. I love crays, I especially love the supercomputer era where instead of massive arrays of intel or AMD systems, Cray and others built these highly custom systems.



These days, most supercomputers are just massive arrays of Intel Xeon processors.

Seymour Cray was a brilliant computer designer but he was convinced that having many processors isn't as useful as having a single fast processor. He would hand-design these machines, the shape of the system often a result of the wire-length constraints (electricity travels about 1 foot per nanosecond, so you have to keep that in mind when designing). This eventually proved untenable and he created a company to make a massively parallel computer, but died before it could be completed.

These days, Cray sells "just" arrays of Xeon processors. Here's what they really have to offer:

1. Custom, fast interconnect. This is the most important thing.
2. Libraries and kernels for their hardware
3. A fully-integrated supercomputer that they can just roll into your facility. After you install sufficient power and cooling.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010





This picture highlights another form of obsolete technology: the removable disk pack.

See those black-and-white boxes on the left side of the picture? Each one is a hard disk drive. But they weren't like today's hard drives, all sealed up nice with a cable coming out the back. Walk up to one of those beasts and...



Holy poo poo I just opened the lid on this washing machine-looking bastard! Check out the disk platters in there. Those are entirely replaceable. The platter packs are stored like this:



(That's a CDC pack, Control Data Corporation being Seymour Cray's employer before he moved on to create Cray)

You grab the handle, stick it into the empty drive, and twist to lock it in and release the handle. Reverse the process to pull the disks back out.

Eventually, they realized you could make things smaller and keep it cleaner if you just seal the whole thing at the factory, and thus we come eventually to the drives of today.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




Groda posted:

Here in Sweden, I usually bring back a few boxes from my trips to America to give to friends.

They're like dirt in Waterworld.

As an American, I stand ready to offer my services as dryer sheet exporter. For a suitable price. Also, I need to find someone who can fit 3 boxes of dryer sheets up their rear end for the duration of a transatlantic flight.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




Brother Jonathan posted:

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned these yet: the VT100 terminal:



It was released in 1978 and was so successful that computers still have VT100 terminal emulation programs on them. I fondly remember banks of them at the university library for accessing the book database.

Hardware terminals aren't used anymore, though. Computing power is so cheap that it's wasteful to dedicate a machine to just providing a text terminal.

Oh hey we have one of those at work.

I occasionally pull out one of these at home:

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




Code Jockey posted:

e. I also remember staring at that green screen for long enough periods to give me a sort of weird color-blindness, or color-weirdness for a while after. The green numbers on my VCR were white-ish, and other stuff looked weird.

I've done the same. The white wall looked purple, etc.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




RC and Moon Pie posted:

YouTube does not seem to have a video properly demonstrating Magic Fingers, but for the curious, pop in Vacation. The Griswolds encounter one.

Or the X-Files episode "Bad Blood".

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




Code Jockey posted:

Though this does make me think of one of the new hires at work for our IT [infrastructure] department. He was like 19, this was his first job, and probably the second day he was here he walked up to my desk and said "I'd like to replace your SVN [source control] system with Git, it's way better, because..." and I shut him down pretty much instantly. SVN works great for us, we have zero problems with it, we have a ton of tools/systems built around it, and even if I wanted to move to Git - which I might someday, who knows - I don't have the resources to put on that project [documentation, converting existing tools, moving the source over, etc] anyway. He gave me a look I will never forget - he looked like I just ran over his dog.

He is surely writing a DailyWTF submission as we speak.

The biggest problem with moving to git is that all the fucks will whine because it's not SVN. It's a pretty good source control system and is easier to set up (both client and server side) than SVN, but people really seem to be attached to SVN.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




Radio Help posted:

I was under the impression that the opposite was true. Like, filtering the internet at a public library constituted a violation of the First Amendment or something like that. Could be completely wrong, though.

According to http://www.americanlibrariesmagazin...first-amendment, the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) requires that libraries receiving certain grants and discounts must implement web filters. Those filters, according to the Supreme Court, must be disabled for adults immediately upon request, no justification required. Library personnel are also allowed to unblock (for all users) sites which have been mistakenly blocked.

Presumably due to misunderstandings of the law and worries over losing funds, some libraries may be dicks about their filters.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




Totally Reasonable posted:

The difference between a homeless drunk looking at weird fetish porn and a grad student researching a paper on weird fetish porn is that the homeless guy isn't behind on his rent.

I think it's that the grad student doesn't usually have his dick out.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




Sappo569 posted:

Dear god, I need a "SPEED ALARM" for my car right away.

Also if any of those cars still existed in obtainable and driveable form, I would buy one just because.

They don't still exist do they...? Execpt in some weird nerds impregnable underground mountain fortress?

Ask AI, maybe in the "AI Stupid Question Thread II -- cigarette-flicking free zone". Odds are somebody is in love with one or more of those cars and will know if they're available very often.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




Monkey Fracas posted:

It wasn't at first, but now it is. Seriously, gently caress most late 70's-through-the-80's designs. We did some awful things to four wheels with a combustion engine back then, drat.

There are some people who like the things, though. I saw this thing about people collecting AMC Gremlins that attempted to explain the draw of it, and I still failed to see whatever allure there was. They're fascinating, almost endearingly bad cars, but god just let 'em die. Not everything needs to be preserved.

I think the Gremlin looks kind of neat in its own way. If anything, I'd say gently caress the generic blob-sedan of the late 90s through today. Oh boy, another Ford Taurus! And on the other hand, I loved the look of my red 2002 Hyundai Accent.

If something exists, there's probably a forum somewhere with some number of fanatics with their own weird set of in-jokes.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




Chunk5 posted:

I'm talking about having your car data displayed. Which isn't any more distracting than looking at your dash.

Texting or watching movies is a different matter. But yeah, the temptation may be there and it would be hard for the police to enforce. Mayhaps the Google system wouldn't let you do anything but look at your speed when you're driving a car?

Sounds pretty hard for Google to enforce.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




Code Jockey posted:

I want a laserdisc so bad. I have a laserdisc copy of Spaceballs, and I dunno, I just think it's a really cool format.

Still kicking myself hard for passing one up at Goodwill years ago.

I got a Laserdisc player a few months ago, just watched The Princess Bride on it last night in fact. Try posting on Craigslist in the "wanted" section. I did and got a guy offering me the player (a good one) and about 40 movies for free, within the first day of posting! Admittedly I'm in the SF bay area, but there are people out there with these things in their attics who'll probably sell them for $10 or whatever.

I have the laserdisc Spaceballs too... and A Clockwork Orange, kind of a pain being on multiple discs.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




Yond Cassius posted:

Kensington still makes a (slightly updated) version. Just like regular mice it got updated with optics and a scroll wheel.

I have one of those at work. It seems to help my RSI-stricken hand/wrist, although the scroll ring is pretty terrible.

It's also relatively easy to switch between hands with it to give a little variety and keep from getting too sore.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




Strangelet Wave posted:

This statement has always been a little irksome to me; the computer in the lunar lander was indeed less powerful than a wristwatch/microwave/car/whatever, but you can't neglect the computing power of the roomful of math PhDs back down in mission control with slide rules (speaking of obsolete technology).

EDIT: oh look, there's already been a whole page discussing this very topic. Imagine that.

It always annoys me when people say "oh yeah that mainframe was less powerful than a pocket calculator". Well, that's definitely false for pretty much any calculator except maybe the HP-50; a System/360 from the 60s would have megabytes of memory and a 32-bit processor that would compare favorably to what's in a TI-89. I also have not yet seen a TI that can write to magtape (although some very old HPs could... sorta. barely)

Now, compared to a cellphone, a System/360 absolutely loses on memory and processor power. No contest. However, you shouldn't discount the sheer I/O capabilities of the thing, which could handle dozens of tape drives, hard disks, card readers, card punches, line printers (which could print insanely fast, sometimes the friction+paper dust would cause fires), etc.

It's not surprising we got to the moon on that. Calculating how to get to the moon is actually one of the simplest programs you could write in terms of computational resources.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




bisticles posted:

I work at IBM, at a plant that turns out mainframes, supercomputers, and just about every refrigerator-sized processing unit in that realm. The logistics for getting a large system into a customer datacenter often involves some non-trivial planning

With a proper supercomputer, the planning process can often involve "build a building to put it in".

Oh, and IBM Sequoia draws 7.9 MW.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




The FM transmitters for CD players were bullshit. I had one... you had to keep it fed with AAA batteries, which is a pain in the rear end. If you forget batteries, you can plug it into the lighter, but then your CD player is sitting there sucking down its own AA batteries because there's only one outlet in the car. And if you don't keep batteries in the transmitter, it will forget which station you're on when you turn off the car--or when you turn the key to start it, so you could get in the car, set everything up nicely, go to start the car, and get hosed over.

Eventually I gave up on it and spent $10 on one of those cassette adapters. No batteries, nothing fancy, just a single wire leading from my cassette deck, exactly as if there was an aux port.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




KozmoNaut posted:

It activates the system. You can still breathe when it's active, is just a bit like being on a mountain.

Our FM200 system has a button that will delay the dump as long as the button is held. It's right by the door, presumably so you can wait to see that everyone is out

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




If my phone had a radar detector that would be super useful, I'd just get one of those dash docks. "No officer it's just my phone in the charger"

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




I got a Creative Nomad Jukebox Zen or whatever it was called, new in box at a garage sale back in 2006. Best $20 I ever spent.

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Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




ravenkult posted:

What's the most cyberpunk obsolete tech you got?

I have one of these:



feels pretty cyberpunk.

edit: oops image leeching

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