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Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

Ron Burgundy posted:

You were saying...


Designed by GM—and given that blatantly car-like cab profile, there was probably at least one heated argument about whether or not it should have tail fins.

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Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

Dick Trauma posted:

I don't think I've seen this yet. It was a regular in Popular Science/Popular Mechanics back in the late 1970s: the BONE FONE!

It was a response to the Walkman craze, the second wave of portable electronic music devices I following transistor radios. I don't know if I ever saw one in person but this ad always caught my eye.



I actually saw one of these in a thrift store a few years back. I remembered the ads (my dad was a charter subscriber to OMNI, which was full of crap like this) and would have bought it, but the "washable" spandex sleeve was nasty as hell. The thing was really heavy too, to keep it from falling off if you went jogging with it.

They predate the Walkman craze by a year or two, though I'm pretty sure there was a cassette version at one point, with a loading mechanism that worked like a car's tape deck. Once portable headphones became a thing there was basically no point in the Bone Fone.

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

Flipperwaldt posted:

I've got some cds with a code like that.

I get that it's not terribly useful or relevant for the end user, but I don't see how it's a limted system.

It's limited because there are more steps in the production chain than "recording", "mixing" and (physical) "mastering". The SPARS code wouldn't tell you when an "all digital" recording had to go through an analog conversion between the original multitracks and the mixing board, for example. The SPARS code was just a marketing tactic, meant to appeal to DIGITAL GOOD/ANALOG BAD types in the early CD era. (And if they reversed it to appeal to the analog cultists of today, it would still be just as useless.)

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

Hurricanes diverted by pouring oil on the ocean and burning it! Telegraph offices forced to upgrade to fax technology by increasing competition from mail rockets! The Zworykin-Von Neumann automaton improved to handle the fifty variables needed to predict the weather up to 24 hours in advance!

He was right that by 2000 we wouldn't be able to send a man to the moon, though. He just didn't expect it'd be because we already did it a few times and got bored with it.

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

Jedit posted:

They're great for people with limited arm mobility and until recent developments in high-precision mice they were much beloved in the CAD fraternity.

They're also fantastic for discouraging anyone else at work from trying to use your computer, especially if you've got the buttons mapped in a way that's even more confusing than the default.

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

My high school had a PDP-11/34 running eight or nine VT100s (at a blazing 2400 baud!) and a mess of print terminals. A friend and I wrote a messaging/"email" system that could capture and display VT100 escape sequences, which you could use to move the cursor around the screen and set a lot of hardware-specific display options. After a while people started using it to create these little character-based animations that used pretty much every feature on the terminals -- graphics characters, double-height/double/width text, locked scrolling regions, flipping between smooth and line scrolling, making the screen shake around by switching in and out of interlaced-display mode really fast, you name it. People also wrote a couple of decent games for them, like a version of the old Canyon Bomber Atari cartridge. I've been hauling around 8" disks full of that stuff for decades, I'd love to find a way to read them and a working terminal to display them on (no emulator could do them justice).

We also wardialed the escape sequences and found some undocumented ones, like a mode where character autorepeat is super-fast (100+ characters per second) and kicks in instantly. If you turn on keyclick in that mode, the repeat is actually fast enough that the clicks sound like really bad musical notes, and because different characters take slightly different amounts of time to display for some reason, different keys would "play" different "notes". It was super loving annoying.

VT100s are awesome.

Edit: Nothing in that picture looks obviously doctored to me, it's just a photo of a plain old VT100. The "bold" mode is actually a little brighter in real life, I remember it as being pretty striking, like the bullets in Asteroids vs. the darker lines on everything else in the game.

Lazlo Nibble has a new favorite as of 06:19 on Jul 24, 2013

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

Optimus Prime Rib posted:

Is it common for businesses and universities to still be running these old mainframes?
Can't speak for universities but yes, mainframes are still common in large businesses, because they're still the most cost-effective way to do the kind of work they do.

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

In any financial services company big enough to have a retail storefront all those transactions are going to end up on the mainframe for end-of-day processing anyway, so they may as well cut out the middleman and have the branch reps enter 'em there directly.

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

Also a DECwriter II in the background.

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

So what I'm thinking is: make an ATSC-to-RF modulator that outputs on channels 2-13 simultaneously instead of just channels 3/4, and which lets you map each RF channel to a specific ATSC channel. Leave one RF channel as a general pass-through for the ATSC tuner so you can select digital channels that aren't already mapped to RF, program the other channels, etc. Now your old Philco Predicta works just like a normal TV again!

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

The 4010 is a graphics terminal, not an oscilloscope.

They used Tektronix displays a lot in the original Battlestar Galactica...

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

Mister Kingdom posted:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ispW6-7b2sA

A demo reel of the Scanimate. Warning: extreme 70s music!

The second half uses Yellow Magic Orchestra's "Rydeen". YMO's videos from Solid State Survivor were drenched in Scanimate graphics.

There's one working Scanimate system left, owned by Dave Seig, who used to operate it for Video West. It still gets occasional use.

Actually using Scanimate is almost like cheating; Robert Abel & Associates were doing way more impressive stuff years earlier with traditional animation techniques (multiple exposures of backlit mattes shot straight to 35mm film):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2U-lP-SOSQ

I'd kill to see this ad scanned from a 35mm print instead of just a video dub. It's got an organic look that -- as good as the "DVNO" video is -- is really hard to effectively fake in digital.

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

I suspect most if not all of the segments in the DVNO video are referencing specific ads or logos—I recognized at least a third of them.

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

Mr. Flunchy posted:

Why are they bound in landscape anyway? Surely a regular portrait style book would take up the same amount of space.
They were printed on magazine presses, which use wider paper. There's less waste if you use the horizontal format. PULP FOR VICTORY!

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

Monkey Fracas posted:

Oh man please tell me that little toggle switch there doesn't control any vital functions.

The switch isn't stock, there's usually a faceplate there with the LSI ADM3A logo on it. The panel it's mounted on has a bunch of DIP switches underneath to control baud rate, parity and the like—looks like someone added the switch to flip between a couple of settings they used regularly.

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

WebDog posted:

Drum memory

The first version Sperry Rand built for UNIVAC was so massive that gyroscopic effects made it tend to shift position as the earth turned underneath it. They fixed it in the next generation by adding a second drum that spun in the opposite direction.

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

uwaeve posted:

In sometime like 1983-5, my dad bought a VHS camcorder/VCR combo. The VCR was split into two decks, one of which held the cassette. For using the camera. Like you were tethered to this huge europurse brick thing that weighed probably 30 pounds as you were trying to capture precious moments.

I can't find a good picture but you oldsters will know what I'm talking about.

Sounds like one of JVC's Vidstar portable systems:



The VHS monstrosity your dad had was actually the result of 15+ years of miniaturization and refinement — the first-gen version was launched as the Sony PortaPak in 1967 and used their old reel-to-reel CV format:

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

Ensign Expendable posted:

The disk spins at a uniform rate. Therefore, when reading from the outer edges of the disk, the laser covers more space in one revolution, so you can read more data. When burning you can shove something in the inner parts of the CD to push useful data out. Usually it's garbage data, but you could have some fun with it if you really wanted.
Pressed optical media hasn't used CAV since the LaserDisc era. Data is written with the same linear density at the outer edges of the disc as at the center, so when you're streaming something off the disc that needs data to come off at a constant rate the drive adjusts the speed of rotation to compensate. It's been this way since they first published the Red Book standard for CDs. Doing it the way you describe would waste an enormous amount of space.

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

I'm still using a SCSI scanner, but only because it's easier than paying $2k to replace it with the modern USB equivalent (it's an old large-format Epson Expression). That was fun to get running on Win7x64...

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

Coffee And Pie posted:

I don't get the point of the key not opening the trunk, don't all cars have a release button/lever somewhere for it?
Yeah, but on at least some (our '97 Civic) that release lever is lockable too, and requires the primary ignition key. As does the lock/switch to fold down the back seats, which opens the passthrough to the trunk.

Not that it really helps, given that the whole damned car can be stolen in fifteen seconds by any idiot with a shaved key.

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

WebDog posted:

It's kind of amusing reading back through the Walkman's history and design as it had perfected getting the player down to being roughly the size of a cassette, only for CD players to boom in with their chunky designs.

You aren't kidding about chunky. My first CD player was a Sony D-5, their first-gen portable. It ran on four "C" cells and instead of putting the battery pack inside the player, you put the player inside the battery pack.

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

smackfu posted:

On the portable Sony Discman subject, they had some ridiculous options in the interface. Like programmable track order which seems pretty pointless looking back.

That was a standard CD player feature at the time, but yeah, pretty pointless. It was really just so they could put "programmable" on the box.

Speaking of lost CD player features, I still miss in-track index points. :-(

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

The Ape of Naples posted:

I dunno, I used the CD track program function fairly often. It was great when an album had an annoying song that I didn't want to listen to or a long, wanky instrumental or something.

On the players I had it was always way more trouble to program than it was worth, especially given that you could always just use the remote to skip over stuff you didn't like. Later-gen players could treat it like a playlist and use it automatically whenever you played the disc afterwards, though, which makes it more useful.

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

Ultimate Mango posted:

We must know more. This cannot be a one off system, can it?

Nope!

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

Pham Nuwen posted:

Your memory is going, old man, they were 8" floppies. I've got a box still in the closet from when I had the PDP-11.



Someday I will find a way to read you again, Atari 5200-vs.-ColecoVision flame wars and VT100 escape-sequence movies.

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

Suzuran posted:

How far away from central Illinois are you? I have a PDP-11 with an RX02 drive, so in theory I could image those disks.
I'd just have to plug everything in and make sure it all still works.
Denver, unfortunately, or I'd take you up on it.

Pastey posted:

That really is the Achilles Heel of all optical media like CDs and DVDs. The plastic component of the discs can last an extremely long time in proper storage conditions, but in pressed discs you get "disc rot" which is where the aluminum layer corrodes over time. I actually have one or two very old CDs from the mid-80s that have this occurring to them.
You only have one or two because every case of "disc rot" that's been uncovered to date has been due to manufacturing issues at specific plants at specific times. If the problem was inherent to the format, there would be tens or hundreds of millions of rotted discs floating around out there. Not saying they'll last forever, but they'll certainly last longer than 30 years if manufactured and stored properly.

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

Gromit posted:

For all I know he killed that camera.
Guaranteed he killed the pickup tubes, those are permanently damaged by any kind of bright light, not just a laser.

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

Sham bam bamina! posted:

Jerry Cotton guessed that the Apple clone emulator used the host C64's keyboard and nothing else; my point was that it could hopefully at least use the host's 6502 instead of a redundant one of its own.
It did not.

They used a mime in the ads but it sounds like licensing Frankenstein's Monster would have been way more appropriate.

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

p-hop posted:

My favorite goofy thing about them is that the keyboard was connected via RJ11 port (landline telephone , the kind that looks like ethernet) instead of PS/2. Was this ever a common thing?
I remember seeing that on later-era DEC hardware. VT100s were more fun—the keyboard connected over a coiled black cable with a standard 1/4" stereo plug on the end. You couldn't make the design more "1970s" with anything short of a full-on Bicentennial-themed red, white and blue version.

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

slomomofo posted:

For an individual it's the right to show the movie only at home, and not in public - which is that FBI warning at the beginning of pretty much every dvd. When you're a video rental company, though, in order to legally check-out/distribute the copy you have to pay more for the right to make money off of it.
This is absolutely, totally, 100% untrue, at least in the US. Unless there's a specific exception in copyright law (which there are for things like sound recordings and computer software) the first sale doctrine allows you to do whatever the hell you want with legally-purchased media as long as you don't make additional copies of it. So video rental stores do not pay, and have never paid, for the right to rent out movies, nor do libraries pay for the right to lend books.

The closest thing we've ever had to that in the US was the tiered pricing AlternateAccount alluded to above, where the initial release of a home video title was "priced for rental" (often $100+) and a subsequent release many months later was "priced for sellthrough" ($29.95 or whatever)—and that was strictly a marketing decision by the studios, not something required by law. For the initial release they had a captive market in the video stores, who had to cough up the inflated "rental" price or risk building a reputation as the store that never had any copies left of the Hot New Blockbuster on Friday night. Once rental demand dropped far enough the studios would lower the price to something normal people would be willing to pay for a copy that hadn't already been run through other peoples' VCRs a hundred or so times. IIRC Tim Burton's Batman was the first time a studios made a really big push to sell a movie straight to consumers on its initial release.

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

Dick Trauma posted:

Technically this is the first computer I got my hands on, at a Target in Oklahoma City around 1971.



Beats the hell out of the Pong machine at Eu-Can Bowl in...1973? 1974? Something like that. It was next to a Bally Road Runner machine that was a lot more interesting:



There's an "obsolete" category that hasn't been dug into much on this thread. Electromechanical games were getting really drat fancy right up until the entire category got curbstomped by videogames.

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

GOTTA STAY FAI posted:

also where are all the goons whose first computer memories involve the use of punch cards
No punch card stories, sorry, but the first one I ever laid hands on was a prototype Altair Attache my dad borrowed from a friend of his. (I never got the tape interface to work, so back it went.)

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

Zonekeeper posted:

On the machine thing, I think a part of the problem is that we've had several different sizes and metal compositions over the years. Pennies, Nickels, Dimes and Quarters have stayed the same size/weight since at least the early 20th century yet we've seen 3 completely different dollar shapes/sizes since the 70s alone. (The old Ike dollars, the Susan B. Anthony dollars, and the Sacajawea/Presidential dollars.)
That's not really true though—the Sacajawea/"Presidential" dollars were specifically designed so they could be used in vending machines that accepted SBAs, and I doubt anyplace outside of Las Vegas ever had machines in any quantity that accepted Ikes in the first place. They SBA and its descendants are all just too close in size/weight to quarters.

When I visited the UK in the early '80s they had just rolled out the pound coin. It's just a hair bigger than the U.S. nickel but it's thick, which gave it an decent heft—it actually feels like a larger-denomination coin in your hand. Something like that might have done better over here, but there's no way the vending machine people would retrofit for it.

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

WebDog posted:

One way to reuse VHS I guess...
How obsolete? This obsolete:

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

Delivery McGee posted:

When my parents upgraded phones and I was handed down the first one Mom had that wasn't luggage, it had a slot between the battery and body for the phone-side nubbin that went into that. There were also third-party glue-on nubbins for phones that didn't have the slot. So you just had the naked phone dangling from your belt. It was a weird time.
Not just phones. I had (and probably still have around here somewhere) an aluminum hardshell case for my Palm Tungsten that'd snap into one of those clips:

It was a little too ridiculous to actually wear that way though.

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

Humphreys posted:

As always, Science Fiction inspires Science Fact.

Hurry up, science, I want my nuclear-powered superbus.

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

Trabant posted:

I'm too young to have been around for its heyday, but from a design perspective...
I miss tuning knobs that had momentum.

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

spog posted:

quote:


I consider myself au fait with old Hi-Fi tech, but I am struggling to work out what half those buttons do.
If I'm not mistaken, they let you program the deck to automatically tape-record your favorite radio shows on a timer.

Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

Krispy Kareem posted:

I had to break into my VW bug once with art supplies I had in my truck. So yeah. If you can open your locked door with watercolor brushes then you probably have a very easy car to break into.
When our '97 Civic got stolen a few years back, the cops said those things are so easy to break into by shaving down an old key that thieves basically use them as free public transportation. (This was downtown Oakland, but still.)

Sure enough, it turned up in a mall parking lot on the other side of the bay a couple days later, no worse for wear. The police were dealing with another stolen-car report and saw ours sitting out in the lot way after closing time—the guys who jacked it apparently swapped it out for another Civic when ours ran low on gas.

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Lazlo Nibble
Jan 9, 2004

It was Weasleby, by God! At last I had the miserable blighter precisely where I wanted him!

Moby called me an "anal retentive gently caress" on alt.rave(?) for making fun of his pretending to play keyboards at his pretaped club gigs.

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