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GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



Mad Dog McCree was an awesome game.

At work today, I loaded an old server with a CRT monitor and Slot 2 Pentium II processor onto a pallet to be sent to surplus. That old dinosaur acted as our file server until early last year.

Also, Kodak Ektagraphic slide projectors are every bit as good today as they were the day they were first sold.

Landerig posted:

Ahem, 70's and 80's speakers, if they were well made and not low end crap could easily hold up today if you didn't crank them ridiculously.
Good speakers will always be good speakers. New technology might surpass them, but if they sound good when you buy them, they'll sound good decades from now.

GWBBQ has a new favorite as of 02:45 on Jul 13, 2012

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GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



Mister Snips posted:

Carphones, yo



I knew tons of kids whose parents had carphones when i lived in the loving whitest and richest town ever (lake forest) back in the 90's. I don't think they were even hooked up, just status symbols.

E: actually considering how loving rich everyone was of course they were hooked up
I was really disappointed to find that the old Mercedes car phones are analog and can't be activated anymore. I wanted to drive around big pimpin'

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



El Estrago Bonito posted:

You wanna talk old computers? I learned DOS on two old Toshiba Packet Sniffers. Those things retailed new for a huge amount of money and had that odd Asian card slot RAM. Yeah, thats right, RAM in what was basically a PC Express slot.

Those things are loving beasts, they still work today and have better LCD displays than a lot of modern laptops I've used (this is why they were so expensive). More impressively, its a pre-1995 computer that can run Liero with little to no slowdown.

It used to have a build of 311 on it, but I deleted it as a teenager to fit more games on my 50 pound suitcase sized laptop (did I mention it was portable? It was in a very technical sense).


The website for it is a loving goldmine of hilarity.

http://www.toshiba-europe.com/compu...600c/index.shtm

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



Ensign Expendable posted:

There will still be vital systems controlled by a dusty old box with leaking capacitors and Windows XP.
We just decommissioned a system this past year that had to run a specific version of DOS. That only happened because the buoy out in Long Island Sound that dialed in to it stopped working.

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



Zenostein posted:

Wouldn't the smaller disks fall into the smaller tray in most CD drives? Like there was a recessed layer that was maybe 2/3 the size of a normal CD. Surely that'd stop it from flying off.

On the other hand, god help you if you put one of those monsters into a slot-loader.
In Flames made it easy to destroy a limited edition CD and your slot-loader with the release of the single for Black Ash Inheritance.

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



MadScientistWorking posted:

As I said earlier insanely bizarre paper catalogs that have an eclectic bunch of goods are not uncommon. Mcmaster Carr, Grainger (Which you probably can't even do business with last I knew), and MSC Direct are three industrial supply companies who are famous for having rather insane paper catalogs.
EDIT:
Hahaha... Mcmaster Carr's catalog has existed for 118 years. I didn't actually think it was that old.
You can definitely do business with Grainger. I'm not sure if you can order from the catalog, but I have to call and place orders so I can give them an account and purchase order number at work and their operators are by far the friendliest and most helpful people I've ever talked to. I've asked questions about products that they couldn't answer, and they asked if I wanted to hold or wait for a callback while they called the manufacturer to find out exactly what I wanted to know.

You Are A Elf posted:

You're talking about knob and tube wiring which was used from electrical wiring's infancy in the 19th century to the 1930s. I think others have mentioned it in this thread. It is pretty mad inventor's laboratory, though. The picture of the industrial use of it in the wiki article is just scary.
I have to do wire management stuff at work a lot, and that industrial wiring is a work of art. It also kind of reminds me of the picture of Tesla sitting in front of the big spiral antenna.

edit: my house has cloth insulated wiring and it does literally disintegrate if you touch it or look at it for too long. At least it's in grounded conduit, although that may explain the stray voltage on the ground throughout the house.

GWBBQ has a new favorite as of 01:44 on Oct 6, 2012

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



A SWEATY FATBEARD posted:

That's the old vulcanized rubber crumbling away. Most rubber insulation ends up like this (crumbly charcoal-like bits), others rot to tar-like goo.
Mine is definitely cloth, not rubber.

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



I particularly like the ground wire from the top attached to the painted surface of the box with masking tape.

Also, nothing is color coded and while there appear to be neutral wires, they're not going to where any of the hot wires are.

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



Sagebrush posted:

I read somewhere that "scram" is actually an acronym for "safety control rod axe man". In the earliest reactors built in the 1930s, the safety mechanism was literally a bunch of control rods hanging from ropes above the reactor, and if something went awry there was a dedicated axe-man who would chop the main rope and cause the rods to drop into place, halting the reaction. I know that that is indeed how the first reactors' control rods operated, but I don't know if that's actually why they use the term "scram".
That and others like Super Critical Reactor Axe Man are backronyms. Sounds like it would have been fun to talk about around the lab, though

I heard you're on the Chicago Pile team, what do you do?
If something goes wrong, I stop the reactor with an axe.

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



Parallel Paraplegic posted:

I've always wondered why neutron detectors are so goddamn huge, even pictures of supposedly modern ones I've seen have giant sphere things strapped to them. Is it just that neutrons are hard to detect so you need a big volume to get any sort of representative sample? Do they make smaller ones now that I just don't know about?
The detector itself (Boron Trifluoride type) is small, but it's surrounded by attenuators and moderators that take up space. The diagrams start on page 20 of this document http://www.fusor.net/board/getfile....iles&att_id=832

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



Palpatine MD posted:

I was visiting a technology museum recently and they had a microfiche (Microform) machine on display. How commonly is that stuff still used today?
Just today I had a professor bring me a roll of microfilm (roll film, not microfiche) and ask about digitizing it because it's pictures of a thousand-year-old manuscript that was never published. It's on loan from the National Library of France.

The vast majority of local newspapers that are on file at libraries are also on microfilm. National or regional papers tended to be on microfiche from what I remember but have almost all been digitized by now.

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



TShields posted:

I've always wondered what would happen if you had a fingerprint scanner on your computer and you injured that finger to the point of it being unrecognizable- even if just for a short time. I sliced my left index finger open with a paring knife while cutting cheese a few weeks ago, there's no way I would have been able to scan it.
My department at work had a Dell laptop with a fingerprint scanner. Cuts on my fingers didn't seem to affect it, but every month or two I would have to reregister my prints because it would stop recognizing them. I doubt my fingerprints are changing that rapidly, so at least at the consumer level I wouldn't trust it at all. Even with "better" (more expensive) stuff, I would have to see a lot of convincing evidence before I would trust it.

spog posted:

And I guarantee that you can get through it by walking up to it with a handfull of papers just after someone opened it and smiling helplessly.
Funny you should mention this, we just had a laptop disappear at work less than an hour ago because someone was waiting for someone to come check a problem with it and left the door to the lab propped open when he went to the bathroom. It's a secure area or something.

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



Mister Kingdom posted:

I bought my first computer (Leading Edge Model D) in 1988. It had two 5.25" floppy drives because I couldn't afford the 10Mb HD at $500.

I built a 386 machine in 1992 and put in a 400Mb drive that cost about $300. I just ordered a 2TB drive for $99.

I've been ripping all of my DVDs and have tons of other video and have been waiting for terabyte drives to come down. I figure I'll need 8-10 TB to hold it all.
My dad was a computer guy, so all of ours were home-built. Our first computer was a 286 with a 40MB hard drive and an 8MHz processor. My first computer, which my uncle saved from the trash at work and gave to me, was a portable computer (weighed 30lb and was the size of a small suitcase) and only had a 20MB hard drive but had the much faster 10MHz processor, as well as an early monochrome LCD monitor with a whopping 400x300 pixels. It ran Commander Keen and Civilization like a champ, although it looked a lot better with an external monitor unless I was playing something like California Games that was designed for Monochrome.

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



minato posted:

Are each of the buttons tilt switches or something? Because I don't get why they just didn't label them 1-5.

No, there are only 5 buttons.

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



I can't even find a picture of one, but every time I open the arm rest on our 97 Mercedes E320, I feel a sense of disappointment that you can't activate analog call phones anymore.

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



I am going to do that, but I want to wire it up so it keeps the headset charged and the keypad on the handset works so it'll take some work. I'd also kind of like to either program a microcontroller to emulate the original phone and get the speed dial console in the dashboard working or just gut the thing and use the original LCD and buttons.

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.

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.

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



I'll confirm another use of the ICQ Uh Oh sounds at a Shell station in Stamford CT. I believe it's also a sound effect used in the Worms games.

Krispy Kareem posted:

So yeah, you can't totally erase a Scan-Tron answer, but the grading computer is smart enough to tell the difference.
There are a few techniques technologies used to detect answers. The oldest required #2 pencils because it read the answers by dragging pairs of electrodes across the columns and registering an answer when the conductive graphite made a connection. The second generation shone a light through the paper and used photo tubes to detect the filled-in bubble, and graphite does an excellent job of blocking light while being erasable, so it stuck around. The newest generation came along when digital imaging sensors started getting cheap enough to integrate into commercially available hardware, and use reflected light. The #2 pencil remains the in use because it's common, cheap, and makes a nice dark spot on the paper that can be easily erased at any time so students can easily review and make changes after completing the test.

As far as detecting cheating, Freakonomics has a chapter on how cheating on standardized tests is detected. Basically, you look for a string of right and wrong answers that occurs in a particular set of questions more often than it should by chance, indicating that teachers quickly changed a bunch of answers but didn't want to make them look too perfect. You can also compare performance between sections, between difficulty levels of questions, and compare them to a normal distribution. Altering students' answers on standardized tests is a lot harder to get away with than you would expect.

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



sweeperbravo posted:

Here's an actual thing that bothers me about the phone- remember me talking about being able to text/type without looking?
I still can http://www.8pen.com/

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



nature6pk posted:

I managed to drop my old Siemens C65 phone off a lift 26 feet down to a concrete floor, and it only had a minor scratch on the corner it landed upon.

My rear end in a top hat puckers at the thought of doing that now with my smartphone.
My Droid X fell down an elevator shaft from the second floor and just had a scuff on the corner of the case. Amzer earned themselves a lifetime customer with their TPE cases.

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



longview posted:

I googled a little and found this: http://wordspy.com/words/electric-c...nerquestion.asp


No luck finding the article referred to, assuming it's the right one.

I was able to pull

quote:

In May, Iridium, the satellite phone company, proudly announced that a woman who had climbed to the top of Mount Everest had used one of its telephones to call her mother in Mexico.
and

quote:

Iridium's phones initially cost $4,500 and calls cost up to $10 a minute. This compared to $50 and maybe 15 cents a minute for "normal" cellphones. The Iridium space phones weighed about four times as much as common pocket phones. You couldn't make calls from inside buildings or moving cars. Iridium's engineers argued that this now "normal" use would have required increased power in satellites. This would have doubled the cost of construction.
from our library's search preview, the full text doesn't appear to be available anymore.

I would say Iridium phones and electric can openers are specialized products rather than better or worse than alternatives. Electric can openers are great for people with limited hand strength or coordination, just like Iridium phones are great for people who spend time outside of normal cell service areas and need to have a way to communicate.

GWBBQ has a new favorite as of 17:25 on May 22, 2013

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



There are advantages to having phone service covering 100% of earth's surface.

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



Ron Burgundy posted:

Yes it seems weird to me that an XLR adapter would be TRS in the first place, I've only dealt with TS before.
A lot of pro audio gear can switch between mic and line level on the same XLR or 1/4" jack, and whichever you have, the people who need to connect to your system will inevitably have the other. You can never have enough of those adapters when you're doing live audio. Also, a lot of line level equipment uses 1/4" TRS for balanced audio because you can cram 3 times as many jacks in the same space and space is precious, especially on rack mountable gear.

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



Greggy posted:


My parents bought one of these on clearance at Toys R Us when I was a kid, the Victormaxx Stuntmaster. You hooked it up to your Super Nintendo and all of a sudden you were in the world of Uniracers! Or at least, you had a little TV directly in front of your eyes that you played Uniracers on. It was extremely heavy for kids and only really worked for any length of time if you laid on your back while you used it. It didn't really live up to the "VIRTUAL REALITY" hype the box built up but it was neat enough to lay around and play Super Mario without any distractions.
My cousin had one of those and it was impossible to figure out which of the 35 (I may be exaggerating this because I was maybe 13 at the time) SNES cords were supposed to be plugged into the console.

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



Plinkey posted:

I moved onto Direct Connect after the napster downfall. Someone ran the server on the school's network (which had no bandwidth limits inside the network) and restricted it to the school's ip addresses. It was amazing.
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.

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



Monkey Fracas posted:

Man, this is way cooler than USB drives. Not as practical, certainly, but much cooler. It looks like something out of a 80s/90s scifi movie/TV show
Isn't that what the SQUID devices in Strange Days used?

bobua posted:

All the kazaa talk reminded me of some short lived ftp search engine. I don't recall what it's name was, but you could submit your ftp for indexing, turn on ratios, and let the filez come to you!

It was amazing how honest and creepily friendly people were. I could leave for a couple of days and come home to an upload folder full of goodies. Nowadays you kids have to go out and look for what you want to steal, back then your anonymous e-friends would introduce you to fetishes you didn't even know you had.

Truly those were better times.
My mom never believed me that I didn't download that porn

mystes posted:

People really still use direct connect?
On-campus DC networks don't count against the bandwidth limit, and torrents are blocked. The network is 100Mbit in some places, 1Gbit in newer and renovated areas, so transfers are obscenely fast.

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



That's all the inspiration I need to charge up the Sony CD Mavica someone gave me a few years ago. I even have a whole spindle of CDs for it.

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



Did that guy in TFR ever get a letter of clarification from the ATF on the hamster-wheel-powered machine gun?

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



I have a Novint Falcon, it's pretty neat but takes up a lot of desk space. I don't have the pistol grip so it's not nearly as much fun for FPS games. Since it's capable of in-out motion, I searched out of morbid curiosity and sure enough some guy attached a fleshlight to it and wrote drivers to make it thrust I kept mine away from my genitals, played through Half Life 2 with it, and now it's back in the box. I'm probably going to end up selling it soon, you can get a decent price on eBay (this means if you want one PM me and we'll talk,)

Plinkey posted:

That reminds me of this thing that a lot of our CAD guys swear by:



I have no idea how it works, but it looks purrdy.
I have one of these at work, it's awesome for 3D modeling and Google Earth. I use Sketchup to do classroom layouts and designs for furniture, and it saves a lot of time. Basically, you have an X, Y, and Z axis, and for each axis you can move along the axis or rotate around it. You can lock control to an object and manipulate it in three dimensions, or lock control to a camera and fly around it (camera mode is what you use in Google Maps and is awesome.)

Krispy Kareem posted:

Meh, those are scrubs. I was using trackballs in the 80's on my PCjr.

Speaking of failed technology:



I've had this thing for 6 or 7 years, it's currently glowing bluely on my desk. I've never found a use for it. I've only seen one in the wild and that's for kids to sign in for appointments at my daughter's orthodontist.

So cool, so pointless. I guess it's not a total failure since you can still buy them, but I have no idea what they're being used for.
We also have one of these in a presentation rehearsal room, literally all it's there for is a customizable USB button. For video editing I go with a ShuttlExpress
http://retail.contourdesign.com/?/products/22

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



Mouthguard Chump posted:

The "Powercam" acts by shifting the crankarm out of step with the chainrings which does...something. Having never seen one in action, I can't rightly say how it actually operates, but the theory is that it lets you push bigger gears with the same amount of effort.
It looks like it varies the amount of chain in contact with the gears so it acts like a bigger gear when you're pushing hardest and a smaller one when your feet are coming around, which would make the amount of torque on the wheel gear constant rather than oscillating.

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



WebDog posted:

Before Bakelite, Celluloid was the plastic of it's day often being used as an ivory replacement. For instance one use was billiard balls where they would routinely explode from impacts.
This is an urban legend. If celluloid could explode on impact, ping pong would be an extreme sport.

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



Phanatic posted:

Someone actually considered using as a rocket propellant a substance that's so toxic it's lethal if you get a drop of it on your hand, even if you're wearing lab gloves. Deciding that this was too dangerous, they used plain old inorganic, elemental mercury. They were going to fire this rocket in the middle of New Jersey, and built this big scrubber to collect the mercury in the exhaust before it made it out into the atmosphere, but then the research center was shut down by the Navy, which just test-fired the thing out in the middle of a desert somewhere and didn't bother with the scrubber.
Is that in Ignition! or is there anything online about it? As you might imagine, searching for "mercury rocket" doesn't help much.

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



In a fluorine-rich environment, you can even burn water.

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



Smiling Jack posted:

I forget if it was in Things I Won't Work With or Ignition! but someone developed a compound so sensitive it exploded if you shone a bright light on it.
C2N14
http://pipeline.corante.com/archive...ore_or_less.php

On a related note, silver fulminate can't be stored in a pure form because it will detonate under its own weight.

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



This has been a fun enough derail that I think it deserves its own thread. Let's take the talk of non-obsolete chemicals to Things that go FOOF in the night

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



I'd like to recall the Nokia 5185, which is completely obsolete now but was a good solid phone at the time with great battery life, great reception, and an easy-to-replace telescoping antenna that cost about $5 to replace which was great because that kind of antenna was always easy to break off.

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



dissss posted:

There is really nothing to it - because its between the sprocket holes there isn't anything to get out of alignment.

This is a good pic of how its set up: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:D...rack_reader.jpg

In the time I worked in a cinema I can't remember ever having problems with the Dolby Digital sound tracks - the tricky parts were the bits and pieces which kept the platters the film is fed off and back onto running in sync, and also when we needed to run the film in two theaters at once (basically the film would feed off the platter, through one projector, then up along the wall into second projection room, through the second projector and finally onto the take up platter)
I can' t find it, but does anyone remember the pictures a projectionist had taken of his elaborate setup to run the same roll of film through something like 10 theaters with a few minutes of delay between each?

GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



Fooley posted:

I wouldn't say its good but, uh... http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2013/11/o...simulator-nsfw/

Probably
I have a Novint Falcon and one of my first thoughts when it went through a full range of motion on its own was "I'll bet someone has used this for teledildonics," followed shortly by "I hope the previous owner didn't use this one for that."

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GWBBQ
Jan 2, 2005



Pneub posted:

I just read the whole description on the website and I still have no loving idea what it's supposed to be. Is it some kind of wireless volume knob?
Intensity control for your turbo encabulator.

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