Tag Archives: pictures

Far-Out Link-O-Rama

The theme for today ‘s Link-o-Rama is… "Computers of the 1970s!"

Our first exhibit is a collection of retro scenes from an IBM slide show. It would have been interesting to see the script for the show alongside the slides. It looks like he’s trying to sell something that today is taken for granted: an interactive database.

I've invented a word: ONLINE!

Our second exhibit has to do with the "lost" NASA tapes. A pile of computer tapes storing data from the Apollo missions has been in Australia for the past few decades. A compatible tape drive has been located, though it is in need of restoration, and scientists hope that one day soon the data will be recovered.

Our third and final exhibit of the day is the amazing Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. I had the opportunity to tour this museum a few years ago. It’s really quite amazing to tour the collection and see in person the giant calculating machines of the sort my grandmother might have used, had she been a computer operator. Though primitive by today’s standards, these dark and silent machines remain as monuments to those who built them: scientists, engineers, and mathematicians.


TGI Halloween

It’s Friday? It’s Memeday! Even better, it’s Halloween. This Halloween meme was Googled up from Electronic Cerebrectomy.

What were you last year for Halloween?
Martin Scorsese.
What are you going to be this year?
Just myself.
Cigars are evil, you won't miss them...
Favorite costume you have ever worn?
It was one of three. It could have been the big silver robot suit that I and my mom made of cardboard when I was five. That was a great costume. Or it could have been the big silver Doctor Doom costume that I made of cardboard twenty years later. But I think my favorite costume might have actually been Scorpion from Mortal Kombat. It was surprisingly easy to make— all it took was a black cowl; a sheet of yellow fabric cut into wide strips for the tunic, mask, and belt; and a pair of borrowed bracers.
How do you spend your Halloween?
I can’t remember the last Halloween party I went to. I spent the last few Halloweens handing out candy.
Are you or are you not going trick or treating this year?
Actually, the last time I went trick-or-treating was the same year I wore the Scorpion costume. And, yes, I was obviously past being a teenager by that point. But it was okay, since I was really just escorting my five-year-old brother around the neighborhood… as I insisted to everyone who asked.
Did or do you pull Halloween pranks?
I haven’t in the past, but it might be fun. The infamous War of the Worlds broadcast was a Halloween prank, after all.
Do you believe in ghosts?
As a class of inadequately explained phenomena, yes. As visitation from the dead, not so much.
Are you superstitious?
I used to be. It was very inconvenient. Now I mock superstitions of all sorts.
Do you like caramel popcorn?
Have you ever gone in the country to look for pumpkins?
No. Well, maybe once or twice when I was little.
Have you ever been on a hayride?
I think I also did that once when I was little, too. It might have been part of the pumpkin expedition, for all I know.
Do you decorate your home for Halloween?
A little. Some lights on the porch. That’s about it.
Have you ever been to a haunted house?
I’ve been to an allegedly haunted house.
Have you ever been to a graveyard on Halloween?
No. I expect it might be quite crowded.
Have you ever attended a Halloween party?
I’ve attended many, though none lately. *pout*
Do you watch scary movies on Halloween?
Not a fan of scary movies, but I might watch a Scary Movie.
Have you ever had your candy stolen from you?
Only by my brother.
Did you ever steal any ones candy?
My brother’s. Hey, he stole it first.
Has anyone ever gotten hurt due to your prank?
Hurt feelings, perhaps.
Have you ever dressed as a witch/warlock?
Once, I dressed as a wizard with a sparkly hat. That’s almost the same thing.
Are your parents into Halloween?
They used to get really into it, but I don’t think they do so much now.


Today, I have three highly-to-mildly amusing timesinks for you, presented in order of sinkiness.

Not Always Right is a hall of shame of evil and stupid customers. Even though I long ago put in my time on the far side of the counter, I’m still amazed at how insane some people can be. It seems to me that some people have this bizarre sense of entitlement about themselves, as though merely existing were enough to make one not just special, but practically royalty. I’m kind of reminded of the drive-through woman from a Burger King ad who imperiously demanded to speak to a manager after learning that she would not be sold the hamburger she desired. I’m sure she threw a tantrum when she reached the window. A tantrum over a hamburger. A hamburger which, by the way, the company is not obligated to make available.

I find ridiculous the people that insist on having their own way and who resort to bullying and spurious logic to try to get there. I understand (all too well!) that people sometimes make mistakes, but I’ve never understood exactly what insulting the person who made the mistake is supposed to accomplish.

“To be humble to superiors is duty, to equals courtesy, to inferiors nobleness.” – Benjamin Franklin

Next, we have Basic Instructions, a webcomic. Although the drawing style is quite plain and is clearly meant to suggest that of the Federal disaster preparedness brochures, the writing is truly hilarious and had me laughing out loud much of the time. It joins Darths and Droids and We The Robots in my trusty feed reader.

Say, did’ja ever hear how I used to keep up with web comics in the old days? Why, I kept a list of sites in a text file and had a perl script that would visit each one (using lynx) and then compare what it found on this visit with what it found last visit. I don’t remember exactly why I stopped using it, but I kinda think it had somethin’ to do with some of those strips peggin’ me as some kind of bot. Dunno where they’d get that kind of crazy idea. Why, if people had understood how to use RSS way back then, why, then, I’d probably still be reading those comics.

Ahem. Finally, I call your attention to this photoset, Video games in Lego. I could just restate the obvious here— that it’s a set of photos of Lego reconstructions of classic video game scenes— but I think a picture would illustrate the idea a little more nicely:


It Happens In Threes

I went out to run some errands this afternoon. My first stop was the post office, to mail off a book to a new reader. However, something wasn’t quite right. The self-serve postal meter was stuck loading Windows XP.

Kiosk Trouble 1a  Kiosk Trouble 1b

The caution tape around the broken kiosk was a nice touch. As if to say "we don’t know what this damn thing will do next." Anyway, I did what any sensible person would, I threw a tantrum and demanded to see the manager. Just kidding. I bought a big glob of stamps from the old-fashioned stamp vending machine, and went about my business. But then, when I went to the bookstore, I saw another malfunctioning kiosk, this one running Windows 98.

Kiosk Trouble 2

At this point, I was kicking myself for not bringing my real camera. However, it wasn’t until I got home that the kicking began in earnest. Kicking, screaming, and a bit of thrashing about on the floor. You see, I thought a nice session of Rock Band would finish out the busy day nicely. But when I fired up the 360, I got some bad news.

360 Trouble

Meaning: "I’m sorry, you’ll have to get a new one."