"Home is where the Frito Pie leaks." -- StinkyLulu

Strictly Speaking, It's Not "Stalking" If You Live On Another Continent.

When the world says it needs a young man from Australia to post some nice screencaps of Mythbuster Kari Byron to Flickr, I don't help or hinder, I just post the links and get out of the way.


Blogland has finally reached the tipping point on blog spam. Studio-nibble.com doesn't have comments enabled and I don't use the blog search services much, so I didn't I was affected by splog at all. Until this morning, when I did an ego search at Google Blogsearch to check if my recent postings were getting indexed and found that every single result returned was from a spamblog -- starting with an entry that used a NES Pinbot review I posted to rec.games.video fifteen years ago as the body text. Boooo!!

Reveries of Retrocomputing

This weekend I've been passing time by ripping a bunch of my old Apple disks over to .DSK files on my PC, so I can run 'em in the usual suite of Apple emulators and get them saved to CD for long-term storage. I've been meaning to do this for years now, but got the impulse to really tackle it the other day when a box from my parents arrived, containing a bunch of my old computer stuff that I'd dug up on a trip back to New Mexico a few weeks ago. This box contained:
  • BASIC Computer Games, Volume II, TRS-80 Edition. I never had a TRS-80, but learned programming from a TRS-80 Level I BASIC manual back in the late '70s. This was long before I even had a computer; I just wrote programs on paper that were never actually entered or run anywhere. I tried to adapt a few of these of the PDP11/34 in high school (see below) but really, most of the games are ass. Now I only keep it for all the doodles I did in it.

  • HARDCORE Computist, Issues 1-44. The Apple hacker's magazine, focusing mostly on busting copy protection on commercial software. At the time you could buy this on the newsstand (shout out: Page One in Albuquerque, still going strong today). The anti-protection forces won out for a while, there was a good ten years or so where copy protection was really out of favor. Nowadays it's all the rage again and I believe this magazine might actually be illegal, what with the DMCA and the Patriot Act and all. How far we've come.

  • A few stray issues of the original "Computer Gaming World", circa 1983, long before Ziff-Davis. Apparently back then nobody had money to design the packaging for computer games, 'cause every single box looks like it was designed and drawn by the company owner's teenage nephew.

  • Two 5.25" cases full of Apple II disks. One is misc utilities and stuff, the other is all games. This isn't quite the Holy Grail -- there's a third case with a couple hundred disks that I haven't been able to put my hands on yet (probably under all my Mom's stuff) -- but it'll do for now. (I already had two cases of modem programs and text files -- that's what got ripped yesterday and today. If anybody needs any old Apple-Cat transfer programs, wardialers, music synthesizers or answering machines, drop me a line 'cause buster, I've got a ton of 'em. Still keeping the 'Cat though.)

  • A box of printouts from the old IsaacSystem Global Mail program. Back in high school we ran wild on the school's PDP11/34A, which didn't come with anything "fancy" like an email program, so we wrote our own. Very proto-BBS stuff; people came up with handles and made up characters/personas (Fred The Sadist, Sloppy Joe, et al.). The best stuff -- still on 8" disk right now but data recovery prices have gone down enough that I'm going to have them dumped next month -- was the animated messages people came up with: all the CRT terminals on campus were VT100s, and you can make a VT100 do just about anything with the right escape sequences, so folks did stuff with animated character graphics, locked scrolling regions, and wackier things like the escape code that changed the refresh rate on the screen in a way that made it shake like a drunk whose head's caught in a paint mixer. The printouts don't have any of that, obviously, but there's lots of other great stuff. I'm particularly fond of the PS2-vs-Xbox-style console wars we used to have about the ColecoVision and the Atari 5200.
So anyway. As is well known, Jason Scott is the man when it comes to tracking the old textfiles scene (and he's not a bad documentarian either). He and I have a little mutual admiration society going -- he digs all the textfile stuff like the Countlegger series I did back in the day, and I love that he's doing a fantastic job with all the history-of-the-scene stuff I'd feel obligated to be working on if he wasn't doing it already. So it was a kick this evening to see how far back we go, when I found this little gem of Jason's on one of my text archives, right along side a similarly themed missive of my own that I'd written a couple of days prior. Enjoy.


We regret to inform you that your listing for item #31635625043, "Realistic DigiChron III AM-FM Flip-Style Clock Radio", has been cancelled due to an inaccurate description. While we agree that the item may be reasonably described as "VINTAGE", "RETRO" and (however tenuously) "SPACE AGE", we are unable to uncover any justification for referring to this example of the late Nixon years' fetish for the domestic rebranding of poorly-constructed Japanese consumer-electronic tchotchkes in injection-molded wood-grain-"style" casings as "ATOMIC", "MID CENTURY MODERN" or (god help us) "EAMES ERA" -- the last of which invites the instigation of crushing lawsuits from the late designers' estate. Next you'll be listing your mother's old harvest-gold Rubbermaid dishrack as a "POST-WAR CLASSIC" or trying to pimp out that giant wooden fork and spoon that your late aunt had hanging on her dining room wall by putting "NOGUCHI NELSON FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT" in the title. Please stop, as you've given three of our more design-focused members the night sweats and (we believe) caused one other's recent aneurysm.

Yours for Truth In Advertising,

The Appropriate Titles And Descriptions Guild, Local 221.

"Folly" Just Sounds So Much More Aggressive Than "Cash Cow"

Self-proclaimed TV "expert" Philip Swann takes on Apple in a press release he entitles Video iPod Will be Steve Jobs' Folly:
"Americans will not watch full-length videos -- or perhaps even short music videos -- on 2.5-inch screens on portable devices. It makes no sense. [...] [It] will require you to stop what you're doing and focus on a video. Who has the time to do that during the day? Plus, the video will be on a small screen that will make watching highly uncomfortable and unsatisfying."
This would explain why the Japanese have had so much trouble marketing their laughable "Gaming Boy" device among the American people. What honest working-man has the time -- nay, even the desire! -- to waste away his so-few divinely-granted hours on the frivolous playing of games? And the same must clearly be true of watching the so-called "tele-vision" programs, which are well-known to be so ruefully taxing of the mind that they are nigh incomprehensible on a screen of less than a rod-fifth's diagonal (and even then only if you pop for the full 1080p rear-projection HD display)!

Does this lunatic Jobs dare believe us a nation of idlers? If so, 'twill be his Folly indeed!