I also babysit trolls....

Saluting the Obsolete Skills of Tech Some More

Date/Time Permalink: 03/05/08 03:24:31 am
Category: LINKS and Lists

Continuing from the first half of the list, here's some more ruminations on the obsolete tech hall of fame...

PDP-11 assembler - The PDPs may, indeed, be long gone, but for those of you who still want to keep your hand in in case they ever come back, the SIMH project can emulate PDPs, and a mess of other iron dinosaurs. SIMH runs on Linux and every other computer in the galaxy - even Windows! I have a copy of it on my boxen, and I'm sure I'd be hacking away on it if I had clue one what I was doing. I've learned the PDP-11 'help' command, though!

Playing BBS door games - Oh, yeah? Get DOSBox to run them on, and download some door games right here! DOSBox is ported to Linux and every other system in existence - even Windows! You might have to finagle some bogus BBS configuration files to get some of them working, however.

BBS doorgame 8-way slot

I got this 8-way slot door game running, for instance. In all its ANSI glory. Waddaya thinka me nooooow?

Playing arcade games - Yeah, so go get XMAME and play the ROMs on your desktop. Of course, this emulator also runs fine on Linux, as well as many other systems - even Windows!

Removing perforations off fanfold paper so it looks like normal typing paper - Yeah, and what I miss was the "buster". In a mainframe-dinosaur pen where I was a corporate slave until I escaped through the ventilation system, we had greenbar. Note that it was NOT the exact kind I just linked to, but more recent than a PDP-8 and a lot wider. Anyway, we'd get 25 to 70 pages printed out at a time, and rather than tear it all up by hand we had this machine, the "buster", where you dump the wad in one side and it separates the pages with a solid smack for each sheet where it busted the pages at the perf. BAP!... BAP!... BAP!... BAP!... It had the best damned beat rhythm you ever heard. We all used to get up and dance to it.

Speaking Latin in everyday conversation - Yeah, what a bummer. We lost a colorful part of our culture after enough Texans heard us speaking Latin and yelled, "This is AMERAHCUH!!! Speak ENGLISH!!! Or go back to LATINSTAN where you came from!!!" so we all had to quit.

Using an adding machine - This entry makes me feel the oldest yet. Yes, I remember ten-key skills, and the little tape it would print out. Then one day I looked up and saw Bill Cosby said it was time to get a TI-99. I couldn't find it on YouTube, but there was the adding machine commercials he'd done before the TI-99 where he's going "I love to save money!" as he kisses his adding machine and then his wife offscreen says "Oh dear! Guess what I just bought!" Yeah, I used that adding machine.

This list has gotten me thinking - there's room for another kind of list. How about: Technology we WISH would HURRY UP and become obsolete? I'll bet we could fill that list even faster...

- I do hope these "English-only" bigots understand that the English language is actually derived from West Germanic, borrows a sizable chunk of its vocabulary from Latin, Greek, Sanskrit, and French, and was imported from the country which rightfully bears its name, from whom we gained independence in government but not in culture. Furthermore, it has been my observation, as a writer possessed of a formidable vocabulary, that the average blond country-music fan has no more grasp of English than they do of a foreign language anyway, preferring to speak in belches and grunts which they believe are charming.

But I digress...

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