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Redundant technology

Started by greencalx, May 22, 2022, 05:02:27 PM

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Ferris

We set up a dark room in our house at uni for 35mm film, I still have a few of the photos. Two of the 30cm prints are on my walls as I type this actually. I also handed in an essay on Kant that I did on my typewriter, and had a collection of laserdiscs for our projector.

At least I knew I was a properly pretentious dickhead, even at the time.

In my current life, I'm required to point out that a department of the Canadian government has, as part of the federal commitment to e-government initiatives, opened a new fax line in 2022. It's an alternative to hard copy mail. You're only as obsolete as the woman you feel!!

Sebastian Cobb

Jason Scott of the Internet Archive has just posted some pics of Dougie Fresh in the studio from a tape he's just digitised.
https://twitter.com/textfiles/status/1529583136010653697

QuoteIf you think you can find an image more 1980s than Doug E. Fresh rapping into a microphone while a someone runs a vinyl turntable and there's an IBM PC in the shot as well, I tip my Kangol hat off to you




mippy

My friend has a CueCat - a cat-shaped barcode scanner c.2000. He uses it to scan book barcodes for his home library database, but they were originally designed to be used much as QR codes are.

Well, I say that, but the idea was that you saw a barcode in a magazine, took it over to your desktop and then scanned it with the CueCat to send you to a website to buy it.

Blumf



A "pen scanner", which you could roll over text and it would read it and then beam it, over IRDA, to whatever device/PC you wanted.

Really fancy tech for the turn of the century, pretty decent OCR, and had quite a usable interface for editing the text before beaming. Paired up nicely with a Palm Pilot. Could see it being useful if you wanted to pull quotes from a book often.

Anyway, turns out that kind of thing still exists today, but with Bluetooth instead of IRDA (example), so maybe not redundant. Never mind!

seepage

At school I'd write a little FORTRAN program on coding sheets and pop them in the post to the local poly to be keyed onto punched card. I'd then wait for the punched cards to arrive in the post and then send them to the nearest uni to run the program and post back the printout. After typing errors and debugging, at the end of term I'd have a working FORTRAN program!

At uni you were allowed to punch your own cards. I don't remember any CRTs. There was an HP calculator that looked like it had a full-size CRT but it was just an illusion as there was only a 3-line LED display set in the middle of the screen.

I still used coding sheets for JCL and SAS in the first few years at work.     

Zetetic

Quote from: Sebastian Cobb on May 25, 2022, 09:26:54 PMAfter the Snowden leaks the Kremlin reverted to typewriters as they're not networkable.
Based on Putin's videos, they actually seem to have reverted to Windows XP - at least for the machine on his desk.

pigamus

Quote from: buzby on May 25, 2022, 02:32:11 PMA Wang System 2200 WCS minicomputer. It has 2 8" floppy disk drives (which were quite common in the era it was made) a hard disk and a tape drive. It had  4k to 32k of RAM and 4k of ROM, with an additional 16k ROM for Wang BASIC. They cost $7500 for the basic version in 1974. A later version was called the 2200 PCS (Personal COmputer System), and had been shrunk down to fit into the terminal case. Part of that involved the creation of the 5 1/4" floppy disk format, which was created by Shugart at Wang's request so they could fit the floppy drives inside the case.

Stephen King used to use one of these in the early 80s. There's a joke in the introduction to, I think, Skeleton Crew about the computer he uses: "It's a big Wang, and I'll thank you to keep your smart remarks to yourself."

Quote from: Sebastian Cobb on May 25, 2022, 09:26:54 PMAfter the Snowden leaks the Kremlin reverted to typewriters as they're not networkable.

Tangentially related in the height of the Cold War one of the only Americans that could get in and out of the Russian embassy unhindered was a Xerox engineer, so the CIA recruited him to fit a modified 8mm cine camera inside that could photograph the sheets being copied.

https://electricalstrategies.com/about/in-the-news/spies-in-the-xerox-machine/

I kind of wouldn't mind pissing about with an 8mm camera tbh. I got a development tank for 35mm off a relative a while back and have a Minolta X300 kicking around but so far have done nothing with it.

Edit: jesus 8mm tanks cost a bomb.



I inherited a lovely old Keystone wind-up 8mm camera similar to the one above recently, but likewise I've not used it due to the eye-watering cost of modern 8mm film. I came to realise it requires you to both know what you're doing and to invest a lot of money into a pretty niche hobby.

buzby

Quote from: famethrowa on May 25, 2022, 03:49:53 PMMy mother's accounting office in the early 80s had a big computer made by DIGITAL, with a CPU the size of a chest freezer that took 8" disks. No-one in the office knew what to do with the damn thing, so I was able to fiddle with it plenty, and the company had even included a disk of games! Total text things, there was a bomber game where you would put in how many bombs you wanted to drop on North Africa, and a psychiatrist game where you could talk random nonsense to the computer (something I'm still doing to this very day). I still remember the feeling of sliding the disk in and clicking the lever shut.
This was probably a DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation) MicroVAX. 'Micro' was a relative term - a full-size VAX was a the size of a small car. we still have a couple of full-size VAxen (the official plural term) sitting in our datacentre, decommnssioned (they were replaced by DEC ALphas, which run the same VMS operating system). Removing them would cost more than they are worth in scrap value (though there's some gold to be recovered from those old servers, as they used gold-plated edge connectors for all the boards and backplanes)

Quote from: Sebastian Cobb on May 25, 2022, 11:10:59 PMJason Scott of the Internet Archive has just posted some pics of Dougie Fresh in the studio from a tape he's just digitised.

That's a IBM PC AT 5170, so from at least 1984/85, with it's original monitor. Note that there is a second monitor next to it that looks like an Atari SM124 monochrome monitor, so there was presumably an ST used for sequencing somewhere there as well (which is what the PC was probably used for, via Voyetra Sequencer Plus, before the ST started taking over).

I'm not sure why having a turntable in a studio producing rap artists in the 1980s is regarded as something remarkable though.

Sebastian Cobb

I don't think it's remarkable but I guess from the stills he's trying to highlight that he's relying on a dj to scratch in, or loop live rather than relying on samplers? I guess that prevailed for a while though.

buzby

Quote from: Sebastian Cobb on May 26, 2022, 09:30:05 AMI don't think it's remarkable but I guess from the stills he's trying to highlight that he's relying on a dj to scratch in, or loop live rather than relying on samplers? I guess that prevailed for a while though.
Kids these days....

It's probably more likely the DJ is supplying a beat for him to rap to, which would later be replaced or extended into the full track.  If this is around 1986/87 there will be an Akai or E-Mu sampler of some description around somewhere.

Quote from: Blumf on May 26, 2022, 01:16:33 AM

A "pen scanner", which you could roll over text and it would read it and then beam it, over IRDA, to whatever device/PC you wanted.

Really fancy tech for the turn of the century, pretty decent OCR, and had quite a usable interface for editing the text before beaming. Paired up nicely with a Palm Pilot. Could see it being useful if you wanted to pull quotes from a book often.

Anyway, turns out that kind of thing still exists today, but with Bluetooth instead of IRDA (example), so maybe not redundant. Never mind!

Can't see them lasting too much longer now that most new phones can OCR text in photos.

Sebastian Cobb

Quote from: Huxleys Babkins on May 26, 2022, 09:34:26 AMCan't see them lasting too much longer now that most new phones can OCR text in photos.

It wouldn't surprise me if a talking version had a niche use for blind people. Bigger versions have been around for decades as covered by this Techmoan video.

He did another one on a Microsoft phone application for the blind that can OCR text and also has amazingly good object recognition so it can say what it sees, but I can imagine some users would prefer to operate something a more tactile than a phone.

pigamus

Quote from: Ron Maels Moustache on May 26, 2022, 08:22:25 AMI inherited a lovely old Keystone wind-up 8mm camera similar to the one above recently, but likewise I've not used it due to the eye-watering cost of modern 8mm film. I came to realise it requires you to both know what you're doing and to invest a lot of money into a pretty niche hobby.

So how much we talking for a roll of film, out of interest?

gilbertharding

Quote from: Blumf on May 26, 2022, 01:16:33 AM

A "pen scanner", which you could roll over text and it would read it and then beam it, over IRDA, to whatever device/PC you wanted.

Really fancy tech for the turn of the century, pretty decent OCR, and had quite a usable interface for editing the text before beaming. Paired up nicely with a Palm Pilot. Could see it being useful if you wanted to pull quotes from a book often.

Anyway, turns out that kind of thing still exists today, but with Bluetooth instead of IRDA (example), so maybe not redundant. Never mind!

We had a pest controller round our house a few years ago who used something like that to record his report about our mouse infestation. Not sure how it worked (guess it was bluetooth), but it did.

pigamus

Most of the mice have QR codes now I think

Sebastian Cobb

I think it was @Sherringford Hovis who pointed out a while back that security guards are often issued with a phone app to scan QR codes rather than little data-loggers to check-in on their rounds to prove they're doing them, which allows the checkpoints to be photocopied easily.

Quote from: pigamus on May 26, 2022, 10:02:18 AMSo how much we talking for a roll of film, out of interest?

The cheapest is around £16 for a reel of 33ft b/w, that seems to be the most commonly available kind. For longer reels and/or colour film we're talking upwards of around £40-50 a pop, and colour in particular seems to be quite scarce at the moment.

Analogue Wonderland only seem to have one brand of b/w in stock and everything else sold out, other sites I've looked at are the same.

https://analoguewonderland.co.uk/collections/types?q=8mm%20Movie%20Film

I've also read contradictory information about buying old Kodachrome stock second-hand, as some sites claim it's worthless as it can no longer be processed, whereas some development services say they will process it, so who knows quite honestly.

Sebastian Cobb

Did you look at double 8mm and splitting it? Might be faff but it looks like the stock is still available.

For messing about photography-wise something else I wouldn't mind doing is getting a subminature "spy camera", Minolta's seem cheap enough and easy to reload with 16mm film. A Minox would be nicer but I think they're more difficult to load and require a slitter.

Ferris

How long a film can you make with 33ft of 8mm? Back of envelope calculation - a minute or two?

Sebastian Cobb

#200
1 minute and 50 seconds at 24 fps apparently. It's why you often see home movie footage that's just a few seconds of someone smiling or moving around and then straight onto the next scene. A friend of a friend was playing around with one at a festival a few years ago and he said he generally tended to try and keep scenes around 3-5 seconds to pack variety in.

https://www.scenesavers.com/content/show/film-footage-calculator

When talking about slitters I think I forgot a lot of 8mm cameras can take "double 8mm" as you can flip it round and use the reverse, so you actually get 3 minutes and 40 seconds, then they split it in the lab so you can project it.

Quote from: Sebastian Cobb on May 26, 2022, 11:52:13 AM1 minute and 50 seconds at 24 fps apparently. It's why you often see home movie footage that's just a few seconds of someone smiling or moving around and then straight onto the next scene. A friend of a friend was playing around with one at a festival a few years ago and he said he generally tended to try and keep scenes around 3-5 seconds to pack variety in.

https://www.scenesavers.com/content/show/film-footage-calculator

When talking about slitters I think I forgot a lot of 8mm cameras can take "double 8mm" as you can flip it round and use the reverse, so you actually get 3 minutes and 40 seconds, then they split it in the lab so you can project it.

I checked my camera and it only does 30 seconds a time at maximum windage, so looks like it would have to be very short scenes only :)

Those Fomapan reels mentioned earlier are doubles, so yeah you would get slightly more out of them. Maybe I will give a couple of those a try.

mippy

Quote from: Ron Maels Moustache on May 26, 2022, 10:18:07 AMThe cheapest is around £16 for a reel of 33ft b/w, that seems to be the most commonly available kind. For longer reels and/or colour film we're talking upwards of around £40-50 a pop, and colour in particular seems to be quite scarce at the moment.

Analogue Wonderland only seem to have one brand of b/w in stock and everything else sold out, other sites I've looked at are the same.

https://analoguewonderland.co.uk/collections/types?q=8mm%20Movie%20Film

I've also read contradictory information about buying old Kodachrome stock second-hand, as some sites claim it's worthless as it can no longer be processed, whereas some development services say they will process it, so who knows quite honestly.

I know stills Kodachrome can only be done in b+w these days, because the colour chemicals no longer exist.

Uncle TechTip

As a kid I had a "spy camera" that was a tiny lens which wrapped around the 110(?) form of film cartridge, so the film was part of the body. It weighed nothing and fitted on a keyring. Of course it was next to useless, main problem being the wind-on mechanism always went too far, or not enough, so each picture had a black band left or right. The number of Quality Control stickers I had to peel off... was quite large. I suppose the image was good otherwise. The viewfinder was a plastic square.

Sebastian Cobb

Quote from: Voltan (Man of Steel) on May 24, 2022, 02:12:01 PMWhen I started at the council in the mid-nineties, all the officers were given film cameras to take out on site. We'd have to take the film to Boot's to be developed and would collect the pics the next day.

However, if we wanted evidence straight away we had a high-tech instant camera. It was white, the size of a shoe box, had moulded handles on each side and looked like something Jacques Cousteau would use to tow himself through the ocean. It shone two red lights on the target and when the dots merged it was in focus, i.e. it produced damp, muddy photos with a green tinge, for about a quid a pop.

By the sounds of it, a Polaroid macro camera. I knew from the description what you meant (although didn't realise they were for macro shots) and had seen them before but didn't realise they were Polaroids, however while nosing around for cine stuff following conversations in this thread eBay happened to recommend one.


That's the beast! Well done that man. I tried to find a photo myself but couldn't remember what it was called and search results were all pics of old standard Polaroids and the like.

JaDanketies

Sounds like a great idea for an app! Make a little 6mm camera app that only gives you two minutes of recording, and compiles it all into an end-to-end collage, so you can have it as like a year-in-review. You could even have a filter on it that adds that Zapruder film footage effect to it, so it looks old-timey. Such a good idea I bet someone's done it.

Sebastian Cobb

Yeah they have, and there's ones that use that VHS filter that has really over the top hue and colour ghosting.

Jasha

Quote from: Blumf on May 26, 2022, 01:16:33 AM

A "pen scanner", which you could roll over text and it would read it and then beam it, over IRDA, to whatever device/PC you wanted.

Really fancy tech for the turn of the century, pretty decent OCR, and had quite a usable interface for editing the text before beaming. Paired up nicely with a Palm Pilot. Could see it being useful if you wanted to pull quotes from a book often.

Anyway, turns out that kind of thing still exists today, but with Bluetooth instead of IRDA (example), so maybe not redundant. Never mind!

Converts printed text to audio, yours for 2 grand


Sebastian Cobb

Quote from: Jasha on May 26, 2022, 07:59:55 PMConverts printed text to audio, yours for 2 grand



Is that as small as the graphic implies?

I noticed RayBan are doing glasses with built in wireless cameras for reasons I'm not entirely sure I understand, I hope that technology stays redundant as it sounds like some Metaverse bullshit I don't want any part of.