Geeks on keto

(Bob Johnson) #1

Ok. I looked around a bit. I couldn’t find a thread that covered this so here it is. This way we don’t bother [or educate] the rest of the community with computer talk and Holy Grail quotes.

Tags to this are…
computers, science, monty python, fawlty towers, the googies, firefly, star trek, and Looney Toons

Use your geek card to add to the tag line.

I’ll open with a comment about my own computer life.

My first computer I bought from my first dorm roommate in the USAF IN 1981. It was from Protecto enterprises. It was called the INTERACT. It had 16 KB of ram. 4kb after loading BASIC in from. Built in tape drive. It hooked to the TV using the VHF antenna leads. A 20 column x 10 lines text screen if I remember right.

A couple of years later I bought a much more user friendly computer, a z80 Timex Sinclair 1000. It had built in basic, and a whopping 64k to play with. It had a 40x20 Colomn text screen. Black and white only. No greyscale. So 1 bit color. But it had a flight simulator, done in basic, that was more fun to hack than to fly :cowboy_hat_face:

A few more years go by. At a coworkers house I see for the very first time, an Apple IIe. I fell in love. 64k with an 80 column card add in that gave it 128k. And with the magic of memory swapping I could actually use all 128k (in a few pieces of software only of course). I became an AppleWorks master. Writing macros to automate tasks. Mostly I played games on it of course. After all it was the game “EAMON” that got me hooked.

I can remember in 1985, bragging to my brother in law, who had a degree in computer science (well was in Annapolis getting the degree) that I had just put one MB of memory in it. He said, “pfft… you’ll never use it all”. Of course to him the Apple IIe was just a toy computer. But even at a measly 1 MHz cpu speed, it outperformed a the IBM clones running at 3.8 (speed check?) MHz. Especially in tasks like search and replace in a large text document. Or in spreadsheet recalculating.

Then in 1986 came the APPLE IIgs. Wow the colors, the sound. It was the beginning of a new love affair. I started a computer users group in my house. We registered with Apple and received a few goodies now and then. The name of the group was “The Newtons Fruit Users Group” because Apple was too anal to let anyone use the name Apple in their name. And that was back in 1987! We had a lot of members (to me at the time anyway) most were strait up hackers. We had a couple of software devs. We even had one of the Beagle Bros show up a few times. If you don’t know who Beagle Bros were, you didn’t love your Apple II.

I was one of the first to upgrade my IIe into a IIgs by swapping the main board out. So it had the case of a IIe and the guys of a GS. I eventually did a mod on it, replacing the case as well, with one my local Apple store was about to toss out because it was in a house fire, and had smoke damage. To me it just added character.

Add in cards… a 2400 turbo baud modem. A checkmate 160 column card. A Phaser sound card. A Transwarp GS accelerated that took it from 2.88 MHz to an unbelievably fast 8 MHz. :sunglasses: oh yeah, I was that guy.

In 1989 I went to England. Was stationed at RAF Lakenhearh. A good friend of mine there worked as a NAV computer programmer. Had the cushy job of a civilian in the AF that all he did, or was allowed to do, was replace EPROMs in the Nav-coms when they came in with errors. Mostly he did nothing but browse the ahem internet (this was 1989, before browsers, before most people knew the internet existed). We would modem into his office, and connect to his PC there and use telnet commands to go out to other computers and download software. Of course it downloaded to his office PC, so he would bring it home the next day. Ahh… those were the days. Accessing a high speed government ISDN LINE remotely and pirating software.

Now… I have a beef with one of you who recently bad mouthed programming on the Apple II compared to on the IBM clones. At least we wrote our own code :sunglasses:. I had several friends that were going to school in the Air Force for programming. IMHO they never learned how to program. They learned how to copy and paste code from a library. From what I hear, it’s only gotten worse. :roll_eyes:

Well, I think I’m hitting my verbosity limit for the day. Typing on an iPhone tends to wear one out. Easily takes twice as long, trying to catch auto corrects and regular typos.

Keto Vitae!


YES!!! This was the name of the computer I was trying to remember on the other thread! It was our first. So glad you brought this up. :smile: Moved on to a Commodore 64 after that. I can’t claim to be a computer geek though, I spent most of my consulting career on the design end with little actual coding, and now I’m just a user.

Also, I’m more of a Star Wars girl myself, so I guess that means you can’t talk to me anymore. :laughing: Seriously though, I appreciate both, was just never obsessive about ST the way I’ve been (pretty much my entire life) about SW.

(Bob Johnson) #3

Star Wars? :sunglasses:

I won’t hold it against ya. I had a model of an X-wing hanging right next to my model of the NCC-1701. I later increased the collection to include the NCC-1701A as well.

My dad brought me home some fiber optic cable from the dash board of a Cadillac he was working on. Since my new model included a battery pack and grain of wheat bulbs, I decided to modernize it. I got my geek on and ran fiber optic filaments to each window on the ship. I spray painted the inside of the ship silver so the excess light didn’t shine through the ship skin. It looked beautiful if I must say so myself.

By the way, if you happen to read sci-if, look for Ryk Brown’s: “Frontiers Saga”. It’s a series of books, written to be made into a tv series. There were 14 books in the first ‘season’ and I’m currently in book 6 of the second season. I think I’m almost caught up with the author as he writes them. They are very good sci-if, written a lot like Star Trek, except the entire saga is one continuous story line. This is one series you wouldn’t want to skip around in as character build up happens in every book. I’m hooked. Makes me glad I have a kindle. I don’t know where I’d keep all these paper backs.

(says mix it up! Let chaos reign!) #4

Funny way to spell “educate.”

(Bob Johnson) #5

I see what you did there. :cowboy_hat_face:

(Bob Johnson) #6

Fixed it

(So much bacon . . . so little time . . .) #7

I remember when the PC/AT hit the market: a generous 64 Kb of RAM, screamingly fast at 12 mHz, and a gigantic 20 mB hard drive that would hold more data than you would ever need to store in your life. . . .

Of course, I remember IBM cards and manual typewriters, too. And when they invented this neat stuff called “dirt.”

The Cray supercomputer that went to the moon is in the Smithsonian Air and Space Musem. It was almost as powerful as an 80286, I believe.

(Bob Johnson) #8

Oh my gosh! The hard drive! I also had the Vulcan 100MB hard drive from Applied Engineering. That thing cost me a cool $1,000 back in 1989. I had my entire collection of 3.5 floppies copies to it, as well as my own stuff written in basic and machine language. Everyone I knew at the time that had a clone, only had at max, a 20 MB drive. Most still had a 10 MB drive. My Vulcan was even IDE. And everyone else’s was MFM or RLE :rofl::joy:.

(Bill Pletke) #9

My first PC didn’t come with a hard drive. It had 2 floppy disc drives. My personal early PC favorite was the Commodore 64.

(says mix it up! Let chaos reign!) #10

IIRC, the Apollo 13 module computer was 64KB RAM. And wasn’t really designed to have inputs made to it, anyway.

(So much bacon . . . so little time . . .) #11

Inputs? We don’t need no filthy, stinking inputs! (Oops! Sorry, wrong movie!)

(Bob Johnson) #12

INPUT! “I need input!”
“Hotdog: pig snouts, nitrates, red #5
Mwahaha “We be jammin!”


This is totally awesome. :grin:

LOVE sci-fi and am always looking for a quality series to get hooked on, so thank you very much for this recommendation. Gonna tag @dimorrill as well for this because we’ve been talking about audiobook recommendations and I know she’s into sci-fi also.

(Diane) #14


(So much bacon . . . so little time . . .) #15

I’m not sure I really want to get into another series, because I’ve been following David Weber’s Honor Harrington and Freehold series, Lois Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga and Chalion series, Cherryh’s Foreigner series, and Connie Willis’s time-travel stories and novels. I really just want to read stand-alone sf for a while.

(Ellen) #16

Thanks for the recommendation, will have to check that out, love good sci-fi.

(Ellen) #17

And more recommendations :smiley: Good job I’ve still got a load of Amazon vouchers!

(So much bacon . . . so little time . . .) #18

Kate Griffin does really good urban magic stories, in my opinion. I don’t find urban magic all that interesting in the hands of other writers, usually. In Griffin’s case, part of the attraction is that her stories are all set in London, and her love for the city is palpable and powerful.

For those of you who know London, Griffin’s description of the Elephant and Castle roundabout had me in stitches, but everything she says about it applies equally to the Chiswick roundabout and then some. In my opinion, it’s hard to beat the Chiswick roundabout at 4 p.m. for pure evil. And it can only have gotten worse in the last forty years, I should think.

(Tara) #19

Add the Silo Series by Hugh Howey to your Sci-Fi reading list. I read Wool, Shift, and Dust.

I grew up in the 90’s. My first pc was a used hand-me-down gateway, with win95, and a dial up modem! I raced home after school to connect to the internet and start downloading the songs in my Napster queue before my parents came home to kick me off the internet because they were expecting a phone call.


Of the ones you mentioned, Paul, these are the only ones I’ve already read (listened to, actually). I’ll check out the others! You’d probably like Neal Stephenson’s The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.! More awesome time travel.

I’ve been putting together a list for @dimorrill, I’ll share the sci-fi and fantasy sections of my list here for y’all. If you guys want, I can share the full list when I’ve made it. (This was intended to be a list of favorite audiobooks, so I’ve considered narration quality as well as the writing quality.)

Science Fiction
Ready Player One, The Martian - Listened to these long before the movies and loved both, my feeling is that RPO is better than the movie for sure (narrated by Wil Wheaton!), and The Martian was a good movie but there’s just so much more in the book.

John Scalzi – love almost everything he writes, and Wil Wheaton does a lot of the narration for his books. A lot of them have a very goofy space comedy feel, which may or may not be your cup of tea; excellent books that stand out from this generalization though, are Lock In and The Dispatcher (novella)

The Chemist – Stephanie Meyer (known for the Twilight Series which is YA/romance type stuff), but this one is different

Star Wars – I am a little nuts for SW, and the novelizations/addl fiction can vary quite a bit in quality, let me know if you’re into SW enough that you listen to these and I’ll give you specific recommendations

Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. – Neal Stephenson

James S. A. Corey’s series that starts with Leviathan Wakes – the whole thing is pretty good

Hell Divers series – Nicholas Sansbury Smith

Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan, Goliath, and Behemoth - a little bit more YA/steampunk/historical fiction than the other titles on this list

Riyria Revelations (three books), Riyria Chronicles (another three books) and, Legends of the First Empire (another 3) – by Michael J. Sullivan, with an excellent narrator

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms – George R. R. Martin; I can’t deal with the narrator they chose for the main GOT books (which I had already read but was hoping to listen for a second round), but this is Harry Lloyd narrating and he does an excellent job