Kitty: a wonderful early computer animation from Russia (1968)

From Etudes.ru (Google translation):

More than 40 years ago in 1968 ... A team led by Nikolai Nikolaevich Konstantinov creates a mathematical model of the motion of the animal (cat). The BESM-4 machine, executing a written program for solving ordinary (in the mathematical sense of the word) differential equations, draws a cartoon "Kitty" containing even by modern standards an amazing animation of cat movements created by a computer.

(via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest

Podcast: "IBM PC Compatible": how adversarial interoperability saved PCs from monopolization

In my latest podcast (MP3), I read my essay "IBM PC Compatible": how adversarial interoperability saved PCs from monopolization, published today on EFF's Deeplinks; it's another installment in my series about "adversarial interoperability," and the role it has historically played in keeping tech open and competitive. This time, I relate the origin story of the "PC compatible" computer, with help from Tom Jennings (inventor of FidoNet!) who played a key role in the story. Read the rest

"IBM PC Compatible": how adversarial interoperability saved PCs from monopolization

Adversarial interoperability is what happens when someone makes a new product or service that works with a dominant product or service, against the wishes of the dominant business. Read the rest

The Computer History Museum just published the sourcecode for Eudora

Eudora -- first released in 1988 -- was the first industrial-strength email client designed to run on personal computers like IBM PC and the Macintosh; though there are still die-hard users of the program, the last version was published in 2006. Read the rest

This sketch from 43 years ago shows kids playing a video game on their "iPad"

I was going through my copy of Stewart Brand's 1974 book, II Cybernetic Frontiers (1974) when I came across this sketch by computer scientist Alan Kay, who conceived of a tablet computer in 1972 called the Dynabook. Although it used a stylus and a keyboard, his 43-year-old sketch of two kids sitting in the grass playing video games on their Dynabooks looks like kids today playing games on their iPads. Read the rest

Man orders a pizza using a talking computer (1974)

In 1974 a man with a communications disorder made history when he ordered a pizza over the phone with a talking computer built by Michigan State University's Artificial Language Laboratory. He tried calling Dominoes four times, but they thought it was a prank and hung up on him. But another pizza delivery service took the order.

[via] Read the rest

Watch: How "oldschool" computer graphics worked back in the eighties

In part one of a series, the limitations of color on eighties-era computers and early game consoles like NES and Commodore 64.

"The Computer Girls," 1967 Cosmopolitan magazine article on women working with technology

Back then, the women themselves were sometimes called “computers.” They used these machines to compute.

The IBM 1620, an affordable “scientific computer” from 1959.

Some users gave it the acronym CADET: "Can't Add, Doesn't Even Try."

“The Queen of Code,” new short documentary on computing pioneer Grace Hopper

My only objection is that it's not a full-length documentary.

Altair 8800 clone

The Altair 8800 computer cost $621 when it was introduced in 1976. The Altair 8800 Clone is also $621, but it comes with 64k of static memory for free (in 1976, 1k of static memory for the Altair 8800 was $139). (Via Andy Baio) Read the rest

Doug Engelbart (RIP): "The Mother of All Demos"

In memory of computing pioneer Douglas Engelbart, who died last night, please watch this 1968 video of his "Mother of All Demos." Thank you Doug for helping augment human intellect.

"The key thing about all the world's big problems is that they have to be dealt with collectively. If we don't get collectively smarter, we're doomed." - Douglas Engelbart (1925- 2013)

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1951 digital computer restored and rebooted

This is the Harwell Dekatron, aka Wolverhampton Instrument for Teaching Computation (WITCH), a 61-year-old machine that was rebooted yesterday to become "the world's oldest original working digital computer."

Farewell, Ceefax: TV teletext service dies; nonsense pages immortalized in "Look Around You"

As Rob noted in an earlier Boing Boing post, the UK television teletext service known as Ceefax ("See Facts") has been terminated. So sad! It began in 1972. I remember staring at the chunky pixelly pages for hours in my hotel room, on my first visit to the UK in the 1990s.

Robert Popper, funnyman and Look Around You co-creator, says:

I thought I’d perk you all up by digging out the Pages from Ceefax, that Peter Serafinowicz and I made for our Look Around You DVD extras. They’re full of nonsense. Hope you enjoy the guitar I did too. Included here is an improvised modern classical piece. I was trying not to laugh while I played…

I remember these fake Ceefax screens well from the Look Around You DVDs. I had no idea Popper played the music, too. Brilliant. More below. Read the rest