Improve your handwriting with this simple daily practice

Despite taking pages of handwritten notes each day, my handwriting is hot garbage. After deciding that I wanted to improve the look of my penmanship, I set out to find a few ways to do it that wouldn't eat up a lot of my day. This video, featuring Nan Jay Barchowsky, is one of my favorites. Her suggestion to practice the up down motion we use to create most of the letters in our alphabet might seem kind of goofy at first, but it totally works. After a few days of practice, my writing is showing signs of improvement. Read the rest

All I want (to make) for Christmas: Yip Yips stockings

OMG, these hand-crocheted Yip Yips stockings by Carissa Browning sure do make me smile. The big mouths of Sesame Street's Muppet martians are perfect for stuffing in holiday gifts (and later for storing toys, Browning suggests).

One catch: If you want these, you'll have to crochet or knit them yourself. Fortunately, Browning has provided patterns for them which can be downloaded for free from her Ravelry page.

The spaceship has landed, and any fan of late 20th century children’s public television will recognize these lovable aliens.

Crochet them or knit them, use them as holiday stockings, toy storage, kids’ laundry, whatever really!

You should also be prepared to play with ping pong balls and pipe cleaners, and do a little light sewing.

Yip yip uh-huh uh-huh

(Cool Mom Picks, Daily Crochet)

photo via Carissa Browning, used with permission Read the rest

Beautiful papercraft retrocomputing models to print and love and hang from your tree

Rocky Bergen creates gorgeous, downloadable papercraft models of retro PCs, from the Commodore 64 to the Apple ][+ to the Amstrad, with different screens to print celebrating classic 8-bit games, and accessories like tiny floppies in tiny paper sleeves. As Waxy points out, these would make stunning Christmas ornaments. Read the rest

The best Christmas computer and electronics ads of 1980

Australia's Paleotronic is celebrating Christmas with twelve posts celebrating the best seasonal computer ads of the years between 1980 and 1992; today is day 1: 1980, in all its Coleco gloriousness. (Thanks, Gnat!) Read the rest

An illustrated tour of Unix history

Unix pioneer Rob Pike was there from the start, physically transporting key elements of the "Toronto distribution" of Unix to Berkeley when he started grad school, and then to Bell Labs, working alongside Dennis Ritchie and other key Unix programmers to develop and refine everything from modern editors to compilers to windowing systems. Read the rest

Gorgeous, illustrated Japanese fireworks catalogs from the early 1900s

The Yokohama Board of Education has posted scans of six fantastic catalogs from Hirayama Fireworks and Yokoi Fireworks, dating from the early 1900s. The illustrated catalogs are superb, with minimal words: just beautiful colored drawings depicting the burst-pattern from each rocket. Read the rest

The amazing deluxe commemorative edition of The Art of Dungeons and Dragons is out today

Today marks the publication of the $100 Dungeons and Dragons Art and Arcana box-set, which contains a 400-page retrospective of the classic art of D&D, a reprint of the notoriously hard Tomb of Horrors module (designed by Gary Gygax to challenge the most overpowered characters), and frameable lithos. Read the rest

Snapshot from the heroic era of mobile computing

MJ Carlson calls this photo from a 1980s computer science textbook "the most glorious stock photo of all time." She is correct. Read the rest

Remembering the wild days of IRC on its 30th birthday

Jon Cog writes, "On the 30th anniversary of IRC, David Cassel pulls together his favorite memories from the 1990s, 'when there were all kinds of fun things to do.' It was an unexplored world of freedom and fun, where even Monty Python's fish-slapping dance got a shout-out in a popular IRC client -- prompting one reporter to describe IRC as 'the kind of place that slaps you around a bit with a large trout.' But the article describes the humble origins of IRC (as a Swedish college student's summer project), as well as the many weird and wonderful moments that followed -- including an IRC-themed music video from Sweden in 2006. And best of all, IRC is still popular among open source developers today. Read the rest

The fabulous illustrated history of the pocket calculator

In the 1970s, there was a boom in pocket calculators, driven by the plummeting costs of their electronic components, and an industry that had once prided itself on its high-end offerings for serious business users found itself rethinking the nature of the calculator, producing "ladies' calculators," calculators for kids (accompanied by bestselling books of "calculator games") and all manner of weird form-factors. Read the rest

That time Phyllis Diller roasted the Haunted Mansion

Back in 1972-3, Disney ran a short-lived variety show called The Mouse Factory that intercut classic animation with live action, framed by celebrity hosts that kind of threaded it all together into a mashed-up, loose storyline. Read the rest

Kickstarting new Aquabats albums and TV shows!

The wonderful Aquabats, nearly killed when the network they'd signed with went out of business, are back, and they want to produce a new TV special episode of Super Show! with a new album to go with it. Read the rest

Re/Search press releases its first-ever merch, only available for a few more hours

For cyberpunks of a certain vintage, Re/Search press (previously) was absolutely formative -- books like Incredibly Strange Films, Zines!, and, of course, Modern Primitives (RIP, Fakir) were incredibly influential material for the modern happy mutant. Read the rest

The Cyberdeck: a homebrew, 3D printed cyberspace deck

A small but vital genre of homebrew portable computers is the "cyberspace deck," in which hackers create DIY, special-purpose computers inspired by the ICE-breaking console-cowboy decks of William Gibson's Sprawl trilogy (Neuromancer, Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive). Read the rest

Bloom County's second reboot collection: the election of 2016 and beyond

When Donald Trump entered the election race, it brought Bloom County creator Berkeley Breathed out of a much-deserved retirement to lampoon Cheeto Hitler as only Milo, Opus, Bill and the gang could; the first collection chronicled the 2016 campaign, and a second collection, Brand Spanking New Day is a comic snapshot of one of the weirdest, worst years in living American memory.

Weeknotes: personal, public logs in the tradition of early blogging

Matt Webb (previously) is a "weeknoter." That means that once a week, he sits down and sums up all the things he's seen, done, learned and taken note of in the previous week, and makes the result public. Read the rest

Kickstarting a new edition of Steve Jackson's long-lost masterpiece "Melee"

Stefan Jones writes, "While Dungeons & Dragons (1973) had its roots in miniatures wargaming, it really didn't coherently integrate boardgame-style maneuvers into its combat system. Steve Jackson changed that a few years later with Melee, the first segment in what would be a full-fledged fantasy role playing game system, The Fantasy Trip. It was a lot better developed than D&D, and was supported by GMd adventures and solotaire adventures." Read the rest

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