June 7, 2006

ASCII days

There are different levels of geekdom. Back in the early 80's you were a geek if you spent all your free time logging onto BBSes, the precursor to the internet, you were geekier still if you ran a BBS, and an uber geek if you actually coded a BBS. Hardware geeks were in another class altogether. But the difference between geek society and the rest of the word is that the closer to code and machine you got, the cooler you were. So if you were someone like me, a low caste geek who simply hung out on BBSes you had the worst of both worlds because you were just normal enough for regular society to reject you but not nearly smart or obsessive enough to be a high llama geek.

Ironically these days, lots of people claim high school nerdiness. Partially this is because anyone with half a soul felt like an outcast in high school, partially it's because of nostalgia, but mainly it's because memories lie. Even the most popular people claim to have been outcasts. You want to know about geekiness circa 1981? Let me paint you a picture. You had an Apple ][ or a Vic Commodor and you would wait by the mailbox for the mailman to deliver a fresh copy of Byte or Nibble magazine. Once the magazine arrived, you would flip through it at high speed praying for some code. If you were like me you were always looking for an easy way to get that code into the machine as reading back and forth from the page would surely introduce mistakes. My brilliant idea, record the numbers and dictate to myself. I have tapes and tapes full of code. Here is one small fragment, a data table of numbers. Enjoy.

posted at 03:54 AM by raul

Filed under: personal history

TAGS: 1981 (1) ascii (1) bbs (1) code (1) geekdom (1) high school (2) recording (2)


06/08/06 06:28 AM

Raul, I bow down to your uber-geekyness!
READING out and recording code?! That's hardcore, plus the fact that you still have the recording is just incredible.

06/08/06 12:35 PM

Leah, I want to hear your mix! Raul, I had to laugh at that tape sample. I've been flying just under the geek radar for years, hoping to make a huge blip. Being a blip, rather than hoping, is the ticket, no?

06/09/06 01:27 PM

raul, I'll use your voice as a sleep aid

In 1980, I pulbished a drag racing game I called "67 Mustang" in the newsletter of the HP-67 card-programmable calculator users' group. I just did a little googling and found the original article. There are people out there scanning *everything.*

06/09/06 01:52 PM

Why do I know that was spoken through braces...

06/09/06 02:15 PM

Love that article Joe. 24 hours after publishing this post someone emailed me and asked me if I was the guy who published something called Raul's Icon Util for the Mac way back in 1985 (it was popular on the BBS's) and did I still have a copy... I was indeed that Raul, I found a copy, and amazing considering it was mainly written Think-C with a healthy dose of inline assembly language it still runs nicely under classic (with the caveat that when it crashes it will crash badly). I've included an archive of it complete with a set of circa 1985 icons (note you will have to navigate to the icon file so remember where you put it). A few things to note. When you click on the mask, the cursor will change and you will be drawing on the icon's mask and the hand icon will crash you as will the horizon icon next to it [the hand icon let you grab anything on the screen and is trying to copy directly from screen memory directly and assuming a b/w monitor).

Anyway, here it is in all it's 24KB glory (and still darned fast), Raul's Icon Util. Btw, undo works. hooray me.

06/11/06 01:08 PM

Like everyone else, I'm sure, I love that you still have things like this around. It gives a young, growing packrat hope that holding on to weird stuff that has no apparent use will someday be fruitful.

I love the accent, and the part where you say, "Wait, take that back."

06/12/06 08:03 AM

Whoa, Raul's Icon Util still runs great (once I found a Mac around here that still runs Classic).

Though I went through a Mac Plus, I'd forgotten that Macs were ever black and white...

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