Archive for computers

I cast an Expendables movie featuring movie hackers…

Posted in computers, hackers, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , on March 16, 2012 by Paxton

LEB logo

We have a new assignment for The League this week. Brian borrows a topic from the Nerd Lunch Podcast. He wants us to cast a movie with the ultimate ensemble cast. I’ve decided to join him but I’m sure CT is going to yell at me to “SAVE IT FOR THE PODCAST!”

So, ignoring CT’s protests, I’m going to create an awesome ensemble cast for a movie about computer hackers. I want to create a super team of Hollywood computer hackers. However, I’ve decided to change it up a bit and cast movie characters as opposed to actors (which I guess you can say I’m technically doing actors, but just go with it). All of the actors that played the characters are still alive as far as I’m aware.  Also, this topic neatly ties into my last League article about a modern WarGames sequel.

So, let’s move on to my ultimate cast of movie hackers:

Kevin Flynn(Via Automotive Rhythms)
Kevin Flynn (TRON and TRON Legacy) – Kevin Flynn is the Obi-Wan Kenobi of computer hacking and the leader of my “Ocean’s 11 of computer hackers”.

David Lightman(Via Nick Step)
David Lightman (WarGames and WarGames 2: DECODR) – Lightman would be the Yang to Flynn’s Yin.  Almost as talented, but a little bit more daring and unpredictable.  He would be Flynn’s second in command. Notice how I put the title of my own WarGames sequel in the movie list after Lightman’s name?  What up, Hollywood?  I’m straight up prepared to sell you that idea.  Call me.

Chloe
Chloe O’Brien (24) – The lone girl hacker in this group and probably more intimidating than every other guy but one. I think I’m cheating a bit by putting a TV character in here, but I just couldn’t resist. She’s just so awesome in the show.  And I love the idea of her berating the rest of the team the whole movie.

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Uploading the Mad Magazine Computer issue from 1985

Posted in 80s, computers, Mad magazine, magazine, pop culture, technology with tags , , , , , , on August 19, 2011 by Paxton

Badass Book Report

Earlier this week I looked at the awesome Star Wars Q&A Book About Computers from 1983. In there we got to see Artoo and Threepio show us the until then current history of computers including an awesome painting of the droids playing an upright video game.

Then I took at look at the Marvel Super Heroes Computer Fun Book Two from 1984.  In there we saw lots of BASIC code for programs based on Marvel Super Hero adventures like the Iron Man Robot Retriever and Doctor Strange and the Computer Gremlin.

Today, I’m continuing my look at vintage computer activity books with Mad Magazine #258 from October 1985.

Mad magazine 258

This particular issue of Mad had a special “computer section” in the middle of the magazine. The feature article in that section was the Mad Computer Program.

Mad Computer Program 1
Mad Computer Program 2

The article provided code for three major BASIC platforms that you could enter into your computer and when you run the program, it would print out a special surprise output.  You can click the images above to see the code more clearly.

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Learning BASIC with the Marvel Super Heroes

Posted in 80s, books, comic books, nostalgia, pop culture, reviews with tags , , , , , , , on August 17, 2011 by Paxton

Badass Book Report

Yesterday I looked at the Star Wars Q&A Book about Computers. It featured a history of the computer (through 1983) and some awesome art by Ken Barr. Today, I’m looking at another awesomely vintage computer book, it’s the Marvel Super Heroes Computer Fun Book Two from 1984.

This book is LOOOOOOOOONG and it features A LOT of programs.  I’ll just be looking at some of the more notable programs and artwork.  You can check out my Flickr set to see more.

Marvel Computer Fun cover Marvel Computer Fun cover2

Here’s the cover to the activity book and the intro page telling you what to expect inside.

How to use this book
And here’s the Fantastic Four to tell you how to use this book (in case you weren’t already aware that you used it to, you know, program your computer).

Capt America 900 lines 900 lines 2 900 lines 3

Here’s Capt America reminding you to code your 900 lines.  He gives you 9 examples (there’s another page of code I’m not showing you) of 900 lines from different BASIC environments like the Commodore 64, IBM PC and Apple II.

Cap program
Here’s a program featuring Cap called Menace of the Gray Gargoyle.  It’s a “fence busting” program.  See the code here.  Man, that Gray Gargoyle looks lame.

Iron Man to the RescueIron Man to the Rescue Code 1Iron Man to the Rescue Code 2

This program is called Iron Man to the Rescue.  It’s a game in which Iron Man has to stop a ship from shooting missiles at a school filled with children.  Hope you get them all or the deaths of thousands of small schoolchildren on your head.  Is it just me or does that seem like a needlessly violent scenario for a kid’s computing activity book?

Iron Man's Robot Retriever Iron Man's Lock Problem

There are two other Iron Man programs.  The first is called Robot Retriever. It’s awesome because the title page features MODOK and ROM: Spaceknight.  The other is Iron Man’s Lock Problem.  I like the artwork on the title page.  I didn’t realize Iron Man was popular enough in the 1980s to get three programs in this book.

The article continues below the break…
Thor continue

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A look at the Star Wars Q&A Book about computers (1983)

Posted in 80s, books, computers, movies, pop culture, reviews, Star Wars, technology with tags , , , , , , , on August 15, 2011 by Paxton

Badass Book Report

I love vintage kids books.  I love vintage pop culture books.  I also love vintage books looking at early computing technology.  This week, I get all three wrapped into one.  I’ll be looking at three early 80s activity books featuring awesomely retro computing technology.  Being a tech guy and a pop culture guy sure pays off some days. The first book I’ll be looking at is the Star Wars Question and Answer Book about Computers from 1983. SW Q&A book cover Yes, I know, mixing Star Wars and computer technology? Yes, please.  And the book is filled with some of the most awesome artwork mixing R2-D2 and C3PO and computer machinery. SW Q&A title The artwork in this book is by Ken Barr. Ken Barr is a comic artist. He’s done a lot of work for Marvel, especially back in the 70s and 80s with titles like Deadly Hands of Kung Fu, Doc Savage, Savage Sword of Conan and Rampaging Hulk.  Most of that work being for Marvel magazines that showcase the really nice painted look of Barr’s creations.  You can see a lot of that here, too. This book is mainly an information dump about computers, how they began and what they can be used for.  Much of the information is surrounded by Barr’s gorgeous paintings. However there are also pages without artwork but instead use photographs of actual computer machinery.

SW Q&A intro SW Q&A AppleIIe

Here’s the intro to the book explaining about computers. Next to the intro is another information page featuring a picture of an Apple II.  Click the images to make them BIGGER.

SW Q&A chess SW Q&A arcade

Here are some pages talking about computers and video games. You can see an adorable picture of R2-D2 playing chess against a computer and both Artoo and Threepio playing an upright arcade machine. I’m seriously in love with that arcade machine painting. See it much bigger here. Continue reading

Microsoft Windows 1.0 was released 25 years ago this week

Posted in 80s, computers, Microsoft, pop culture, technology, Windows with tags , , , , , on November 19, 2010 by Paxton

Orig MicroSoft logo

The original version of Microsoft Windows (v1.0) was released around 25 years ago this week. I say about 25 years ago because It’s really tough to pin down the actual release date due to differing information depending on where you look. If you look at official Microsoft history, they mention in one paragraph that Windows 1.0 was released in 1983, but then in the next paragraph they say Windows 1.0 was released in 1985.  Other places alternately list 1983 or 1985.  It’s possible that the first few releases of 1.0 (ie, 1.0, 1.01, 1.02) were not official and only demo releases.  Most places I check have the release date for Windows 1.0 to be Nov 20, 1985.  So I’m going with that.

Here’s the box for that first release of Windows.

Microsoft Windows 1.0 box

Windows 1.0 required you to use 10 installation disks. And they were floppies!!

Windows 1.0 disks(Via Digibarn Computer Museum)

The original Windows used a radical new GUI interface to handle typical computer tasks like starting programs and file management. This freed the user from having to type commands at a DOS prompt. Delivered applications for this release included a File Manager, calendar, clock, notepad and calculator.

Windows 1.0 screenshot

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