Sunday Things - mostly retro edition

posted in Links by Cargo Cult on Sunday January 22 2017

Old hardware, new techniques. Or something. It's almost as if I choose the theme after throwing some random links together.

Serene Saturn (or the “Glutton for Punishment” mosaic) - gorgeous amateur reprocessing of Cassini imagery, and some notes on its reassembly. Make sure to click through a few times to get the Saturn-sized version. More of this sort of thing.
Moc moc-a-moc
The Teletext Salvagers: How VHS is bringing teletext back from the dead - Americans probably won't know what Teletext is. Or was, which would be a better description. A digital information system hidden away in otherwise unused lines of a television signal and decoded with hardware included in TV sets, it began in the early 1970s and was only relatively recently shut down for good in the UK. Consisting of many hundreds of pages per TV channel, rendered in gloriously colourful 40-column text and pseudographics, decades of transmissions were assumed to be lost for good - the original distribution systems being weird old mainframes with long-obsolete storage media and few if any content backups. But - fuzzy, indistinct echoes of those hidden signals were inadvertently included in people's video tape recordings of television programmes - and with GPU-assisted processing software, glimpses of this obsolete system filled with news, views and ephemeral trivia are finally coming back into view. Also, Digitiser has returned!

We wanted vacuum tubes for everything, but we got transistors instead

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The Art of Making a Nixie Tube - how to deal with dwindling stocks of these quirky little numerical display components? Reverse engineer their construction and start making your own, of course. Not a simple process. See also: home-made valves, or 'tubes' as Americans would call them. I have a number of old valves on my desk at work. Few people get the joke.

Bonus Teletext Design Corner:

  • edit-tf - fully authentic Teletext frame editor. Fill your nostalgic recreations / low-fi pixel art / anachronistic somethings with visual verisimilitude!
  • Enhanced Teletext specification - describes a futuristic upgraded Teletext, but also explains how those elusive held graphics work in older Teletext versions. I still can't get my head around them.
  • Horsenburger's Textworks - hipsters get excited about '8-bit' pixel art which looks nothing like actual 8-bit hardware capabilities. True artists do it with Teletext. Also, completely insane.

Article comments (now closed)

phuzz's gravatar

1. Ceefax

Posted by phuzz at 3:33AM, Monday January 23 2017

Back when the internet was starting to become 'a thing', I'd describe it to old people as being "a bit like teletext". It seemed to get the general idea across.

Cargo Cult's gravatar

2. Re: Ceefax

Posted by Cargo Cult at 11:35PM, Saturday January 28 2017

I never had a chance to have a go on the French Minitel system (an even more 'a bit like an early internet', being bidirectional over a phone line) - but now I have a sudden urge to acquire a disused Minitel terminal.

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