Sunday Things - photographic interlude

posted in Photography by Cargo Cult on Sunday March 12 2017

Since I've been thoroughly neglecting to upload any photos recently, have a purely arbitrary selection from the past year or so on the photos page. (I'm still sorting a load out in Lightroom, and realise I've forgotten many.)

747 Construction London

Yes, they're old-fashioned 2D efforts and not new-fangled 3D versions to explore, but hey. They start here and crawl their way to the present day.

Sunday Things - miscellaneous edition

posted in Links by Cargo Cult on Sunday March 5 2017

Greetings, readers across the world! I had a quick peer at my web-stats whatsits, to see followers from as far afield as Austria, Latvia, Peru and New Zealand. Hello, whoever you are.

This week is mainly retro space-related, with some bonus 1970s horror.

Indistinguishable from the real thing.
Scarfolk Council - life is increasingly imitating art. 'Scarfolk is a town in North West England that did not progress beyond 1979. Instead, the entire decade of the 1970s loops ad infinitum. Here in Scarfolk, pagan rituals blend seamlessly with science; hauntology is a compulsory subject at school, and everyone must be in bed by 8pm because they are perpetually running a slight fever.'
BRB, building in KSP.
NASA Johnson Space Center's Shuttle II - the original Space Shuttle was meant to be the beginning of a series of spacecraft, each more advanced than its predecessors. Instead, we had the 1970s original design running well into the 21st century. Here's one of the proposed replacements, from 1988.
Soviet space robots, of the anthropomorphic kind.
Rams Un Rums - splendid Soviet space robots in this children's book from the early 1960s. Like something out of The Cyberiad or Machinarium.

Bonus Terran Trade Authority corner:

For more information please reread.

Sunday Things - eccentric edition

posted in Links by Cargo Cult on Sunday February 26 2017

Thematic!

Pullies, springs and knotted string.
W. Heath Robinson's Inventions - I was thinking the other day about Heath Robinson and his splendid inventions, having seen some of the works of Rube Goldberg and been distinctly underwhelmed by them. One thing led to another, and I soon discovered that the Wikimedia Commons had scanned the entire, out-of-copyright contents of the same Heath Robinson book as owned by my grandfather. With cartoons depicting humorous solutions to both World Wars to solving the problems of communal living, via inter-war sports, manufacturing and transportation, I love how the people depicted are all so terribly serious about it all - these inventions are important, and not to be laughed at.

Wintergatan - Marble Machine

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Wintergatan - Marble Machine - speaking of Heath Robinson, have a Terribly Serious Swede with his fully functional but ridiculously over-complicated, ball bearing-operated music machine. Here is your ear worm for the day - annoyingly catchy.

Bonus Additional Eccentricity corner:

Sunday Things - obsolete video edition

posted in Links by Cargo Cult on Sunday February 19 2017

Are you following Techmoan? You probably ought to be - a northern gadget nut who's been acquiring, repairing and documenting all sorts of weird and wonderful old bits of home entertainment systems. Most of which I've never heard of before...

Retro tech: The RCA CED Videodisc

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Retro tech: The RCA CED Videodisc - an unlikely contemporary of the LaserDisc, the CED was conceived of in the 1960s but only made it to market in the early 1980s. Involving vinyl discs read using a stylus, I've yet to see the analogue media enthusiasts claim it's somehow purer and better than those poxy digital Blu-Rays...

VHD - The forgotten 1980s Videodisc

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VHD - The forgotten 1980s Videodisc - and if the CED was obscure enough, Japan had its own, similar system named VHD. Still using a stylus and the same capacitative effects as the CED, but without the grooves - this was almost vaguely successful for a time.

Bonus Quantel Corner:

Sunday Things - warbird edition

posted in Links by Cargo Cult on Sunday February 12 2017

A hangar, neglected and abandoned since soon after the war became irrelevant. Sunlight streams through grimy windows on to faded plastic and tarpaulin sheeting covering unidentifiable mechanical shapes, spattered in the dust and detritus of decades.

He walks over to one of the lumpen masses, its covering still faded but clear of dust. Pulling aside the sheeting, he pauses briefly to admire the war machine beneath.

Built in the closing stages of the war, not long before both sides' struggle became pointless in the face of a third, ascendant superpower - its shape clearly echoing the lines of earlier machines but with a last-ditch internal hardware layout inside. This particular specimen is clearly not abandoned, at least not now - cleaned up access ports and new umbilical cabling show the man's work over the years. But beyond this functional rehabilitation, unmodified - true to the day it first left its long-forgotten factory.

He pulls out a device from his backpack, tiny and implausibly powerful in comparison with the old war machine before him, but still a direct descendant of that new enemy's clunky past. Loaded with newly engineered firmware, designed to circumvent this relic's system limitations - he plugs it into a cable harness, preparing for upload to the old bird. Firmware to make the machine's main engine and awkward yet hugely capable auxiliary power unit beat as one, in perfect synchronicity - firmware designed with the knowledge and experience of decades of work, to carry the weapon originally wielded by that new enemy but in a manner long thought impossible.

Transfer complete, he begins the boot process. The Atari Falcon030 shall fly again - and a friendly flight over old Amiga territory seems strangely appropriate, just for old time's sake...

Atari BadMooD

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Atari BadMooD: alpha preview - Doom running on a 16MHz, 14MB Atari Falcon030 from 1992, in 16-bit colour using the audio DSP as a coprocessor. More information here.

Atari Quake 2: Continuity

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Atari Quake 2: Continuity - not the full game, but a map renderer running on that same 16MHz Falcon platform, this time emulated in Hatari. Fully 3D with texturing and coloured lighting - positively ridiculous, with the DSP heavily relied on for texture mapping and maths work. More information here.

Atari Quake 2: Anomalous Code

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Atari Quake 2: Anomalous Code - and now that Quake 2 map renderer showing some Half-Life maps. Wait, what? While a computer from 1992 displaying a game from 1998 may no longer seem as impressive, it's hard to remember quite how fast home computers were progressing in the 1990s. Buy a machine, and it would be antiquated in a year. To compare, the computer I run VR stuff on at home is about four years old - albeit a bit over-specified for its time, and with a new (but already outclassed) GPU in it.

Bonus Soviet NASA corner: