Category Archives: retro

How a vacuum tube works

I found another interesting subject from, a simple explanation about vacuum tubes.

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Overhead projectors

A popular reminiscence going around the image blogging platform Tumboleer about overhead projectors has reminded me of my favorites.

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Games that (should) Live Forever: 3 in Three

3 in Three was a Macintosh only game put out by Cliff Johnson. The plotline: You are a numeral three in an Excel spreadsheet in a computer (obviously a Macintosh) that gets bumpt off the spreadsheet by accident and are now stuck inside the machine. You have to work your way up from the lowest depths of binary, through the intermediate levels of characters, symbols, math and letters in order to return to the application level and your supposed “right” place in the inner world.

You do this by engaging in superlogical trains of thought such as figuring out that “NME” spells “Enemy” and that 7 + 5 = 2. Also highly notable is the degree to which the Macintosh user interface (menu bar) is subordinated to the game, serving regularly as a button rather than a menu. I have no experience with the music or sound effects, but they really aren’t needed to justify my explanation of the game as being amazzing and completely worth the effort of getting System 7 running in BasiliskII or other emulator in order to play the game.

It is free from the author, at his website:

I am eagerly awaiting the successor “3” games that he claims to be making. Note that his latest game was about 10 years in production, so don’t write it off as vaporware.

Shifty Sam Hinks the banker, inviting systemic disaster.

I found this in an old LIFE magazine from August 20, 1971. The pages were larger than A4, so I could only partially scan it.


Aside from the odd name of the firm, though logical given its long history to then, what a shifty pair of loan “men”! The one on the right looks like a 1920s used car dealer with his noxious necktie and stand up collar and probable cellophane flower in his lapel. His expression is peculiarly malevolent, like he knows you’re going to default on it but can’t stop yourself signing it. His nose appears to have been punched by a desperate debtor at least once. Probably in his early days before he could spot a “mark” as well as he does now.

His fellow on the left is a little more soberly dressed, and appears uneasy at his fellow loan officer. He must be the one who knows a bad credit risk when he sees one and wonders why on Earth his bank would willingly court bad debts and probable frauds. His nose is still intact, which suggests he knows how to get rid of unwanted clients: pass them on to Shifty Sam Hinks1, though at the cost of his conscience. “Why did I go into banking to begin with?”

  1. Sam Hinks was the name of a bandit in an old film. I needed one, so I used that. 

Time marches on

In the continuing series of odd textbook and other educational matter, Time and Beyond:


Other than being published by Allyn and Bacon with a copyright of 1978, I cannot find anything on this online. Was it about learning to tell time? Time management? Time itself? New Math? Time may tell, if anyone has the time to find out and put it online, or takes the time to comment.

I will not make any more “time” jokes, since the indisputed king of them is Cliff Johnson of “3 in Three” fame. I will ask: Why is there a hole in the center of the clock face, where the stems of the hands would go? Why is the stem of the pocketwatch off centered? Shouldn’t it be divided in half? For that matter, shouldn’t the number 12 at the top?

I would like to know – seriously – what the “beyond” referenced by the title is.