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May 29, 2022

The  Standards Eastern Automatic Computer was built by the National Bureau of Standards in 1948. It started crunching numbers in 1950 and stayed in constant operation until... 1964!  This early machine, festooned with vacuum tubes, lived well past the first transistorized computers. So what exactly is SEAC doing so far...

May 22, 2022

In this episode I talk with Aaron Reed, author of 50 Years of Text Games. We discuss the history of computer games, interactive fiction, business "gaming", and why we all love Adventure.

You can find Aaron's work here:

May 15, 2022

Multitasking: we all do it. For a feature of modern computing multitasking has surprisingly old roots. It started out as timesharing on vacuum tube based machines, reached ubiquity on large computers, then hit a wall: the microcomputer. Multitasking didn't smoothly transition over as soon as home computers hit...

May 1, 2022

There's power in music, but not all tones are created equal. During the reign of Bell Telephone there was one tone in particular that opened up a world of possibilities: 2600 Hz. The devotees of this note were called phreakers, and in some cases they knew the telephone system better than Bell employees themselves. This...