atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#2296: WTF am I doing?

I feel like I ought to be posting a blog entry, but I'll be switched if I can think of a topic.

* * *

Sitting behind the headboard of my bed, resting securely in its carrying case, is a TRS-80 Model 100 portable computer.



Image shamelessly stolen from...somewhere.

I tried using it, in 1990, to take notes in class; everyone was bothered by the unfamiliar sound of typing and I had to stop. *sigh* Ahead of my time, as always; I bet you can't throw a paper airplane in a college class now without hitting half a dozen laptops.

I borrowed it from a friend to fiddle with, and never did much with it; and it languished here while they moved house some two or three times. My original intention had been to use it as a portable word processor: enter text, then use a serial cable to move it to another computer where I could edit and print and so forth. But I never got around to making the RS-232 interface. When I started college I had thought to use it to take notes--no go.

I also tried writing a program to use as a D&D gaming aid, but that didn't work out either because (for one thing) getting truly random numbers out of a computer is a really difficult task.

The hell of it is, the thing is really good on batteries. It takes AAs and they last plenty long. It's compact and very easily portable. The keyboard is fantastic. If only there had been anything useful I could have done with it!

...but that's why I was able to borrow the thing in the first place: there wasn't any software for it save what the user wrote himself (or typed in from magazines) except for overpriced Tandy software. It featured the usual weird Tandy connectors, which forced you to use Tandy peripherals. (You could build an RS-232 interface, of course, and you could also build a Centronics parallel interface; but it made the thing unwieldy.) The entire problem with Radio Shack computers was their price; they were among the most expensive computers out there, and you didn't get a hell of a lot of value for your money. I think this particular unit originally retailed for $1,000 at a time when that kind of money would buy you a C-64, a floppy drive, a printer, and a monitor--and leave you money left over for some software, to boot. Well: it was portable, which raised the price, but even accounting for that it was still too expensive.

This particular unit came with a cassette recorder, used for loading and saving programs, but I never managed to make it work. And I had no way to print anything, either. Unfortunately, a computer you can't get stuff into and out of is pretty much a paperweight.

* * *

Commodore did a lot of stuff right with its mass-market machines, the VIC-20 and the C-64. For one thing, the "Datasette" tape drive was digital rather than analog; there was no mucking about with recording levels or anything. When you saved a program to the cassette, it just worked. It was slower than molasses in an ice age, but it worked.

* * *

Well: House, MD has its season premiere this coming Monday. Smallville starts up this coming Friday, the 24th.

Live-action Kimi ni Todoke hits the Tokyo airwaves on the 25th; no idea when it hits the torrents.

Iron Man 2 comes out on the 28th.

This year is better than last year, TV-wise. Last year I had a TV show to watch every weekday except Wednesday; this year I've just got House, MD and Smallville--Monday and Friday, respectively. That suits me.

I don't think I'm going to bother with V this year--wherever and whenever they get around to it--and of course FlashForward was axed. V just never got off the ground as far as I'm concerned; it tried to do too much with too few episodes, and I just don't give a rat's ass about any of the characters. The big cliffhanger--Anna's atmospehre ruination project thing, that made the sky look like it's on fire--didn't present enough information for me to care what was going on; certainly it didn't do squat for "maintenance of curiosity" over the summer months.

The premise was barely warmed over from the early 1980s version, and they didn't do anything to make it compelling television. Someone saw the success of Battlestar Galactica and thought, "Well, hell, we can do that! What have we got laying around that we could use?"

But they didn't realize that you can't just dust off a 30-year-old story (which was badly executed) and rewrite it to reflect modern technology without also updating the premise. BG at least was totally revamped, from the ground up, so that it was hard SF. V is the same story as before, wrapped in slick new packaging: the aliens have fantastic "like magic" technology that lets them do just about anything (including resurrecting dead people) and humans have just dumb luck, but all the time.

Humans can only resist the Vs at all because the Vs don't have the "Figure-Out-Who-Our-Enemies-Are-device". They certainly have machines that do everything else, like the machine that could analyze video of an explosion to figure out whose fingerprints were left in the bomb's plastic explosive. (Jesus!)

I honestly don't expect much from Hollywood: I merely want the producers and writers not to assume that I'm stupid and will swallow any pap they emit solely because it has lots of fireworks and high tech gizmos and gewgaws. That's why I am not going to watch Avatar; that's all it's got.

Give me something reasonably intelligent to watch that's not made entirely out of "gee whiz!" or "lookit what hardcore villains these guys are!" and I might actually watch it. But just about everything Hollywood does these days falls into one of those two categories, neither of which I like; which is why I don't bother.

* * *

And there's nothing else that looks interesting to me. Hooray for free time!

* * *

Since I used up Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 rather abruptly, there are only two series left on my playlist.

One is Kiss X Sis, of which I have only 2 or so eps left. The other is Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu: Purezza; I've seen 4 eps of that and have about 9 left.

Repeated forays into the mass of anime on the E: drive has not found me anything that I haven't seen already. Not series, anyway. So I guess what I'll do next is to mainline the stragglers, then start dumping things to DVD while I wait for the autumn season to shake out.

* * *

You know, I have never seen a movie starring Al Pacino that I liked? Not one. Ever.

This came to mind because Heat was on one channel or another the other day. My brother loves that movie; I saw it once and hated it.

...then I thought, "What about Robert DeNiro?" I don't think I ever liked any of his movies, either.

It's gotten to the point that if the movie stars either of them, I steer clear of it, because it's obvious from past experience that I'm not going to enjoy it. And if I'm not going to enjoy the movie, I don't want to see it; I watch movies because I want to be entertained, not "challenged".

* * *

Another "blah" Sunday. Well, there are worse things.
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