April 1, 2014

Image problem solved

Filed under: Modern artifacts — acagle @ 7:46 pm

I found out that Dreamhost went and changed my ftp server name without, apparently, telling me. Hence, in honor of the new server I shall now post a couple of photos for your consideration:

Desert Fox

Desert Fox

Ignore the actual name of the file, I just called it that because I didn’t know what it was (at first. probably).

Any idears?

March 5, 2014

Material Culture . . . new functions for old artifacts

Filed under: Modern artifacts, Uncategorized — Tags: , — ArchaeoFriend @ 9:51 am

The musical banging and clanging of the radiator in my office once again reminds me of the beautiful musical tones from ordinary everyday objects. Take this recent composition, featuring the dulcet tones of the Epson LQ 850:
Dot matrix printer plays Eye of the Tiger

Could material culture get any better than this? It almost brings a tear to my eye, thinking about dot matrix printers. (Almost). Each Tuesday and Thursday, by the way, I pass by an Epson dot matrix printer, covered in dust and dead flies, in the main hall of the Physics department (where I teach Intro Archaeology). The poor thing looks so sad. And so old. But it reminds me of the re-purposing of objects that we see in archaeology, and of curation behaviors. I think I will even use it as an example of technology, style, and function for class on Thursday. This poor printer also reminds me of my trip last spring to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View CA. More on that trip, later.

January 22, 2014

“Betamax is the ‘Magna Carta’ of the innovation world.”

Filed under: Modern artifacts — acagle @ 2:45 pm

Rewinding to Betamax: The path to consumers’ “right to record”

From Megaupload to 3D printing, consumer-accessible tools for electronic copying remain at the center of the biggest legal fights in technology—and the Sony Betamax decision remains a key touchstone. Later this year, the Supreme Court will hear a case regarding Aereo, a company that has captured TV broadcasts and repackaged them for the Internet. Even though few consumers today rely on over-the-air broadcasts, whether or not there’s a fair use right to record them in this way is up in the air yet again.

For those of you too young to remember:
Desert Fox

December 29, 2013

“It seemed very high-tech and futuristic to me, like something out of that WarGames movie.”

Filed under: Media, Modern artifacts — acagle @ 10:46 am

Apologies to all the nerds of a certain age who will get sucked into this massive time sink after discovering all of the videos:
The Game Archaeologist: Revisiting the BBS

Back in 2010 (2010, really? Wow.) I gave a broad overview of the history and importance of the BBS — the bulletin board system. BBSes were a sort-of proto-internet, a homebrew networking solution that allowed users to connect online (via phone lines and low-baud modems) to chat, share ideas, and play lots of games. In fact, it’s just impossible to think of BBSes without these multiplayer games that ranged from fantasy dungeon crawlers to cutthroat capitalism in space.

Today I’d like to revisit this topic by inviting you to get to know bulletin board systems in a new light. I’m going to share my own experiences with BBSes in the early ’90s, a documentary on them that I found fascinating, and a game you can play today to get an eerily accurate feeling of what dialing up BBSes back then felt like.

I never got into BBS’s all that much, mainly because I was too busy with school at the time. I goofed around chat a lot — even met the ArchaeoWife over the old terminal! — and played a few games, but never really spent much time at it. I knew a bunch of sysops back in the day (late ’80s) who worked at the university computer labs. A bunch of them went on to become software millionaires.

There’s a video at the link which is a portion of a much longer documentary on the BBS. Not professionally done but good enough to be interesting. Some of the equipment will bring back memories to some. One made a very interesting observation about people creating whole new “social systems” based on communicating through these small networks that ‘amateurs’ set up by themselves. Also a nice story of a deaf woman who was finally able to communicate over the telephone at about the 14-minute mark.

Why do they all seem to have guitars? Still trying to get chicks?

November 14, 2013


Filed under: Humor, Modern artifacts — acagle @ 3:19 pm

What Google would have looked (and sounded!) like in the 1980s.

(And it works! Sort of. . . . .)

October 17, 2013

What hath the Internet become

Filed under: Modern artifacts — acagle @ 3:06 pm

Back when I was a teenager and was thinking about what the Future World of Computing and Communications would look like, I had all sorts of neat, high-tech ideas. Automatic mapping and directions, access to library materials the world over, live satellite views of any location I choose, communicating with others to conduct research and science, and all sorts of cool stuff like that.

So what does it really look like most of the time?

Seen on Facebook: “{Your Friend} place Blue Drunken Mushroom on Happy Dinos.”

Comments are supposedly turned off for a while.

October 15, 2013

Now we’re getting somewhere

Filed under: Alcohol, Historic, Modern artifacts — acagle @ 6:50 pm

Woodford distillery’s past comes to light with archaeology dig

Brown-Forman owns the Woodford Reserve Distillery near Versailles, on the site of the original Pepper distillery. Late this summer, archaeologists began excavating around the 1812 log cabin built by Elijah Pepper on a hill above Glenn’s Creek, where the first distillery and grist mill were built.

“We hoped to find any artifacts or architectural remains that would help fill in the picture of life there at the Pepper house,” said Dr. Kim McBride, co-director of the Kentucky Archaeological Survey, which is a partnership between the University of Kentucky Department of Anthropology and the Kentucky Heritage Council.

McBride and the other archaeologists located an area just to the side of the house, which is still standing, that proved a surprisingly rich source of one of archaeology’s best resources: trash.

I love love love bourbon. Coincidentally, they mention one James Christopher Crow: I wondered if he had anything to do with:
Desert Fox

And sure enough, he does!
Desert Fox

That was sort of my ‘brand’ for a while, back when I was A) Drinking, and B) Cheap. We discovered Old Crow when I was in a frat — AXP or Alpha Chi Rho* (Chi-Rho = Crow). Kinda rot gut stuff, but it did the trick. I have had this bottle for years and it’s been in use for watering plants and other things.

I’d buy something better if I decided I wanted to slug down some whiskey these days because I am now A) Not drinking, and B) Not that cheap.

Okay, I might get some for old time’s sake.

* Some interesting (which is one way to put it) stories from those days, remind me to tell you some sometime. Also has some interesting historical/religious connections AND is the source of the very first thing I ever published!

“Look here’s Aaron, Big Klu, Hodges, Handsome Ransom, Musial and Mays too!”

Filed under: Historic, Modern artifacts — acagle @ 6:34 pm

Baseball ‘Archaeologists’ Uncover Long Lost Bats

My mother, Nadine, listening on the periphery as she tended her two year old granddaughter, made a comment about “those old bats.”

Almost in unison, my brother Jim and I asked, “What ever happened to those bats!?”

Mom replied that she had packed them up in a refrigerator box sometime in the early ’60s and had the movers put them “somewhere” in the garage after relocating to Florida from St. Louis in 1985.

Neither my brother nor I had seen those bats in more than 40 years, but we remembered vividly when they adorned the tavern walls on Sullivan Avenue. Our curiosity led us to agree to head over to our parent’s house early the next morning to check it out.

Neat little article. Just goes to show, things that are forgotten almost invariably preserve better.

October 10, 2013

Video test.

Filed under: Modern artifacts — acagle @ 4:10 pm

Seeing if this embed works here. . . .

[deleted code, it blanked out the whole rest of the blog]

(it apparently does not)

October 4, 2013

My latest odd lust

Filed under: Modern artifacts — acagle @ 7:44 pm

Would you believe Boston’s third album?

Odd because it didn’t do all that well in relation to the other albums and because I barely ever listened to it until recently — and after finally getting rid of the LP! Yeah, I was going through my old LPs to get rid of some and that one went out because, well, I never listened to it. Of course. I got the CD at a library sale for like 50 cents and I’ve been playing it a lot lately. Okay, partly because I thought Amanda might be a good song to practice m’geetar on (parts of it are simple enough to practice chord changes on).

Back in the ’70s a Boston concert t-shirt was the thing to have to be super cool. For you young’uns, it was kind of like when Nirvana hit it big, although Boston didn’t quite create a new genre the way Nirvana did with grunge. But it was HUGE. BY the 1980s when Third Stage came out, I guess Boston was kind of passe, so it wasn’t a great event.

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