Attaching a keyboard to a computer is a terrible idea. What are you gonna do, make the computer wait while some slow-ass human types instructions into it?

No. Feed it instructions on punch cards as God and Herman Hollerith intended. And don’t use that stupid paper tape that can only be edited with scissors and tape, either.

And who the hell came up with attaching a CRT to the thing? What are you gonna do, memorize the output? Take a picture? No. Cards go in. Printouts come out.

And don’t give me this “internal storage” nonsense. Internal storage is finite, whereas you can feed a computer punch cards and printer paper forever.

Random access you say? Random access is for programmers who don’t understand merge sort. Hard drives and flash both wear out. Not only is the space finite, but their lifetime. Who wants that?

I hear there are optical discs that can last a century though. Those could be useful for archiving really old card decks. But not printouts. Just use microfilm for that. The equipment for reading microfilm is much simpler.

I don’t even know how you’d find a card deck on a hard drive. What are you gonna do, use up precious CPU time just to simulate a library for a user to wander through using one of them CRTs? Maybe even a mouse? Simulate sections and rows and cabinets and drawers? A virtual card catalog? Or would you simulate an edge-punched card index too? So many wasted CPU cycles.

Hard drives are so big users will be losing their card decks all the time. Heck, I bet computer makers will even put card decks on there that users don’t even want!

Prediction: the rate of actual work done by computers, especially “personal” computers, will go up much more slowly than their CPU and storage speed, because most of the additional power will be used for frivolities like unnecessary “multimedia”. I bet “GUIs” will even start adding cutesy animations and simulated transparency at some point.


Television! If you add “multimedia” computers are going to turn into glorified TV sets! I bet they’ll even have ads!

This computer music thing sounds pretty cool, though. I’d be down with that.

@freakazoid I'm probably that same guy right now saying "just use punchcards"

Except with smartphones.

@frigginglorious Mobile phones aren't even big enough for a punch card reader, so what are they good for?

@freakazoid you're right. Get off y'all damn phones and punch card that shit.

That would be a bitchin project for a con tho

A punch card reader that sends an SMS.

@frigginglorious It would be cool, but card punches aren't exactly easy to get. Perhaps one could create a similar workflow using 3x5 cards and OCR?

@frigginglorious I guess for a con you only need one card punch. And I guess that would provide me the excuse I need to spend $800+ on a card punch.

@freakazoid it's certainly a silly idea. I don't have the technical chops to pull something like rigging up an ancient punch card reader.

Setting up an API and shooting requests to twilio (or just signal) would be fun tho.

And I think there's cooler projects in the world for me to focus on, when indeed I can find that focus.

But at the same time I'd live to see it happen :D

@frigginglorious Even though it's easy to find blank cards and possible to find card punches, punch card readers seem to be much more difficult to find. I think it'd probably be a lot easier to make one, whether or not you limited yourself to period-appropriate techniques. Heck, you could probably make one out of Legos. Motor and 1-2 wheels that sits atop the stack of cards and pushes them one at a time into a chute where they drop past the sensor and onto a second stack.

@freakazoid damn this is starting to sound funner and funner.

I'm kind of thinking digital player piano now though.

Like midi style I'd guess

@frigginglorious There are a bunch of music box kits on eBay that make use of punched tape.

I've been playing around quite a bit with digital audio synthesis lately. There are just so many ways to generate and consume midi and digital audio that the possibilities here are endless.

@frigginglorious The history of electronic music is pretty mind-blowing, too. People were making electronic music even when it was ludicrously difficult. Granular synthesis started out with the painstaking splicing of tapes.

@frigginglorious Speaking of which, a former coworker of @qdot 's and mine is basically an electronic music wizard. Take a look at the top video on this page and you'll see what I mean:

Or if you want something a little less avant-garde:

@freakazoid I've yet to really dive into the midi world. Unfortunately I've been much more of a "dreamer" than a "doer", especially lately.

But damn I started on a cool project with an accelerometer on your wrist that I want to use to control digital audio signals. Sent over Bluetooth to a pi.

But I was kinda fucked over by BLE being a pain in the ass.

@frigginglorious Pure Data turned out to be a lot easier to learn than I was expecting, so you might take a look at that. Its interface is pretty old-school, but there are plenty of tutorials, and you don't have to get very far into any of them before you're doing useful things with it.

Were you just using UART over BLE? If you were having trouble on the Linux side you might try Adafruit's mobile app just for debugging the BLE side?

@freakazoid it's been a year since I started that project... But damn yeah I made a lil project in pure data that was just using my electric drums midi inputs to trigger .wav samples.

Can buy instruments that do same thing far better. But it was a good intro to PD.

@frigginglorious Yeah Pd is overkill if that's all you're doing with it. I've been using it to try to create sounds from scratch. At the moment I'm trying to figure out how to do FFT-based analysis and synthesis with it.

@freakazoid that's friggin neat. If I had a podcast I'd interview you for it.

And holy shit I'm watching that YouTube video now. What kind of white bearded wizard is this guy?!

@frigginglorious That CV ends in 2010, which is when he got eaten by Google.

@frigginglorious I say "eaten" but of course he's obviously still doing awesome stuff.

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