Monday, February 29, 2016

Weekend Wonders

MORNING STROLL: We had a wet weekend, but fortunately Monday morning brought some blue sky. We made it a point to get out in it, Christian, the dogs and I on foot, the kids on bikes. 

HAPPY SATURDAY: We head down to the Living Computer Museum at least once a month for their movie nights, but we also made a trip down there on Saturday, to a special members-only open house event.  We perused the regular exhibits for a few minutes before heading to the 'basement' for the special stuff. ;)
 This PDD-12 is one of my absolute faves. LOVE its pop art styling!
I'll let CJ tell you a bit more about the members only event ...
Recently, the Living Computer Museum decided to hold a "Member Happy Hour," a members-only event where they would showcase the computers they got, which were not in the main museum yet. I just went to the Member Happy Hour, and I would like to tell you about some of the computers I saw. One computer I saw was from 1963, and was green with several dials on the front. The computer and its dials were large, and did not look very user-friendly. Another computer I saw was the Altair 8800, which looked like a box with multiple switches on the front. It was from 1975, and helped revolutionize personal computers. I also saw a sign for the Commodore VIC-20, which was advertised as "The Friendly Computer", and was the predecessor to the iconic Commodore 64. They also had multiple circuit boards and the parts they would go with on display. One of the circuit boards apparently had parts that dated back all the way to 1950, and most of the rest of them had "vintage" parts.
The circuit boards and parts CJ is talking about are part of the David Freeman collection, featuring artifacts from the 1950s through the 2010s. 

The collection includes a wide variety of vintage transistors, vacuum tubes, logic-related parts, and more.  

We were all taken aback by this item ...
Introduced in 1977, the IBM 370/14B was part of LCM's Paul Pierce acquisition. 

Back in the day, you could buy one of these machines for as 'little' as $689,000, or you could lease the machine from IBM for 'just' $17,280 to $22,650 a month. Yowza.

MAN ON THE MOON:  On Saturday evening, we were going to try to stream one of the movies nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture this year, but in reviewing our options, we passed on that idea. Instead, we wound up watching the just-released "The Last Man on the Moon."

I'll let Annabelle tell you a little more about it.

“The Last Man on the Moon” is a movie about Eugene Cernan, who was the titular last man on the moon, and his life as an astronaut. His first mission was Gemini 9, where he was the pilot due to his background in naval aviation. The mission of Gemini 9 was to test the effects of long periods of spaceflight on humans, practice docking procedures, and have Gene test out a jet pack for a 2-hour spacewalk. Back then, the jet packs did not have arm or leg straps, so it was hard for gene to grab onto it. He had to detach from the umbilical (on purpose) so that he could grab it. Something went wrong, however, and Gene had to reattach to the umbilical. The next flight he went on was Apollo 10, which was supposed to orbit the moon. It worked, and this set the stage for the moon landings. The last flight of his, and also the last moon landing, was Apollo 17. There were originally planned to be more, but due to budget cuts this was the last. Two crews were fighting to be on the mission, and Gene’s eventually won, while also gaining an amazing geologist from the losing crew. He describes the moment after landing as being completely silent. He stepped out onto the moon and instantly saw his footprint on the surface. At one point he took a rover to a crater and carved his daughter’s initials in the dust. She was the last person back into the lander, earning him the title of last man on the moon.
We all enjoyed the movie. Stunning images and a spellbinding story. Highly recommended by MPA!

Here's the movie's trailer if you want a sneak preview ...


PAST BLAST: We also took an hour out of our weekend to watch one of the most memorable episodes from Star Trek (the original series), "A Taste of Armageddon."

Written by Robert Hamner and Gene L. Coon and originally aired on Feb. 23, 1967, the story is about some crew members of the USS Enterprise visiting a planet where they have devised a more 'civilized' way to handle their 500-year-and-counting war. Instead of real bombs and weapons, they use computer simulated models, and the virtual bombs denote areas hit and casualties. Victims then have just a matter of hours to report to a disintegration chamber. 

While the approach to war is clean and efficient, Captain Kirk comes to show them that a 'sterile' war is a ridiculous notion, really. War is messy business, no matter how efficiently it's conducted.

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