This year I decided to revisit the dot-matrix Lego printer that I first built and programmed in 2017. The original design was the result of a lot of iterating, but it still had some significant problems. I wanted to try again, with a focus on eliminating errors and printing very consistent images.
You can download .LXF and .IO models of v3.0 of my LEGO printer, plus Python code for the printer, from the Viper Bots’ GitHub repo.
This year, our elementary school introduced a new Girl Scouts robotics team.
I was asked if I might like to help out. I like programming and Legos, so I thought it sounded like it could be fun. I didn’t realize I would end up being the team’s coach. Before long I was receiving boxes from Lego in the mail.
Two things came up recently which spurred me to write a blog post one year sooner than I originally planned.
The first thing is that I created a new website called Break Into Chat, which hosts a wiki about the history of old BBS door games as well a blog about retro computing topics. You can visit the website to learn more about the reasons why I created it.
The second thing is that my mom has been scanning truckloads of photos from Christmases past, then sharing them on Facebook.
If we go for this plan, we will also immediately start looking into Skype, Vonage, Google Phone, and other options to replace our local AT&T phone service. I think we can come out ahead on our combine phone and internet bills (during these 12 months, at least).
We want to dump the phone service because the bill just keeps getting more expensive — additional taxes and surcharges are added all the time. I think it’s supposed to be $18 or $19, but the actual bill is closer to $30 when it comes.
So, folks, who has experience with AT&T internet? Is the service okay?
What about replacing the home phone with internet choices. Anyone have experience with that?
I was a computer user from an early age. Our first machine was an Atari 800, complete with a tape drive. It was a sort of hand-me-down machine, so we were using it many years after its heyday.
I can remember my dad spending days typing in a long BASIC program that had been published in a computer magazine (ANTIC?). I think it was probably for a game. Later, I typed in programs from books and magazines myself. That sort of thing was common for computer hobbyists in the 70s and 80s.
Anyway, for all the advantages of digital communication, one thing is clear: digital files are more ephemeral than we realize.
Most of the emails, projects, and stuff from my early computing days are gone. Even modern stuff like webpages can disappear suddenly. For example, with very little warning, Yahoo last year killed the once-popular website GeoCities. Millions of people had created homepages there since the 1990s. A few of the homepages were saved in various archives, but many are gone forever.
Among my own lost projects is a choose-your-own-adventure style game I wrote for the TI-8x series of calculators when I was in high school. It was called “Doom at West” and was related to my “S.S.S.” stories. I loaned my own calculator to my younger brother when I was in college. He lost it and by extension all the stuff on it.
Seeing the work of digital historians like Jason Scott has motivated me to preserve what I can of my own old digital stuff, and to share at least those bits that might be of some small interest to other people.
So here are a few little archives I’ve put together that you might want to check out:
ANSI art – A collection of ANSI advertisements I made during my years as a BBSer in the late 1990s.
It’s no secret that the Renaud Empire is a thrifty state.
So, while we are lovers of technology, we have never ponied up for cable, high-speed internet access, or cell phones. There doesn’t seem to be enough competition among service providers in those areas; consequently, prices stay high.
So Google just informed me that I have eight invites available for Google Wave. If you haven’t heard of it, Wave is a collaborative tool that sort of takes the best of email, IM, chat, and other technologies and rolls them together into something seamless and perhaps better. It’s worth checking out.
I’ll send invites to the first eight people to comment on this entry. Be sure to use your real email address when you post your comment, otherwise you won’t receive your invite.
BTW – If any of you already use Google Wave, add me to your contacts there: firstname.lastname@example.org