Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Hello, Professor Falken. Would you like to play a game?

Frank's review of WarGames was good. Succinct and accurate, though I didn't find Sheedy's character not liking Broderick's unbelievable.

I always liked that Broderick's character hooked his phone up to the acoustic coupler. My dad had one of those at his work attached to a teletype machine. They used it to check customers' credit reports. Output was either dot-matrix or a rip-off version of an IBM's Selectrics' wheel on paper. No CRT, no LCD status display. LEDs for the connection status and caps lock, and that was about it.

After we had CompuServe at home for about a year or so, I realized I could use the TTY to connect to CS's text-only service. They had the text service up for years after most people had switched to the graphical client and Netscape 2. You'd just hit 'enter' to get the computer's attention instead of initiating the PPP connection, and log in from there. It worked from the TTY, but CompuServe insisted on using ANSI control characters to draw borders and color menu text, so it was fairly unusable.

Imagine if it had worked, though. Dad would have gotten a kick out of it if I could have made it print ASCII porn. Or weather maps.

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