Notes about computing

April 4, 2017 permalink

Ibm Punched Card Typography

Norbert Landsteiner wrote up a post about something that’s retro-technology-typography-nerdy beyond even my usual limits and understanding: a thorough explication and an interactive demo of how the late-1940s IBM 026 key punch (the typewriter keyboard/workstation machine that operators would use to poke the holes in the computer program punchcards of that era) was able to also print tiny human-readable letters and words at the top of the cards for easy reference.

Basically IBM encoded the alphabet and other special characters onto a clever postage stamp-sized print head that would run along the top of the punchcard, with wires to each “dot” enabling the printing of each encoded character in turn, effectively an early dot-matrix printer. (it’s not easy to see, but if you squint at the image you’ll see that the red dots form the “A” character, upside-down — you’ll see it more easily if you play with the demo and choose other characters)

IBM Punched Card Typography.

December 2, 2011 permalink

Banaphone Invoked Computing

Banana Phone And Pizza Box Laptop PC – Invoked Computing For Ubiquitous AR

Usually “augmented reality” involves using a camera device to view an overlay of information or digital control on top of a video screen of some kind (say an iPhone or webcam/desktop), but this is kind of the opposite: having a camera+projector system that can map your intents onto everyday objects around the house for “invoked computing”.

Mostly I share this because I like this bananaphone demo:

There is a banana scenario where the person takes a banana out of a fruit bowl and brings it closer to his ear. A high speed camera tracks the banana; a parametric speaker array directs the sound in a narrow beam. The person talks into the banana as if it were a conventional phone.

(Via PhysOrg via ACM TechNews)