“Owns Home Computer”: A News Report from 1981

This article also appears on Global Nerdy.

TechCrunch points to a news report from San Francisco-based TV station KRON that dates all the way back to 1981, when home computers were 8-bit wonders like the era of the Apple ///, TRS-80 and Atari 400 and 800. The piece on how some people are reading their newspapers by logging into Compuserve, and how someday, we’ll all be reading our newspapers and magazines on our computers:

Back then, a computer in the home was very unusual, hence their underscoring of this interviewee’s name with “owns home computer”. It seems quaint now, but back then, that was pretty 1337:

Still from news report: "Richard Halloran: Owns home computer"

The TechCrunch article points out a couple of lines in the piece that stand out given our 2009 persepctive. The first is from the San Francisco Examiner’s David Cole:

This is an experiment. We’re trying to figure out what it’s going to mean to us, as editors and reporters and what it means to the home user. And we’re not in it to make money, we’re probably not going to lose a lot but we aren’t going to make much either.

The other memorable line is from the reporter:

This is only the first step in newspapers by computers. Engineers now predict the day will come when we get all our newspapers and magazines by home computer, but that’s a few years off.

This is Joey deVilla, signing off from one of those Dynabook-style computers.

Geek It Happened to Me

Fun with Richard Stallman

Richard Stallman and Joey deVilla onstage with a plush gnu at the CUSEC 2009 conference

Over at my tech blog Global Nerdy, there’s a story from the recent CUSEC convention that’ll only seem funny (or even make sense) if you’re a programmer who knows about the Free Software Foundation and how they view Microsoft. It’s called Winning the Gnu, and it’s about my winning bid at Richard Stallman’s auction for a plush gnu.


“The Recently Deflowered Girl” (1965) – Illustrated by Edward Gorey

This article was updated on May 11, 2009 in response to a request from attorneys for Edward Gorey’s estate. They were actually pretty cool; instead of a full takedown notice, they said I could keep up to 10% of the content of the book in the article and state that permission to reproduce said excerpts has been provided by the Edward Gorey Charitable Trust.

I knew that Shel Silverstein published different works aimed for “kid” and “adult” audiences, but I had no idea that Edward Gorey did the same – at least not until I saw The Recently Deflowered Girl. It’s a 1965 parody of etiquette books that seems quaint now, but must’ve seemed racy back in those days when Playboy was where you got not just the pictures of nude women, but good advice on stereos and cocktails.

Someone on LiveJournal published scans from the book this week. Since its posting, it got popular and the account – and hence the scans of the book – were deleted. I copied the images before that happened, and — with the permission of Edward Gorey’s estate’s lawyers, I’ve been allowed to publish a selection of the pages from the book for your enjoyment.

Present-day pop culture likes to portray Asian men, a category of which I am a member, as effete and unmasculine. Oddly enough, The Recently Deflowered Girl bucked this trend in that ten percent of the book’s deflowerings were carried out by Chinese men, the most-cited ethnicity in the book. I thought it only fitting that I post those two deflowerings. To my horny Asian brothers, this one’s for you, and as we like to say: Everybody Wang Chung tonight!

Click on any of the scans below to see them at full size:




In the News

Mr. Miyagi to Obama: “Big Ups, Playa!”

For some reason, this photo-comic in which “Mr. Miyagi” (played by Pat Morita in the Karate Kid movies) gives mad props to Barack Obama amuses me to no end. I decided to enhance it by adding a caption to the bottom":

Photo comic featuring Miyagi and Obama demonstrating their Crane Technique.
Found thanks to Giles Bowkett.


Maybe It’s Time to Update Your Twitter Password

First, there were the Twitter phishing attacks that looked like direct messages from your friends offering you a chance to win an iPhone. Now some big-shot Twitter accounts appear to have been accessed by pranksters: FOX News’, CNN’s Rick Sanchez’ and Britney Spears’ accounts have all had tweets posted to them by unauthorized parties.

These tweets have since been deleted, but their images have been saved in a number of places, including a Flickr photoset by Mat Honan and on TechCrunch.

Here’s an image of the unauthorized post on Britney’s Twitter account. The pusillanimous bowlderizers over at TechCrunch blurred out the word “vagina” in their screenshot of the posting, but we don’t do that sort of thing here at Global Nerdy:

Screenshot of hacked Britney Spears tweet: "HI Yall! Brit here, just wanted to update you on the size of my vagina. Its about 4 feet wide with razor sharp teeth."
Click the screenshot to see the full version on its Flickr page.

Michael Arrington, you big girl’s blouse, they use the word “vagina” on prime time TV – for starters, on Family Guy. Also, thanks to Britney’s now legendary bad judgement and celebrity blogs, we’ve all seen said vagina anyway [link not safe for work!].

Here’s the unauthorized post on Rick Sanchez’ Twitter account:

Screenshot of hacked Rick Sanchez Twitter account: "i am high on crack right now might not be coming into work today"
Click the screenshot to see the full version on its Flickr page.

And my favourite, the unauthorized post on FOX News’ Twitter account that tells the shocking truth of about falafel-and-loofah fetishist and screaming head Bill O’Reilly:

Screenshot of FOX News Twitter account: "Breaking: Bill O Riley is gay"
Click the screenshot to see the full version on its Flickr page.

Anyhow, you might not be a celebrity, but it still might be a good idea to update your Twitter password if it’s something easily cracked, like a word that can be found in the dictionary.

[This article was originally posted on Global Nerdy.]


Unfortunate Ad Placement

Oh, snap:

Two ads on facing pages of a magazine -- the first's headline is "My sister accidentally killed herself", and the second's is "Oops."

The ad on the left is a skin cancer ad, which reminded me of a term I’d only recently encountered: the “sun scare industry”. It was a term used in a news release by the Indoor Tanning Association (yeah, I went “Really?” too) that saluted Sarah Palin for putting a tanning bed in the Alaska governor’s mansion. The last line of the release quotes Dan Humiston, President of the Indoor Tanning Association and it’s a real gem:

“Kudos to Governor Palin for standing up to dermatologists and other members of the sun scare industry who are trying to frighten Americans away from UV light.”

Those pesky busybody skin doctors! No wonder dermatologist is synonymous with buzzkill.


Your Gordon Ramsay Fix

For the past little while, Monday has meant a good evening of Gordon Ramsay on TV. First, the American edition of Hell’s Kitchen, which has become a little too cartoonish, followed by the British edition of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, which gives you a better idea of Ramsay’s skill as both a chef and a restaurateur. The latest season of Hell’s Kitchen ended a couple of weeks ago, and so few Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares have been made that I’ve seen them all already.

Until the American edition of Kitchen Nightmares airs (it premieres on Wednesday, September 19th at 9pm on Fox), here’s a little Ramsay fix for you in the form of YouTube videos…

Sublime Scrambled Eggs

These are pretty rich scrambled eggs (he stirs in some creme fraiche), but they do look tasty. A pity my wife hates scrambled eggs…

Broccoli Soup

This soup looks pretty good, considering it has only two ingredients: broccoli and water.

Teaching Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson How to Cook a Lobster Lunch

This is from an episode of his cooking show The F Word in which he teaches one of the hosts of Top Gear (probably the best TV show about cars and driving out there) how to cook a lobster lunch. Gordon and family visit Jeremy and his family at Jeremy’s “decidedly penis-shaped house” on the Isle of Man.

Gordon Ramsay’s Real Kitchen Nightmares

What are Ramsay’s real nightmares like? The people at the BBC sketch comedy show Dead Ringers take a stab at it.