So, flushed with my success with getting that Mac doing something interesting, I started messing around with my Amiga 1000 again. This is the machine I traded in the Mac for, back in the day. I still have it, and as of a year ago, it still worked: I was still able to play Lemmings on it, displaying to my big tv. But, the last time I turned it on (about six months ago) the magic smoke escaped. Eeek! Turns out that some component of the SCSI controller in one of the two external 20M (yes, M, not G) hard drives I have had turned to dust. I don't remember what was on that disk, but I'm pretty sure I have floppy backups of everything.

Anyway, that was sad, but I got my Lemmings fix by getting UAE, the Amiga emulator, running on Linux. It works really well! Though I think it really ought to also simulate the distinctive groooonnnnk sound that Amiga floppies made: it just doesn't seem the same without it. It's like the music in the game has been replaced with the "no-disk-noise remix."

I've found that to get the Amiga to boot, I sometimes have to smack the top of the floppy drive when it's about halfway through reading the Kickstart disk. This isn't terribly surprising, since it's all tricked out; it's got 2M of RAM on a daughter board that sits on a riser between the CPU and its socket, and there are hand-soldered ground wires going all over the place, because at some point in the '80s I read that the grounding on this board was sketchy and that it would crash less if you soldered together pin 7 of all of the RAM chips. Plus at some point I had to replace the floppy drive (I bought a box of 20 drives and found 2 that worked) but it didn't quite fit, so I had to take tin snips to the shielding, and jam in a big screw to replace the missing "eject" button. It's quite the little Frankenstein.

So, since my A1000 is apparently disintegrating before my very eyes, I figure now's a good time to get the bits off those floppies and onto a network-connected machine. It's apparently impossible to actually read Amiga disks in PCs, in much the same way that you can't read old Mac floppies. I was hoping that perhaps this meant that old Macs could read Amiga disks, and I could use this ClassicII to do it, but I haven't found any evidence of that being possible either. (Three different incompatible breeds of floppy drive controllers? Who knew.)

So now I'm digging through my Giant Box of Cables, in hopes of getting a serial link going between the Amiga and Linux, and transferring files with Kermit or something. I'm finding all kinds of interesting (and sometimes unidentifiable) things, besides the usual tangle of power supply cables, speaker wire, and RCA cables, like:

  • More SCSI cables than I had any idea I ever had;
  • Hundreds of feet of coiled TI Explorer Lisp Machine ethernet cables. These are as thick around as an insulated outdoor extension cord. There's a tiny custom jack on one end, and a DB9 on the other end that went into a thick-coax stinger-tap transceiver. (I can't find any pictures of these, but back in the caveman days, we attached our computers to the network by screwing a box directly into the cable: it had a needle on the end that would pierce the insulation to make contact!)

  • A 60' cable with both DB9 and 1/8" stereo jacks on each end, swaddled under electrical tape. I vaguely remember making this thing: it's a serial cable I used so that I could take my terminal out on the deck and work outside, and plug in my headphones, too;

  • About 20 wall-wart transformers, some 8" long;

  • An optical mouse for a Perq 1;

  • Four spools of DB25 ribbon cable;

  • Some kind of crazy-ass Cisco connector -- this one is a mystery, because I've never owned or dealt with any Cisco stuff until, like, a year ago;

  • A roughly 8" ball composed of glued together pennies. I'm guessing around $15 worth. I think this dates back to 9th grade.

But the one thing I can't find is a null-modem adapter. And I'm pretty sure I've even used one within the last five years, so I can't imaging where it's got to.

Update: Found a nullmodem, turns out one of the unlabelled serial cables was rolled.

  • Words I never thought I'd say again in my life: "I'm downloading Kermit."
  • Words I never thought I'd read: "Recent versions of Kermit include FTP and HTTP clients as well as an SSH interface, all of which can be scripted and are aware of character-sets. It supports built-in security methods, including Kerberos IV, Kerberos V, SSL/TLS, and SRP, FTP protocol features such as MLSD."

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The Photos Kissinger Doesn't Want You to See

>>> From Washington Babylon by Alexander Cockburn and Ken Silverstein, Verso Books, 1996 (from which these photos were scanned):

The photographs of Kissinger [taken by Adriana Lorete], seen pondering affairs at a trade conference in Brazil, originally appeared on the front page of Jornal do Brasil, a major Rio de Janeiro daily, on November 13, 1992. [...]

A few years later, Kissinger's lawyer sent Jornal do Brasil a letter saying the former secretary of state would file a lawsuit for damages if the newspaper did not immediately cease and desist from selling the photos. To its credit, Jornal do Brasil refused to bow to Kissinger's attempted assault on free speech.

One purchaser of the photos was the advertising agency Woolward & Partners, which bought the pictures of Kissinger for use in an ad for computer equipment. Woolward & Partners also received a letter from Kissinger's lawyer demanding that it make no further use of the Nobel prize winner's image.

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Astronauts' view of eclipse

The Moon casts a shadow like a black spot

This is the view the new crew on the International Space Station (ISS) got of the recent total solar eclipse. The image, taken out of the porthole of the platform by Don Pettit, clearly shows the Moon's dark shadow, or umbra, on the Earth's surface. The photograph was taken mid-eclipse, when the path of totality was out in the Indian Ocean.

Any ships in the more than 60-kilometres-wide (40 miles) path would not have had a very good view of the solar phenomenon: as the picture shows, there was heavy cloud over the region at the time.

The out-of-focus object in the foreground is part of the frame for the viewing port.


Location: Earth Dog Tags

In case of alien abduction these dog tags may save your life. The crucial data an alien will need to get you back to Earth is die stamped into these dog tags. The design is based on NASA research for the Pioneer 10 Space Mission that used a gold plaque attached to the craft to inform any Extraterrestrials of it's Earthly origin.

Engraved with several methods of locating Earth in the Galaxy, an alien pilot does not need to understand any human language to use this information. The mathematical location of Earth in relation to several important pulsars is represented by the radial diagram. Earth's relation to the solar system is shown at the top. Also included is a schematic of Earth itself and it's major land masses. Two human icons (man and woman) are graphically connected to Earth at points in all three diagrams and are shown with their hands waving as a gesture of goodwill.

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bullets and fruit

Sudden Impact

"The 265gr. Projectile of the .444 Marlin with 763m/s shows a much more stronger effect at the orange then the .223 Remington (picture above)."

"The pictures were made with a PCO SensiCam camera, Triggered from the Real Time Trigger System RTTS. Exposure times are 1 microsecond and less."

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for when you care enough to send the fuzziest nipples

Possum Fur Nipple Warmers

Possum fur nipple warmers are new, fun, and functional. Great for cushioning your nipples by placing inside your bra, protecting from cold and excessive "show through" , and a great novelty gift no matter what climate you live in. Keep them warm and make someone smile.

For luxury in nipple warmers you shouldn't go past possum fur. You can wear the fur facing out for the novelty effect or for luxury pampering, place them inside your bra so that your nipples are engulfed in luxurious natural fur. See our possum fur g-string and have a matching eco-fur set.

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