Birkhoff's Sweet-Ass Laptop, 1997

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18 Responses:

  1. I liked both Nikita TV shows and one of the movies. They were all very different. This one was certainly the prettiest.

    • jwz says:

      Those faders, tho.

      Also I still think it's fair to consider 24 to be a halfassed, shark-jumpy Nikita remake.

      • The faders remind me of the, um I think they were called matrix sticks?, in Mike Ford's "Web of Angels".

        I never watched 24, it looked like torture pr0n.

        • dzm says:

          The flavor of porn changed from year to year. But yeah, torture porn.

          A fine moment was in 2003 or something when they open an episode with Keifer Southerland doing a voiceover that I vaguely remember going something like "We've had a lot of fun torturing middle-eatern-type-folks on our show, but lets all remember that this is fiction, Or something."

          Good times.

          • jwb says:

            The first season of 24 was written and filmed before 9/11/2001, so of course the villains were non-specific Balkans types. I kind of miss the old days when bad guys were mostly white.

            • jwz says:

              Nikita also took the position that torture is a fast and effective way of getting reliable information, but hey, the 90s were a more innocent time. Or something.

              • Glaurung says:

                "Nikita also took the position that torture is a fast and effective way of getting reliable information,"

                The difference being that Section One in the 90's nikita was an evil organization. It was a dark show about murky morality and what happens if you decide the ends justify the means. Torture was just one of many things to let you know that these were not nice people.

                Whereas torture porn like 24 has the good guys doing torture of the bad guys in order to save the world, or some such BS.

                • jwz says:

                  True, though I meant the shows shared the same view on the efficacy of torture, not the morality of it.

                  What made Section 1 evil and CTU not, though? They were the same organization, with the same goals and methods (and actors and set design). But one show had a protagonist constantly saying, "Hey, this is really fucked up" and the other didn't. Good versus evil almost comes down to the musical cues chosen.

                  Is 24 what you get if Michael is the lead and Nikita isn't in the show?

                  • Glaurung says:

                    yeah, there's a depressing lack of TV that says, "you know, torture doesn't actually work."

                    From what I have heard of 24 (a show which I did not watch because torture porn + islamophobia), the CTU is evil, but only if you don't accept the American Exceptionalism ideology that the show is made out of.

                    If you accept the viewpoint of the show, then torture is awesome and America being the world's biggest bully is awesome and Jack Bauer is made of awesome. It's a show that asks you to put a bunch of murderers and sociopaths on a pedestal and make them your heroes. Sort of like 99% of all cop shows out there.

          • Logan Bowers says:

            I remember watching season 1 of The Blacklist on Netflix. By episode 3, torturing a guy for information was as casual & minor of throwaway line as "the lab says blah…" plot device over used in every crime procedural. It was gross.

        • Nate says:

          Amen, same here. It clearly helped justify Abu Graib, as well as dulled the backlash when the public found out about it.

  2. margaret says:

    looks like he has on speed-dial.

  3. jwz says:

    Ok, the torture porn conversation is interesting, but does nobody want to talk about how sweet that laptop is? That black rectangle under the screen in the second picture is actually a second text-only display!

    Also these guys had the greatest skins on their IRC clients and AltaVista searches evar.

    • Eli the Bearded says:

      The new Macbook Pros have borrowed that second screen idea, to replace the function keys. Dragging the mouse pointer to the keyboard for the first time (used during config of that second screen) was a bit of a mindfuck.

      • jwz says:

        Yeah I've occasionally thought that XScreenSaver ought to do something down there but it's such a weird shape.

        Someone made a degenerate Lemmings level for it, so there's that.

        • One-dimensional cellular automaton?

          • jwz says:

            Well, some small number of the savers would look cool at that aspect ratio, but not most. XFlame in particular comes to mind. But the Mac screensaver framework decides which module gets loaded. So if one saver is on the primary screen, it can't easily load a different one into the touch-bar.

            One idea I had was to just blit the middle 2170×60 of the main screen into the bar, but most of the time that would look dumb, I think?

            Also I don't have a machine with a touch-bar, so debugging it would be challenging.

    • McCormick McCarthy says:

      "I bet he debugs his kernel with that, like... it's a whole 8088 PC and one of those fader knobs controls the signal-strenght to the keyboard circuits of the embedded monitor. Aw yeah... And with the rest of it, he controls his coordinates in the Matrix. ...Jack in now, Case!"

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