#325: Growing Up Geek/Wargames

This week we check out a media object significant to Chuck’s early development as a geek: War Games. We talk about the differences between getting “into” computers in the 80s vs. now, and each of us share some experiences with interacting with tech over the years. Also, as always, we run down the week in geek with lots of news and fun.
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good stuff. I did have to roll a tear for good old Heathkit :frowning:

The discussion of “ancient lore” regarding computers, electronics, scale modelling etc. had me remembering hours I spent with soldering irons, Exact-o knives, airbrushes and decals --> Shep Paine’s Modeling Diorama Sheets for Monagram.

“War Games” does stand the test of time. Good story telling and resonates even today. In hind sight much of my personal fortune and joy in life spawned from that era which this great piece of art reflected. I do envy folks today who just need to do Google searches to find much of what they are interested in. I do however believe that there is joy in doing something “not because it is easy, but because it is hard” :slight_smile:

I don’t think I ever had any Heathkit projects. I’m sure there are a few dozen laying around my Dad’s old boxes of stuff. Sparkfun(as you mentioned Chuck) is a good source. One of my favorites is Adafruit Industries. There are TONS of kit businesses out there these days. It’s become inexpensive to manufacture (I even do a little myself from time to time)

The Arduino has really been a boon to getting people into the electronics world. I remember when it showed up, it got super popular and the old hat electronics hobbiests hated it, with a passion. It tremendously more expensive than the $2 chip that could do everything it could do. The only difference was you needed a few years of schooling to really figure out how to mess with an obscure PIC microcontroller, and the Arduino take a half hour and cool beverage. :slight_smile:

It’s an awesome platform. If anyone has any Arduino questions, or general electronics nerdery they need help with, hit me up. I love this stuff.

Haven’t gotten very far into the show yet, but I’m enjoying the Blade Runner discussion.

Audra, don’t feel bad about not “getting” Blade Runner! You are in good company. I know several people who actually don’t like the movie because of what you described. More than once someone’s told me, “it’s just dumb!”

I’m odd when it comes to BR. I prefer the original with the noir voice-over. Everybody - including Ridley Scott and Harrison Ford - consider the voice-over to be the worst part of the original.

I love Blade Runner, and it’s in my Top Ten Movies Ever, but I prefer the narration version.

It’s not the kind of movie you can casually watch. You need to swim in it. Few movies construct such an all-encompassing world.

Plus, Darryl Hannah.

Ha! The mere mention of a microfiche!! I less-than-fondly recall having to go to the next town’s library (larger than ours) because they had a fiche and ours didn’t! High School projects were a lot more labor-intensive, and the fiche was always stuck in some dark corner of the library with the funkiest-looking old chair they could come up with. Kids these days have it made with their Googles and their Internets!!

Get off my lawn!

The handiest part of Internet-based academic research are all the awesome databases. Articles are indexed and cross-referenced in so many ways now that it’s just a hell of a lot easier to locate related material.

Well said. I remember seeing BR in the theatre ( I am that vintage) and enjoyed the voice over. Later when it was released without VO I was a bit put out by that. I get how some might not like VO but for me it enhances some flicks. Take Shawshank Redemption for instance … hard to imagine without Morgan Freeman telling the story with VO.

Anyhow … I place BR very high on my rewatch list. I wouldn’t use the term ‘get it’ but BR highly resonates with me. I had read the book before and after the movie and due to the play in the line, I’ve come to disassociate the Ridley Scott movie as a distinct and separate art work.

It is a movie I enjoy swimming in from time to time. It falls in my list of ten movies I take a day off of work, spool up and watch in my boxers with a couple of vodka martinis ( Fight Club, 12 Monkeys, Guns of Navarone, Kellys Heroes etc.)

Hopefully BR reboot is …, worthy :slight_smile:


I mention this in every Blade Runner discussion, so forgive if you’ve heard before, but it bears repeating: All Blade Runner fans should own the big deluxe edition with all the extras. It is the gold standard for presentation of DVD extras. I’m not a big DVD/extras fetishist, and I think it’s the only deluxe edition DVD I’ve devoured every single second of.


You were asking in the cast how did we know that the junior Air Force ICBM missile launch officer not shoot the ICBM launch officer commander. Later in the film while the Air Force is converting the launch control capsules to computerized control you see both of the officers packing up and leaving the control capsule. Thus proof that no actors playing Air Force officers were harmed in the making of Wargames.

~Shooter Out

A while back on WNYC’s Radiolab there was a show titled “Escape!” This was a great show and featured several “escape” stories (One was about the current where abouts of the Voyager Spacecrafts). One of the escape stories is relevent to your discussion about telephone “freaking”. It was about a blind boy/man that used telephones as an escape it was very interesting and also gave some good information about freaking in general. It can be downloaded on itunes, but here is the link to listen live… http://www.radiolab.org/2012/feb/20/long-distance/

I was “hooray! yes!”-ing through your whole discussion about what education is all about. <3

An anecdote about access to materials:

As most of you know I’ve just finished a PhD (which is a research degree for those not so informed), and am off in the world being an academic. Libraries are wonderful things, but I never realized how much I would miss having access to a research university library. At my current SLAC, the library folks are friendly and helpful, but our collection itself is incredibly limited and most everything I’ve borrowed this year and used for my research has been through interlibrary loan, which I love. However, not even that is always enough - I wanted to look at a 63 page book that had been published in South America. There are three copies in libraries in the US. In its country of origin, its cost is about $6. However, I never got the book because the ILL people at my current school were unable (or unwilling? I don’t want to impinge on motives) to pay the cost that the three libraries who had the book were charging to lend it. At my graduate institution (and undergraduate for that matter, which was also a research-focused school), the only time I was unable to get something I wanted was when no library held it in the entire world. So… for stuff being done in the anglophone world, things are ever more accessible. Things are swinging that way in my field too, but we’re still quite far from universal accessibility. :frowning: