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Just A Simplified Oscilloscope
March 22, 2011 5:47 PM   Subscribe

Televisions Turning Off.

Cheers to delmoi for the title. Related.
posted by mkb (43 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
I like.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:51 PM on March 22, 2011


Whereas modern TV's are just simplified computers. In fact, my spiffy new 1080p monitor occasionally crashes. Yeah, I'll come in and turn the system on and no display, but I unplug the monitor and plug it back in and it will come on.

I wonder which version of Windows it's running internally.
posted by localroger at 5:52 PM on March 22, 2011


The television picture breaks down and creates a structure of light. The pictures refuse external reference and broach the issue of the difference between abstraction and concretion in photography. The breakdown of the television picture discribes the breakdown of the reference. The product is self-referential photography.
was
posted by Foci for Analysis at 5:56 PM on March 22, 2011


I wonder which version of Windows it's running internally.

Windows XP Embedded, maybe.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:56 PM on March 22, 2011


What is says on the tin=does.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:56 PM on March 22, 2011


It reminds me of the Android 2.3 animation option: when you lock the phone it fakes a CRT turning off (i.e. a single bright horizontal line closing to a point). It's a neat effect, but when I saw it it occurred to me that soon there will be kids who don't get the reference.
posted by jedicus at 5:58 PM on March 22, 2011


Excellent.

I would also accept video of this with audio crackle - though the photographic styles are great and classy.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 5:59 PM on March 22, 2011


Abstract Art or Not Abstract Art?
posted by LogicalDash at 6:06 PM on March 22, 2011


So disappointed this isn't video.
posted by scrowdid at 6:08 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


When my father was in the IC unit dying, he repeatedly said he was seeing Lissajous patterns and asking us to look at them. That is all I have to contribute.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 6:11 PM on March 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


when I saw it it occurred to me that soon there will be kids who don't get the reference

Even before panel TVs became the norm, it had been a long time since I've seen this effect on a modern TV. Instant-on sets seem to cut the current to the tube very quickly, where with old analog sets a residual charge is appears to be dissipated by the tube.
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:12 PM on March 22, 2011


Ooh, that's sweet.
posted by Pecinpah at 6:13 PM on March 22, 2011


We have lost control of the vertical. We have lost control of the horizontal. Oh shit.
posted by localroger at 6:15 PM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


It reminds me of the Android 2.3 animation option: when you lock the phone it fakes a CRT turning off

I seriously thought my display died the first time I saw it. Now I keep turning it on and off just to watch the effect.
posted by dirigibleman at 6:16 PM on March 22, 2011


If you get the chance and you're in a dark room with a CRT television that's just been turned off... wait five minutes. Then touch the screen.
posted by Devonian at 6:19 PM on March 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


>I wonder which version of Windows it's running internally.

A lot of TV's these days run linux, actually. (eg: samsung, sony)

Crashing problems are mostly due to the buggy interfaces they lay on top of linux. I hear they're mostly coded in java.
posted by inedible at 6:25 PM on March 22, 2011


When I used to use an analog black and white TV as a kid, I would get bored of the programming, and begin rapidly and repeatedly turning the TV on and off by pulling the on/off button in and out. Eventually, I'd get a bright little point of light in the center of the screen that would stay there for a few minutes after the TV was off. I tried to get the point of light to stick around as long as possible, and then proceed to stare at the light until it gradually flickered out.

That, kids, is what we used to do with TVs before we got Nintendo.
posted by jabberjaw at 6:28 PM on March 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


I turned mine off thirteen years ago. And yes, it was a beautiful thing. A very beautiful thing.
posted by Decani at 6:32 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


He doesn't have a TV.
posted by mike_bling at 6:44 PM on March 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


OK, neither do I, but I couldn't resist
posted by mike_bling at 6:44 PM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Windows XP Embedded, maybe.
posted by Blazecock Pileon


Looks like analog CRT shutdown, and the Lissajous effects are electron beam deflection oscillators, drifting out of sync, scaling down into the center.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:49 PM on March 22, 2011


I was filming and gathering footage for a video I was making - static, station sign-offs, technical difficulty screens, and an old CRT TV turning off, and it occurred to me how much I really missed those things.

We had a tiny old black and white Zenith for most of my childhood, and we lived forty-five miles away from the closest TV station (the ones we liked to watch were from Madison, which was even further.) It was rare that we weren't watching through at least a light fog of static. A lot of my viewing was either late at night or early in the morning, so I was often alone with the station sign off followed by the picture flipping, flattening, imploding into a bright dot, and fading away until all that was left was the very slight glow from the darkened screen.

Is it strange to miss those things?
posted by louche mustachio at 6:55 PM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


it occurred to me that soon there will be kids who don't get the reference.

I dunno. Maybe with that specific "effect," maybe, maybe not. But the other day I was looking at my smart phone at the icons, which are really just copies of typical computer icons for similar things, and I thought about how many phone/computer icons are representations of an older process or style of doing something and are essentially dead or dying metaphors.

- email - almost always represented as a paper letter in an envelope. OK, I get junk mail that looks like this...
- you've got voicemail! Is it really on a tape? Because it always looks like tape running between two reels. Reel to reel no less, not a cassette.
- my android contact icon is a Rolodex(R) card.
- Google maps - a folded paper map.
- the phone app - the silhouette of what amounts to a '50s/'60s Western Electric handset.
- lock the phone - a padlock
- settings - I really like this one. A knob like you would find on a '70s hi-fi or a ham radio set.
- files (itself a sort of metaphor, but one so deeply embedded in computer culture - we had to name them something) - inevitably some variation on a filing cabinet.

My kids are 11 & 12. I really doubt they'll ever spend much, if any, time with tapes, rolodexes, paper maps, or much of any gadget with real knobs, even. Mrs. RKS and I found ourselves explaining pay phones to them - it's like telegrams are to me - a relic seen in the movies. Not sure about file cabinets - we have them at our office, but to me they're a nervous mix of Very Important Originals and crap that's not important enough to digitize. I'd much rather see our filing cabinets get burnt to a crisp than to lose our network server, of course.

OK, I could go on and on, but it's interesting that the only icons that are just abstract doodles or logos tend to be things that are essentially new paradigms with little to no analogue in the non-computer world. web browsers, twitter, etc. And those things are in the minority. We established these analogues to physical processes early on to orient ourselves, and it turns out they serve as well as anything to label the computer processes or objects, so they've acquired new meanings - files, folders, documents, etc.
posted by randomkeystrike at 6:58 PM on March 22, 2011 [17 favorites]


I wonder which version of Windows it's running internally.

BAM
posted by the noob at 7:02 PM on March 22, 2011


So disappointed this isn't video.

See "Signal to Noise" by video artist John Hawk, 1997.
posted by PBR at 7:32 PM on March 22, 2011


I would have one of these as my phone wallpaper like right now, but I can't choose!
posted by device55 at 8:58 PM on March 22, 2011


it occurred to me that soon there will be kids who don't get the reference.

I think the same thing about the opening line of Neuromancer. With some flatscreens going to a bright blue on a dead channel, maybe the kids will think Chiba City has remarkably clear and cheerful skies.
posted by honestcoyote at 9:15 PM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


"Not sure about file cabinets..."

At work people seriously don't know what they're for, even after they've taken the COMPULSORY records management course. (I file by whim, but that's not for everyone.)
posted by sneebler at 9:25 PM on March 22, 2011


I thought about how many phone/computer icons are representations of an older process or style of doing something and are essentially dead or dying metaphors.

Don't forget the floppy icon for saving files. French kids pondering floppy disks.
posted by benzenedream at 10:10 PM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


As so often happens on Mefi, the comments here are better than the post.
posted by IvoShandor at 11:59 PM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


With some flatscreens going to a bright blue on a dead channel

That's been true since well before flatscreens became the norm, of course. I don't think I've seen a new TV that would display snow in well over a decade.

I often have thoughts similar to randomkeystrike's above— often when pondering some graphic designer turned UI designer's attempt to present what they only dimly comprehend is a metaphor in the first place, let alone the context of the metaphor. /curmudgeon
posted by hattifattener at 12:19 AM on March 23, 2011


Does anyone else miss test patterns? Theyvstill have them on Bosnian channels. I can't remember in the U.S. Seeing the National Anthem accompanied by a waving flag since The Brass Monkey and Mordax were very small. In Bosnia and in Croatia at least the main national channels display those things after the test pattern. I rather liked that.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 1:08 AM on March 23, 2011


bright blue on a dead channel

Man, I would hate to be a video store clerk. Having to constantly explain that, yes, Derek Jarman's Blue is supposed to look like that, over and over...

Well, just the twice, probably; it's no Titanic. But still.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:28 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whereas modern TV's are just simplified computers. In fact, my spiffy new 1080p monitor occasionally crashes. Yeah, I'll come in and turn the system on and no display, but I unplug the monitor and plug it back in and it will come on.

It isn't like you can put a computer in a CRT enclosure.

Also yeah, the "Television tuned to a dead channel" thing in Neuromancer. I'm old enough that we had a TV that would still show static, rather then a blue field. I wish there was a way to disable that. I still have analog (NTSC!) cable and I can actually get scrambled HBO, but after a few seconds it bluefields. Annoying.
posted by delmoi at 2:04 AM on March 23, 2011


Oh, man! Scrambled "illegal" channels! Kids these days are missing out, for sure.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:13 AM on March 23, 2011


The sickening flat blue glare of modern television emptiness makes me sad. In spite of the fact that my odd collections already make me look like a candidate for a program about pathological hoarders, I keep a pair of small black and white television sets for the rush of static. One's a JcPenney mock-wood modern thing, but the other's an old TV store demonstrator that models a glamorous console set, except on a scale to match its nine inch screen.

When we'd turn off my grandmother's portable set in the basement, the screen would collapse in a sudden inverse bloom of white loops, whirling down to a single point. You could hear the windings and the paper wrappings in the transformers crinkle as the tension of power faded, and that single point would hang there, fading, in the center of the screen. I'd turn off the set and sit back on my haunches to watch the point, letting myself drift off the hyperkinetic rails of child time and into the desert of dot time, and stay focused on that point until I could no longer perceive it. Sometimes, it'd take a substantial fraction of an hour before you could no longer find it on the greenish-black glass of the tube.

All the while, my teachers would complain I had no attention span.

When you fell asleep with the TV on, comfortably fitted into the worn-out cushions of the old houndstooth couch with scratchy nylon upholstery, the national anthem would play, then the TV would go to the gentle roar of static. I slept best with that in the background, the constant surf of randomness programming my brain to just let it all go, just for the night. Of course, it's all infomercials all night now, so I dream about bad dinner theater actors playing out a magical scene in which everyone's absolutely enchanted by this wonderful new blender that can make anything as simple as 1-2-3.

I haven't forgotten the snow, though, or the astronomical hush of the absence of signal, and when I'm having a hard time sleeping, I imagine myself on that sofa in 1982, with the old Hitachi set perched on the broken-down stand in the den. I bring back the noise, the gentle wash of it, and the screen, bathing the room in that particular light, and I picture the static pouring out of the TV like soap suds, flowing into the room and filling it up like a bathtub. The static is as cool and soothing as tap water on an overheated afternoon, it rises until I'm submerged, and then I'm just there, suspended, in electric oblivion, and there's nothing but the sound and the light, and it always works.

You stop counting your heartbeats, the boundaries dissolve, and you wash away on the sizzling sonic foam.

I could say we're missing that these days, but it may have just been me all along. Still, something in there, lost in that hissing analogue whisper, spoke in a language I understood. The monks had their rock gardens with stones floating on gravel seas, the fishermen had that quiet pond and the expanding circles of ripples around the point of penetration where the line pierces the still water, and me--I had TV tuned to a dead channel, where there's nothing left to worry about, at least for a while.
posted by sonascope at 3:48 AM on March 23, 2011 [16 favorites]


Synchronicity. This very morning I packed a Tektronix 519 CRT into the back of my car to drop off at a museum for old Tek stuff (more about the 519). I spent eleven joyful years as a CRT test operator and process technician. CRTs have been good to me.
posted by cairnish at 8:11 AM on March 23, 2011


Static on your television could save your life !

Seriously. Being a particularly geeky sort of little kid , after I found out about this I would spend many stormy days looking at a darkened channel 2 waiting for it to brighten up so I could all warn the family to "quick, run to the basement!" Sadly (or fortunately) it never did and I am sure one family member looked at me and shook their head as they watched me intently staring at a dark screen listening to the static.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 8:16 AM on March 23, 2011


it's interesting that the only icons that are just abstract doodles or logos tend to be things that are essentially new paradigms with little to no analogue in the non-computer world. web browsers, twitter, etc.

For things that don't have a direct physical metaphor there's usually a more abstract metaphor going on. For instance web browser icons tend to relate to exploration or globe metaphors: Netscape Navigator had a naval exploration theme and a satellite/comet 'around the world' theme that it shared with Internet Explorer; Safari = a safari adventure (complete with compass for navigating); The Firefox fox goes around the globe; The Chrome icon can be seen as an iconic earth with arrows going around it (although it always looks like a poke-ball to me). The twitter bird's 'tweets' are a metaphor for short broadcasts. You're the bird.

The only icons I can think off of the top of my head that really abandon metaphors are the Adobe Creative Suite icons, but I think there's still some sort of periodic table metaphor there, as well as some color metaphors.
posted by martin10bones at 11:18 AM on March 23, 2011


Woah. This is one of my students. He didn't do this work under my tutelage but damn, kid's famous on the internet now. Not bad. I hope he's still willing to sell me a print.
posted by mr.ersatz at 12:24 PM on March 23, 2011


When I was little, I used to imagine that the snow on a TV tuned to a dead channel was an overhead shot of tops of the heads of all the people at the TV station running around trying to fix the problem.

My Samsung tv does a cute thing where it simulates the snow when you have it set to the Antenna source without anything plugged into it. It's kind of neat...
posted by capnsue at 12:43 PM on March 23, 2011


When I was a kid my uncle gave me a couple of bigass magnets (I think he said they were from a generator). I soon discoverd that a powerful magnet applied to a color TV screen equalled psychedelic fun. As an added bonus, when you're done playing with the TV boring sitcoms will be enlivened by multicolored ghosts.
posted by gamera at 4:45 PM on March 23, 2011


Hit post instead of preview. Psychedelic Fun!
posted by gamera at 4:46 PM on March 23, 2011


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