Early Computers: Applications, Computer Graphics, Look at Future Uses
March 5, 2016 9:57 AM   Subscribe

That was fascinating!
posted by aggienfo at 10:08 AM on March 5, 2016

I miss light pens.
Love the "Daisy, Daisy' song- wonder if HAL saw this.
posted by MtDewd at 10:30 AM on March 5, 2016

The film was made in 1968, same year as 2001 so I bet there is some connection.
posted by Zedcaster at 10:39 AM on March 5, 2016

In the off chance someone might be interested, I recently ran into the documentary that got me interested in computer security: The Day of the Technopath. (Parts 1, 2, 3)
posted by wwwwolf at 10:59 AM on March 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

(The flexidisk record of 'Daisy' was indeed found in Kubrick's archive, so yes, definitely.)
posted by sexyrobot at 11:01 AM on March 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

"I miss light pens."

I've always wanted a Wacom tablet, so the current tablets with pens are looking interesting, especially the Apple Pencil . . .
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 11:40 AM on March 5, 2016

@ Heywood Mogroot III
> I've always wanted a Wacom tablet

Well, just buy a Wacom tablet, then! The previous one I had lasted well over a decade, so I expect my current one to stand longer than that. Certainly survived all Apple hardware I've had at hand.
posted by wwwwolf at 12:16 PM on March 5, 2016

The history of artists and scientists collaborating at Bell Labs in the 1960s/70s is so amazing. From around 4:00-6:30, you can see experimental filmmaker Stan VanDerBeek and Bell Labs programmer Ken Knowlton. When the narrator says they're "collaborating on an idea for an experimental computer-made movie," he's probably referring to their computer animation series Poemfields. At around 6:00 you can see a clip of their film Man and His World made for Expo 67. (Knowlton also collaborated with computer artist Lillian Schwartz - check out their mind blowing film Pixillation). Bell Labs engineer Billy Kluver started E.A.T. (Experiments in Art and Technology).

Also, Bell Labs' John Pierce and Max Mathews invited lots of composers for computer music collaborations. I'm pretty sure that's Max Mathews you see at around 9:30 - in 1961 he created a computer music version of "Daisy Bell" (aka "Bicycle Built for Two") at Bell Labs. Arthur C. Clark heard this version while visiting John Pierce there, and it became the inspiration for HAL's Daisy scene in Kubrick's 2001. Thank you Bell Labs!
posted by mountainpeak at 2:40 PM on March 5, 2016 [7 favorites]

I didn't stay for the end, Joseph Cotton narrator?
posted by Chitownfats at 5:36 PM on March 5, 2016

I didn't stay for the end, Joseph Cotton narrator?

The narrator's not credited. So I did a little sleuthing. In addition to directing this film (The Incredible Machine) for Bell Labs, Paul Cohen filmed two other shorts for Bell Labs that Norman Rose narrated: Krystallos on quartz and The Conquest of Light on lasers. Sounds like it might be him.
posted by mountainpeak at 7:18 PM on March 5, 2016

According to this site, the narrator is Orson Welles. Sounds like him to me, FWIW.
posted by bryon at 9:58 PM on March 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

bryon: I should just hand-wave and say, "Knew it was a Citizen Kane voice". :)
posted by Chitownfats at 10:46 PM on March 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

I know this will probably mark me as a wild-eyed lunatic, but when the Computek arrives from General Processing for his weekly visit, I'm going to ask if he can adjust the volume on the loudspeakers on my HomeVAC, because my domestic computing center is only separated from my bedroom by the bathroom, and the beep-beep-boop-beep-boop-boop of HomeVAC balancing my checkbook and managing my recipes is keeping me up at night. Plus, the deet-deet-deet sound of characters appearing on my cathode ray display unit isn't nearly distinct enough—sometimes it's like text just flashes onto the screen in one page instead of following the cursor. And don't even get me started on my lightbulb bill on the memory register display panel.

Even worse, whenever HomeVAC sings "Daisy" for me, it slows down terribly at the end.

It's getting like we don't even live in the world of the future these days...
posted by sonascope at 4:42 AM on March 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

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