Category Archives: Misc

Sub-Etha Software to attend 2018 Chicago CoCoFEST!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Sub-Etha Software to attend 2018 Chicago CoCoFEST!

Des Moines, Iowa – January 11, 2018 – Iowa-based Sub-Etha Software has announced plans to attend the 2018 27th Annual “Last” Chicago CoCoFEST! The event will be held April 21 and 22, 2018 at the Heron Point Convention Center in Lombard, Illinois.

“We’ve missed a number of years over the past decade or so, but we don’t plan to miss this year,” says Sub-Etha co-founder and current operator, Allen Huffman. “Missing these shows sucks. And this year we don’t want it to suck.”

Sub-Etha Software plans to demonstrate Roger Taylor’s “CoCo on a Chip” FPGA project, as well as a few “vaporware” items from the company’s past, including the CoCo-VR project and CoCo Answering Machine project.

A selection of N.O.S. (new old stock) Sub-Etha items may be available on (probably unreadable) 5 1/4″ floppy disks in original (“vintage”) packaging.

There will not be any Jolt! Cola, because that no longer exists. And there might even be Jolt Cola, because thanks to a tip from L. Curtis Boyle in the comments, it went back in to production in late 2017!

About Sub-Etha Software

Sub-Etha Software was founded in Lufkin, Texas in 1990, as a partnership between Allen C. Huffman and Terry S. Todd. It made it’s first CoCoFest appearance at the First Annual Atlanta CoCoFest in 1990, and it’s first Chicago CoCoFest appearance at the First Annual “Last” Chicago CoCoFEST! in 1992. They may be contacted online at www.subethasoftware.com

About the Chicago CoCoFEST!

The 27th Annual “Last” Chicago CoCoFEST! is sponsored by the Glenside Color Computer Club of Illinois. They may be contacted online at www.glensideccc.com.

Contact:
Allen Huffman
alsplace@pobox.com
PO Box 7634,
Des Moines, Iowa
U.S.A.
Ph: 515-999-0227

###

Easy websites with the w3.css style sheet, part 4

See also: Part 1Part 2 and Part 3.

This article will assume you know at least something about HTML, and a bit about CSS – even if it is just the basic stuff like the simple code shown in the example in part 3:

<html>
  <head>
    <title>My First Home Page</title>
  </head>
  <body>
    <p>Welcome to my home page!</p>     
    <p>Check out my other pages:</p>
    <ul>
      <li><a href="about.html">About Me</a></li>
      <li><a href="mydog.html">My Dog</a></li>
      <li><a href="poetry.html">My Poems</a></li>
    </ul>
  </body>
</html>

That makes this:

My First Home Page

But, with a bit of additional CSS styles, we can colorize and do other effects.

<html>
  <head>
     <title>My First Home Page</title>
   </head>
   <body>
     <p style="color: red">Welcome to my home page!</p> 
     <p style="color: green">Check out my other pages:</p>
     <ul style="background: black">
       <li><a href="about.html">About Me</a></li>
       <li><a href="mydog.html">My Dog</a></li>
       <li><a href="poetry.html">My Poems</a></li>
     </ul>
   </body>
</html>

That might look like this:

My First Home Page … in COLOR!

Here is an excellent tutorial on CSS:

http://www.w3schools.com/css/

I was visiting this site a few weeks ago looking up some CSS things and I ran across a style sheet they had created which let you easily create navigation bars, menus, and responsive (scales to phone or desktop screens) websites. It was called w3.css:

http://www.w3schools.com/w3css/

By linking in that style sheet, and tagging items in your web page, you can turn a boring, bland HTML page in to something more modern. By just including the “w3.css” style sheet in your page, and adding a “class” parameter to an unordered list, you suddenly have a modern navigation menubar:

<html>
  <head>
    <title>My First Home Page</title>
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="http://www.w3schools.com/lib/w3.css">
  </head>
  <body>
    <ul class="w3-navbar w3-blue">
      <li><a href="about.html">About Me</a></li>
      <li><a href="mydog.html">My Dog</a></li>
      <li><a href="poetry.html">My Poems</a></li>
    </ul>
    <p>Welcome to my home page!</p> 
    <p>Check out my other pages by using the top menu.</p>
  </body>
</html>

Since I wanted the menu bar to be at the top, I moved that line to the top. It looks like this:

My First Home Page … using w3.css!

And by adding a few more “class” tags, you can create horizontal side menus and a bunch more. For example, you can easily create a page layout, such as a navigation bar, left box, and main content area:

<html>
  <head>
    <title>My First Home Page</title>
  <link rel="stylesheet" href="http://www.w3schools.com/lib/w3.css">
  </head>
  <body>
    <ul class="w3-navbar w3-blue">
      <li><a href="about.html">About Me</a></li>
      <li><a href="mydog.html">My Dog</a></li>
      <li><a href="poetry.html">My Poems</a></li>
    </ul>
    <div class="w3-row">
      <div class="w3-third w3-container w3-green">
        <h2>Thought for the Day</h2> 
      </div>
      <div class="w3-twothird w3-container">
        <h2>Welcome to my home page!</h2> 
        <p>Check out my other pages by using the top menu.</p>
      </div>
    </div>
  </body>
</html>

…and suddenly you have this:

My First Home Page … now with CSS!

And, this design automatically becomes responsive, and resizes for phone screens:

My First Home Page … now responsive!

How cool is that?

I just had to share.

Explore the w3.css tutorial site for many examples. There are a ton of fun things you can do with very little work these days.

Have fun!

Easy websites with the w3.css style sheet, part 3

See also: Part 1 and Part 2.

Let’s set the wayback machine to 1995, when I first learned HTML.

The company where I worked had an internal web server. Many of the other engineers had their own small work-related web pages, so I wanted one too. I decided to learn HTML.

Consider this very, very simple HTML page:

<html>
    <head>
        <title>My First Home Page</title>
    </head>
    <body>
        <p>Welcome to my home page!</p>     
    </body>
</html>

This very simple page would present an empty screen with one short paragraph.

Perhaps we want to add a list of links to some other pages:

<html>
    <head>
        <title>My First Home Page</title>
    </head>
    <body>
        <p>Welcome to my home page!</p>     
        <p>Check out my other pages:</p>
        <ul>
            <li><a href="about.html">About Me</a></li>
            <li><a href="mydog.html">My Dog</a></li>
            <li><a href="poetry.html">My Poems</a></li>
        </ul>
    </body>
</html>

…and thus, the world wide web as we know it began, with endless, simple home pages.

HTML gave us many things, like bold text and italics, and even ways to make simple tables. As web browsers evolved, so did web pages, and soon designers were creating amazing sites by abusing the very simple HTML language.

And boy was it messy.

Netscape might show a web page differently than Internet Explorer, so designers had to use all kinds of tricks to try to make their sites viewable on different browsers and operating systems.

And boy was it messy.

Over the years, web developers came up with all kinds of hacks and tricks to make pages look “pretty” like they wanted, and look similar on different systems and browsers. They were using HTML in ways the language was never intended to be used.

Web browsers came and went, and the HTML standard evolved with browsers slowly becoming more standardized and able to render the same webpages similarly without (as many) hacks.

Somewhere along the line, cascading style sheets (CSS) started getting used, giving developers a proper way to instruct a browser on how to render HTML. The wikipedia page says CSS came out in 1996:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cascading_Style_Sheets

…but it was many years before software supported it enough to make it widespread. I remember going through three or four expensive versions of the Dreamweaver web authoring program before finally getting one that sorta-kinda supported CSS.

I believe CSS finally came in to its own thanks to the introduction of the iPhone in 2007. This moved the world wide web from large desktop screens to tiny screens into our pockets. Since viewing full sized websites on a tiny screen wasn’t that fun, web standards continued to evolve with new approaches to make websites look less crappy on tiny screens while still looking nice on large computer screens.

And boy was it complicated…

Up next: How to make a modern looking website without having to learn (almost anything about) CSS.

Easy websites with the w3.css style sheet, part 2

Previously, I began this article by discussing my first experience making a website back in 1995, along with mentioning a custom program I wrote to help speed up the process.

Over the years, the web has grown considerably, and the HTML “language” has evolved and added more features. (Does anyone remember the “blink” HTML tag?) It’s taken two decades, but we are finally getting to the point where web browsers are finally standardized enough that website designers don’t have to rely on all kinds of hacks and tricks just to make their sites appear similar on different systems.

In the early days, a browser called Netscape dominated. Microsoft introduced their first Internet Explorer (bringing the World Wide Web to PC users) and Apple had whatever the heck it had. Other operating systems, like IBM’s OS/2 Warp, had browsers of their own … and all rendered HTML a bit differently.

It was a mess.

Pages wouldn’t look the same when using Netscape on a PC versus  Mac. Internet Explorer was even made for Macs at one point, and initially it added features that the PC version didn’t have.

It was a mess.

I know I just said that, but I feel it is worth repeating.

It was a mess.

Today, it seems pretty rare to find folks editing HTML by hand. There are endless options for HTML editors (like Dreamweaver) that aid in building websites using templates and libraries of HTML code. There are also tons of content management systems like WordPress (which this site currently uses) that let folks easily set up a site based on a pre-existing theme and customize it a bit without ever touching a line of code.

And this is why so much of the internet looks bland, boring, and similar. Folks like me pick out some very common WordPress theme and look like thousands of other sites using the same theme.

Because writing a modern-looking website is hard.

However, last week I stumbled upon something that appears to let my ancient 1995 HTML skills quickly and easily create a modern-looking website with very simple HTML code.

In the next installment, I will introduce you to the w3.css. If you have ever built HTML by hand, and are unaware of w3.css, hopefully you will be as impressed as I am by what it is capable of.

Until then…

Easy websites with the w3.css style sheet, part 1

This article will discuss an amazingly easy way to create modern websites using a cool thing I just found out about.

But, like most of my articles, we begin with a long, rambling story about my history with the web…

I built my first HTML web page in 1995, I think. It was the early and crude days of the World Wide Web. I remember having my first public website (which we all called “home pages” back then) on a free service called GeoPages. This server was later renamed to GeoCities and was eventually acquired by Yahoo!

Here is the Wikipedia entry with some of the history. It’s quite interesting seeing where things began:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yahoo!_GeoCities

According to a news article referenced by Wikipedia, the name change happened in December 1995. I wish I still had copies of my first home page, but space was limited back then so few of us kept earlier versions of the things we did.

At some point, I moved my home page from GeoCities to Delphi, and it stayed there for awhile before I finally archived it to my own domain. It looks like I last updated it in 2000, so here is an archive of my old site that begin in 1995:

http://alsplace.os9al.com/alsplace.html
My original home page, as it was in 1999-ish.

Those were the days! HTML 1.0!

In those days, HTML was edited by hand in a text editor. I used the umacs editor on a SunOS workstation, and later, umacs for MS-DOS on a Toshiba laptop. I wrote several programs in C to help me built more complex sites by using template files and includes. I basically created a C-style “#ifdef”, “#include” and “#define” preprocessor for HTML, and also added variables.

If I wanted a consistent header and/or footer at the top of every page, I could create a file like “TOP.TEM” (top template) with that code, and then in my page files (INDEX.TEM, ABOUT.TEM, LINKS.TEM) I would do a “#include TOP.TEM”. When I ran my preprocessor, it would parse the files and generate the actual .HTM files. (Ah, those lousy days in the PC world where file names were limited to eight letters and a three letter extension!)

For variables, I could create a “#define EMAIL alsplace@pobox.com” in a template, and then anywhere the text “%EMAIL%” appeared in the file would get replaced with “alsplace@pobox.com”. It let me make global changes to my site and rebuild in seconds.

Years later, I would purchase the expensive Macromedia Dreamweaver, which is today known as Adobe Dreamweaver. (Hmmm, why is everything I use acquired by someone else?) This industrial strength web editor finally allowed me to edit in a more visual mode rather than raw HTML coding.

But, even though it added the concept of Library items and Templates, it was (and still is!) so far slower when generating a site than my ancient 1995 preprocessor.

But it looks much nicer and is easier to use.

Up next: From home page to hosting…

Apparently I can’t trust anything I remember.

I have a few dozen different websites, but none for a subject like this, so I’ll just post it here. Maybe you will find it interesting.

Since a big portion of this site is topics from my 8-bit computer days in the 1980s, I now find myself wondering if I remember any of the stories I tell correctly. Most of the things I think I recall, I think I recall correctly … but now I am wondering if anything I say here is accurate. Join me on a quick detour and let’s have some fun with memories…

On December 22, 2015, an e-mail newsletter I receive from DIGG had a subject that caught my attention. It said:

Your Memories Aren’t Real

The newsletter usually contains around a dozen links to articles on other sites, but the first one was titled “The Movie That Doesen’t Exist And The Redditors Who Think It Does“.  The description talked about hundreds of people remembering a cheesy 1990’s movie called “Shazaam” and that no such movie exists. I initially shrugged this off because I was well aware of a movie called “Kazaam” that started the basketball player Shaquille O’Neal.

I was curious about how this could be “a thing” so I read the article. Here it is:

http://www.newstatesman.com/science-tech/internet/2016/12/movie-doesn-t-exist-and-redditors-who-think-it-does

This article discusses something called the Mandela Effect, named after groups of people who incorrectly remember Nelson Mandela dying in prison in the 1980s. Some news or event must have happened back then that confused many people the same way.

I had previously heard references to Mandela Effect on Free Talk Live, a liberty-minded syndicated talk radio program. They occasionally brought it up, using the example of how the children’s book is Berenstain Bears and not Berenstein Bears like many recall. I always heard it as “stein” so I had repeated it incorrectly my entire life.

This led me to do some quick web searches to see if there was anything more to it than that, and I found all kinds of amusing posts and YouTube videos. Most of them are in the same league as “misheard song lyrics” and made me think of a book a former coworker friend of mine, James, had pointed me to ages ago. A quick search right now shows that there is even a website dedicated to this:

http://kissthisguy.com/

(That’s a reference to the Jimi Hendrix song, which some mishear as “Excuse me while I kiss this guy!”)

I went through various lists of movie quotes everyone seems to get wrong (“NO, I am your father!”, “Life WAS like a box of chocolates”, “MAGIC mirror on the wall”) and even TV items most of us heard hundreds of times if we grew up in the 70s (“It’s a beautiful day in THIS neighborhood”). I was stunned at how many I was wrong about.

The Mandela Effect folks say this could be a sign of parallel worlds/dimensions/etc. and folks slipping between them, noticing something is off in a product logo, or song lyric or something they swear they remember and know.

It’s quite entertaining.

One actually hit me pretty hard. When I was first getting involved with Renaissance Festivals in the late 1990s, I had some smart friends that would often explain some of the historical inaccuracies these events propagate. (No, pirates like you recognize don’t belong at a typical Renaissance festival – they are closer to the Wild West era than medieval times.) One of these items was turkey legs and how turkeys were from the New World and didn’t even exist in Europe until they were brought over at a much later time (1500s?).

So how did turkey legs become so popular? I was pointed to a painting (which I always thought was of one of the King Henrys). It showed him holding up something that looked like a turkey leg. My friend explained it was likely some other type of meat. I remember looking the picture up (a color painting) back in those dial-up internet days.

Over the years, I’ve mentioned this to other festival newbies, and you can certainly find tons of references to such a painting, as well as find the pose parodied all over the place.

But there is no such painting. At least, not of King Henry.

I am confident such a painting exists, tho for all I know it was painted in the 1960s (the first Renaissance festival started around 1963 in California). It may have even been a parody painting, making fun of the King’s gluttony.

One this is for sure … it apparently was not King Henry.

And although there’s alot of science theory lately about parallel dimensions, I somehow think it’s just that my memory is crap.

Here’s a fun graphic showing various product logos and names. How many of them are you wrong about?

Enjoy!

Drobo 5C for $279 on Amazon

(Cross posting from my Appleause.com website. Over there, I post things related to Apple, Mac, iOS, etc.)

The Drobo 5C was introduced in October 2016 for $349. There has already been a $50 discount code ($299) and a one-day Amazon.com sale (also $299). Yesterday, the price tracking site, Camel Camel Camel, alerted me of a $279 price on Amazon:

http://camelcamelcamel.com/Drobo-5-Drive-Attached-Storage-DDR4A21/product/B01LWNHFBR?context=tracker

By the time you see this posting, the price may no longer be valid, but you might consider activating a Camel Camel Camel account to do your own tracking. You will receive an e-mail alert when the desired item (anything on Amazon) reaches the price you want. It also shows a historic graph of the price the item has been since tracking began.

Merry Christmas.

2016 HBO Westerworld versus 1973 Westworld

I couldn’t figure out which of my existing sites would make sense for discussing the new HBO series, Westworld, so I decided to put it here. Because robots.

This article will contain updates of easter eggs and other references/links between the new HBO series and the 1973 original movie.

References to 1973 Westworld

  1. There is a reference about how you could tell the original robots were fake by a handshake. In the 1973 movie, the hands were the giveaway.

Much more to come… I wanted to post something now to get it in the search engines.