what true nerds do
You might think I'm a nerdy guy. To some, I am - but believe me, there are those who are far nerdier than I could ever be.
I talk about retro computing stuff from time to time but don't actually own any of that stuff because it's completely impractical. For example, I used a Mac SE/30's in high school, and yeah it's a cute computer, but I'd never own one because I can't do anything with it. Networking is a nightmare (meaning no internet), no USB (the 2.0 spec we all use didn't happen until 1996), etc. Nostalgic, yeah, but I can't do a thing with it. Plus the frickin' thing is loud. Turn it on and whirrrrrrrrr... That's the sound of the hard drive and fans. Then after staring at that tube monitor you'll get a headache in less than 10 minutes. Screw that. 🙂
Now if you think what you just read is nerdy, whoa nelly do I have a doozy for you. There are dudes out there who go ancient with their hardware and use what are known as dumb terminals. These terminals are not PC's and were used to connect to ginormous mainframe systems back in the day.
For whatever strange reason, there are guys out there who collect these things and use regular PC's to act as a miniature mainframe of sorts so they can actually be used.
Now I want to make clear that there is literally no good use for these terminals other than for a very odd sense of nostalgia. I call it odd because nobody had these in the home. Ever. There were only two places you ever saw these things. Big-ass faceless corporations, and a few select upscale universities because those two were the only places that could afford the mainframes these terminals connected to. See, there are nerdy types who collect computers like the Commodore 64 and Atari 800, but those were designed for the home and the guys who collect those probably used them when they were kids. Dumb terminals on the other hand, well, that's a whole different arena. You have to have very.. um.. unique tastes to actually want that stuff.
Using a true-blue DEC terminal is only for the land of the super nerd.
I was browsing around YouTube and came across this video of a super nerd's cave. I'll post the video first then describe it below.
The first thing that happens is an introduction - on a computer monitor. It describes all the crap this guy went through just to make this dinosaur-era piece of technology work. If you bother reading it, you'll be amazed at how far this super nerd went just to get this beast operational.
The second intro screen shows nerdy language only those who know how this thing works would understand.
At the 1:11 mark, you actually see the thing as well as many other bits of ancient dinosaur tech in the nerd cave.
As you watch through this, the near-silence is deafening. All you hear is the light hum of a computer (possibly several) running. Odd cables and even odder connectors are everywhere. You also get to see a super nerd's favorite type of lighting - dark, with only the glow of monitors to let you see anything.
Once the DEC is up and running you hear the loud click-clacks of the mechanical keyboard and the little bleeps and bloops the thing makes.
Not a single word is uttered in the entire video. All you hear is that computer humming and the click-clacking/bleeping/blooping.
Think you're nerdy or geeky? Well, do you have a DEC terminal connected to a miniature mainframe in your house? I didn't think so. If you want ultimate 'nerd cred', as they say, you'll have to out-do the guy in the video above - and that won't be easy. 🙂
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