#58 Up & Running
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Phishing malware attacked AmperArt.com in September 2019, shutting the site down for several weeks. It took quite an effort to remove all the infections and restore the site to normal, after which it was migrated to a new hosting company and fortified with all sorts or anti-malware and virus firewalls. Now that AmperArt is once again Up & Running, here’s a story about a special place where I used to visit my computer genius friend after high school.
In the 1970’s one of my best friends worked as a computer programmer for the Glendale Unified School District. I’d frequently drop in on him and enjoy the phenomenon of feeling like I was in the control room of a sci-fi flick.
The district’s Computer Control Center was a large room with an elevated floor that was air-conditioned underneath to keep the massive electronics cool. I guess you could say the computers on that elevated floor were literally Up & Running. There were banks of huge reel-to-reel machines that hummed and clicked in synchronicity. Besides those state-of-the-art wonders, data was stored on punch cards that sorted through a large machine sounding like cards shuffling at a casino, and on paper strips punched with little holes resembling a tickertape.
But the eeriest thing about this room was the strange green glow emanating from the computer monitors. Nothing like what you’re viewing right now. Every screen displayed rows and rows of same-size letters and numbers, a single font if you can call it that, in this cathode tube green glow. You even had to know a complex computer language to type anything (I am indebted to whoever invented wysiwyg).
AmperArt #58 Up & Running is reminiscent of those green-glow monitors. See the faint numbers in the poster image where it otherwise appears black? That’s where the characters have been burned into the phosphors of the cathode ray tube. No full-color websites in those days! However, with a little artistic talent and a lot of patience, you could actually draw pictures like this:
Here’s an interesting history of creating art with letters & numbers, going way back to the days of typewriters.
Dedicated to Joe Freezon, best friend, computer nerd. RIP
Production notes for #158 Up & Running:
Original size: 20x30 inches
Programs: Adobe Illustrator & Photoshop
Font: Green Screen (background code*), main text lettering by Chaz
Ampersand: custom design by Chaz
Green Screen font* by James Shields (click to see all his fonts)
*an exact copy of the standard IBM PC text mode font
Note: “&” replaces “and” in most or all text, including quotations, headlines & titles.
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RIP BLACKWOLF, AMOS & ANDY, BRIQUETTE, JEEPERS CREEPERS, & ALL MY FRIENDS’ & NEIGHBORS’ BLACK CATS WHO WILL BE CELEBRATING NATIONAL BLACK CAT DAY IN HALLOWEEN HEAVEN
4 thoughts to “#58 Up & Running”
Very cool AmperArt and information to go with it! Loved hearing about Steve and your collaboration. Also, I really enjoyed your inspiration for the piece…excellent explanation and very clever, as usual. I’ve always been fascinated by the world of “Ones & Zeros” but agree your title of “Up & Running” fit it all best.
If and when I do a piece called “Ones & Zeros” or whenever I pluralize “zero” I will spell it as you do, without the “e.” Your spelling made me curious, and sure enough, “zeros” is the preferred version, even though “zeroes” is also correct. From now on it’s “zeros” for me. I like the way it looks, too.
That’s the second spelling revelation I’ve encountered this year, also related to AmperArt. Last month I discovered “gray” is preferred in America while “grey” is more common in British. Now I spell it “gray” which has always felt more like the color – bland, like most things American.
I enjoyed your explanation of the background and coloring selected for this artwork. I am always amazed at how creatively you see things.
If you recall, when computer printers were dot matrix, “pictures” were creatively composed of various letters of the alphabet, rendering each character’s space very light (a period), very dark (an M or W) or any value in between depending on the makeup of the character. The same effect has been done with basic typewriters. Many of these “works of art” had a dark background using all M’s or W’s, and the image appeared as white when just the spacebar was used. That is what I replicated here, only on the monitor before the signal went to the printer. To further bring forth the topic of our digital world, all the characters in this AmperArt piece are binary 1’s and 0’s. I could have easily titled it “Ones & Zeroes” but “Up & Running” refers to the fact the cpu was replaced or the code was fixed and everything is running smooth again…until a capacitor blows or the next virus strikes.