#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.