This page was updated: January 14, 2020
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Happy New Year!
This could have been a reality, but the technologies involved did not happen close enough together to make it viable. Most technologies carry on, they become antiquated, but they still work...
Using that wonderful SLR you got in the 1970s, you go out and shoot some wonderful subjects. You then pop the exposed film into a box, run it through and pull out negatives. After drying for a minute (you boot your computer during that tine and make sure your USB side scanner is plugged in), you cut your negatives to length, and put them into the scanner. 5 minutes after shooting real film in a camera that can handle ultra-bright, and dark areas all at once, you post digital renditions of them online!
Well it could have been - but. The big but here is time. I believe Polaroid, who made this wonderful 35mm film stopped making it in the early 90s -- or something like that. A while ago I received a Polaroid Palette loaded with a Polaroid back (for instant photos), a Minolta X370 (for shooting slides) and tons of 35mm slide frames, a processor and a whole slew of other goodies to make it all work.
The Polaroid Palette was a big box (shoe box size) that you would hook up to your computer to make slides.
The word was multimedia.
It originated in the 1970s when info presentations, like those given by environmental groups, forest fire awareness people, businesses, etc, would present something. Pre-dating PowerPoint, white boards, and laptops connected to projectors, multimedia presentations had multiple slide projectors with faders (a controller that caused the slide from one projector to dissolve to the side from another projector). There would be multiple 16mm movie projectors, record players, cassette players, and film strips. Lots of equipment. They had elaborate sound systems with everything aiming at a large projection screen, often showing multiple things at one on various parts of the screen.
Businesses (and others) like to show graphs and while a well made graph on an overhead projector was the norm, slides had a definite advantage in multi media -- you could quickly pop a new slide in your slide tray along with your other slides (after some shuffling).
A new device became popular in the 80s. The Personal Computer and it made beautiful graphs and charts!
I recall going to what was the new U.S.G.S. offices, and seeing a console, about 10ft long, built into the wall of one room. This console had a monitor built in and a slot. I think it said Nikon on it somewhere and there was a keyboard -- no mouse. It spit out a slide (mounted, I think) of the slot. The guy working at the console said he loved the thing because he no longer had to spend major amounts of time making overheads. He had all his data for his presentation on 35mm slides! It was truly a marvel of modern times! Wow.
The Polachrome B & W slide film was an artifact from that era; the by gone time between "Multimedia" and the PowerPoint slide presentations of today. You used your DOS based PC to make charts and such. Think of everything you can put into the visual of a PowerPoint slide -- photos, text, graphs, etc, all because of the power a computer gave the presenter. Connected to the box was the instant film back. That way you can made sure the stuff on your screen was gonna looked good on your slide. Plus, you could show colleagues your charts without a slide projector. Hooking up the Minolta gave you the power to make slides.
The film I had was color, but I only got a high contrast image resulting in basically, a black and white picture. Regular slide film would, of course, work, but you'd have to take it to a lab to get it processed. And that takes time.
With Polachrome you'd place the exposed film in the processor with a processing pack and roll it through with the hand crank (they also made a motorized version of the processor) and your film was developed. All you had to do was cut and mount the pictures in slide frames. It really must have been a nice system.
I have read other's experiences in the 2000s and they all had my experience of the developer gelling up. Today, I see processors, pallets, and Polachrome on eBay. Even slide mounts and mounters. However, my guess is that the stuff to process the film is dead. One blogger wrote that he gotten the film processed professionally, but that takes away the instant factor.
Digital Film Back.
Perhaps a digital film back would let me use my film camera and lenses.
I knew you could get digital film backs, so I looked into that. They are available, but only for medium format cameras. The idea of getting a digital picture from my SLR with my 600mm or my 24mm mounted would be cool -- but alas, I own no Hassabald.
The inventor of the digital camera did a science experiment -- a very successful Experiment, I might add -- the Kodak DSC-100, a Nikon F3 with a digital back on it. I looked on eBay and found one! The seller wants $1500 for it, but it is complete and appears to be in mint condition. I discovered other models that actually were more portable (the DSC-100 has a box with a screen the size of and much like the first portable video cameras, plus it had a keyboard and power supply!) like the 420 that looks like a Nikon with a very, very, tall motor drive on it. The original was something like 1.5 megapixals, it evolved over the years (short years!) to higher megapixalage, like 2.0 in the 620, on up to Kodak's Kodak branded (with what appears to be a Nikon F mount) 14MP! There was a Cannon bodied one with an amazing 20MP.
Let's go back to the 420.
I got one on eBay. Government surplus. No lens, but a nice Nikon N90s body with the Kodak "back" mounted on it. They made different models of the DSC (DSC stands for Digital Science Camera): "b" for black and white, "c" for color and "ir" for infrared. Mine is the "c." But there is no more to write about along these lines, save to say... I am reading the manuals at present and the N90s is more complex than my Canon digital camera!
Back to MP.
Inside (ok, one more point) the 420's, viewfinder is a box -- the only modification to the film camera part of the 420 -- that shows the crop. The digital sensors are not large enough to fill the whole shutter field, and as far as I know, no digital SLR today matches the film size of 35mm as the Nikon's of today let you use your old lenses with a crop of 1.5x. So your 100mm lens now becomes effectively a 150mm lens. The crop of 420 is 2.6x.
so... Given that the prices of a working version of one of these older cameras are the same than a new Nikon DSLR, there is no real advantage to getting one verses getting a new DSLR. There are exceptions, like the Nikon D2N, but that too, is in high demand and hard to find.
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Well, last month I wrote that I didn't know of a digital camera that had a full frame sensor. I would have guessed that someone made such a device. Nikon has (at least) a couple; the D700 and the D600 are both full frame digital cameras. This means that you put a 24mm lens on the camera and it behaves as if you have a 24mm lens on your camera.
But alas, they are pricey. They fall in the $2000+ range.
The idea of using my old lenses to produce digital images is very intriguing to me. But the Nikon digital cameras require the lens communication of the Nikon AI technology. Aperture Intelligence basically tells the camera what the aperture of the lens is set to. This is needed for auto as well as manual shooting, at least if you want to use the meter. I am not sure if you can put the camera in override mode and make it do your bidding, but I suspect you can. Both the Nikon FM and the DCS-420c (Nikon N90s) let me stop down to meter, which is necessary for some of my lenses. In fact, to use any of my old Tamrons stop down is my only option.
My DCS-420c did not come with a PS. I have seen many of these cameras on eBay; some with PSs, some without. Most at a cost prohibitive price. The sellers all say how easy it is to find these PSs in the $30-40 range (Kodak has them listed on their site, but I didn't inquire on availability or price). I have looked, watched, and waited. Finally after months, I found one! A seller on eBay had a bunch and I was able to acquire one.
I was excited to get this camera into action; I plugged it in and started shooting. I was able to take pictures! Or so it seemed. The shutter was firing, but the meter said there was not enough light for a good exposure (I was shooting at ISO 200). But I clicked away anyway -- you know, that film thing ;)
I popped the card out and popped it into Dampier. Irfenview found these supper lowres pictures in black and white.
The files were 1.6megs in size and yet the resolution was like 192*128. I thought they were at least VGA resolution (640*480 -- I was thinking of the Polaroid Palate, however). So I looked in the PDF manual I had and found the images are color (as my camera has the "c" designator) at a resolution of 1536*1024. More reading/Googling and I find that most image programs will simply display the thumbnails of the raw .TIF file.
So back to Kodak's site. They have Firmware updates, software for using the camera, all but the driver's needed to read the pictures, instead they have dead links. :(
Well, perhaps the drivers install with the various software. Hm. I don't want to install anything passed just a driver. Then I get this idea of doing it in Linux. Which is funny as aside from hotsyncing the PDA to Dampier (under Windows 2000), I have been in Linux for just about all I have been doing computer wise for several months now. I even use Teamviewer on this Linux tablet to plan my day once the PDA is sunc.
I found DCraw. So I get into Kubuntu's software update PRG and search for "DCraw", three apps pop up. One acts as a part of GIMP -- that is what I go with since I have been GIMPing for a while now. UFRaw is the name. And sure enough, I can pull in the full size, full color pictures!
Not only can I acquire the image data, I can seriously tweak things before they get saved as standard image file that the rest of the known universe can read! This is indeed exciting. I has able to act as if I had shot film as far as those under exposed shots went. Yes, they were grainy, but I got images nonetheless. What looked like a gray blob on a subtlety different gradient of gray turned out to be a kid! And I actually got some rather nice shots (grain aside).
The frame on my viewfinder is larger than it should be, so I am setting up some experimental shots to see where it really should be. The camera has a frame in the middle (Nikon put in) for meter and focus aiming and it appears to be closer to that, meaning the sensor is smaller that I thought it was. More on this....
This is an amazing merger of technologies for me to unravel new mysteries with. This camera is programmable, it uses SCSI communications and so I think you can see where this is going...
I am getting a feel for the view finder as I have done some experiments. My guess is it has a DCS-640 view screen in it, as that is what matches the description in the manual. I have figured out that you take Nikon's center frame and times it by six, centered of course, and that gives you the actual finder view. It would be nice to have the right frame, but this will have to do for now.
I have also found that with my card set up, having images on the card from a previous session, where I've deleted some but not all the pictures, seems to mess up saving. Now, the card I use is a newer technology than the camera. I do have an older card (an HP 8meg) that does not seem to work at all, and it too is newer than the camera. They are both CF cards and I'm using an adapter. The card I currently use is 128Megs and with .TIF files as the standard here, it looks like I can get around 74 pictures in at a time.
I also tried shooting without the PS plugged in and the battery showed it was goin' down fast. It also seemed to not save every picture I took. Maybe I took them too fast; it'll buffer a certain amount as it moves them to the card, but since my card is hardly the standard the camera was designed for, there are possibilities for problems. I only had this problem when starting with images already on the card, having deleted some.
I have not hooked the camera up to any computer and have been reading the card on Dampier, then moving the .TIFs over to deBarry (the Linux box I'm acquiring the pictures on).
More as the story develops (time givin).
NOTE: You can read more on this as well as see the results of some of these experiments over on Noesis Creation on Facebook you may have to login or join.
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Here is the modern day semi current technology look at that old mother board. (This will require Facebook login. I hope to get a couple of photos from both videos posted here for comparison.)
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Teamviewer 7 Fullscreen.
There have been many faces of planning my day. I used to get Day Runner and I'd plan my day via lists of tasks and appointments. Somewhere along the line I had an electronic planner from Texas Instruments that was about the size and shape of an Atari Portfolio. I have even used the PX-8's planner/calendar.
I eventually went back to paper with the Franklin Covey Planner. The Franklin is more than just a planner, but you will have to talk to other disciples for more info on that.
I moved the Franklin to the Kyocera via the Franklin Covey palm software. I had alarms again -- nice!
I soon discovered it was faster to sync to a computer and do the big full day's stuff there then sync back. I used a 133MHz IBM 760ED ThinkPad running Windows 98 and sanc via the infrared port. Yeah, it was cool.
When a larger screen with a faster CPU came along I still used the 760ED to sync, but grabbed the data over the network to do the planning over on a 366MHz IBM 770Z ThinkPad also running Windows 98.
Eventually the Kyocera met a nasty fate and along came a Treo 700p and a 800MHz IBM A22m ThinkPad with Windows 2000. With the 700p came some cool things, like Atari ST, Amiga and commodore 64 emulation -- sweet ;)
Then came an 850MHz A21p, and eventually a 1GHz A21p (I modified the 850MHz). But the OS remained 2000.
Meanwhile, I was doing Linux everywhere else, along with commodore, Amiga, etc. Then I decided to get Gandalf (a 900MHz Celeron R30 ThinkPad) involved, just for fun. I had been planning my day on the A21p, but the battery was only lasting 20 minutes, so I had to get a PS involved, so doing it on another computer might be fun.
The R30 has many HDs, mostly loaded with various flavors of Linux. One drive has Windows XP on it, so I installed the Franklin softs there and just grabbed the data on a thumb drive and moved it over quickly. I don't know what it is about that R30 but it is just a blast to use.
Then I thought it would be cool to use the touch screen on my tablet to plan. The IBM X41 Tablet ThinkPad would be fun. The stylus and the quick plan option in the planner made for fast planning. The tablet has Windows 7 and Linux on it.
In all these incarnations of planning the computers had to have the actual planner softs installed on them.
Enter Teamviewer. With Teamviewer I was able to hotsync on the A21p and just get to the screen via the network and plan away. Since I started using Teamviewer, I was ably to use Linux since I was actually running the planner software on other machine.
But I used it via a window. It seemed I was always doing many things at once and that happened to be the norm. That was a busy cyber life.
When real world life got busy(er) -- adopting three kids -- I found myself with little time and doing no more than simply getting the planning done. Now, I wasn't using the tablet simply for fun and getting out of the studio, it was about approximation -- being in a certain spot in the house.
I'd plug my phone into Dampier (A21p), to charge and hit hotsync, get kids ready for bed, then, when everyone was tucked in I'd be at my station (for reasons I'll not give here) with deBerry (X41 Tablet). After a while I realized it was the only thing open so I hit full screen and there on the touch screen was Windows 2000 in all its glory!
WiFi routers need to be cycled now and then. They start doing stupid things, like letting certain computers have most or all the bandwidth or shutting bandwidth down on others and when everything was working well (or so it seemed) and I put the pointer on the box to prioritize, moved down to another and then another, the first box hadn't changed, I knew a reset was in order. Despite the difference in OSes and MHzs, when all is working well, it is like I'm running everything local, as long as that router is behaving.
Now there is a tell tale tab on the top of the screen and another one off to the side (I click the slide icons to move the full tabs off screen), but otherwise it looks as if I'm running Windows 2000 on the machine before me -- a Linux tablet!
And yes, Teamviewer runs well on Linux -- it actually an exe that is running under Wine! Ah! the whole geekyness of it all ;)
Yes, We are indeed camping once again.
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The old and the new.
I have a fair spectrum of time/technology at my hands. On one end there is the Timex Sinclair 1000, on the other end the Amazon kindle fire.
Let us compare:
Timex/Sinclair 1000 Amazon kindle fire Introduced: July 1982 September 28, 2011 Price: US $99.95 US $199.00 CPU: Zilog Z80A, 3.25MHz Dual Core TI OMAP4 (4430) HS, 1.0 GHz RAM: 2K, 64K max 512 MB (plus 5GIG for apps and 2 GIG for data) screen size: hooks to TV 7-inch screen screen resolution: 22 x 32 text 1024 x 600 number of colors: 2 16 million+ audio: none stereo 20Hz-20000Hz ports: memory, cassette USB, headphone Peripherals: Cassette recorder, T/S printer peripherals? whats that? OS: ROM BASIC Android UNIX mouse: (We have gone the extreme here -- neither has a mouse as one predates and the other postdates.) requirements: AC power, TV, place to set it WiFi accessThis may seem absurd as comparisons go, but think about it. Both devices (machines) are limited in their own ways. Can you call the fire a true computer? We certainly called the 1000 a true computer.
There are things I can not do on the kindle, but that may truly be a lack of software on my part -- I can make spread sheets, but despite the fact I payed for Smart Office 2, it lacks the ability to save or print anything. Oh sure it has those features, but they simply don't work. A major appointment.
I can't print on the 1000, but that is because I never got a printer for it. The spreadsheet saves. I am sure there are things that didn't work as intended -- that happens on all platforms from time to time. The kindle is an Android and it is particularly fickle as one.
I know all Androids are fickle. The Android is like a standard that was devised to compete with itself. I have come across many softs that work only on Brand X Androids. I see it a lot. And a lot more often I find Amazon Store Android software that does not work on the fire.
The Android from a Programming perspective.
The hardware is so different from one Android to another, you either program for one (proprietary) or all (non-optimized). This is a bit unfortunate. It would seem hard not to inadvertently do something proprietary while aiming at the generic Android populace since you may have limited access to hardware as a programmer, at least if you stumbled upon something that works well, that shouldn't.
Since the BASIC found in the Timex Sinclair 1000 and the 1500 match, I have always assumed it matched the BASIC for the Sinclair Z and ZX.
Back when the 1000 first arrived, an afternoon in early October 1981, I recall a scene of fascination. Even Dad, who never sat down at it (and whose birthday present it was), seemed tickled that a computer was present in the house. My brother had bought it (later he confessed that it was aimed at me, but he didn't know what kind of reception it would receive) and sent it in the mail.
I recall going into the living room with it after Dad had opened the initial packaging in the foyer. I don't think the CPU was even removed from the styrofoam until the box made it's way downstairs where the TV was located. But I recall thumbing through the manual, seeing how easy it would be to set up. Later that day I had it on the 29inch color TV, setup ready to go.
The keypad was a dismal disappointment. The irony is that in the early 2000s I started typing on the machine again and found the keyboard to be really easy to use, but back then I didn't get it. But all else was fascinating. I went through the entire book, and typed every example, fascinated every step of the way. It was this machine that prompted me to take Math 122 -- BASIC programming -- at BSU.
Who knows what would have happened if one fateful night I hadn't decided to use the computer lab in the Business Building, rather than the Math/Geology Building. I was the only student there sans the guy there to help others. It was that guy who had talked about the commodore 64 -- a computer I had never heard of before. A computer that changed the course of my computing life entirely.
It is strange now to think back on the event. I am bad with names and if you tell me something like the name Commodore, I was apt to forget it or make wrong guesses at what it was. "It begins with an R..." But I did remember the name.
More grave mistakes.
T.V. Is Dead.
The standard television of yesterday (in the USA, at least) had remained virtually unchanged for over 75 years. Now when I think back at it, when I was a kid, most people had a TV, and some people talked of a time when they didn't, others talked of the time they got a TV. The technology was not new then. It was just coming into common place.
Some homes have TVs in bedrooms, including kids rooms. The kitchen TV was this thing that seemed to appear in the late 70s early 80s. My folks (now they were older at the time and tended to hang out in the kitchen/dinning room area) had a TV in the dining room.
I recall the large 29inch TVs in the big cabinets, many with turntables, radio tuners, eight tracks and builtin speakers. The newly coined term "home entertainment center" -- didn't really take off at the time. This was in the mid 70s. But soon after (on a casual time-line of change -- 10-20 years) we saw the rise of the rear-projection TVs, the large screen TVs and TVs that projected on the wall.
The home theater was born, along with the home entertainment center (this time the term stuck). Amazing TVs. But the same overall technology. We got a JVC flat screen TV, that was a tube TV, it was the same old NTSC 60Hrz 50scanline technology of yesterday, but the tube was flat.
Then the digital age (started long ago in the time-line of this story) finally crept into the realm of TV. By the time it became the standard, the digital networks and carriers and all the cool programming things you could do to a TV were already applied and existing for the old technology. But somethings changed in the world outside the box we call TV.
While we have these wonderfully cool additions to the TV experience, things like the Roku box, Youtube, Pandora, and USB ports that let you play your digital media, the old TVs became a toxic burden.
I went to donate a commodore 1902 monitor to a local secondhand store. They handed me a list of places that could "take it". I looked at the list thinking that perhaps these were charities better equipped to handle more technical items like this wonderful old- historic- wanted- by- many monitor, when the shock hit me that it was a list of hazardous waste drop off facilities!
I was shocked.
Is that what we are to do now? Take all large tube devices wither they be 1990s TVs, 1980s computer monitors, or 1950s cabinet TVs and sweep them out of existence? I can understand the need to recycle some of these things as they may have run their course. Some of them are useless, maybe even were garbage from the git go, but to assume all are crap?
I can understand, a secondhand store can't sort everything that comes along that may be junk. I suppose they were flooded with too many old TVs, or perhaps there is a law that says they can't take/resell old TVs. Whatever the case, I find it shocking. The chance of them selling this monitor is really high. If people are buying nonfunctional and incomplete commodore equipment online, surely someone will buy this poor homeless monitor.
I had decided long ago that I would not put monitors on eBay as shipping them was just a scary proposition, however, in light of this event (and I have bought monitors online), I am forced to post them on eBay.
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So new technology has some quirks. The kindle fire is relatively new tech. I had opened the appstore to purchase a software for video editing. I got an error, as I had the last few times I tried to do an install. This time the error left me unable to connect to the appstore as well as the cloud.
The cloud is a virtual place in cyberspace on Amazon's servers that stores all the apps and music and anything else I purchase from Amazon Digital. This is a cool concept (not a new one). Anything I remove from the device, I can reinstall later from the cloud.
It took a 37 minute call to get my answer.
I say answer, as we (the managing tech and I) were about to solve the problem live, when a low battery raised it's ugly head and all became academic.
Let me elucidate.
I got on Amazon's tech page -- this was an adventure in itself. I had come across the right place prior to calling, but couldn't find it later. I emailed and they told me to use the page I had found before, only problem was their description on how to get there was not accurate -- anywho.
From there I typed in my phone number and hit the call me button. My phone rang instantly! That was 2cool.
I got a recording that said "average wait time was 1 minute." I immediately got a human after that message.
She asked questions about the problem but kept going on about a game I wanted to play. Did she have an East Indian accent? I believe so, plus the call kept cutting out so that didn't help either. We did a hard reset, at one point, that didn't help. There were long periods of silence, and when she finally jumped into action it was to get her manager to see if he could solve my woes.
Well, he did.
First, he asked to verify that he understood the problem the other tech had explained to him. So I told him again what the problem was. He lead me to some things that I guessed might be solutions, but they didn't work.
Finally, he said we have to resent the device to factory defaults. I had less than 40% battery and the action could not be carried out until the battery was at at least 40%. So, he told me what to do and what to expect once the battery was up (putting it on the charger didn't count, it had to really have 40% or more charge.
I had thought about doing this reset before, but wondered if it would erase everything. Everything, as in my data that was not on the cloud. So it is rather serendipitous that the battery was low.
I hooked up my cable and transferred everything via my computer to a couple of thumb drives. I left the fire on the computer and forgot about it for a while since it took a long time to back everything up, as there was lots of data to move.
Well, I finally did the reset to factory defaults and all works now. I had to reinstall all my apps from the cloud and move my other data back as, yes, it had been completely wiped.
I did learn how to do a hard reset of the device. You power off the fire. Then press, and hold the power button for 20 seconds. So I suppose there is a tip in this long winded story, after all.
Since the pace of modern tech is so fast these days, the fire, version 1, is over a year and a half old, I can put that tip here as it is a rather antiquated device now, after all.
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I had crossed into the ethereal upon acquiring Blackbeard, an IBM R50p ThinkPad.
An unbelievable machine. 1.6GHz Pentium M. Huge 15inch 1600*1200 pixel screen. 2Gig RAM. A DVD-Multi burner. It is truly a remarkable machine. A powerhouse computer. One I thought I would only admire from afar.
It looks sharp on the workbench next to the C128D.
Well, one day it displayed horizontal lines across it's pristine screen. It locked up. An ugly situation at best.
I managed to remove the PS and boot it and power back down. Then I tried that again with no success.
I then removed the battery and got a couple of bootups on AC, but the last one locked up after awhile. It appears to be intermittent and deadly.
Teach is an R50 acquired for the purpose of accessing data on Blackbeard. I don't want the system to have many changes upon boot -- especially since Kubuntu is in need of running updates.
Teach has less RAM; 512Meg and a slower CPU; 1.4GHz. Even the resolution is less -- 1024*768.
The operation was a quick one. I just removed the HD cover and mount plate on the R50 and inserted the removed drive from the R50p. It booted easily and things worked basically the same.
I was surprised that the rendering didn't turn off as it used to on the larger machine. Even with 2Gigs RAM, if I opened anything up that required some serious horsepower, the fancy desktop animations went bye bye and I was left with usable but, no frills windowing.
This one, with 512Meg, has yet to complain. I do get a little delay when [Alt][Tab]ing before the windows appear on a carousel, but it trades windows in 3-D like a champ.
Well, I have had an update gone bad in the midst of all this. The computer crapped out. Then right after, the /tmp/ file was not initializing or accessible. The X server seemed to be resetting. I'd login and the computer screen looked like I was logging in and then the screen went blank and I was looking at the login box again.
It seemed that all as lost.
I was able to drop to console and login. From there, I was able to login as root. As root, I found that the HD was completely full. I found a nice 600Meg video file I no longer needed and deleted it. Still -- 0 bites free.
I have seen this before and it is not pretty. The directory gets messed up and pointers go wrong ways and there is usually no way out.
I found another file I needed to dump and perhaps some more -- and eventually got 100 some odd Megs free. Not enough to stop nagging dialogs about disk space, but I was getting there.
Ok, now, before I decided to update, and before the R50p started locking up, I had a very big project that took 2.3 Gigs of HD space. It was rather huge, but it did fit. Now, the updater on this Kubuntu box should have told me, not only how much space I needed to download and extract and install the updates, but it should have informed me on the amount of space I was lacking.
Kubuntu's software updater has changed (I don't know why, I liked how things worked before; back when they worked), and it displays two different icons on the launcher, they look related, but upon clicking on one, then the other, you get two different PRGs opening up. Anyway, suffice to say, I should not have been DLing updates to an HD that was full.
I have not done a boot from powerup into the account yet. I started X from root and moved the project to the Ubuntu partition as it had plenty of room on it. I then exited back to the console and logged-in to the user account where I am right now.
Everything seems to work! (BTW, how the hell did we get to Firefox 21 anyway?!?!?) I started editing this article on the X41 via Teamviewer and now have it on this machine (the R50). Teamviewer was doing the screen blank thing that happens now and then and I didn't want to deal with it. I shall test to boot straight in soon.
Once everything is OK, I'll do the update again...
...I did the update and am now back to normal. (!)
KDE's menus still vanish on occasion, but since 99% of the time I have Dolphin open, I can simply open a terminal there and sudo a reboot, or whatever I may need.
Last night, I was copying a big file to a device that has FAT for the file system and it would stop at 4 GIGs. I hadn't realized that it was FAT until it stopped, but during the copy process I lost my menus. I opened a command line and launched Teamviewer, logged into the X41 that was coincidently running Kubuntu. I went full screen and just worked from there; it looked and felt like they were on the R50.
All I was doing was launching Firefox and getting on Facebook, but still, it was at least a 6 on Moe's scale of coolness. ;)
Today, Teach is back in the game, working on Blackbeard's HD project...
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Camping Again. (Finally!)
May was a camping dry season. We had a lot of other things happening; planting, Graduating (Natasha -- Congratulations!), building a fence. Just the normal small farm stuff.
Speaking of fences...
I love my tool belt. Whenever I have a project that requires tools of various kinds for me to be away from the house, it is nice to have the small arsenal at hand.
I can load up the front pockets with nails, screws, fence clips or other such things I will need. Depending upon the project, I can just pop what I need in the belt and remove things I might not (like electric fence tester or a bag of clips).
For the 6ft privacy fence, I just grabbed my belt and went. I had everything I needed handy. This means I don't have to trek back to the garage every time I turn around and need to grab a tool - it's right there.
Now this was a screw based project, but at one point I needed a hammer. There it was -- in the tool belt. It was nice.
The C128D is setup with it's own tool belt of sorts. Unlike the old days when I had to grab utilities (albeit I kept them in two small disk boxes for easy access), I have The Servant, JiffyDOS, and an HD partition right there, ready to go. In my handy dandy tool-belt partition, you'll find the likes of FCOPY, AUTOGRAPH, MENUETTE, and some other useful gems.
The work horses.
I have some fairly modern machines that I do some things on. I have a tablet (an X41) that I use often camping as it is small, has Kubuntu on it and I can do most things on it. I have access to an R50 -- rather large but powerful as far as computing power goes.
But when it comes to certain things, I wind up on some older machines, Like the 700Z, or the A21p. These computers still get used a lot, such as video rending to DVD or VCD, and travel (the 700Z is not overly large and has of lots of great tools, like X64.exe, WinUAE and NoSTalgia). But there are things that I move over to yet another computer for. I run a database (or two ;) on the C128D.
Wheels frees up my time -- even though I have to boot and set up the C128D to get into things. The set up is either about the same or faster than booting a modern day OS. Once I am setup, everything is lightning fast. GEOS feels like it is moving at warp speed on the SuperCPU and working in the SuperRAM is amazing. Sure, there are some features missing from the OS, but for the most part, the comfort and feel of the system as a whole, out weigh all that.
I have actually spent a fair amount of time getting systems like the R50p to understand SID files and traditional commodore file formats. I can even play Amiga and ST MOD files on the system with WhiteTracker.
I have to remind myself that computers like the C64 are old technology. This may be in part due to the fact that, when I first coined Archaic Computer, it was a tongue- in- cheek affair. At the time, the idea of the computer, was still a modern marvel -- how could it be archaic? It was a joke. But is it still now? I am not sure.
Is it a joke -- or a way of life?
Back to top.
We are on a camping trip in the Idaho wilderness. Doesn't that sound rugged and rustic? Well, it is. We are in a 28ft camp trailer with 6 kids and no dishwasher -- we are roughing it. ;)
Our old trailer had jacks and the ability to go hookup free. The old trailer had two DC outlets, and actual jacks (with jacks you can level the trailer on uneven ground).
The new trailer had no DC jack -- we asked the dealership to put one in. It has stabilizers, electric feet that come down -- after you park on level ground that keeps the trailer stable in the level position.
Well, not all camp sites are level, so we have leveler blocks -- we call them "legos."
We are at Dog Creek for 5 days. No hookup. We do have solar panels for keeping batteries up, loads of extra water, and our favorite site here is actually has a level spot that we discovered with the old trailer.
My battery is at 19% at last checking and will need a charge today. Fortunately, I brought the Targus charger that runs off DC, and during the light of the day I plan to charge my computer and pda.
We are also Cell free here. Or rather out of Cell range -- however you want to look at it.
No WiFi, man we are really roughing it!
In conservation power mode.
I have the first volume of The Complete Works of Edgar Alan Poe on my kindle. To save on power I have the backlights on low and I power off at night and leave it off during the day until bedtime when I read. I only have reading time at night when it is dark, so this works well. Since the kindle is a tablet computer, I need no reading light.
I have my palm with me, as all good techno-geeks should. I use it for the clock mostly, but have a list of things that still slip my mind -- like making my espresso before kids are in bed -- why would I ever forget? -- oh, yes, three 2 year olds -- the new kids are all 2 emotionally/intellectually, plus a 5 year old who appears to have aspergers.
So I have my PDA, but with no cell -- the phone is off. The kids are amazed that the rest of the device is fully accessible with phone off! Some cool things about the Treo include things like pressing the volume confirm button for 3 seconds turns the camera on, and the really cool switch on the very top of the device that turns off all sound and turns the vibration feature on. The device is also setup to vibrate before actually ringing and I quite often answer the phone before it rings. This surprises people since they don't hear a ring then I'm on the phone ;)
The backlights on the pda are on the lowest setting at night, offset by the need to be on full when outside during the day. This is unlike the old Kyocera with the older screen technology that was really easy to see in the brightest of daylight :(
When I get to missing the old Kyocera, I console myself with the fact that, on the Treo, I have a C64, an Amiga and an Atari ST.
Too much tech?
Maybe, but this is my writing time so that justifies the X41's presence. We have to keep a schedule to maintain structure for the new ones and I must admit, a schedule helps me as well. The pda is my time piece. The pda also has E911 GPS -- the reason I don't use the Kyocera anymore. And last, but not least, I have a library on the kindle, justifying it's presence.
Well, time to get everybody up and start the bacon!
Back to top.
A Tale of Pirates
The library was no longer a concern, as Carl knew the thing to do was go to the house. To look around. His library jaunt was a weekly outing, often shared with Rubin. Rubin was off somewhere with his sister, which left Carl to his own thoughts.Rubin would be the ideal confident in this matter. But this morning he was on his own to explore. And that is precisely what he did. Upon his return home, he left his jacket on the hook by the back door, and grabbed a flashlight. Despite the bright, sunny, autumn, day, Carl was expecting darkness. Perhaps matches would have suited the situation, but in this time frame of modern electric lights the flashlight was the way to go. The idea entered Carl's head of him exploring the old house by candle light. It seemed, strange that such an idea should pop into his head, but it also seemed ideally natural. The only light he had ever experience in the old house was candle light. But it was not his light. And he was entering on his own terms. Not seeing by candle light, but his own source of light. Strange as it may seem, he felt it would be a more truthful light. As if the candle light had somehow tricked him into seeing things differently. These thoughts were moot, as upon exploration, the light never got turned on. At first he hit upon a sealed front door. The door was locked! Sand had built up at the bottom as if the door had not been opened for many, many, years. He distinctly remembered carefully closing the door last night, but not locking it. But of course, someone had been there. Someone who placed and lit a candle. Someone who.... His thoughts trailed off. Someone who ran to the cliffs. He was about to turn when it hit him that maybe a window or a back door might be open. Carl, saw a stone path dividing the dry weeds along the side of the house. This was his next course. Each window he passed, he checked, they were all locked. This old house was sealed like a drum and had probably been so for 50 years or more. He paused at the rear corner of the house, studying the exposed wood. No, this house was much, much older than what he'd thought and was probably abandoned for more than 50 years. This thing was probably on the National Historical Preservation List. Perhaps, a return trip to the library was in order. But first the perimeter of the house must be circumnavigated. He made his way on the stone path to the back. A small protrusion on the back of the house seated a door. The door was ajar! It had been so for so long that sand had built up in the opening. The door was solid and would not budge. However, Carl might just be able to squeeze himself through it. He slipped through with a little effort, but he was inside! He was free to explore. This entry brought him to the scullery and pantry and kitchen. From there he came out into the dinning room. He could see the entry and the large opening room with the very stairs he had ascended only last night! He looked around a well lit house, for sun light was flooding in from all angles. He saw nothing but a very old house, still furnished, but soiled with the dust from many years. A thick dust. Thicker than any he had seen before. He made his way to the stairs. He saw dust on the stairs. Down at his feet was no perceptive evidence of anyone having climbed these stairs for a long, long time. And certainly not last night. Carl froze at the thought. These stairs turned the way he recalled them doing so, they were the same width. His mind raced as he puzzled over this. Where were his foot prints?!? He could clearly see the foot prints he just made. Where were the ones he should of made last night? His heart was racing. Where was the exposed banister he had run his hand on only hours ago? It too, was covered in dust! He paused and took a deep breath. He stood motionless thinking. That's it! The dust is so deep and prevalent that it just covered up his tracks. Perhaps on the rest of the climb he may see a spot where there are dust filled prints. Comforted by this revelation, he continued his ascent. He made his way to the top. There was one room there. It was a study of sorts. He could just picture himself at home here when the cold would eventually drive him inside during his evening reading time. The view of the ocean was amazing from up here. He scanned the horizon. The rocks didn't seem so foreboding from here. He found himself sitting at the writing desk. It was large and spacious, well lit from the windows on all sides of the room. He scanned the room and saw where there were no windows the room was lined with bookcases. Being a bit of a bookworm, the books caught his attention immediately. As he rose, however, his eyes were drawn to a shelf where there were a number of rolled up long pieces of paper. Scrolls? He sat back down. His hands fell on the front of the desk. There was the metal flashings of a handle. A drawer! He pulled it and sure enough, it opened. There was a magnifying glass, some dried ink bottles, a blotter, and some quills. Carl's mind puzzled over the idea that this was a huge, a huge writing desk. A geometer's compass, no, it had points on both ends like a -- maps! Those scrolls must be maps! He closed the drawer and rose to move to the case with the large papers leaned, rolled up, stood on end. He pulled one off the shelf. Upon unrolling it, he could see, it was indeed a cartograph! It was there that he saw for the first time since he had entered the room, a telescope. It was trained over the sound. This was a sea mariner's house. This must have been some great master of the sea's study. An on shore ready room! His thoughts slowed down a bit as he didn't recall any thing historic about the house where he now stood. This history -- to him -- was yet unknown. It was definitely time to get back to the library! At the library, it seemed his only course was to look for public record. Newspapers were probably his best bet. It was Saturday and depending upon what he found today he might try the public hall of records. He didn't find anything upon looking at the papers he found in the "newsroom," as they called it at this library. Micro fiche was a dead end. "How far back do you want to go?" the librarian asked him. "I'm not sure." He pondered a moment. "How old, do you suppose, is that old house by Precipice Point?" "Oh, the Marion Bach House?" "What?" "The Marion Bach House, at least that's what I always heard it called. She disappeared one night, they say. She was a rich widow. Her husband was, what was his name? He was a Merchant. Rather he sailed a Merchant Ship. Seemed to make lots of money despite the low trading in the area. Not many others like him made so much. Supposedly he only had a small ship." She stood there thinking. After a moment, "Stories I heard mostly as a kid. Don't know any of the facts really. That house is at least 150 years old. She supposedly disappeared, maybe 100 years ago. We don't have papers dating back that long ago...." Her voice trailed off again as she pondered. "Just a minute." Carl turned toward the window facing the ocean. He could see it through the trees. It seemed to be calling to him. It was not in the direction of the old house, but more southerly in direction. But still it beckoned. Only a brief moment had passed, and Carl wasn't able to justify this pull on him, when the librarian returned. She had a rather large black binder with the name "Dresdale," the name of the town they lived in. She placed it on the table and started turning pages. "This is a collection of newspaper clippings collected from members the community of Dresdale. Many are photo copies of clippings that have become family heirlooms." She turned the plastic protective sleeves. She quickly found what she was looking for. She stopped at a very yellowed paper with much tattered edges. It was not a photocopy, but the original clipping. She began to read, "'John Bach, Local Maritime Merchant, Killed by Pirates.' 1864 - The War Between the States. I knew that house was old!" Her face lit up by this justification as she turned the binder toward Carl. Carl scanned the article, but it mostly spoke of his work as a merchant ship sailor and little snippets of his life, but nothing revealing about the house. As he looked up the Librarian turned the binder toward her once more and started turning pages. "This looks interesting." She had found a handwritten note which read, "Pirates raiding coast line ships run a muck from the shores of Maine as far south as the Carolinas." The rest was smudged and illegible, but the last line read, "...local prospering merchant ship missed time after time." She sign, "I'm afraid I have no other information." I'm sorry. 157 years is a long time. There wasn't much of a town here and certainly no formal governing body for record keeping. After all we only recently celebrated our townships 75th year. I don't think people thought of this area as particular place other than just a small port with roads to the nearby towns, what with the jagged rocks. I guess its what keeps our town so small today." Carl was only able to find a copy of the deed to the property with John Bach's name on it. There was nothing else. A few more days passed. Carl had forgotten the house, the figure, the library; the Merchant. He was busy rereading Moby Dick. Now and then he would day dream of the not too distant river and where it flowed under the interstate through a wide breaded stream area. Why? What was this apparent obsession with the river? It was not even on his normal beaten path; he rarely saw the river. Yet, it kept creaking into his thoughts.
It was yet another morning brunch and chess with his friend, Rubin. Carl's gaze was out toward the cliffs, but his mind was elsewhere. "Carl?""Huh?" "It's your turn." "Oh, is it?" "I didn't think you were pondering your next move. Perhaps we should come back to this another time?" "Rubin, I'm sorry. I can't seem to stop thinking about the islands along the river -- where it meets the Atlantic. I don't even know why. Are there any trails there? Perhaps fisherman's access?" "Oh, I don't know. I suppose. There really aren't any roads. I mean the highway is nothing but a long bridge, then you've got Barron that runs to the west, but that's at least 5 miles, the land north and south of the river is so rugged. It's like those cliff," Rubin pointed out the window, "only they've all fallen into the water. I don't think you could get near the water there. Anyway, it's all a preservation area." After a silent pause Rubin, continued, "why? Your not thinking of fishing there? Or anywhere for that matter?" "No, I just. Like I say, they seemed to be occupying my mind as of late and there is no rhyme or reason to it. When I find my mind free to ponder anything, and I mean anything, it is that infernal place that pops into my head. If I didn't find it so fascinating, for reasons I know not, I'd say I was bored or even mad." A day or so passed, before Carl was able to settle in for the evening at his reading place on the deck, he had fulfilled his obligation to help a friend grade papers. It was a refreshing reprieve from his retirement. That night, Mody Dick could not hold his attention. The sky was dark and there was an air of excitement. There were no aggressive signs, but it did look like a storm was slowly building up. He found his concentration broken when he caught himself looking at the old house. He finally put the book down, then resigned to put it away in his little reading table. When his eyes fell back upon the house, they were not really focused. He stared blankly out across the grass, not really focusing on the house, seeing the form almost a silhouette before him. When his eyes did finally come into focus, there was a slow realization of what he was looking at. There was a light coming from the top of the house! Just as it had appeared that night so many weeks ago. He started and sat upright. Then without thinking, nor hesitation, he had gone to the back door and grabbed his jacket and flashlight. He was heading across the grass, walking closer to a jog, and certainly not a casual stroll. His attention was focused on the light. He managed to get there in a few minutes without stepping in a whole or tripping on anything all the while, his eyes fixed upon that light. He didn't even think about where he was going and walked right up to the front door. The door that had been locked, sealed by the sands of time. It was, as he found it the first time -- open!
He stopped right as he swung it open to go through. His heart was pounding. This was the door he had gone through before, but later found sealed. Sand up to the first few inches of the bottom, and locked!He continued after this brief pause. He was up the stairs in a no time. He scanned the room with his flashlight. It flicked a moment, but remained on. The light swept the room and revealed nothing. The candle sat, lit upon the table. He brought the flashlight's beam to the table and the candle's flame vanished, and in the light all he could see was the short blunt of the candle as he saw it in the day. He froze, looking. Then he turned the light away, and once again he could see the lit candle. A crack of thunder struck as he did so. As the sound dissipated he could hear crying, sobbing. It was very quiet. At first he didn't think it was there, but there was a soft, faint sound. He could hear crying and the shuttered breathing of a woman weeping! At first he turned to his right but the sound was definitely near the table. He turned his head the other way, holding his own breath so as to make no sounds himself. His flashlight flickered again and in the brief moment of darkness he saw for the first time a woman, apparently writing at the desk; with the ink and quills he saw in the drawer before. She wrote in what appeared to be some sort of journal. There was a flash of lightning. The storm was building outside. There must be some sort of a connection between the storm and the phantom that sat before him. In the flash that followed, she vanished. Again he searched with his flashlight and the table was empty sans the old burnt down candle from his daytime visit. It was like two different worlds. He turned off the flashlight. It was even darker in the room now. The candle gave off the only light in an eerie glow. Tears dropped from the woman's face. She closed the book and turned toward the bookcase lined with charts. Then she slowly, deliberately slid the book toward the front of the table, while opening the drawer, she reached in and pulled the bottom of the drawer up and slid the book in, carefully placing the bottom of the drawer down and putting the ink and quills in next and closed the drawer. She rose, and walked over to the wall where the riding cloak from Carl's dream had been. She pulled it off the hook and put it on. She caressed the sleeve as if thinking of some past, fond memory. Then she suddenly, turned and fled down the stairs! Carl stood a moment in the flicking glow of the candle. He was stunned. But only for a moment. He turned on his flashlight and darted down the stairs, phantom or no, he was going to not trip on his descent. He hurried down, his feet making the only sounds he could hear. But he knew she was just a head of him. She must be some ghost, living out her last minutes at the beckoning call of the storm. How many storms had he missed her rush to the rocks because he retired to the inside, only to bury himself deeper in some book? He'd lived there many years. Was this the woman who had disappeared? The woman in the librarian's recollection? Marion? Out on the road he turned off his light. He could see her up ahead, she was not far off. "Marion?!" he called. And for a moment he could have sworn she turned toward him! Or had she looked back at the house? He remembered her turning toward the house on the night he first saw her. Then he knew where she was going and what she was doing. She was heading to the high jagged cliffs and she was going to jump! "Marion, stop! Don't!" He had to say those futile words, knowing full well they made no matter. She was already gone. She had died long ago, but still he had to try. Carl stopped and watched as she entered into the jagged cliffs, they stood like pointed pillars and she slipped between them vanishing behind rock. Carl ran with desperate speed, despite the futility of his efforts. When he got to where she entered, she was gone. He stood there, soaked in the rain. Baffled. Excited. Frustrated. Would he see her again during the next big storm? He was now chilled to the bone and as wet as if he had just walked out of the surf himself. He turned and went home. His next realizations were the sounds of knocking at his door and Rubin's voice, call from the window. Carl sat bolt upright. He was still in the now only damp cloths he'd worn the previous night, laying on the couch. He ran his hand across his hair and got up. He was a bit confused. Then as Rubin's voice called his name again; he saw the clock and it all came back to him! He rushed to the door and the story tumbled out of his mouth to an astonished, but smiling Rubin. Finally, Carl stopped, "Wait here." With that he hurried out of the room and was gone for not more than five minutes. When he entered he was cleaned up and freshly dressed. "Chess, I believe is in order, although I can hardly venture you'll get much of a game from me today! If you'd do the honors of attending to our brunch -- you know your way around this kitchen. I have to make plans." Laughing, Rubin started, "What sort of plans?" There was a pause, and the first bit of silence since Rubin had arrived, and then, "I need to find out. I mean who was she -- the woman on the rocks? Why did she off herself like that?" "Where would you start? You found nothing or at least little information in the info-quest you went on before. I mean, you seem to have all the available facts, don't you think?" Carl sighed. He sat down at the little nook table and draw swirls of nothings with his fingers on the surface. Then he thumped the table top and ran his hand along the edge of the table facing him. He turned with a grin and said, "there is a place I hadn't known to look before. In the drawing table is a drawer with a false bottom!" Carl stood, walked over to Rubin in the kitchen and grabbed two croissants and thrust one at Rubin and turned the gas off that Rubin had just lit. "We must go now." With that, the two were walking across the grassy knolls toward the old house. Carl had forgotten the front door was sealed, but Rubin, who Carl had been feeding intimate details of the story over the past few weeks reminded him, "Perhaps we need to enter the back way?" Carl, stopped and could see the sand up against the door. "Ghosts are one thing, but how the blazes was I able to open that door and enter the house twice? It makes no --" He stopped and they followed around to the back of the house. It was only a minute or so later that Carl was opening the drawer, fully confident that there was a false bottom, but uncertain that he would find the book. He lifted the bottom and there lay the book! He sat there, in the very chair the woman had sat in to compose whatever she had written only last night. Last night? Perhaps upwards of 150 years ago! "Well?" Rubin began, "open it." "Yes, yes of course." There was a silence that was absolute as the book opened, followed by what could only be described as the house sighing. Carl and Rubin looked at each other as if to say, "What was that?" They turned their attention to the stairs, waiting for someone to approach, for the logical conclusion they had both fallen upon was that someone had entered the house. Rubin walked over to the entry and put his head out the door, listening. "No, it was the house." Carl's voice had a resolute calm to it. Rubin paused, then reentered. By the time Rubin was back to the desk, Carl was already reading and had turned many pages. "It appears to have been a private journal. It looked like a Captain's Log, but the things in here -- this is an record of looting. Pillage and plunder I might say. My God, John Bach was a pirate!" "Why would the woman you see keep a diary of her husband's illicit affairs?" "I think John wrote this, it's written in his point of view. Let me see, ah.... 'We took the Barnacle today a trader run by my friend Ben Constanta, most unfortunate that he recognized me...' He killed his friend." Carl scanned through more pages. "The Confederacy issued Letter of Marque," Rubin began, "If he was looting merchant ships during the Civil War, he would have been considered..." There was a pause. "...a traitor." The words hung in the air.
Finally, Rubin continued, "She must have discovered the book hidden in this desk and learned the truth. Her husband had been the one looting all those other ships you read about. She must not have known.""She must not have." Carl turned to the back of the book, he had to see what the last entry was -- the one he saw being written. The hush fell again. And then, "I am mortified. The humiliation I could bear but lies and deceit; the betrayal. My lord and husband John Bach who died in the sinking of his command, the Lancey, has left me to learn of the truthful source of our wealth. I cannot bare to live with this blood on my hands. I have lived a life of luxury all these 18 years on the lives of people we have known and loved. The final truth remains hidden in the last chart. I will leave it for the house. Perhaps the servants will find it and discover this horrid secret, but as I live I cannot tell. So in my death let the truth be known.'" Carl looked up to Rubin, "There is no date." "My god, this is a suicide note. Do you suppose, I mean perhaps she wanted it to be found, then decided at the last minute, well she hid it back in the false bottom...." "She might not have thought she could actually do it. I don't know." From that moment on, something the two of them had not noticed before was more present than before. "Rubin, does it seem different here now?" "Yes, I see what you mean." Rubin looked around. There was something there they couldn't see, but the house had a certain feel to it. Not a coldness, but cold. "Rubin, the charts." Carl darted to the charts on the shelf. "This one I believe." "Why that one?" "I can't be certain, it's just a feeling." Carl was now spreading it upon the table. "I seem to be drawn to it." Carl studied the chart for a moment, then his face light up with recognition. "The river! This is the place of my daydreams! Rubin, you know my attention has been wondering off to this place? My god, Rubin! He has buried treasure in the amongst the islands of the river!" "How the hell did he get it there? I mean you can't walk in at least not from the land. I really don't think you could get a trader near it." "A small boat perhaps." "It would have to be calm day." Rubin looked into Carl's face, "I haven't seen one of those on this stretch of sea in my life time." "Perhaps your right." The perfect place to bury treasure. Wouldn't have to bury it very deep, just cover it, who'd stumble on it?" Rubin looked at the map more closely then said, "the road crew." Carl looked up at Rubin. "They highway goes right over this." "You're right. I'll bet they uncover it years ago." As the words left Carl's lips the temperature in the room felt like it abruptly dropped two or three degrees. Carl gathered the chart and the book and headed toward the door, "let's get these in a brighter light." Suddenly a chill breeze crossed the room and the drawer on the table opened and the false bottom popped up! Rubin startled, then looked inquiringly at Carl who too had turned. "Perhaps the book should stay." Carl looked and spoke to the center of the room, "I'll return both -- soon." The false bottom that had remained suspended gently fell, and Rubin instinctively closed the draw. He then replaced the empty candlestick to the dust free spot they had removed it from. The coolness had subsided. Back at Carl's house under better lighting, along with a local map from the phone book, they ascertained that the locations on the map were very near the bridge highway. The bridge highway is a strip of road built on bridge structures crossing the wide mouth of the river near where it enters the ocean. The bridges themselves are fairly long; there are many that make up the half mile crossing. There is no pedestrian traffic along the narrow highway, that lays due east of a footbridge another mile or so upstream. The breaded stream area is made of rocks protruding from the water. Upon studying the Merchant's map, it looks conceivable that once someone made it to the rocks, they could fairly easily walk to the location of what might be yet, an undiscovered treasure! "Uh-uh." Rubin swallowed the bite of sandwich has was talking through, "they had to of either discovered or destroyed it during construction of the bridge, I'll wager money on it." "Oh, come now, where is your sense of adventure? I think I can pinpoint the location, if I had a current map. I bet I could walk to this location. I think it is a cave." "So what? How are you going to walk to this cave? The foot bridge goes no where near the islands. You'd have to drive out on the highway, and there is always a car there going one way or the other." Rubin continued his sandwich. Carl seemed to have been struck by an epiphany and jumped up and left the room. Rubin was dedicated to his sandwich, but listened for clues as to what Carl was up to.
When Carl returned, "I had forgotten all about this, It's a semi-current map of the area. Spengler, in the Geology department gave it to me a couple of years ago. Looks pretty accurate." Carl set the newer map along side the old. "Our Merchant had quite an aptitude for map making. This thing could have been traced...." His voice trailed off. He was now marking spots on the new map.Rubin, who had retired the sandwich at present, put down the cup he was drinking from, "We could go at night. But even then, I would not want to be walking on that narrow strip if a semi came barrelin' along it." "Night is the way we'll do it. Rather early morning. But you just drop me off, I'll climb down and you come back for me later that evening." "And you'll just slide down a pillar and shinny back up?" "Good point. I'll take my repelling gear. I think I am still fit enough to get up and down a sideless, short drop." "I'm sure the treasure isn't in the form of a check you could slip into your pocket. If I'm not mistaken, coin was the favored monetary measure a hundred and fifty years ago, especially during war time. I have block and tackle -- we could hoist a fairly hefty box with it. I could barrow Danna's truck." Rubin's brains were in idea mode. "I wonder if the box has weathered well." Carl was perusing the book again. "He says he locked this treasure away for safe keeping for the future." Carl looked at Rubin, "he was planning to retire and go legit in a the autumn of that year. He had a nice nest egg, 32,000 dollars! All in gold and silver coin." Carl was deep in thought. "How I am I to move the casket, I'm mean even if it were intact." "Strike, the truck. We pack snorkel gear, in case Steve happens along." "Steve might help us, but if the sheriff found out. I'm not sure she'd think we had a claim to it." "Do we?" "I say we not tell the authorizes anything, until we deem it necessary." "We are basing all this upon a Ghost." "Rubin?" "Wasn't that what you've been dealing with this past month, a Ghost?" The two just looked at each other in silence. It was true. This mystery had started unfolding, only recently because of a series of strange events, and impossible happenings. Like the entering of the house through a door long sealed by time. A woman racing to her death who was long dead. And now, the only thing that seemed real was the book and the map. The book and the map. A day had passed and the plan was set. Rubin was to drive Carl to the spot on the bridge that was closest to the deposit. The first morning Carl would take the morning to locate this deposit. Mark it secretly if need be, and size up the purchase. And Rubin would pick Carl up at noon. Depending upon the quantities of this treasure, they could drive to a town far inland where they knew they could covertly buy strong boxes large enough and in quantities enough to pack all the treasure in. Then under the cover of night, Rubin would drop Carl off again and he would make his way back to the treasure and pack it into the strong boxes, and depending upon the amount of treasure, they would plan the bringing of the treasure to the car. That was the tricky part. They'd need to load it up at night, but who knows how many trips it might take and what traffic might come and from which direction. True, for most of the night the bridge was abandoned. But trucks used the bridge highway as it was a nice straight route through the area. They'd just have to chance it. Upon the first visit, all went well. Rubin stopped the car at the designated point and Carl quickly opened his door, Rubin watching the now empty road. He placed a carabiner securely on the guard rail and was over and down to the rocks below in a flash -- just like something out a the movies! Carl quickly tied his drop line to the closest pillar and gave his partner the thumbs up. Rubin stood watching for only a moment, then the realization hit him, it was time to go. He nodded and raced to the other side of the car and was off. Rubin's day was spent reading a very long book. He could not bear the thought of waiting. Waiting without knowing what was happening. His window was not near the coast, but he kept a look out on the sky. The sky over the ocean. It was gray. The dead silence that weigh on him was ripped from his heart when his phone rang! He saw it was Carl, "Dear, god, I just about had a coronary!" Carl's report was short: he made it to the first marker and had found an easy place to stow the strong boxes, should they need an alternate location, he was doing fine and would call if and when he found the actual treasure. This was exciting, but didn't seem to help Rubin's anxiety much. Carl's day, however was one of constant trial. There had been many changes to the land where the bridge was built. It was a challenge to get to the islands that matched the old map. Fortunately his plans were made with the aid of the new map, but Carl, plotted a new route for the next expedition and had tested it, with the exception of actually going up and down his line on the bridge. This re-plotting took a couple of hours, and had begun after his difficulty of getting to the more easily traversable terrain. However, once he was on track, he was able to more easily explore the river and all it's in and outs. His noon call to Rubin, was a briefing, but more of a 'hello, I'm fine,' than anything else. It was a short time after the call, perhaps only 30 minutes that he came to what on the map was marked as the location. It looked to be solid rock! Carl had an old military issue folding shovel and a small geologist's pick. He poked the ground with the latter. By this time the gray skies were storming up and rain had begun to fall. The ever darkening day and the rain made for not ideal conditions for exploration, but certainly helped cover his actions, should he be otherwise visible. He sat astonished and disappointed at the prospect of not finding any treasure. Perhaps it was gone. There may have been sand there one hundred and fifty years ago that simply washed away over time, perhaps repeated flooding washed the treasure away long ago. Carl was reminded of the time when in his childhood he had buried a dead squirrel in the spring time and later that fall exhumed the grave to find absolutely nothing. As this memory slowly faded the rocks before him slowly came into his sight. The rain was heavy now, and surely Rubin was concerned, despite the fact he had not called -- he knew Rubin. Before him was an outcrop of rock he could at least duck under while he called Rubin with the bad news. The news that all their hard work and planning was for not. Carl stood in the opening of the rock, rain still pelted his face, he step back to push himself against the rock, but found that he was backing into more than what appeared as a mere outcrop, but an actual cave! He turned and saw darkness. He put his hands out and pressed forward. How could he have overlooked one of the most important tools. It was something that seemed to hinder discovery before but was seriously needed now -- his flashlight! He took a bigger step. This was a bigger space than it seemed from outside. He took two more regular steps. Arms stretched out in front of him. Still no end to this cavern. One more step and yet another. Then he decided to take a large step. His foot hit something hard! He stopped. Arms still outstretched, no wall. He bent over to feel what felt like a cold piece of iron. It was hard. There was something else. Softer, but dry -- it was wood! This must be the treasure! He carefully knelt down and felt around. In the dark he could only guess. "Eight strong boxes," he said in a low quiet voice as if he were talking to Rubin as well as himself. He had to try, so he put his fingers under the object. He lifted. Nothing. He really put his effort forward and it barely started to move. It most definitely held gold! Now, to open it. At the thought of opening this casket, Carl's heart sunk. It felt solid. More solid than he imagined something this old could possibly be. He grabbed the pick and felt around for a lock. There was a lock! "Why in blue thunder, hadn't I looked for a key?" This was out loud. But definitely aimed at himself. He tried to pry the lock off. The hope was if there was a lock that it would break as it was so old. Prying didn't work. He turned the pick to the hammer side and struck the lock with it. Still nothing. Again he hit harder still. A third time he put his all into it. Nothing. Frustration ran through Carl like a river. He kicked the casket out of frustration. There was a loud cracking sound that despite the now raging storm outside, he could feel like a shock wave from an earthquake! The casket itself had burst from the impact. The wood had rotted! A vast wave of relief came over him. There was a moment of peace. Then his phone rang! He just about jumped out of his skin! He grabbed at his pocket. He was much wetter than he realized. He worked hard to get the phone from his pocket. When it finally came free it almost slipped out of his hands. He managed to pry it open, "Rubin, you are not going to believe this -- yes, yes, I'm fine! I have found the casket and it's huge!" While he spoke he had run his hand into the space of the open casket and was feeling cold coins and the occasional odd gem. "We are going to need 8 boxes. Yes, that many. I think I can carry 4 at a time, and make two trips in one day, but I really think we need to move this as fast as possible -- exactly, we'll both explode if we don't get this out of here!" There was laughter and high spirits on both ends of the call. It was only 1:30 in the afternoon. Rubin, while waiting for the next update, had devised a way to get 8 strong boxes down to the rocks below the road quickly. He had a large burlap bag that could hold all 10 of the boxes they had purchased. He'd wait till at least his end of the road was clear, drive across to the rendezvous point, stop, slide over to the passenger side of the car and lower the bag on a long rope over the edge and let it slide down. 8 boxes would be easier since the boxes themselves were rather heavy. He was in the car at the bridge 30 minute after the call. A car was a head of him. There was a small hill right before the bridge and Rubin could see the road a long way behind him.
It was clear. He started across the bridge, going a little faster than he normally would but was on high alert to slow down at a moment's notice in the event of a car passing from the other end of the bridge. It was still clear. He stopped. And in a mater of seconds had managed to get the payload out the window and down on the rocks and was driving off again.Mean while, it took Carl almost and hour to make it back. But that was much faster than his journey to the cave and he pretty much knew his way around by then. There were enough trees to hide behind to block himself from any cars crossing the bridge. He was too far from the land on either side to worry about being seen from there. By 5 pm the boxes were packed and he was ready to start moving them to his new hiding place. Carl called Rubin. "I'm exhausted. I think I can manage the move tomorrow. If I can get the boxes moved in the morning we can move them at night after a good rest." "It'll take you over 8 hours." "I think I can make 3 trips carrying two of them, maybe only 2 trips but it'll save time." "I wish I knew the lay of the land down there, then I could do some of the work and give you a rest." "We've been over this, I think I'll be OK." The plan was to move everything the next day; Carl would be dropped off as before. But given weight of the filled boxes, they thought it best to both move the boxes together. The reasons they gave each other was to avoid injury, and to make haste in moving the boxes unseen, but Carl really like the idea of company. The lone venturer on the rocks lost it's appeal after that first day. They decided no one was to know, so know one was to drop them off, meaning they would walk the bridge in the dead of night under the cover of darkness. They had rested well, and sleep came for them both in spite of the change in the their schedules. It was 3am when they set out equipped with rope, flashlights, gloves, and black cloths. The car, they parked on the side of an old road behind a wall of weeds. It was close enough to the bridge to make it only a minute or two away on foot. They hurried in the darkness, The flash lights they carried were small, left buried in their pockets. They didn't want to chance the light. There wasn't a car in sight. In fact, as far as they could tell not a single car or person had passed them during any of their covert operations. They walked in silence. Upon arriving at the drop off point, Carl quickly helped Rubin into the harness and lowered him down before climbing down himself. They were down and there was space to stand under the bridge. They slid under to catch their breath as it seem like they were holding it since they left the car. "My god I feel like I'm going to explode!" Glad I didn't have that coffee, I'd be shaking like a leaf. Carl, is it always this exciting?" "The first day, I'd call exciting, the second trip was almost mundane but this...." The both broke into laughter. Then recomposed themselves and with Carl leading, they headed off across the rocks. They had crossed off the first island, when they heard a sound. It was a car! Carl motioned to Rubin to follow him. They moved into a batch of tall bushes. They listened as the car seemed to take forever to cross the bridge. Was it going slow? "Why is it taking so long?" Rubin's voice, while low, sounded distressed. "I don't know," was the reply. The car's sound was constant, but they could tell when it finally passed, that it was traveling at a reasonably normal speed for the bridge. It seemed to take as long to leave as it did to approach. Rubin grabbed Carl's arm when Rubin started to move again. "I don't think anyone can see, where any place I explored from any part of the road that is not on the bridge. I looked the first day as I figured things out." With that they were moving again. They had traveled not quite half way when they heard another car! This time there were no trees or bushes! Then Carl remembered something, he motioned to Rubin again and they were off in a different direction. They found a space between two rocks where they could stand and be out of sight from the bridge. They waited. This time the car was moving in the opposite way and moving much faster. After they were sure it had passed, they went back to the place they had left and continued.
It was a quiet journey. The only sounds were their foot falls upon the rock and the far off sound of the surf. Then they heard it. The roll of thunder."Of course, another blazin' storm." Carl remembered he hadn't checked the weather! The wind picked up and they could really hear the sound of the crashing surf. Partly because of the quiet of the night, but mostly because there was a major storm blowing up! "We're almost there!" Carl was shouting now, "we can wait out the storm in the cave." "Are you sure we want to wait?" It was as if that was the queue; the storm raged even harder. As they pressed on, they both had an uneasy felling. Like someone was watching them. But this was absurd. If someone was looking for them they'd never find them. They were too far from any place, and the night was too dark. It was so dark, that at one point, Carl stopped. "It's so dark. I am not sure where we are. I think we need to go back." Rubin's face fell as the realization of being lost came into his mind. "Are you sure?" They were shouting now, as the wind was howling and the thunder crashing about them no longer rolled. "Yes, we can't get there this way. This is taking us up we need to go back and around. I'm fairly certain I know where we are." But his voiced lacked confidence. Rubin was not convince about not being lost, but agreed with the going back. They walked back into the raging wind. The rain bit hard at their faces. Carl passed Rubin and rounded a large rock they had previously passed.
He stopped and looked in the darkness as if he were trying to get his bearings. He was. He reached into his pocket, pulled out the flashlight and turned to the rock beside him. He turned the light on aiming it close to the rough surface before him. The light was contained in a small circle, which Carl moved carefully across the rock. Then he stopped, turn so his back was squarely facing away form the formation and stepped back a couple of steps.Rubin tried to read Carl's face but the light from the flashlight, contrasting with the surrounding darkness, made it impossible. "There," Carl pointed, "that black vein," he started walking as he pointed, "leads around this rock -- it's my pointer." At that Carl, doused his light. Rubin's relief was not wholly his own; neither of them liked the idea of wondering around the rocks in this torrent. It was only a few minutes later that they finally found the cave. Both were soaked to the bone and the cave was a warm welcome. It still held much of the heat of the day, and was dry and out of the wind. Rubin spoke first, "This is it?" Carl turned on his light again. He shone the light upon the broken casket. Just passed it was a nice neat stack of eight strong boxes, ready in waiting. Most of the old trunk remain intact and Rubin could see that it was empty. He glanced at Carl, who immediately took the clue and went over to the pile of strong boxes. "This one," he said as he slid it away from the others, "is the most eclectic offering." Carl then opened the box and shone his light in. Rubin moved in close. His eyes fell upon a plethoric mishmash of gold and silver coinage, small gems of varying size as well as color and other trinkets. "It looks like something out of Treasure Island." Rubin, too was an avid reader. He stare at the collage of riches before him, then put his hand on top of it and ran it across the surface to feel the items. They were cool and solid to the touch, "what does this thing weigh?" "About 30 lbs I'd venture. There are two that weighs at least 50." "That was a long hard walk. Thirty pounds is going to be hard enough, but 50. I mean you can easily pick it up and made carry it across a room, but we walked over an hour on a rocky, wet surface." "I know, I was thinking we should have gotten more boxes. I underestimated the treasure." There was a pause of thoughtful silence between the two. Rubin sighed. Carl's eyes were fixed on the pile of heavy boxes, "should we get more strong boxes?" "No, but we make the first trip with the 50 pounders. And we leave now." "Are you kidding?! Did you not feel that wind? Walking on the wet rocks as it is, is no easy task." "I figure there was no hurricane warning, at least someone would have mentioned it when I was shopping yesterday morning. At any rate, it will not dry out tonight and the storm most likely will be on the dying-out side -- don't you think?" "Oh, man. Maybe we should wait for better weather. That would give us time to buy more boxes. Or at least pack the heavier ones in the two remaining boxes we have." "I'd tend to agree, but there is an element of high excitement here that is a bit stressful. Part of me wants to wait, yet I feel a pressing, like we need to move tonight." "And a feeling of being watched?" "I wasn't going to say anything, but I did feel like I was trying to do something at a movie theater right in front of the lit screen." "Great analogy." The laughter that followed was a great tension reliever. It was time to get moving. Storm or no, the treasure's rest had been disturbed it was time to leave. They knew it was to be a hard night and taking the heavier two boxes first was the right thing to do, but none the less it would be taxing.
The journey to the hiding place, was uneventful, with the exceptions of an occasional foot in the river, but nothing of any real concern. They had lucked out with traffic, perhaps the storm diverted traffic. Not exactly a settling thought when you're out walking in rain on rocky slopes.While they were putting the first of the strong boxes into the hiding space, Rubin turned to Carl, "was the river always this close to this spot?" It was a casual question, but the truth filled Carl like a jolt of lightning. "The river is rising. This is considerably higher than normal. That must be why we had so much trouble crossing the islands." "Is this the river or a storm serge off the ocean? If it were later in the year, and you told me this was a Nor'easter, I'd believe you." "No, I think the river has risen, not that that in itself is a better thing to happen. I don't know. Do we want to call it a night?" "No, if we stop now, we're gonna be sore the next time we want to do this. I mean how long can one storm last?" "Rubin, I stayed inside last year for darn near a month waiting for that rain that hit us last fall to stop." There was a pause. Perhaps rest was needed. Then Rubin turned upstream, "Let's go." On the way back, the walk took longer as, indeed, the water had risen. At one point a route had to be changed. But the adjustment would be easy to follow back in spite of the darkness. On the way downstream, they carried two boxes each. It was an arduous task. They stopped many times and sat in the rain to simply rest. They must have been half way on their return jaunt when Carl spoke first, "I don't think I could get any wetter than if I fell into the river!" It was then that he saw a car's headlights on the bridge. "Car!" The two looked around. They were on a steep bank that placed them toward the bridge. There was no place to hide! Carl, took his light out of his pocket and placed it between the strongbox and the rocks. He motioned to Rubin to do the same. Then he quickly crawled into the water up to his head. Rubin wasted no time following. The car went by a little slower than normal, probably because of the storm. They would see high walls of water spraying off the bridge from the cars tires. It was gone in a few moments and the two climbed out of the water. "Nope, I was definitely not this wet before." Rubin was grinning from ear to ear. "I don't think I ever had this much fun since I was a kid. Come to think of it, this would have scared the hell out of me as a kid." Carl pulled his pocket inside out and gave it a good, hard squeeze. Then he picked up his flashlight and replaced in the pocket. "That's the cold water talking!" After a moment of laughter, the two pushed on. It was harder and harder not to walk in the water when crossing islands. And when they got to the hiding place, the water was half way up the side of the two boxes already in it! Carl put his box in. "If the current takes the boxes way, I guess the ocean can have them." Then he said half under his breath, but so Rubin could hear, "I doubt the river will move any of these." "Let us hope not." The final trip was long, hard and tiring. They had the luck of no traffic on the bridge. At least, none that they could see. They grabbed the last two strong boxes and looked around. "This will most likely be the last time we set eyes on this place. Just think, I don't think anyone has been here for over a hundred and fifty years, and then we come along and loot the place!" "Let's go, I'm having too much fun Carl. We'll have a helluva time topping this for next weeks entertainment." The last boxes were no where near the heaviest but they weighed down on them as they reached their final destination. It was harder work now, between the fatigue of the late hour and hard work, the cold, being wind swept, and wet to the core; the labor had become true drudgery. They were about to put the last of the strong boxes in the now flooded hold, when through the lessened storm, they heard voices.
There was shouting! Someone was yelling something from the bridge above them! They slid out of sight, under the bridge and waited. Were the voices calling to them!? Had someone discovered them, perhaps days ago? That feeling of being watched had never really left them, they'd chosen to ignore it. Was the game up?They heard a man's voice say something. It was about the rain! Then a woman laughed. It was a young couple walking across the bridge in some sort of late night madness all their own -- Carl and Rubin, had not been discovered, these two people were in a world only occupied by the two of them. Walking along this bridge in the middle of the night during one of the worst storms to hit in a long while. Carl, turned his head to spoke into Rubin's ear, "to be young and foolish again!" The laughter was more of relief than anything else. The news was golden! They had not been discovered, and it was time to climb up and go home! That day and half the following night the two slept soundly. They had camped out at Rubin's flat as it was closer to the bridge. His garage was connected to the house, thus affording a good concealment for moving the treasure from the car to the house when that time would arrive. They were not sure that they would be up to it, but when they awoke and were ready. It looked to be a stormy night, but they checked the weather and discovered it was to be nowhere the storm they endured previously. This time they left at 3am to a night that while holding the threat of thunderstorms, also promised to be a lot warmer and dryer. They decided not to wait to see if the river had gone down, it was just one more detail and if they got wet again, they didn't care. Had they been overcome by gold fever? Perhaps. They came to the knoll and searched the highway to see if there was anything of concern, expecting to see a car at any time. They had no clue as to how long it would take to raise the strong boxes up from their resting place. If a car came they'd simply abort where they were and Rubin would drive off leaving Carl below the bridge as if he had been simply driving across the bridge. It seemed like a nice simple plan. They arrived at the spot. Carl was out and down so quick Rubin wasn't sure Carl hadn't fallen. He hadn't and when Rubin was at the window hanging out with the line for the first box, Carl had already secured it. It was less than five minutes and 7 of the 8 boxes were in the back of the car under the a tarp on the floor, when headlights entered the bridge from the far side, dead ahead! Rubin gave Carl the signal, but Carl called back, "we can make it!" "No let's not chance it!" "It's on the line, pull it up!" It was a quieter night and the communications were clear and Rubin hesitated no more and pulled. This box felt heavier than all the others. Then it stopped! It was snagged upon something! Rubin pulled harder, then he heard Carl yell, "Wait, it's hung up!" Carl climbed up and worked at it until the box was finally free to go up then he called out the git go. Meanwhile the car was getting closer! With the delay, they surely would realize that Rubin's car was not moving. Rubin had the box and Carl was in the car just as the vehicle came close. Rubin started the car into motion, driving slow as to make it look like they were driving slowly all along, looking at perhaps the surf off to the east. The vehicle was a jeep and the driver held out a hand hailing them to stop! It was the deputy -- Steve! "Morning Rubin. Carl. You guys OK?" There was a moment of awkward silence felt by the two adventurers, but un-noticed by the officer. Rubin stated in a not so shocked voice, "Fine, just watching the sunrise." It was not a lie, as the sun was indeed rising and it was a spectacular view from the bridge. Strange, that they both had lived here for so many years and they had never seen it rise from the bridge before, it was a glorious sight. "Say, Carl, we found the body of the woman you saw." It was a shock that shook Carl to the core. His mind was lost in confusion. Surely it wasn't the woman he had seen. She had been a memory -- a ghost! An echo from the past. "Damnedest thing. We got her to the morgue yesterday and Susan went in to do a report and the body was gone!" The confusion Carl was feeding must have shown, Steve continued, "I haven't clue on this one. She had the riding cloak just as you described her. She look like someone from the turn of the century. Her dress and boots. Even the way her hair was done. I was gonna call you and let you know you hadn't imagined it, then the body turned up missing and I had a more complicated case on my hands. Not sure I hadn't imagined her myself. Well, I'll let you two enjoy your sunrise. I love seeing it from here. Although looks like the a.m. flow is arriving." Steve nodded, pointing toward the back of Rubin's car. They could see headlights of a couple of cars coming. The day had broken. The car was snug in it's garage and the two were sitting at Rubin's kitchen table. Before them, was a green strong box. It was opened and the contents were glowing in the artificial light. They had closed all the curtains the days before to change their day into night. Now it offered a different function now. One of concealment. The two of them were tired. It had been a lot of hard, night work; they really hadn't had time to make a schedule adjustment, but that was moot. Life could return to normal now. Or could it? For within their grasp were hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of treasure! Perhaps millions in today's terms. What would they do with it? "It was Rubin once more who broke their silence, "What are we going to do with it?" "I hadn't really thought of that. Normally you take found things of value to the police and if after 90 days no one claims it, it's yours. Maybe it's only 30 days." "If someone got wind of our find, they'd go claim it. Sounds like a mess to me." "You know Rubin, I think we're in the clear on this. This falls into the category of a treasure find. Or maybe we could chock it up to 'finders, keepers.'" "Looses, weeper?" But they didn't laugh. The looser in this scenario had suffered greatly at her husband's expense. "Carl?" Rubin hesitated, then continued, "you'd don't suppose the woman they found was Marion Bach?" "I think it was. I wonder if they never found her remains, I mean the first time. She isn't in any of the local cemeterys. At least I couldn't find any death record or anything. People thought she just disappeared. Perhaps now that the truth has come to light, she can rest." "Maybe so." The treasure was tastefully sold to who the two treasure hunters deemed fit to buy it. Many collectors of old artifacts. They traveled the east coast and sold off most of the items sans a few more meaning full items that they donated to the local maritime museum. The total was in the 3 million dollar range. Life had pretty much turned back to the normal calm that occupied most of Carl's time. Chess in the morning with Rubin and reading. Strange, how the two of them went through this adventure and came out richer than they had been in their lives, and yet, they really didn't need the money.
The two did plan several trips to places they had always wanted to see, many of which they took together. But for the two men, life simply went on.
Carl studied the old house often. There seemed to be no more disturbances during storms. One stormy night he ventured to the front door, it was still sealed with sand and rust, with a tight lock on the knob that wouldn't let it turn.Steve had left the case open with the found and missing body of a woman he will never know the true identity of. Both Carl and Rubin had decided it was best not to suggest anything absurd as the truth they knew, that the woman was Marion Bach who had died 150 year ago. No, the truth would just not due in this case. The End.
Well, it started innocently enough. My brother sent our Dad a Timex/Sinclair 1000 for his birthday and I gravitated to it and it sorta just became mine. Then there was that whole C64 scenario. By the time I was in the dorm at ISU, I had a desk with two computers setup. Quite the Geek.
There was this Atari 800XL on sale somewhere for $45 dollars. It seamed a bargain. I was warned "don't get it." I didn't, but somewhere along the line I stumbled upon one at the Idaho Youth Ranch Thrift Store. There was this Laser 50 thing, and this C16 and VIC20. I was just a serious Computer Geek. That's all.
I was at the Commodore Computer Center browsing, as often I did when I used to have time for such. Trudy was talking to a customer when she said something about me, "Brian is a collector."
What? Me? No.
Was I? No. Definitely not. I just happened to have a large, growing collection of compu -- oh, wait.
Ok. So it must have been official.
I can say I'm a total computer geek, as things like this happen: I sit down at my computer to type, but we are camping and we have no electric hookup, and my battery it reaching critical. Rather than power down, I reach into my computer bag, pull out a Targus DC charger and a 25ft DC extension cord. No problem.
So where has "collecting" led?
I suppose, it started with the C64. After all, I had a Timex/Sinclair 1000 already. Perhaps it was really the first computer, as the TS1000 might be considered a loaner making the C64 my first official computer.
Interestingly enough, I started naming computers. Not sure why, but Sinclair, then Noesis. Sinclair was kinda obvious, almost dubious, "no, no it's a Sinclair, I didn't say 'Sinclair', I said 'the Sinclair'" ;)
But I was sitting in a class when I heard the name Noesis and learned incorrectly, it was the Greek God of Thought and Intellect (I thought this for many, many years. Teachers beware of what you say!). What a perfect name for a computer! Ok, that's revealing. So I'm at a pub and see a poster with the word Leopard on it. I love to play with sounds in words and say things weird, often like how things are spelled, but not pronounced (at least not in this day and age). So hearing myself say, "Leo Pard," struck a chord. It just sounded like a cool last name for a computer.
"So, Brian, does this Noesis Leopard talk to you?" Yes, because I plugged a Currah Speech cartridge into it! One of the earliest things I did was to add voice to my beloved C64.
The collection grew and changed. The changed, part is kinda nice as that implies that some of the computers have departed. I used to have an 8088 with an HD that was really a cool old PC, but I uncollected it for many reasons. 1. I had other PCs, namely the Wang Professional Computer. 2. I needed (and still do more now than ever) to get rid of some crap (stuff). 3. I had decided at the time to collect smaller machines.
Then came a time I was collected upon.
This is where friends and associates bring you all the old computer stuff they are clearing out of their garages. Some has bogged me down, but others have helped. The bog-downs are the big things I put in the easy places, blocking access to other things and thus causing problems.
The helpers are the items I have been able to put in convenient places where I can access them and either used them, sell them, or give them away.
Probably the largest things in the current collection, are a Texas Instruments terminal that has two cassettes, a printer and keyboard builtin; the afore mentioned Wang; and the Xerox 820 II.
The smallest would include, the Acorn, the TS1000 and 1500 and the PX-8.
Lowest Tech? Laser 50 (maybe).
Highest Tech? Perhaps the kindle fire or the X41.
The High and Low Tech are really just subjective opinions. There was no comparison done, just an off the top of the head guess. (See May 2013 Archaic Computer.)
While we're on about opinions; favorite: C128D (still); least favorite: possibly one of the old 8088s I have long since parted with -- easy to say now, but I really like them too, way back then ;)
Not to change the subject.
Ok, that was actually a lead in to change the subject. The R50p is kinda in limbo as a course of action has yet to be clear. I do have a functional motherboard on the way. I have had issues with browsers.
The Kubuntu install is loaded. I have done so much customizing with it that it meets many needs. Like one of my favorite things is PACPL (Python Audio Conversion something something). I actually have this on both the R50p and the X41.
I can right click on just about any audio or video file my system can recognize and convert the file (or files) to just about any audio file type imaginable. Certainly more types than I even use or have ever seen before. ;)
The big issue had been concerning Firefox. The drive starts to run and run. But that isn't even the issue. Why it is running? The browser must be writing everything to disk and the whole system slows to a crawl. Quite often leading it to be inoperable (was that a great miss-use of word?). Sometimes I can click on something and the system will eventually respond. Sometimes, I have to hold down the power button. This has been an issue on the R50p, a computer that has 2Gigs of RAM as well as on the R50, a computer that has 512Megs of RAM. And it is not just Firefox, Rekong and Konqueror are guilty as well. Rekong has led to the nasty poweroff solution, but not as much. I have not had to poweroff with Konqueror. Even when I exit Firefox, the drive will keep running.
So I have been using Konqueror. Under tools is the only tool -- "Speak Text." I was exploring possibilities on the browser that I found that item. I next got KMouth to work. I took Festival off and installed Jovie.
But something drove me back to investigate this. Konqueror reminded me of this feature. Why didn't it work? I had the "use Jovie if present" box checked. I also had the box checked for entering the talk command and the word "say" was entered for the command. I tried the command Say and say from a terminal one did nothing (I had to hit [CTRL C] eventually, the other said "yadda yadda yadda not installed etc."
So I unchecked the box and low and behold my mute computer spoke! So naturally I had the computer saying some really silly, nerdy things ;)
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Back on the Reservoir.
Well, this time camping, it is just Mia and I. Having to be on constant alert with three 2 and ~4 year olds with attachment disorder has been taking a toll on us. It is a lot of work. Our counselor said that Mia and I need to go camping just the two of us.
At first, we thought, "how quaint...." It would never happen. We hadn't been camping just the two of us since before Antony was born.
Well, here we are! And it has been wonderful. Not having to be "on," day and night has let us really relax, rest and figure out how we really feel about these new kids in our lives.
I had bought Famous Monsters of Filmland The Annotated 1st Issue quite a while ago. I had managed to read the blurb, but that was it. Well, yesterday I read the whole thing!
What an amazing read it is! I was in the age range of 11-16 (the age group the mag is aimed at) when I subscribed to the mag. I love FM and want to go back now and re-read the ones I have and get more. Guess, I can sell my Mad magazine collection to cover costs ;) (I have several years of Mad as I was an avid reader from mid Elementary School to the end of Jr High.
Mean while, I had just recently decided that I can't let the new kids schedule me. I have things I need to get done. There are so many projects and things piling up that I found I had broken the new Studio's Golden Rule: no crap! Yes, there are those little piles that are easy to "temporarily" set things on and forget those things as more things have been set there.
I had lost a notebook I had planned to get all the computer Mac IDs in, a sort of log book. I need to remove all the old IDs from computers we no longer have.
Anywho, I have managed to start on the piles and get them moved and found my notebook! I had slides I was scanning so there was a pile there, and something came up, so a new pile came in. I opened a box with a mother board in it and put it on a pile. Enough is enough!
I have been wanting to listen to the Music Heritage Society's recording of "Alice in Wonderland." But there are huge piles of boxes and old books in front of the bookcase in the shop. Well, I had a kid with me and I sorted stuff and moved enough crap to get to the record shelf.
Now, here is the problem, while I have managed to organize a bit, I can't just listen to the records... so I'll need to digitize them... later when I have time... so I put the album on the pile of "to be scanned" crap....
Meanwhile, back at the ranch.
I have some more contemporary computers that I am readying for eBay. A Mac Mini, an iMac, and some other Mac related stuff. So I have been slowly trudging forward. It will be nice to have those things gone from my space.
That annotated issue of FM's issue #1 brings my thoughts to the Halloween Room or the Magic Room. They are one in the same.
It is a place where I keep the Magic Cabinet -- you know, the Magic Cabinet -- doesn't everybody have a Magic Cabinet?!? Anyway, the Magic Cabinet, and the Halloween decorations are stowed in this tiny room. It is so small, that one can not really enter with all the stuff that is in there.
Really, it is a finished closet under the stairs, smaller than Harry's old dwelling place.
The thoughts I'm having are more to the "if the studio were devoid of computers, I could set up a Magic Room in there, and we'd have good access to things like the contents of the Magic Cabinet! We could have table and chairs setup and do daily magic shows if we so desired!"
Oh, did I mention I was/am an amateur magician?
I could remove all the tables but, say the L table and it would house the C128D and the CBM4032 and I could sell or stow the rest and we'd have great fun doing magic and playing ghost mystery games and telling stories. It would be great fun!
Well, it is but a pipe dream.
I do want to get back to liquidating much of the "collection." Forry did it.
Many knew the creator/writer of FM as "Forry," "Dr. Acula," "Uncle Forry" and a few other affectionates. He was very influential in the lives of people like Stephen King, and Steven Spielberg. He was the man who coined the term "SciFi." He had amassed probably the largest collection of SciFi, Fantasy, Monster memorabilia and such, in the world. He housed it in a 4 story mansion. When he was older he became very sick and Joe Moe, who I believe is the current editor of FM who was living with him at the time, helped him liquidate most of the collection, keeping only the most precious items, moving those to his new home.
So it can be done. I just need to push myself. It is sometimes hard to muster energy when you are on high alert so much. The oldest of the three kids, I mentioned earlier, has a nonstop insatiable need for attention. His hands gravitate toward everything. If he thinks I'm not watching he grabs stuff. So I can't take my eyes off him. It is harder than you might think and it certainly is exhausting.
Mia said it best when she described our lives thus:
We are running a marathon (that started last December on Christmas day). The hills are not as high as they were before, but we are still running and we have all that marathon we've already done in us.
This camping trip is, however, a break in the marathon. Today we go right back running.
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The moment of discovery.
I often move from computer to computer. Now (in Cascade), I'm on the IBM X41 ThinkPad (this one is dual branded -- it has both IBM and Lenovo on it), in the studio, I might be on the Amiga 1200 (Escom AG) or the commodore 128D. Upstairs I may be on the IBM R50 ThinkPad. All the keyboards on the afore mentioned computers are quite different. The closest might be the R50 and the X41 -- however, the size of the keyboards are noticeably different. I recall when I first acquired the A22m. It has a larger keyboard than the one I was used to on the 700Z. I actually had trouble adjusting. It wasn't bad, but I had to hunt and peck at times or I'd miss a key or three.
Well, the last machine I was using before this one, was the R50 with the larger keyboard. I have just hit upon a new trick.
I write AC in one big file, adding to it when I can, trying to stay ahead of the months. I place a line of minus symbols or dashes in the document to indicate where I am. I can go back into the document to edit and find my line where I was. I usually just scroll. I could search as well. But the page up and down keys make the search go quickly. I can also zip to the bottom of the document with those same keys.
Today I was at the bottom and I added two carriage returns. I zipped up to get a "STARDATE" from above. It already has the text and HTML all I have to do is copy and paste then update the actual date to today's. Well I copied, then went to hit the page down key and by mistake, hit the back space key, deleting gobs of text! Ok, don't panic, hit the old [CTRL][Z] combo until everything I typed was returned. Well, I over shot and my two carriage returns got zapped. That's OK (turns out I didn't need them anyway). The point is I was at the bottom of the document where I needed to be! With all my text intact.
So here is the trick a little more clarified:
Need to grab a repetitive piece of text from the document you are editing? Want to get back fast after you have found it? Type something you don't need, like a couple of [Return]s (or [Enter]s) then go find your text to copy (search is a fast way of course, but I haven't tried this trick with search). Copy your text, then hit [CTRL][Z] and you'll be back where you started with your text loaded for pasting!
Just used the above trick!
So we are on a respite once again. It is late October and has been raining freezing rain. Not really, but gobs of water falling from the sky and it is cold, although the rain has stopped.
Still in town, but down by the river, we were able to go to dinner at our oldest's work and have dinner with him. This morning I needed to get something off a spreadsheet and email it. Well, I knew this was coming so I left the machine with the data on it on. This morning I Teamviewered to the machine, opened up the document and cut the info, pasted into an email and sent it off. I also needed a file I had on yet another machine, also left running. Once I get the stuff like this taken care of, I can remotely power down.
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