Sunday, 18 March 2012

Revisiting the Past

Was doing some overdue housekeeping on the main machine at home and nested deep in the second array I discovered the viewers back catalog at least a good portion of it dating back over 5 years.
So for the sheer sake of it I wanted to see what would occur if I logged in....

The image above is from a build of S17 dated March 2009 so its around 3 years in vintage , I expected a horrific mess, but apart from the obvious visual failings such as mesh and some alpha ordering issues the client actually ran remarkably well in point of fact it ran so well that it left me pondering many questions.

Primary among them was that although V2 and now V3 have brought many things to the table what have we actually gained? Fundamentally in 3 years the basic viewing experience has not altered a great deal at all.
Now if I compare the amount of code for current clients to the source code for this old client I would guess its probably twice the size and about 3 times more complex.

Less is more...

To be honest I'm probably as guilty as anyone of just bolting code on , the path of least resistance....

Oh to have the time to play and ponder :)

Now back to cleaning up the hard drives.. hello what's this? 'Kirstens S6'.... I wonder :D

Lots of Love,

KL

10 comments:

  1. I still have S17 (that's how long I've been using Kirsten's Viewer), although now I'm using the latest build which was unfortunately the last. Still a quality viewer.

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  2. It's off topic, but this got me thinking how much I love a little bit of retro computing.

    Every now and then I unpack my Sinclair ZX81, which is cling-filmed in the original packaging I received it in, not too unsurprisingly, in 1981. It always impresses me that it fires up without a problem and I have a bit of reliving being 15 again, then pack it away.

    Why do I keep it in such pristine condition? Certainly not it's monetary value, which could probably soar to a maximum of £30-£40 on eBay on a good day, but because it was the only computerised thing available in 1981, which was more programmable than an LCD watch or scientific calculator and it cost £69.99, which as a 15yo, equated to lots and lots and lots and lots of grass cutting and car washing at an average of 50p (more than the cost of a pint of beer in 1981). After months of work to afford it, I can still remember how excited I was on the day it arrived.

    Several years later, and in my early 20s, I got myself a Psion Organiser LZ64 and I must have spent hours programming and messing around with it. I replaced it with a Psion 3, 3a, 3MX, 5MX and a Revo; of which I now only have the 3MX - still the best machine Psion ever produced, in my opinion. It was way ahead of its time and I love that, even now, compared to switching on my Sony Ericsson Xperia and waiting and waiting and waiting, the 3MX takes this long to be fully ready for anything and totally booted-up - "click" - READY! That was me pressing the ON button. Windows 8 is still not even close to that.

    Sometimes less is more and sometimes older is better; that's why I may have a super duper DECT phone, but the ringer is turned down and it's the old GPO 746, rotary dial, bell ring-ring which sounds-out an incoming call in my home. It's often the one which I answer too, because the receiver just feels much more comfortable to hold, and talk into, than any phone I've used since and I still prefer the call quality.

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    1. Its not as off topic as it sounds magnus :) consider the lowly desktop icon which most applications including the land with the hand use, on average each one weighs in at about 256kb sometimes more sometimes a little less.
      My VIC20 with 1Kb of memory could play a mean game of chess! all be it in some very retro ascii art style.
      I really do sometimes ponder the 'make it small and minimal' approach and imagine exactly how amazing programs could be when each line of code has to justify its considerable memory cost. :)

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    2. I'm trying to imagine Second Life on a TRS-80 Model 1. Black and white, block graphics... loading the program from a tape recorder... Everybody looks like they are SHOUTING because there is no lower case character set... Eeek!

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    3. on my monster PC i have MSX emulator, playing at the original "Metal gear" or at "Salamender" is still a good moment... 20+ year later.

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  3. Gosh, yeah! You have both made me smile :)

    The hours I spent when I first got my ZX81 just getting one (HUGE) pixel to move around the screen randomly! That was after being enormously proud of myself on the first day I owned it, 10 minutes out of the box, with the ground breaking sophisticated program:

    10 PRINT "HELLO ";
    20 GOTO 10

    Which progressed to:

    10 PRINT "HELLO ";
    20 PAUSE 4E4
    30 GOTO 10

    WOW! What progress, now I had to press ENTER for the ZX81 to display the next HELLO.

    It amazed me how important the space was, within the quotes, and the colon meant the next hello would be printed alongside, no colon and it would be on the next line. And 4E4 was txtspk before txt was even invented :)

    And Cisop, memories of loading SL from a tape recorder, sitting for about 10 minutes, several times, white screen, finally loads up, then breathe a little too much and, damn - 16K rampack has crashed it. Start again. 4:00am and still waiting to play one game of anything.

    More seriously, and initially with only 1K to play with, it was amazing what could be achieved. As you say KL, 256 ZX81s to produce a mere icon, I couldn't agree more about the small and minimal approach.

    I hear that Sir Clive's Z80 chip, which powered the ZX80 and the ZX81 continued to be the main driver for most supermarket tills for a good 20+ years thereafter and may even be in there somewhere yet still.

    Just for the fun of it, I just flipped open my Psion 3MX and it's perhaps more than a year since I last powered it up. Click and instant ON, and all data present and correct as per last use. It would be my luxury choice on a desert island, to make my own fun, as I suspect I wouldn't be able to download any apps to my android or iPad and their locked down operating systems mean I'd probably be using them as crockery within a week.

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    1. about Android, it is not too locked once you have made what should have been done :D

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  4. Kirstens S17, a revolution of the viewers, in fact i remember well: the "Shadowcraft" project of you, the first time that a viewer in SL show shadows in this big quality. and i no conserved these viewer, a pity. but i have the s19 and i use usually too for my Opensim include when not is made for these and "need" cahnges" for the map by example :).

    Sinclair..... I remember that my firs time seing an Spectrum was a 16K updated "manually" to 48 K from a friem that was buy in United Kingdom and when start , see in the screen of their litle tv black & white : "Sinclair Research @1977"... a computer "incredible" with a proccesor Z80A of ...4,78 Khz!! , lol!!!

    The very important of all is remember the good way of all, as we reminder how was TRON made in 1981 too and alfter the compare with the graphics of the Tron Legacy of the last 2010, an universe of time and things happened inthe life into these 2 movies or into these computers and now, but the basic of the things as you was tell, Lee, not was change, the sample , just the viewers... i now use teh SL 1.23.5 and what not have compare with the last? in the basics , only the support of Mesh, and 3 or 4 things, the rest, yes are "inside, but if we look are extras that make more or excesivelly big the programs and also expend more big computers for run fine ,and why? basically why for make almost the same of before now expend more resources and procces, and yes with the new computers these delay not is very visible, but for the most of the people with machines with 3 or some more years ago ,is a work big. Is when one think exaclty these "less is more" and "more technoplogy but less advanced than before" .

    This is the life, the human make machines and programs for make more easy their life, and inorically, day to day whant make more complicated the life ,when have to be inverse. Imagine si part of the human nature. not?

    Regards.
    Lugh Kondor - FJJB (lobowolfy@starmedia.com)

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  5. Magnun, but these theme of the ipad and their "strogest or durability" is simply a cuestion of money and Bussiness. In the past, mostly of the things was made for have a durability of years and years and years, all the life and more; in the last 10-20 years not, the things are made with a "technical" (not theorical) life of some mountts or "in the best of the situations, several years, not more". Of course with care we can conserved by decades or more, but "not is productive" the cuestionis sell and change the most fast possible. include if you buy now a mega-big Computer of the last-last-last generation, in 2 weeks or 3 is ..OLD!!!! why the production made very quick the things only for bussiness and sell, and in the deep, the advanced are minimum. In the past the things was made buy and use by necesity of real use. actually is made for buy and change continuously, include if we not have money for these , some time are foreced to they if we can use some things or not look "of the age of Crogmagnon" for the anothers. The society was be crazy and day to day is more, and these affect to all ways of the life. "money is God" eeecck!!

    Regards
    Lugh Kondor - FJJB (lobowolfy@starmedia.com)

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  6. S17 was great at the time, I loved it!

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