LASERS! && Freemont Street LED array (was Re: Cray J932SE (was Re: Straight 8 up on Ebay just now))

Swift Griggs swiftgriggs at
Wed Jul 20 11:08:54 CDT 2016

On Wed, 20 Jul 2016, ethan at wrote:
> Very cool! I'm a.d.d. a bit with hobbies. On the synth side I recently 
> picked up a Roland MT-32, so that was an achievement unlocked. Hope to 
> find an Oberheim Matrix 6 at some point.

I'm not a keyboard guru like some on the list, but I've owned a Roland 
FP-9 and Alesis DG8. Now I use a Yamaha Clavinova. I miss the DG8, but I 
traded it off once it's internal amp started fritzing out. 

> I started computeres on Atari 800XL, then next computer was family's 
> Tandy 1000SX.

I had a friend with an Atari 800XL and I was very impressed with it. I 
remember a few demos (one with a metallic rendered robot walking toward 
you, I remember was most impressive). I was surprised that it was just an 
8bit machine. At first I thought it might have been 16 bit! 

> At some point ended up with a Sound Blaster 1.0 in that (Still have the 
> SB.) I don't remember if there was ever a tracker on that, but I 
> remember Scream Tracker on the 386 (same sound card IIRC.)

The only ones worth using that I'm aware of are Scream Tracker and Impulse 
Tracker and neither was around in the 16 bit ISA days pre-386, IIRC. I 
doubt Scream Tracker would be able to function on a 286 anyhow. It puts a 
486DX2/66 at about 50% CPU load, from my recollection. The Amiga trackers 
were more efficient, but you got fewer channels, too. OctaMED was 
8-channel and that seemed massive until it wasn't.

> Spent a lot of time messing with Scream Tracker and Renaissance Composer 
> 669.

Yes! I almost forgot about Composer, that was another good one.

> If you haven't looked, look on the hornet mod archive to see if any are 
> on there?

Several made it there over the years. I can't remember which ones, but I 
do remember one day I was listening to Nectarine Radio and heard one of my 
own Protracker MODs. That was awesome.

> There was recently a video from popular artist deadmau5 where he was 
> driving around interviewing some DJ and he asked the guy if he used to 
> mess with ScreamTracker and all that -- I was pretty shocked.

He was just showing proper street cred. +1 Deadmou5

> Interesting! Never seen the show, we tried to go to it once while at 
> Defcon but messed up on the time. So they're still running it on an 
> Amiga? That's awesome!

It took some extra hard Googling to find anything about it. The only time 
I'd even heard about it was when I was actually in Vegas working as a Def 
Con goon.

> Some of the amusement parks had ride simulators that used Amiga + Laser 
> disk. It's interesting where the Amiga found it's niche.

Ahhh, those air-car-mounted-on-hydraulics "ride" thingys? Huh. Laser disc 
was always a cool thing, too. Remember "Time Traveler" ? That 
"holographic" (it wasn't really but it looked damn cool) game were the 
characters appeared in front of some kind of curved mirror volumetric 
display uhm, thingamabob? It used a Laserdisc too. Of course I loved Space 
Ace and Dragons Lair along with every other self-respecting geek, too. 
Also, my favorite was called "Thayer's Quest" in which you were a wizard's 

> Very cool! I always think about trying to do some sort of music venue 
> with a focus on live music + video recording / live streaming, or 
> arcades + old computers.

> Here in Northern VA everything is crazy expensive tho, so coming across 
> commercial space for pennies is difficult (at this moment.)

Most commercial real estate weasels think you are the next "sucker" coming 
through the door. They seem to believe that some old crufty warehouse 
that's been empty for a decade is actually worth the ridiculous rents they 
charge. You'd think it'd be better to have the buildings occupied and 
someone giving you a bit or two to cover the property taxes, but they 
still don't seem to see their clients as anything more than walking cash 
registers. It's definitely a hard slog to find a screaming deal on space. 
All the hacker-spaces here in big-D have lots of folks pitching in to make 
ends meet. The first one here with an Ethan-style laser arcade will 
definitely get my membership dues.

Then there is the problem that nobody but old dudes remember how fun/cool 
arcades could be, back in a time when they looked a lot more like 
nightclubs. I remember them so crowded you had to go out for some fresh 
air. Flynn's Arcade may never live again, but it's still a paradigm of 
cool in my mind. Then again, I'm probably too old now to adjudicate "cool" 
for anyone. If you do open an laser-illuminated LED-walled arcade, let us 
all know so we can put you on the cctalk road-trip map. We'll rent a bus 
in Seattle, and drive to your place (or visa versa). I nominate Fred to 
run the logistics. I'll drive. :-P


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