New Hosting Provider

The Computer Graphics Museum has changed hosting providers to XMission, Utah’s largest independent internet service provider.  Our new provider gives us improved access to our hosting environment allowing us to work on providing better services going forward.

Things have been proceeding behind the scenes, but difficulties with our hosting environment prevented us from sharing those efforts with you.  Obviously, we are back to sharing news again!

One of the next big projects for the museum is to create a searchable catalog of artifacts in the museum’s collection.  This will be easier to prototype and deploy with the improved access.

Xerox Alto Source Code Released

Over at the Computer History Museum, they’ve managed to get the Xerox Alto source code released. The Xerox Alto was a huge step forward in bringing computer graphics into the service of the ordinary user with its desktop metaphor for interacting with computer resources. Getting the source code for the system and making it publicly available is giving you the ability to travel back in time and see state-of-the-art systems from the inside.

Browse the source code.

2014 Evans & Sutherland Employee Reunion June 27th in Salt Lake City

Every year the employees of Evans & Sutherland have a reunion picnic in Sugar House Park in Salt Lake City, UT. This year the picnic will be on June 27th, 2014. They usually take a big group photo of those who attend.

2014 Evans & Sutherland Employee Reunion Invitation

If you know of other computer graphics companies that hold employee reunions, please let the museum know and we’ll be happy to post notices for those as well.

“The Engineering Design Revolution” by David E. Weisberg

I just stumbled across this free book today, “The Engineering Design Revolution: The People, Companies and Computer Systems That Changed Forever the Practice of Engineering”, by David E. Weisberg. It looks interesting and I will be reading it shortly. While I’ve always been interested in computer graphics, I wasn’t working in the field when computer graphics was being established as a distinct engineering area in the 1970s and 1980s.

Nice Direct View Storage Tube Demonstration

Over at davebr’s “My Tektronix Memories” page, he has a really great video of the Tektronix 4010 terminal demonstrating various features of the DISSPLA graphics software. This is a video taken of the screen of the terminal as it renders the demonstration file at 2400 baud. This gives you a very good representation of what using these terminals was like. You watched a bright spot move across the screen as it stroked the graphics onto the storage tube. If you look carefully, you can see the alphanumeric cursor blinking in the lower left side of the screen as the file transmits a bunch of NUL characters to the terminal in order to implement a delay in the presentation. The bright full-screen flash is the mechanism used to erase the screen before drawing the next picture.

Scanning Documents with Limited Colors for Optical Character Recognition

I scan a lot of documentation for BitSavers. Sometimes the documentation has a limited use of color, such as red text highlighting user input, and so-on. Eventually, scanned documents on bitsavers will be run through an optical character recognition (OCR) program. High resolution bitonal (on or off, single bit per pixel) images work best for the OCR process. However, scanning a document with limited use of color in bitonal form means that the limited color highlighting present in the original document is lost. This can be particularly confusing when the original document mixed highlighted text and black text in the same example. In this blog post, I’ll describe how I scan these documents in a manner that preserves the original limited use of color and also keeps the document ready for OCR.

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