Tuesday 25 January 2011This is over 12 years old. Be careful.

I don’t want to get onto a whole rant about how much technology has changed, and what I had to put up with as a youth while all you whippersnappers have everything and don’t even realize it, but the fact of the matter is, I used to use dial-up terminals to write code.

No one has to do that any more, but if you are interested in experiencing what those times were like, or you are just into recreations of old technology, take a look at Cathode, a Mac terminal emulator that emulates all of the crappy aspects of real terminals that no one wants to deal with any more: curved screens, CRT fuzziness, power-line noise, vertical retrace burps, the whole works.

Cathode, emulating a curved-screen terminal

Looking at the VT100 skin immediately took me back in a Proustian recollection of coding days gone by.

Oh, and they have a terrific payment model: Cathode is free, but the annoying CRT glitches get increasingly bad over time unless you buy a license. Genius.


This seems like the perfect type of thing for the mac app store.

I presume this is a revived version of "GLTerminal" which has been abandoned for a few years. So neat!
For the sake of good memories, Ars has a great article this week on the evolution of display technology:

Dating myself a bit, on my first job I worked on CGA and VGA displays plugged on IBM PC clones running DR-DOS (don't recall the version) and Novell Network 2.x (which was my first exposure to e-mail as well).

Only came to experience Unix terminals and multi-user systems a couple years later, in the university ...
I really liked the look of the VT100. The future's not what it used to be.

In the same spirit, this is amusing: The first Numerical Weather Prediction on ENIAC, particularly the last PDF linked where they re-implemented the original algorithm, which did a 24-hour forecast in 24 hours on ENIAC, in Java and ran it on a Nokia mobile phone. It took less than a second to produce an almost identical 24-hour forecast.
VT terminal + GNU screen. Blissful productivity.

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