Monitor Calibration Report

MonitorCalibration-02

In the box of my new monitor: a report on color and grayscale brightness. Since I got two monitors, I can verify (for nerds like me who really enjoy algorithmically-generated objects like this) that this isn’t canned but actually unique to the monitor.

The Robot That Helped To Make A President

TitlePage2

A few weeks ago, I was doing some research on the Autopen, a device invented in the 1940s (though its predecessor was created in 1803 by Thomas Jefferson) to automatically duplicate signatures using a real pen. During my reading, I found mention of this insane book, which I was lucky enough to get on Inter-Library Loan and scanned for you all.

TitlePage

“The Robot That Helped To Make A President,” written in 1965, is intended for autograph collectors so they could more easily identify real John F. Kenney’s signatures and ones generated by the Autopen. The title alone is worth the price of admission, but I think is more than just camp. It sits historically right between the thoroughly mechanized but still mostly analog era and one where computers are everywhere and do basically everything. The Autopen isn’t just a frustration for autograph aficionados, it’s also a metaphor for the computer replacing something that seems like it should be entirely human: writing one’s name on a piece of paper.

ManOrRobot

While the language is a mix of 60s goof and a techno-hope (a “huge, faceless robot” which “signs a photograph for his master”), I find this book such a beautiful, physical manifestation of anxiety and intrigue about technology.

SevenRobotSignatures

Most of the book is autograph collection minutiae, but if you stick it out to the end, you’re rewarded with a beautiful light-blue-colored overlay titled “Seven Robot Signatures” used to test autographs in the wild.

[ Download this thoroughly out of print (and impossible to find used) book as a PDF ]

Crumpled Microfilm

1963MusterRollForUSSGrowler-web

An amazing image via my colleague Alex Wellerstein: a muster roll for the USS Growler from 1963, crumpled up before being shot to microfilm. If I had to choose, I think I like glitched data the best.

Thanks Alex for the image (via US National Archives and Records Administration).