Tag: Personal Archaeology

Personal Archaeology: Veteran’s Day

Google Street View, GrandpaMy paternal grandfather, George, died in early 2008.  Google squeezes out the feels by continuing to show him sitting happily on his porch should you Street View past his house (click to enbigger). Unfortunately, my maternal grandfather, Vic, died much earlier before Google could grab a shot.

Both my grandfathers served with pride in World War II.  George, in the European theater as a medic’s assistant, made it to Berlin. Vic, a navy man, served on U.S.S. Johnston and later the carrier U.S.S. Ticonderoga in the Pacific theater. Both saw action and both came home intact. Grandpa George followed the first waves onto the beach at Normandy and was responsible for shuttling casualties from the front lines to the medical stations. Grandpa Vic had emphysema for the rest of his life, complications from spending a cold night in the pacific awaiting rescue following a kamikaze attack.

Neither liked to discuss their experiences. The most you got out of either were dismissive grunts although George would, sometimes, concede, “All I did was drive a truck.” Both married their childhood sweethearts and raised their families a few miles away from each other. This lead to mom meeting dad and, eventually, a whole lot of otherwise avoidable trouble including myself, my brother and four additional great-grandchildren.

Myself having never served, being in that relatively calm stretch between Vietnam and Iraq, I am honored to salute both my grandfathers on this Veteran’s Day and every day.

Personal Archaeology: Goodbye First Night Boston!


As reported by the Boston Globe, First Night Boston is shutting its doors.  While the New Year’s Eve festival itself may continue as a production of city government, the non-profit organization that’s run the event for the past 37 years will be disbanding.  While the event still attracts over a million people to the city center, bringing millions of dollars to local business and exposure to hundreds of local artists, sponsorships and contributions have declined steadily to the point where the event simply can’t support itself.


Personal Archaeology: Using a GIF as a Data Pipe

Way back in the history-times, in August of the year 2000, I authored an article detailing a technique that allowed for bi-directional communication between a server and a web browser without a page refresh.  The technique was, if I do say so myself, pretty clever in a primitive, kludgy, clunky kind of way.  I have no idea if I was really the “first” to come up with this but I do know that the rise of standardized AJAX a few short years later completely and deservedly eclipsed it.

Using a GIF as a Data Pipe

What I’ve recently realized is that a lot of traffic still points to that article.  I, in fact, get nearly as many 404 errors for people looking for this article as I do legitimate hits to the site (“popular” I am not).  It’s listed in the Wikipedia article on Remote Scripting and in many blogs, forums and resource sites.  For the curious various versions of it are available on the Internet Archive.

Now it’s nothing more than a weird little historical artifact that I’ll keep here on the digital mantle for posterity.

Personal Archaeology: Remember Prodigy?

My daughter was cleaning out the family room when she came up with this and asked why it was addressed to me (at a very old, no longer valid, address by the way).  It had been bouncing around my belongings for at least two decades and was currently full of colored pencils:

Prodigy Gift Tube, 1990

When I was a kid of 19 years old (now that I’m in my forties that qualifies as a “kid”) I had a computer.  It was sweet: a Tandy 1000TL 286-based speed demon (here’s an internal sales video of how Radio Shack marketed and sold them).  It ran DOS applications and Tandy’s home-grown “Deskmate” graphical interface and, as you’re told in the video, could even remember the current date and time!