Keyboard Builders' Digest
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Keyboard Builders' Digest / Editorial

Behind the Scenes of Issue 46

From Alice 90 to the 1984 cliff of women in computer science. Time Masters, a masterpiece from the '80s. Videoton terminal dilemma. Vendor database progress update, new discount code, Issue 45 follow-up.
Published October 4, 2021

Issue #46 turned out pretty kick-ass despite my busy schedule because of the actual event of the TEDx conference series I've been co-organizing for the last 10 years in my home city.

I mean there was much more content than the previous two weeks when I had to desperately sniff for anything related and usable. Actually, there could have been even more awesome content but two authors haven't got back to me with their homework in time. ;)

Anyway, just a few more words about organizing conferences before we delve into keyboard stuff: even after 10 years of doing this we still learn a lot with each event. The main takeaway this time and my advice to you: if you feature a performer with a living animal on-stage, put it in the very last slot at the very end of the day. This way you don't have to clean the iconic red carpet from an unbelievable amount of white bird shit in front of cameras and aired live right after ten minutes into the show. :D

Luckily, I was prepared because the damn buzzard did the same thing the previous day during our rehearsal. Unfortunately, the program was already printed by that time so we couldn't change the order of performances.

Dilemma of the week

There is a cool retrofuturistic terminal on sale for $200. The seller won't ship it but it's right in my neighborhood so I could pick it up any time.

I can't decide if it looks awesome or strange. It's a Videoton terminal and was manufactured in Hungary in 1982 and I think it must be pretty rare. I got an offer of $140 but I said no. That's still above my psychological threshold of $100 for something that would take up a LOT of space and I would use it only for taking a nice photo before confining it to the attic.

Also, the keyboard itself is not that interesting, in contrast to the overall design which looks as it was taken from an early low-poly 3D game:

The photo (source) is not of the actual item which has a slightly different layout and quite meh uniform caps far less attractive than the SA-like ones depicted above.

I'll see if I get a better offer and in the worst case scenario I'll post some more photos along with some interesting details from online materials I found during my research.

To the Matra Alice 90 post

Read this post first if you haven't done so yet.

So the manual cover was done by the legendary Moebius. Slightly unrelated, but the characters of Time Masters, one of my favorite childhood cartoons, were designed by him as well. As a French-Hungarian co-production, his original drawings were animated and turned into a movie by the Pannónia Filmstúdió in Hungary.

Well, I'm not sure the story is for kids at all but it was definitely aired for kids in the television in the '80s – maybe because the protagonist is a little boy or because some characters appearing in the movie are cute and funny, like the two homunculi. (They were everywhere when the cartoon was introduced, I can clearly remember them from card calendars.) Otherwise, the genre is rather sci-fi drama or something along the line with quite disturbing parts for kids.

While it wasn't a hit, many people of my age remember it even after 30-40 years.

For several years, up until the early 2000's, I had Time Masters in a pretty low quality avi file and for some reason copied it from one PC to another when I upgraded HDDs or bought new computers. Don't ask me why. It was rate before internet times and you could see the excitement of my coworkers when it turned out I have a copy.

The cartoon itself may not have stood the test of time but I've just rewatched it and find the story still powerful even though it has some logical tangles and it's very slow-paced by today's standards.

But if I consider we are in the '80s and each frame had to be drawn and colored by hand, this has to be regarded as a masterpiece:

Fun fact: If I recall it correctly, many sound samples were recorded in a kitchen during a dinner by the director and a staff member. When the swarm of insects appear later in the movie that's the sound of cooking bacon. :D

Vendor database update

I didn't have much time for this but there's still a new promo code: thanks Torpedo Cables! About 30-40 shop profiles updated, 12 new ones added and some removed from the original list grabbed from keebtalk because they look abandoned.

Issue #45 follow-up

70 new subscribers to the newsletter.

Three new one-time supporters! Yeah! Thanks @R_i_b_a and kind anonymous ones, even the smallest support matters.

I've made another RSS. The old one listed the issues and was updated weekly but the new one lists all the entries:

I don't use RSS at all so let me know if they work as expected or if they can be improved in any way.

Also, September is over so I made a little analysis and updated my About page intended for future supporters, especially vendors. (I thought I'll get on the radar of some shops and the vendor database may attract some business supporters but this is not the case.)

So if you are interested in some graphs and stats of you can check the About page.

Well, that's it for today I think.

Thanks for your support and feedback, I really appreciate it. While I love learning about keyboards, doing my research and sniffing around for content, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't do this if there weren't you.



Published on Mon 4th Oct 2021. Featured in KBD #46 (source).

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Behind the Scenes of Issue 40

Behind the Scenes: Various pieces of original content, lots of progress in the background, Issue 39 follow-up, becoming familiar with my first mechanical typewriter, etc.