Stranger Fruit

Mad Skillz

Things I can do that I no longer need to do (from here by way of here). Examining this list will no doubt tell you a lot about what I spent the past nearly forty years doing with technology.

  • Adjusting rabbit ears on top of a TV
  • Adjusting a television’s horizontal and vertical holds
  • Adjusting a television’s color and hue adjustments
  • Adjusting the tracking on a VCR
  • Adjusting the head azimuth of a Commodore’s Datassette
  • Archie AT commands for dial-up modems
  • Autoexec.bat editing
  • Backing up a PC using QIC-40 or QIC-80 tapes
  • BASIC Booting off a floppy disk
  • Burnishing a cartridge connector with a pencil eraser to ensure a solid connection
  • Bust apart a long computer printout
  • Calculating THAC0
  • Calling collect on a payphone
  • Cast Lead Miniatures
  • Changing the ball or ribbon on your Selectric Typewriter
  • Changing the ribbon on a typewriter
  • Changing the wheel on a daisy wheel printer
  • Cheating at computer games using a loader or binary patch
  • Cleaning fish
  • Cleaning head of a VCR
  • Cleaning the balls inside a computer mouse for better traction
  • Compressing a HDD to make vital space
  • Configuring Trumpet Winsock
  • Config.sys editing
  • CP/M
  • Cranking up or down a car-window
  • Darkroom photography skills
  • dBase IV
  • Dialing a rotary phone
  • Drying Clothes with a Mangle
  • Editing AUTOEXEC-BAT and CONFIG-SYS to get as close as possible to 640K of free memory
  • Editing text with a restricted 80-characters per column
  • Entering "freeware" programs from a magazine
  • Faxing a document
  • fdisk mbr
  • Filing cards in a library card catalog
  • Fixing a Disk using a hex editor
  • Focusing a camera
  • Formatting a floppy
  • FORTRAN programming
  • FTP from a command line
  • Getting off the couch to change channels on your TV set
  • Getting to know your neighbors
  • Getting TSRs and CD device drivers to load into DOS
  • Gopher
  • Himem.sys
  • Installing Linux from floppy disks
  • Kermit to transfer files
  • Level Design for 2d games like Doom and Duke
  • Letter writing
  • Lining up paper on a dot matrix or line printer
  • Loading data from a cassette tape
  • Loading film into a 35 mm camera
  • Long division
  • Manually loading ink on a fountain pen from an bottle
  • Map Reading
  • Memorizing Multiplication Tables
  • Multiplication using a Sliderule
  • Navigating using a compass
  • Operating an Overhead Projector
  • Parking a hardisk
  • Peeling back a lid from an sardine can with a key
  • Programming a VCR to record a show
  • Programming an analogue car radio
  • Programming in dBase or Clipper
  • Putting a needle on a vinyl record
  • Reading Moon Tables or Tide Tables
  • Removing perforations off fanfold paper so it looks like normal typing paper
  • Resolving IRQ conflicts on a mother board
  • Respooling a chewed-up VCR tape or audio cassette
  • Rewinding VCR tapes
  • Reverse Polish Notation
  • Rewinding an audio cassette using a Bic pen
  • Saving your programs to a cassette tape
  • SCSI HD configuration
  • Smelling a freshly mimeographed test paper
  • Taking the tape out of an answering machine
  • Ticket Conductors on Buses
  • Transferring files between computers using LapLink
  • Triangulating your position
  • Using correction fluid
  • Using a compass
  • Using a flash cube
  • Using a fountain pen
  • Using a Logarithm Table
  • Using a microfiche
  • Using a slide rule
  • Using carbon paper to make copies
  • Using a card sorter
  • Using WordPerfect in a DOS window on a computer
  • Using the Readers Guide to Periodical Literature
  • Using xyzzy
  • Using your fancy Zip Drive to copy mp3s
  • UUencode usage to transfer binary
  • WWAIS – Wide Area Information Service
  • Watching a slide show with a slide projector
  • Winding a watch
  • Word Perfect 5.x
  • WordStar
  • Writing email whilst offline and going online to send
  • ZIPping archives across multiple floppy disks
  • Zmodem to transfer a file

Well that made me feel old.


  1. #1 Coturnix
    March 2, 2008

    We have moved this to science related skills only.

  2. #2 Coturnix
    March 2, 2008

    See more on Sandra’s blog.

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