Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | Logo

In February, 2001, I was blogging about computer nostalgia, Napster, a horror typing game, usability, and web blurbs.

In February, 2001, I was blogging about Computer nostalgia and text adventure games.“Walking into a room rendered in the Q3 engine can be lovely and impressive, but when you’ve only 16K to tell a story, you have to rely on the gamer’s imagination to provide the details. Just the words ‘you are on a beach’ can summon vistas no game can provide.” — James Lileks Napster. File-sharing was destroying the economic model of the recording industry. Here’s a screenshot of what the Yahoo News “Technology Full Coverage” section looked like on February 23, 2001. The Typing of the Dead: A…

NASA’s Perseverance lander brought some Easter eggs with it to Mars

It’s a bit of a stretch to call this Teddy Roosevelt quote “encoded,” but it’s still fun to notice. We’re told to be on the lookout for more surprises as the mission develops. Systems engineer Ian Clark used a binary code to spell out “Dare Mighty Things” in the orange and white strips of the 70-foot (21-meter) parachute. Only about six people knew about the encoded message before Thursday’s landing, according to Clark. They waited until the parachute images came back before putting out a teaser during a televised news conference Monday. […] Another added touch not widely known until…

Mesmerizing Video of a Printer Terminal Running “Adventure” on a PDP-11/45

After spending several days clicking buttons and ticking boxes and waiting for pages to refresh in my school’s content manager, I really, really miss the command line interface. This video shows the 1970s computer game “Colossal Cave Adventure” running on a printer terminal (that is, its only display is text that it prints out on a long roll of paper).

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | Logo

In December 2000, I was blogging about typeface snobbery, freedom in video game spaces, the first email message, and T.S. Eliot’s anti-semitism

In December 2000, I was blogging about Typeface snobbery (The Onion) Videogames as gendered play spaces (Henry Jenkins) Who wouldn’t want to trade in the confinement of your room for the immersion promised by today’s video games? …. Perhaps, my son finds in his video games what I found in the woods behind the school, on my bike whizzing down the hills of the suburban back streets, or settled into my treehouse during a thunder storm with a good adventure novel — intensity of experience, escape from adult regulation; in short, “complete freedom of movement.” The first email message (Pretext)…

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | Logo

In November 2000, I was blogging about the US Presidential election, mirrors, Arts & Letters Daily, and more

In November 2000, I was blogging about Ursula K. Le Guin Why we perceive mirrors reversing things left/right but not up/down Pioneering blog Arts & Letters Daily (just a year older than my own blog) Nick Montfort’s constrained poem “Upper Typewriter Row“ The 2000 US Presidential Election controversy (ballot design, hanging chads, recounts, political cartoons) The Web Economy Bullshit Generator The Onion’s fake “Fontly Speaking” typeface design column. James Lileks’s Orphanage of Cast-off Mascots A Quake 3 gamer who misses solving puzzles in text-adventure games

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | Logo

In October, 2000, I was blogging about bobbed hair, Woolf, a CFP for interactive fiction scholarship, the hyphen in e-mail, and a book with glow-in-the-dark pages

In October 2000, I was blogging about The F. Scott Fitzgerald Short story “Bernice Bobs Her Hair” (background; full text) A biography of Virginia Woolf The precarious status of English as a global language A call for papers for a special issue of Text Technology devoted to interactive fiction (I have a copy on my shelf now) Wired News picks “e-mail” over “email.” (AP Style is currently email.) A book with glow-in-the-dark pages.  

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | Logo

In September, 2000, I was blogging about PICK UP AX, Bellamy’s Looking Backward, WB Yeats, Jupiter Communications, and why Flash Animations Suck

In September 2000, I was blogging about The nerdy, 3-person 1990 play PICK UP AX The full text of Edward Bellamy’s Utopian fantasy Looking Backward (written in 1888, set in September 2000) The papers of William Butler Yeats (donated by his son to the National Library of Ireland) An elitist press release from Jupiter Communications that catered to web users with the fastest computers and Internet connections Why Flash animations suck

Why are sports in trouble in the U.S.? Because we didn’t do the work.

Hard-hitting column from Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post. Baseball is facing a new crisis not even a week into its pandemic-delayed season. It’s an axiom in sports: Your results speak for themselves. The scoreboard says more than a dozen major league baseball players are sick after just five days of play, and the only record this country is leading in is the number of deaths. If there is one thing sports teaches, it’s that just wanting to win is not enough. You have to do the work, or you’re going to fail and maybe even embarrass yourself. You can’t cheat…

This Woman Inspired One of the First Hit Video Games by Mapping the World’s Longest Cave

The Medium headline calls Colossal Cave Adventure “one of the first the video games,” but it’s a stretch to use “video” to describe the modality of a command line text parser game. The former Patricia Crowther was very helpful to me when I interviewed her by telephone for my DHQ article. I could have written quite a lot more about her as a technologist, rather than mostly as a caver, but I wasn’t writing a book. I enjoyed reading this article by Claire L. Evans, an excerpt from her 2018 book, Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who…


Booby Trap (ST:TNG Rewatch, Season Three Episode 6) When LaForge gets absurd with a hologram nerd, he’s a-creeper

Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break. To escape a thousand-year-old booby trap, LaForge interacts with a holodeck simulation of the designer of the Enterprise’s engines… and gets waaay too attached. The teaser shows LaForge on a date — a failure that he later talks over with Guinan. Meanwhile, Picard, thrilled to explore an old warship, is dismayed that his officers never played with ships-in-bottles. (“I did, sir,” says O’Brien. Picard must not have seen the ship Geordi brought to engineering in Elementary, Dear Data.) After a very slow exploration of a very small derelict set (because budget), and just a hint…