mass:werk / Blog

(Posts 56 … 48.  Jump to newest. RSS feed: Subscribe.)

A Quick CSS Tip Regarding Legacy Image Tables

Dealing with legacy image tables and modern web standards.

Illustation: The problem with legacy img tables and modern web standards

If you’re dealing with the front-end side of the Web, every so often you may stumble over this issue with legacy image tables, like image slices: transitioning to modern web standards causes some nasty vertical extra white space to appear. — However, there is a simple solution to this problem.

Continue reading…

An Update to the Virtual 6502 Suite

Improving one of the oldest 6502 tool sets on the web.


The Virtual 6502 suite maybe the oldest 6502 tool set on the web still in existence. It may be also one of the earlier ones, at least, when I was doing it, I hadn’t found another one. Reason enough, to give these venerable web pages a bit of an update treatment.

Continue reading…

Spacewar 1 and the Beginnings of Video Game Aesthetics

Tales of the early days of the first digital video game.


Sometimes it’s only a short sentence, a few words dropped as an aside, which changes our understanding. A short glimpse, which provides deeper inside and understanding in what is a complex process. As it is here the case regarding how Spacewar!, the first digital video game became this remarkable program that gave birth to an entire industry. As usually, what was intended to be just a brief dump of an idea — at least, this is what a blog post is all about, isn’t it? — became lengthier than expected. Not for the least, as it’s still necessary to establish the subject, even as Spacewar! is rapidly progressing towards its 60th anniversary.

Continue reading…

Rare Retro-Computing Find

Atari Heavy Sixer running System V.

Illustation for April 1: Atari 2600 running System V in PDP/11 mode
Click for a larger image*).

Now this is some rare piece of equipment: An Atari 2600 “Heavy Sixer” running UNIX System V. The venerable VCS is attached to a box branded “pdp11/2600” and runs System V from a DEC cartridge. TTY is looped through the Spectravideo CompuMate keyboard add-on. Must investigate…

Illustation for April 1: Atari 2600 running System V, screen
A rare sight: System V on a color TV set.

However, the system is a bit finicky and runs about once a year.

*) Original image source, Atari 2600 & Spectravideo CompuMate: Avon Fox,
PS: Check the post date. ;-)

Great, A Boat is Stuck!

Finally, something to agree upon.

Illustation: A big boat stuck in the suez canal

So a boat is stuck in the Suez Canal. Why should this be great? Now, finally something to agree upon: it’s a boat, even a big boat, it’s stuck, and it’s in a canal, yes, in a big canal, in the Suez Canal…

See, how easy this may be?

Read more about why this is great here:

“I Like That The Boat Is Stuck” (

Check here, if there is still something to agree upon:

PDP-1 Spotting — The Mystery Solved

Update: Solving the Amherst Mystery.

Spotting PDP-1s (and trains)

Earlier, in our last blog story, we investigated into the mystery of what appeared to be a PDP-1 prototype at Amherst, which doesn’t seem to fit into computer history, as we know it. Now, I eventually found out what it is and how it fits into the lineage of PDP-1 machines. — So, without further spoilers, see the update to this post:

PDP-1 Spotting - The Amherst Mystery #Update

PDP-1 Spotting — The Amherst Mystery

Yet another PDP-1 riddle, extended mode.

Spotting PDP-1s (and trains)

Yesterday, we solved the mystery of two well-known images, formerly known as “The PDP-1 at the Tech Model Railroad Club”, with the help of the Hacker News community. — A triumph of shared knowledge.

In 1971, the German artist Daniel Chodowiecki (1726 – 1801) commented his etching “Enlightenment” (Aufklärung) by the words, “However, if the sun only rises, mists do no harm.” (Indessen wenn die Sonne nur aufgeht, so schaden Nebel nichts.) In real life, mists rise only to reveal another bank of fog. Which is the very process of research. — And this is certainly no exception. So this is a post about annother bank of fog, in the amazing form factor of a fully transitorized electronic contraption apt to manipulate 18-bit words in realtime according to a stored program and human interaction.

Continue reading…

Trainspotting (I)

A story of trains, computers, and two images.

Spotting trains and computers

This is at the same time a continuation to what may become a loose series, namely, “Things on the Web that aren’t what they seem to be”, and the beginning of an entirely new one. Anyway, this is the story of two photos that are rather well known in the context of computer history. You may even have seen one or the other popping up on a website.

Continue reading…