Feeds

A steampunk VDU: How would it work and what would it look like?

Your starter for 10

Security for virtualized datacentres

Readers' corner

Boy in steampunk fancy dress, with hat, mechanical monocle, waxed moustache, cravat and Bavarian-type jacket

A steampunk VDU? Yes, I can do that

Many Reg readers are fans of steampunk Sci-Fi, and so we hope you relish this little challenge posed on El Reg Forums by John Smith 19, a gold badge commentard.

If you know Charles Stross's "Laundry" series you'll know that the narrator's boss uses a thing called a Memex to store and query information held on microfiche cards.

It's known that Charles Babbage planned to link a printer directly to his Analytical Engine to eliminate typos when producing navigation tables. On that basis I think a "steam punk" teletype would not be that difficult.

But a VDU? Something that displays (and edits) characters on a screen without electricity?

I'll accept any technology, mechanical, photographic, chemical, biological, pneumatic, etc.

To keep it simple(ish) it only needs to support 1 font in both upper and lower case. No graphics, no color but it should allow last line editing.

I think the keyboard should be fairly easy, it's the display that's tricky. Creating a reusable surface that's erasable and re-writable without semiconductor storage.

The challenge is on! This way to the El Reg forum thread. ®

Bootnote

As well as being an eminent author, Charles Stross is on a one-man mission to destroy Microsoft Word. He is followed on Twitter by six Register writers, past and present.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Tim Cook: The classic iPod HAD to DIE, and this is WHY
Apple, er, couldn’t get the parts for HDD models
Apple spent just ONE DOLLAR beefing up the latest iPad Air 2
New iPads look a lot like the old one. There's a reason for that
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness
We suffered 'random bouts of graphical distortion' - fanbois
Caterham Seven 160 review: The Raspberry Pi of motoring
Back to driving's basics with a joyously legal high
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
How to simplify SSL certificate management
Simple steps to take control of SSL certificates across the enterprise, and recommendations centralizing certificate management throughout their lifecycle.