Feeds

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

Your starter for 10

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Microsoft to enter the STRUGGLE of the HUMAN WRIST
It's not just a thumb war, it's total digit war
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.