sister labs // Signal Lab & Media Archaeological Fundus

For years now, I’ve been yearning to go to Berlin to visit two labs that have the closest kinship to my own Media Archaeology Lab: the Signal Lab, run by Stefan Höltgen, and the Media Archaeological Fundus, founded by Wolfgang Ernst and now also run by Stefan. I finally got my chance to tour both labs in early February of this year, partly for pure pleasure and partly as a way to begin research for THE LAB BOOK: Situated Practices in Media Studies that Darren Wershler, Jussi Parikka and I are writing for the University of Minnesota Press.

While I’ve had some email correspondence with both Stefan and Wolfgang over the years about our labs, I didn’t realize how closely aligned our labs were until this visit. All three labs, including the MAL, are driven not by a nostalgic impulse or a desire to act as mini museums. Instead, we have all appropriated the science-based infrastructure of the lab for (anti) humanistic ends as we perform hands-on experiments with functioning media from the 19th and 20th centuries as a way to discover what Ernst has called the “time criticality” of each device.

There are, however, a few key differences between our labs – first, the MAL does have some preservationist responsibilities that the Signal Lab and the Fundus do not have; for example, we have hardware and software that has been donated to us by individuals hoping we will care for, maintain, and preserve their donations for as long as possible; we also have conventionally valuable hardware such as the machines that ran The Thing BBS and valuable digital literature and art from the 1980s such as Paul Zelevansky’s “SWALLOWS” and bpNichol’s “First Screening.” These preservationalist responsibilities mean the MAL has a more expansive, complex, and perhaps even conflicted mission as its belief in making the lab a space of hands-on experimentation and inquiry is bound to eventually conflict with our responsibility to protect certain particularly valuable holdings. By contrast, Stefan writes me in an email that “Indeed there are no such responsibilities for both of our collections. Vice versa we have a ‘hands-on imperative’ which is the opposite of materialistic preservation for the idea of preserving the knowledge within the apparatuses (that therefor often have to be damaged). We say that to all of our donators so they can decide if they want donate their stuff.”

The other major difference is in how we’ve structured our labs. Perhaps precisely because of the slight difference in our mission, the MAL’s holdings are mostly displayed on desks lining the walls; each machine  has its own desk and its own chair. The benefit to such an arrangement is it facilitates immediate and extended access – visitors often feel comfortable immediately sitting down, turning on the machines, and inserting a floppy disk or a cartridge sitting nearby. The drawback to this arrangement is partly that we’ve found ourselves very limited in the number of machines we can display and partly that there is still something auratic about this method of display – if the machines aren’t on when visitors arrive or without a tour guide on hand to continually remind visitors to play, tinker, hack, the pernicious assumption is that the MAL is a museum and one may only view the media on display as if they’re valuable works of art.

By contrast, both the Signal Lab and the Fundus structure their space by having machines stacked on shelves around the perimeter of the room with empty tables situated in the middle of the room such that visitors can remove machines from the shelves and use the tables for hands-on experiments. This is, I think, a small but fundamental difference in our labs as the infrastructure of these two Berlin labs is such that there is a firmer, even unapologetic rejection of the aura of the museum and an emphasis on serious research. As Stefan wrote to me in the same email: “Yes, it’s a question of space and the numbers of items stored in the collections. But the ‘Fundus’ also wants to be a fund (like that in theaters) where the students and researchers take items from the shelf to use in their projects. The fundus itself is not an exhibition. The Signal Lab has some workstation desks but most of the computers are stored in shelfs. The benefit is that the users have to build the systems with its peripherals for themselfs to use them (which – I think – is a form of technological praxis that has to be ‘preserved’ as well).”

Below are pictures I took on my cell phone of both labs – I hope you enjoy the virtual tour. And, finally, I would like to thank Stefan one more time for giving us such a wonderful tour of both labs.


graduate seminar on media archaeology | media poetics

Starting tomorrow I get to teach, for the first time, a graduate seminar on Media Archaeology alongside what I call “media poetics,” or the writerly practice of exploring the limits and possibilities of given reading/writing technologies. While we will do conventional reading writing in a seminar setting, our class will also do hands-on experiments in the Media Archaeology Lab with its collection of zombie media and early digital art/literature so that we use the MAL to test hypotheses gleaned from the weekly reading.

Following Friedrich Zielinski work on variantology, our class will move from the present through the past, uncovering a series of media phenomena, hopefully as a way to avoid reinstating a model of media history that tends toward narratives of progress and generally ignores neglected, failed, or dead media. We will also do this by reading works of media poetics at the same time. For example, we will read work by Marshall McLuhan on the capabilities of the typewriter alongside typewritten concrete poetry; we will read early works of digital literature from the 1980s alongside writing by Friedrich Kittler on discourse networks; we will read Zielinski on variantology alongside digital literature/art iPad/iPhone apps that work against the standardizing effects of the Apple developer guidelines; and we will read recent work by Jonathan Crary on our culture of 24/7 connectedness to networks of control alongside work by glitch and net artists to assess the degree to which we can resist these networks of control.

Please take a look at the syllabus – suggestions for improvement/comments welcome.

radio interview on media archaeology

 On Tuesday October 1st, I was fortunate enough to have the chance to talk about Reading Writing Interfaces (coming out from University of Minnesota Press in June 2014) as well as my work with the Media Archaeology Lab live on the radio with Marcus Smith on BYU Radio. This was my first experience with what I’d call an ‘old school radio interview,’ where the host has a wonderfully, low, smooth voice and doesn’t engage in conversation so much as peppers the interviewee with questions. If you’re interested, you can listen in below.

In-Progress Catalog of the MAL’s Holdings

With heartfelt thanks to my research assistant Caitlin Purdy and to Kyle Bickoff, a graduate student here at CU Boulder, the Media Archaeology Lab now has a nearly complete catalog of all its holdings. The catalog is clearly still a work-in-progress and, other than the just the organizational challenges in the document itself, the next step for the MAL is a web-based, searchable catalog. Still, hopefully the list below at least gives researchers a sense of what they can find in the lab. We also haven’t quite worked out a system for documenting material from particular donors and integrating this information into the main body of the catalog – at the moment, items from our most recent donors (Timothy Sweeney and Robert Craig) are listed separately toward the end of the catalog.



Print Material
8-Bit Digital Sound Studio: User’s Guide. N.p.: Great Valley Products, Inc., 1992. Print.

Abernethy, Ken, T. Ray Nanney, and Hayden Porter. Exploring Macintosh: Concepts in Visually Oriented Computing. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1989. Print.

ALLC Bulletin 13.3 (1985). Print.

ALLC Bulletin 9.2 (1981). Print.

ALLC Bulletin 9.1 (1981). Print.

ALLC Bulletin 6.2 (1978). Print.

ALLC Bulletin 6.3 (1978). Print.

ALLC Bulletin 4.2 (1976). Print.

ALLC Bulletin 4.3 (1976). Print.

ALLC Bulletin 8.1 (1980). Print.

ALLC Bulletin 8.3 (1981). Print.

ALLC Bulletin 7.1 (1979). Print.

ALLC Bulletin 7.2 (1979). Print.

ALLC Journal 1.1 (1980). Print.

ALLC Journal 2.1 (1981). Print.

Apple II: DOS User’s Manual. Cupertino: Apple Computers, Inc., 1982. Print.

Apple II: Quick File II. Cupertino: Apple Computer, Inc., 1982. Print.

Apple II Reference Manual. Cupertino: Apple Computer Inc, 1981. Print.

Apple II Utilities Guide. Cupertino: Apple Computer, Inc., 1981. Print.

Applesoft BASIC Programmer’s Reference Manual. Cupertino: Apple Computer, Inc., 1982. Print.

Berkowitz, Rob. Inside the Macintosh Communications Toolbox. Ed. Scott Smith and Becky Reece. Cupertino: Apple Computer, Inc., 1991. Print.

De Jong, Marvin L. Apple II Assembly Language. Indianapolis: Howard W. Sams & Co, Inc, 1982. Print.

The Einstein MemoryTrainer User Guide. Los Angeles: The Einstein Corporation, 1983. Print.

Englebardt, Stanley L. The Worlds of Science: Cybernetics. New York: Pyramid, 1962. Print.

Finkel, LeRoy, and Jerald R. Brown. Apple Basic: Data File Programming. N.p.: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1982. Print. Self Teaching Guide.

Frenzel, Louis E., Jr. Crash Course in Microcomputers. Indianapolis: Howard W. Sams & Co Inc, 1980. Print.

Gateley, Wilson Y., and Gary G. Bitter. Basic for Beginners. N.p.: McGraw Book Company, 1970. Print.

Grammer, Virginia Carter, and E. Paul. Goldenberg. The Terrapin Logo Language for the AppleII. Ed. Mark Eckenwiler and Peter Von Mertens. Cambridge: Terrapin, Inc., 1982. Print.

Inside Macintosh. Vol. VI. Cupertino: Apple Computer, Inc., 1991. Print.

Inside Macintosh. Vol. V. Cupertino: Apple Computer, Inc., 1986. Print.

Inside Macintosh. Vol. IV. Cupertino: Apple Computer, Inc., 1985. Print.

Inside Macintosh. Vol. III. Cupertino: Apple Computer, Inc., 1985. Print.

Inside Macintosh. Vol. II. Cupertino: Apple Computer, Inc., 1985. Print.

Inside Macintosh. Vol. I. Cupertino: Apple Computer, Inc., 1985. Print.

Introduction, Complier, Editor. Cary: SAS Institute Inc., 1993. Print. Vol. 1 of SAS/C Development System User’s Guide.

Jenngs, Edward M. Science and Literature. Garden City: Anchor, 1970. Print.

Literary & Linguistic Computing 4.2 (1989). Print.

Literary & Linguistic Computing 5.1 (1990). Print.

Literary & Linguistic Computing 2.3 (1987). Print.

Literary & Linguistic Computing 3.3 (1988). Print.

Literary & Linguistic Computing 3.2 (1988). Print.

Literary & Linguistic Computing 4.4 (1989). Print.

Literary & Linguistic Computing 4.1 (1989). Print.

Luebbert, William F. What’s Where in the Apple: A Complete Guide to the Apple Computer. Amherst: Micro Ink, 1982. Print.

Luedtke, Peter, and Rainer Luedtke. Your First Business Computer. Bedford: Digital Equipment Corporation, 1983. Print. The Desktop Computer Series.

Macintosh Manual. Cupertino: Apple Computer, Inc., 1984. Print.

Micromodem Smartcom I: Owner’s Manual. Norcross: Hayes Microcomputer Products, 1983. Print.

Parikka, Jussi. What Is Media Archaeology? Cambridge: Polity, 2012. Print.

PC World 1.2 (1983). Print.

PC World 1.1 (1983). Print.

PC World 1.4 (1983). Print.

PC World 1.3 (1983). Print.

Perspectives in Computing 2.1 (1982). Print.

Perspectives in Computing 1.4 (1981). Print.

Perspectives in Computing 1.2 (1981). Print.

Perspectives in Computing 1.1 (1981). Print.

Ratliff, Wayne. dBASE II: Assembly Language Relational Database Management System. Culver City: Ratliff Software Production, Inc., 1982. Print.

Schneider, Ben Ross, Jr. Travels in Computerland. N.p.: Addison-Wesley, 1974. Print.

Smith, George W. Computers and Human Language. London: Oxford University, 1991. Print.

Smith, Jon M. Scientific Analysis on the Pocket Calculator. N.p.: John Wiley & Sons, 1975. Print.

Snell, Barbara M. Translating and the Computer. N.p.: North-Holland, 1979. Print.

Sobel, Robert. IBM: Colossus in Transition. London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1981. Print.

Texas Instruments TI-99/4A Computer: Beginner’s BASIC. N.p.: Texas Instruments, 1979. Print.

Texas Instruments TI-99/4A Computer: User’s Reference Guide. Texas Instruments Incorporated ed. N.p.: Texas Instruments, 1979. Print.

Texas Instruments TI-99/4 Home Computer: TI Extended BASIC. Dallas: Texas Instruments, 1981. Print.

Tindall, Peggy Cagle, and Michel Boillot. Transparency Masters to Accompany Developing Computer Skills Using Appleworks. St. Paul: West Publishing Company, 1991. Print.

Tucker, Allen B., Jr. Text Processing: Algorithms, Languages, and Applications. New York: Academic, 1979. Print.

Turkle, Sherry. The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1984. Print.

Volume III. Cupertino: Apple Computer, Inc., 1985. Print.

Wesson, Robert B. Perfect Calc User’s Guide. Berkeley: Perfect Software, Inc., 1982. Print.

Worley, Steven P. Essence: A Library of Algorithmic Textures for Imagine. N.p.: Apex Software, 1992. Print.

Zielinski, Siegfried. Deep Time of the Media. Cambridge: MIT, 2006. Print.

– – -, ed. Neapolitan Affairs: On Deep Time Relations of Arts, Sciences and Technologies. London: Quay Brothers, 2011. Print. Vol. 49 of Variantology 5.

– – -. On Deep Time Relations of Arts, Sciences, and Technologies. Oberhausen: Printmanagement Plitt, 206. Print. Vol. 35 of Variantology.

– – -, ed. On Deep Time Relations of Arts, Sciences and Technologies In the Arabic-Islamic World and Beyond. Oberhausen: Printmanagement Plitt, 2010. Print. Vol. 45 of Variantology 4.

– – -, ed. On Deep Time Relations of Arts, Sciences, Technologies In China and Elsewhere. Oberhausen: Printmanagement Plitt, 2008. Print. Vol. 37 of Variantology 3.

The Adams Family. Ocean Software Limited, 1992. Cassette. Commodore 64 Game

Agent USA. Jefferson City: Tom Snyder Productions, Inc. Inc., 1984. Cassette.

American Football. Argus Press Software Group, 1984. Cassette. Commodore 64 Game.

Applications Software. Dallas: Texas Instruments Inc., 1981. Cassette. System Unknown.

AwardWare. Plantation: Hi Tech Expressions, 1986. Floppy disc. System Unknown.

Beagle Bros Apple II Software. St. Clair Shores: Beagle Bros, 1992. Floppy disc. for Apple II Software

The Blues Brothers. Titus Software, 1991. Cassette. Commodore 64 Game

Castle Master. The Hit Squad, 1990. CD-ROM. Amiga Game

Certificate Maker. Springboard Stoftware, Inc., 1986. Floppy disc. For Apple II+, Apple IIe, Apple IIc.

Cluedo. Leisure Genius, 1984. Cassette. Commodore 64 Game.

Command Module. Dallas: Texas Instruments, 1979. Floppy disc.

Dollars and Sense. Inglewood: Monogram, 1983. Floppy disc. For Apple IIc

Electric Canyon This Land Is Your Land. Geneva: Polarware. Floppy Disk.. For Apple IIc

Electric Crayon ABCs. Geneva: Polarware, Inc. Floppy disc. For Apple IIc

EPYX Action. EPYX Inc., 1989. Cassette. Commodore 64 Game

Fleet System 2+. Needham: Professional Software, Inc., 1987. Floppy disc. For Commodore 64.

Interdictor Pilot. Supersoft, 1984. Cassette. System Unknown.

King’s Quest II: Romancing the Throne. Sierra, 1987. Floppy Disk. For Amiga.

King’s Quest III: To Heir is Human. Sierra, 1987. Floppy Disk. For Amiga.

Macintosh XL MacWorks XL. Cupertino: Apple Computer, Inc., 1984. Floppy disc. For Macintosh.

Maps and Globes: Latitude and Longitude. Mahwah: Troll Associates. Floppy disc. System Unknown.

Max Headroom. Quickstiva. Cassette. Commodore 64 Game (only 1 of 2 disks present)

Megaworks. San Diego: Megahaus. Floppy disc. For Apple IIc and Apple IIe.

Mitchell, Philip. Sherlock. Melbourne House Publishers, 1984. CD-ROM. Commodore 64 Game

My Label Maker. Menlo Park: MySoftwareCo. Floppy disc. System Unknown.

The News Room. Minneapolis: Springboard Software, Inc., 1986. CD-ROM. For Apple II+, Apple IIe, Apple Iic

Police Quest 1. Sierra. 1992. Floppy Disk. For Amiga.

Police Quest 2. Sierra. 1992. Floppy Disk. For Amiga.

Police Quest 3. Sierra. 1993. Floppy Disk. For Amiga.

Pinpoint. Oakland: Pinpoint, 1985. Floppy Disk. For Apple IIc, Apple IIe.

The Story so Far Compilation Pack: Volume 4. Elite, 1989. Cassette. Commodore 64 Games

Time Out Desk Tools II. San Diego: Beagle Bros, Inc., 1988. Floppy disc. For Apple II.

Back Room Inventory
Smith Corona grey typewriter

Smith Corona blue typewriter

Wollensak 3M tape recorder model 2820; labeled “CU ENGLISH DEPARTMENT” and CU 91218

Panasonic portable CD player model SL-SX320 w/ headphones attached

Sony Radio Cassette Player model WM-FX197

1 Nintendo Entertainment System; Model Number: NES-001; FCC ID: BMC9BENINTENDOETS; Serial Number: N11551290

2 Nintendo Controllers ; Model Number: NES-004

1 Nintendo Zapper; Model Number: NES-005

26 Nintendo Games:

1943: The Battle of Midway, 1985                 

 Battletoads. 1985

Blastermaster, 1985

Blades of Steel, 1985

 Contra, 1985

 Double Dragon, 1985

 Double Dragon II: The Revenge, 1985

Dracula’s Curse, 1985

Dragon Warrior, 1985

 Duck Tales, 1985

Excitebike, 1985

 From Russia with Fun, 1985

Jackal, 1985

 Megaman 2, 1985

 Mega Man 3, 1985

Metroid, 1985

 Punch-out, 1985

 Skate or Die, 1985

 Super Dodge Ball, 1985

 Super Mario Bros: Duck Hunt. 1985

 Super Mario Bros. 2, 1985

Super Mario Bros. 3, 1985

The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants, 1985

 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 1985

 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game, 1985

 Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, 1985

Front Room Inventory
1 Apple IIe Computer

1 AppleColor Composite Monitor; Model Number: A2M6020; Serial Number: S; FCC ID: BCG90QNA2M6020

1 Keyboard; Model Number: A2S2128; Serial Number: E02210ZAS2128; FCDD ID: BCG6DSA2S2128

1 Apple 5.25 Drive; Model Number: A9M0107; Serial Number: KGU9861

1 Mouse; Model Number: M0100; Serial Number: 0435A11E00185

1 KoalaPad+; FCC ID: CN475EPAD001

1 Macintosh Lisa

1 Monitor; Model Number: A6S0200; Serial Number: A4284080

1 Keyboard; Model Number: A6MB101; Serial Number: 1061595

1 Mouse; Model Number: M0100; Serial Number: G512M010001909

1 Box of Imation 2DD, 720KB

1 Apple IIc

1 Monitor; Model Number: G090H; Serial Number: T077678; FCC: BCG966MNTR2CG090H

1 Keyboard; Model Number: A2S4000; FCC ID: BCG9GRA2S4000; Serial Number: F609608A2S4000

1 Mouse; Serial Number: M528M010005151; Model Number: M0100

1 Disk IIc; Model Number: A2M4050; Serial Number: F301954; FCC ID: BC69Z6A2M4050

1 Macintosh Centris 610

1 Monitor (Macintosh 12” RGB Display); Family Number: M1296

1 Apple Desktop Bus Mouse; Family Number: G5431

1 Keyboard; Model Number: M2980; FCC ID: BCGM2980

1 Apple iMac G3

1 Apple USB Keyboard; Model Number: M2452; Serial Number: NK8470XUADL2

1 Apple USB Mouse; Model Number: M4848

1 iMac G4

1 Pro Keyboard; Model Number: M7803; Serial Number: M7803

1 Pair of speakers

1 Macintosh Portable; Model Number: M5120; FCC ID: BCGM5120

1 Macintosh PowerBook 165; Model Number: M4440; FCC ID: BCGM4440

1 Apple MacBook Air; Serial Number: W882609UY5G

1 Apple iBook G4; Model Number: A1054

1 Apple iBook G3; Family Number: M2453; Serial Number: UV949322H6Q

1 IBM Portable Personal Compuer (no ID numbers)

1 COMPAQ Portable III; Model Number: 2660; FCC ID: CNT75M2660; Serial Number: CNT75M2660

1 COMPAQ Portable; Model Number: 2670; FCC ID: CNT75M5401; Serial Number: 1848HN3H0355

1 NeXTcube

1 NeXT Computer; Part Number: 23.00; Model Number: N1000; Serial Number: AAK0004152;

1 NeXT Keyboard; Part Number: 193; Serial Number: AAF 1532557

1 NeXT MegaPixel Display Monitor; Model Number: N400OA; Part Number: 1403; Serial Number: AAA 7026704

1 NeXT Mouse; Model Number: N400A; Part Number: 193; Serial Number: AAF 1532557

1 IBM 5151

1 IBM Keyboard (No ID Numbers)

1 IBM Personal Computer Display; Model Number: 5151; Serial Number: 0889756; FCC ID: AN08ZA5151

1 IBM Personal Computer; Model Number: 5151; Serial Number: 0889756; FCC ID: AN08ZA5151

1 Commodore Amiga 500

1 Commodore Keyboard; Model Number: A500; Serial Number: CA1112119; FCC ID: BR98YV-B52

1 Amiga Monitor; FCC ID: AG19XA-1080

1 SMITH ENG. Vectrex

1 Vectrex; Model Number: 3000; Serial Number: 142309A

1 Vectrex Arcade System (No ID Numbers)

1 VectrexLIGHTPEN (No ID Numbers)

1 Commodore 64

1 Commodore C2N Cassette; Serial Number: 2951548; FCC ID: BR99VMC2N-A

1 Gemstick (No ID Numbers)

1 Commodore 64 Keyboard; Model Number 64; Serial Number: P00961638;FCC ID: P00961638

1 Commodore Monitor; Model Number: 1084S-P; Serial Number: 181231

1 Commodore Single Drive Floppy Disk; Model Number: 1541; Serial Number: BA1A73536; FCC ID:  BR98DD-1541


1 KAYPRO II Keyboard

Storage Room
7 Commodore Keyboards; Model Number 64; FCC ID: BR98YV-64

1-    Serial Number: P00571266

2-    Serial Number: P01201694

3-    Serial Number: P00194582

4-    Serial Number: P00523783

5-    Serial Number: P5069951

6-    Serial Number: P00667703

7-    Serial Number: P5206846 (damaged)

6 Commodore Single Drive Floppy Model 1541; FCC ID: BR978H1541

1-    Serial Number: BA1C15223

2-    Serial Number: BA1C37290

3-    Serial Number: AJ1A64384

4-    Serial Number: BB1015068

5-    Serial Number: AB1308436

6-    Serial Number: JA1066169

3 Commodore C2N Cassettes; FCC ID: BR99VMC2N-A

1-    Serial Number: 2644906

2-    Serial Number: 2244157

3-    Serial Number: 2201862

2 Commodore Datassettes; FCC ID: BR99VMC2N-A

4-    Serial Number: 372569

5-    Serial Number:1419210

1 Maxim Computer Cassette Unit; Model Number: PM-C16

5 Apple II Disk; FCC ID: BCG9GRDISKII; Model Number: A2M0003

1-    Serial Number: 2147209

2-    Serial Number: 1131734

3-    Serial Number: 813903

4-    Serial Number: 429981

5-    Serial Number: 484451

Donations from Timothy P. Sweeney
1 Startfight Joystick

2 paddle joysticks

2 ATARI electrical cords

1 Atari joystick and STICKSTAND

1 ATARI 400, 16K

Model?# G 16K 441 2137

Serial? # 175 AVO43273-16 10/23 L4 (text ripped off sticker)

1 ATARI 410 Program Recorder

Model# T33589

Serial # 44862

1 ATARI 1050 Disk Drive DOS 3 (with powercord)

Serial # 7VDFF 23960 494

1 ATARI 800 XL

Serial #166528


Ms. PAC-MAN, Atari Cartridge


EASTERN FRONT (1941): Computer Strategy Game, ATARI RX8039, Cartridge


PAC-MAN Computer Game, ATARI CXL4022, Cartridge

SUPER BREAKOUT Computer Games, ATARI CXL4006, Cartridge

Cribbage & Dominoes, for ATARI 400/800


Instruction Manual

Sky Writer, ATARI Cartridge

DELTA DRAWING Learning Program, for ATARI 400/800/ALL X LS


Advertising insert for Spinnaker Software

Owners Manual

KICKBACK, for ATARI 400/800


Instruction manual

Flight Landing Simulator, Main Street Publishing, for Atari

5.25″ floppy

Instruction sheet

Microsailing, Main Street Publishing, for Atari

5.25″ floppy

CardWare: Animated Birthday Greeting Disk And All Occasion Card Maker, Commodore ATARI Flip Disk. C64/128 and ATARI 400/800

1 5.25″ floppy

Productivity Software/Blank Floppies/Cassettes
AtariLab starter set with temperature module. a science series for Atari computers. developed by Dickinson College. Atari Inc., 1983.

Owners manual

AtariLab Interface

AtariLab Thermometer

AtariLab temperature module cartridge

SynTrend: Graphing, Statistical Analysis & Forecasting, Atari

published by Synapse, copyright 1983

Owers manual

2 5.25″ floppies

SynFile+: The Ultimate Filing System, Atari

published by Synapse, copyright 1983

Owers manual

1 5.25″ floppies

SynCalc: Advanced Electronic Spreadsheet

published by Synapse, copyright 1983

Owers manual

2 5.25″ floppies

1 Blank Cassette, “Channel Master”

1 5.25″ Floppy, labelled “ATARI DOS 2.05 Single Density Working Disk”, DataTech 1D, Single Side/Double Density

1 5.25″ Floppy, labelled “DOS 3.0″, DataTech 1D, Single Side/Double Density

1 5.25” Floppy, labelled “Homemade PGMS”, DataTech 1D, Single Side/Double Density

SUITCASE Font and Desk Acessory Liberation (for Apple Macintosh)

1 3.25″ floppy

Copyright 1987 Software Supply

ATARI Disk Operating System Reference Manual, DOS 3, Atari Inc., 1983.

ATARI Service Contract: Low Cost Protection For Your Atari Home Computer, Atari Inc., 1983.

An Introduction to the ATARI Disk Operating System, DOS 3. Atari Inc., 1983.

ATARI 1050 Disk Drive Owner’s Guide, Atari Inc., 1983.

ATARI 1050 Disk Drive: An Introduction to the ATARI Disk Operating System, Atari Inc., 1983.



ATARI BASIC Reference Guide. Atari Inc., 1983.

[photocopied manual in white binder] ATARI BASIC. by Bob Albrecht, Le Roy Finkel, and Jerald R. Brown. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1979.

THE BIG BROTHER THESAURUS. Deneba Software, 1988. no floppy.

FileMaker 4: Setting the Data Management Standard. Nashoba Systems. For Apple Macintosh. 1983.

HyperCard Quick Reference Guide. Apple Computer.

HyperCard: Installation and new features. 1998, Apple Computer.

Write Now 4: POWER Word Processing For the Macintosh. 1993, WordStar International.

HyperCard 2.0 Script Language Guide. 1989, Apple Computer.

Ashton-Tate Learning Full Impact. Owners Manual. 1990, Ashton-Tate Corporation.

MAC PAC ’88 $110 in rebate coupons on these leading products. Envelope with coupons enclosed.

The ATARI 800XL Home Computer Owners Guide. 1983, Atari Inc.

Scram Computer Program: A Nuclear Power Plant Simulation. Atari 400/800. (no cartridge)

10 Start Programs, from Family Computing. By Joey Lattimer. For Apple, Atari, Commodore 64 and VIC-20, TI, TIMEX, and TRS-80. 1983.

Family Computing: The Lure of Fantasy and Adventure Games. 1:2 (October 1983).

Family Computing: Preschool Computing: What’s Too Young? 1:3 (November 1983).

Family Computing: A Guide to Word Processing by Peter McWilliams. 1:4 (December 1983).

Family Computing: Computing Fun in the Sun. 2:1 (January 1984).

Family Computing: Computing and Careers. 2:4 (April 1984).

Family Computing: More Power for the Home. 3:11 (November 1985).

The Best of Family Computing Programs by Joey Latimer. 1985.  Scholastic Inc.

Family Computing: Improve Your Job: Put Your Computer To Work at Home. 4:2 (February 1986).

Family Computing: Earn Money With Your Computer. 4:5 (May 1986).

Family Computing: Buyer’s Guide to Computers. 4:6 (June 1986).

Family Computing: Writing With Computers Part 1: How to Find the Right Word Processor for Your Needs. 4:8 (August 1986).

GPX Atari Program Exchange. Software Catalog Spring Edition 1982. User-Written Software for ATARI Home Computer Systems.

GPX Atari Program Exchange. Software Catalog Summer Edition 1982. User-Written Software for ATARI Home Computer Systems.

GPX Atari Program Exchange. Software Catalog Fall Edition 1982. User-Written Software for ATARI Home Computer Systems.

GPX Atari Program Exchange. Software Catalog Winter Edition 1982-1983. User-Written Software for ATARI Home Computer Systems.

Antic: The ATARI Resource. Communications special issue. 1:2 (June 1982).

Antic: The ATARI Resource. Printers special issue. 1:3 (August 1982).

ATARI SPECIAL ADDITIONS. Volume 1 Winter 1982. Catalog of Additional Products for your Atari Home Computer.

The ATARI Connection. 2:1 (Spring 1982). A New World of Information.

The ATARI Connection. 2:4 (Winter 1982). How to Introduce Your Child to a Home Computer.

The ATARI Connection Spring 1983. Debut: Atari 1200XL Home Computer

 Donations from Robert Craig
1 Zenith Monitor for use with the Osborne computer

Model # ZVM-121

Chasis: 12MB15X

Service # ZVM-121   I5T?? (text unclear because ink is bleeding/fading)

Serial # 4045726

1 Osborne I with attached keyboard and power cable.

Date of purchase: 12/3/1082

Serial No. NA003113

Osborne I User’s Reference Guide (Print)

Pub. 2/22/1982

Osborne User’s Guide – Applications and Programming (Print)

Copyright 1983

Media Master Plus Application – 5.5in Floppy

This two program package includes

Disk-to-disk format conversion software

ZP/EM 8-bit Emulation for MS-DOS

Booklet for Microlink computer program for the Osborne

Guidebook for “dBase II Assembly Language – Database Management System Version 23b”

Manual Revision 1.C 12


For use on the Osborne I

3 Binders

JRT Pascal User’s Guide

185 pages detailing common problems and their solutions for the JRT implementation of the Pascal programming language.

FOG Volumes III and IV

The First Osborne Group’s Monthly CP/M publications, from Vol III No. 8 (May 1984) to Vol IV No. 12 (September 1985)

FOG Volumes V and VI (and parts of VII)

The First Osborne Group’s Monthly CP/M publications, from Vol V No. 1 (October 1985) to Vol VII No.6 (March 1988)

Various Pamphlets/Guidebooks on

82 Space Raiders

Instructions for “Eliza” – Osborne I Version

Ozzy-Man User Instructions

Retail Advertisement/Order form for Portable Software, Inc’s Games, Applications, and             Hardware Accessories

Key-Wiz ver 1.01

Gramatik Manual

The Double Density Upgrade for the Osborne one Computer “S/N AA50016um”

The 80 Column Upgrade “S/N BB06912”

Installation Procedure for Osborne Fan Assembly

EXMON external monitor adapter Instructions

Various Hardware for the Osborne I

Replacement back panel/handle attachement

Two screwdrivers – 1 Phillips, 1 specialty hexagonal shape

Two unknown Transistor-like replacement pieces, both 16 prong.  Condition and use unknown

One converter, RCA to 20 prong system – possibly for use to convert video outputs

One 24 pronged replacement device

One Two pronged connector replacement piece

1 box of assorted 5.5 in Floppy disks (Some homemade, some purchased)

SS/SD Disk R/O Version 11

FOG – Starter.001

FOG – Starter.002

CPM.010 #1 of 2

CPM.010 #2 of 2

DU Disk Utility, Modem Program, Wash Utility


Addict Pack Disks 1-4

Portable Software Family Pack

Eliza Version 3.0 Microsoft BASIC-80 Version

Robot Gladiators

DBASE II Tutor Disks 1-6



DBASE II Sample Data files

JRT Pascal Ver 3.0 Disks 1-3

Key-Wiz Sort-Wiz

Osborne CP/M System

Osborne CP/M Utility

Osborne Wordstar/Mailmerge

Osborne Micro Link



Media Archaeology and Digital Stewardship

I was fortunate to have the chance to think through the relationship between the field of media archaeology, the Media Archaeology Lab, and digital preservation/stewardship thanks to this interview with Trevor Owens on the Library of Congress blog, The Signal, called “Media Archaeology and Digital Stewardship: An Interview with Lori Emerson.” The invitation to talk with Trevor was particularly fortuitous because Matthew Kirschenbaum had been here at CU Boulder the week before, discussing these very same issues in a faculty seminar he led called “Doing Media Archaeology.” You can read the interview here – I’d be interested in hearing comments you might have, especially about the possibility of a hardware/software resource sharing program.

photos of the Media Archaeology Lab’s holdings

The Media Archaeology Lab was fortunate to have a visit this week from Kevin Kane, a talented student at the University of Colorado Boulder, who took a series of photos of some of the MAL’s holdings. We are working on compiling a complete, detailed catalogue of the lab’s complete holdings – until then, hopefully these photos give you a sense of the lab. Enjoy!

This picture captures most of the MAL’s fully functional Apple computers, from an Apple 1 replica to an iMac G4. 

The MAL’s collection of PCs – from left to right: Kaypro II, Commodore 64, Vectrex, Compaq Portable, Commodore Amiga 500, IBM 5150, NeXT Cube.

The MAL has a substantial collection of Apple IIe’s – some are fully functional and others are in need of repair. Also notice the Mattel Aquarius computer on the third shelf.

The MAL also has a modest collection of games and software, particularly for Apple II, Commodore 64, and Commodore Amiga.

MAL’s growing collection of early e-literature.

Finally, the MAL has a collection of analog machines including this beautiful Califone record player from, I think, the 1960s.

MLA 2013 Special Session: Reading the Invisible and Unwanted in Old & New Media

[February 2013: I’ve posted an extended version of my MLA 2013 paper here.]

Below is the description for the MLA ’13 special session panel that Paul Benzon, Mark Sample, Zach Whalen, and I will present on in January. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to pursue together issues related to Media Archaeology.


Media studies is growing increasingly visible within the broader disciplines of literary and cultural studies, with several critical approaches bringing valuable shape and context to the field. Prominent among these approaches is a turn away from media studies’ longstanding fixation upon the new or the innovative as the most urgent and deserving site of study. Drawing on methodologies as diverse as book history, media archaeology, and videogame studies, this work on earlier media technologies has forged provocative connections between past and present contexts that hinge upon disjuncture and nonlinearity as often as upon continuity and teleology. At the same time, an increased attention to the material particulars of inscription, storage, circulation, and reception has developed the field beyond an early focus on narrative and representation.

New media scholars now look beyond screen-based media, to a broader range of technologies and sites of inquiry. This panel seeks to consider unseen, lost, or unwanted histories of writing/media. Each of the panelists focuses on a particular technology that is not only invisible to the broad history of media technology, but also relies upon loss and invisibility for its very functionality. In keeping with this dual valence, our emphasis on loss and invisibility is intended to raise questions aimed at our specific objects of analysis, but also at the deeper historical and disciplinary questions that these objects speak to: how does our understanding of media technology change when we draw attention to objects and processes that are designed to be invisible, out of view, concealed within the machine, or otherwise beyond the realm of unaided human perception? What happens when we examine the technological, social, and ideological assumptions bound up with that invisibility? How does privileging invisibility shed new light on materiality, authorship, interface, and other central critical questions within media studies?

The vexing relationship between invisibility and transparency is addressed head-on in Lori Emerson’s paper, “Apple Macintosh and the Ideology of the User-Friendly.” Emerson suggests that the “user-friendly” graphical user interface (GUI) that was introduced via the Apple Macintosh in 1984 was–and still is–driven by an ideology that celebrates an invisible interface instead of offering users transparent access to the framing mechanisms of the interface as well as the underlying flow of information. Emerson asserts this particular philosophy of the user-friendly was a response to earlier models of home computers which were less interested in providing ready-made tools through an invisible interface and more invested in educating users and providing them with the means for tool-building. Thus, the Apple Macintosh model of the GUI is clearly related to contemporary interfaces that utterly disguise the ways in which they delimit not only our access to information but also what and how we read/write.

A desire to renew critical attention on the most taken-for-granted aspect of computer writing and reading is at the heart of Zach Whalen’s paper, “OCR and the Vestigial Aesthetics of Machine Vision.” Whalen examines the origins of the technology that allows machines to read and process alphanumeric characters. While graceful typography is said to work best when it is not noticed–in other words, when hidden in plain sight–early OCR fonts had to become less hidden in order to make their text available for machine processing. Whalen focuses on the OCR-A font and the contributions of OCR engineer Jacob Rabinow, who argued on behalf of ugly machine-readable type that (although historically and technically contingent) its intrinsically artificial geometry could become its own aesthetic signifier.

The condensation and invisibility of textual information is taken up by Paul Benzon in his paper, “Lost in Plain Sight: Microdot Technology and the Compression of Reading.” Benzon uses the analog technology of the microdot, in which an image of a standard page of text is reduced to the size of a period, as a framework to consider questions of textual and visual materiality in new media. Benzon’s discussion focuses on the work of microdot inventor Emanuel Goldberg, who in the fifties worked alongside and in competition with the engineer Vannevar Bush, a seminal figure for new media studies. Benzon transforms the disregarded history of textual storage present in Goldberg’s work into a counter-narrative to the more hegemonic ideology of hypertext that has dominated new media studies.

Turning to an entirely invisible process that we can only know by its product, Mark Sample considers the meaning of machine-generated randomness in electronic literature and videogames in his paper, “An Account of Randomness in Literary Computing.” While new media critics have looked at randomness as a narrative or literary device, Sample explores the nature of randomness at the machine level, exposing the process itself by which random numbers are generated. Sample shows how early attempts at mechanical random number generation grew out of the Cold War, and then how later writers and game designers relied on software commands like RND (in BASIC), which seemingly simplified the generation of random numbers, but which in fact were rooted in–and constrained by–the particular hardware of the machine itself.

These four papers share a common impulse, which is to imagine alternate or supplementary media histories that intervene into existing scholarly discussions. By focusing on these forgotten and unseen dimensions, we seek to complicate and enrich the ways in which literary scholars understand the role of technologies of textual production within contemporary practices of reading and writing. With timed talks of 12 minutes each, the session sets aside a considerable amount of time for discussion. This panel will build on a growing conversation among MLA members interested in theoretically inflected yet materially specific work on media technologies, and it will also appeal to a broad cross-section of the MLA membership, including textual scholars, digital humanists, literary historians, electronic literature critics, and science and technology theorists.