Our Friend the Computer

Our Friend the Computer

A podcast exploring alternative computing histories and their relationship to society. Hosted by Camila Galaz and Ana Meisel.

Episodes

November 15, 2022 62 min

Ana and Camila discuss the world’s first macintosh clone, the Mac 512 by Unitron, and how Apple threatened to start a trade war on Brasil due to their clone. Although Unitron was not doing anything wrong with the Brazilian law, Apple tried to get themselves out of financial worries and seized control of how their new hardware and software package (the first Mac) was being sold around the world. This led them to force Brasil to stop...

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Back after a summer break, Camila and Ana delve into a project they discovered at the Centre for Computing History in Cambridge when Camila was visiting Ana in London. Called the BBC Domesday Project, this was a mid-80s attempt at an interactive survey of the entire country with data collected largely by school children. With the data contained on two Laserdisks and only accessible via specialised hardware, the system quickly suffe...

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The girls discuss how South Africa’s videotex network Beltel fell into the hands of an oppressive government during apartheid. Although the police department grew stronger due to data storage accessibility via this videotex network, activists were also using technology for much better motives in opposition to the regime.

Follow us on Twitter @OurFriendComp
And Instagram @ourfriendthecomputer

Main research for the episode was d...

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June 7, 2022 41 min

Back from London, Camila tells Ana about Canada's NABU network which  operated via cable television services. It also could be considered one of the first examples of a 'streaming' subscription model for entertainment! The girls discuss the progression of streaming services, video game development, and their love of computer history museums. 

Follow us on Twitter @OurFriendComp
And Instagram @ourfriendthecomputer

...

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West Germany’s network videotex system, Bildschirmtext, was largely used for payment services by the Deutsche Bank, while its system was supported by hardware from the UK as West Germany continued to liberalise its society and economy. However its liberal use and basic encryption caused a few issues, irking Europe’s biggest hacking community Chaos Computer Club, sparking off it’s world-wide fame via the BTX-Hack. The girls talk abo...

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In this bonus episode Camila and Ana look at the Brazilian Videotex network Videotexto through the lens of the artwork of Eduardo Kac. Camila also recounts her visit to the opening of Eduardo's current exhibition in NYC 'From Minitel to NFT’ at Henrique Faria Gallery and the girls discuss: Eduardo Kac, hot or not? (spoiler alert: very hot)

They specifically discuss the work 'Reabracadabra' (1985) which you can watch ...

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April 26, 2022 50 min

Camila shares her research on the Japanese videotex system CAPTAIN. The girls discuss competing videotex protocols, how to informatize a country, biased reporting, and if a network can be successful in its aims even if the actual system failed.

Camila’s film ‘Vecino Vecino’ is premiering 6pm Thursday May 5th at Prismatic Ground experimental documentary festival in New York. Tickets and info here: https://www.screenslate.com/events/p...

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April 12, 2022 54 min

Camila tells Ana about the late 80s Teletext soap opera ‘Park Avenue’ written by Robbie Burns, which has been archived by Park Avenue Archives (TW: @ParkAvenueArk; http://www.newmailbox.co.uk/parkavenue/ ). They then read through some episodes and learn about the DRAMA happening on Park Avenue!

Follow us on Twitter @OurFriendComp
And Instagram @ourfriendthecomputer

Main research for the episode was done by Camila.
Ana edi...

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March 29, 2022 31 min

Ana chats to Camila about Prestel, a nationwide information network developed by the UK Post Office. The videotex system was developed during the 1970s and for a brief time, the UK was at the forefront of intending to migrate its society online. However, the Conservative’s acts halted the development by privatising Telecommunication in 1979 and 1981 by Thatcher. The girls discuss policy loopholes, Prestel’s neglect in correlation t...

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March 15, 2022 46 min

Camila and Ana delve deeper into the online world of Minitel this week with an exploration of the many sides of the “pink minitel” services provided on the network. Beginning with a discussion of Olivier Cheval’s 2019 short film “Rose Minitel” (and some Agnes Varda film chat), they then talk sexy chat rooms, digital labor, online dating, LGBTQ+ digital communities, and if love is actually real. Ooh la la!

“I’ve found a new job. ...

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March 1, 2022 49 min

After some hobby chat, Camila tells Ana about the French videotex network ‘Minitel’. Launched in the early 80s, it was the most successful version of an online service before the World Wide Web. While other similar networks struggled, this episode looks at how the specifics of Minitel allowed it to become integrated into everyday life and what happened when France began adopting the Internet.

We're on Instagram!
And Twitter!

Main ...

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February 15, 2022 41 min

Ana and Camila chat about the development of a Soviet nationwide information network in the 60s that was meant to run a planned economy for the USSR. Built after Sputnik’s launch, it brought about Soviet cybernetics and promised a new era for Soviet sciences, mathematics economics and technology. Discussing the project’s termination due to inner-bureaucratic competition, this episode also looks at ARPANET’s simultaneous development...

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February 1, 2022 34 min

Camila and Ana explore Project Cybersyn – an early 70s socialist cybernetics project connecting factories in Allende's Chile. This is the first episode of our first season which will be focusing on pre-internet networks!

We're on Instagram!
And Twitter!

Main research for the episode was done by Camila. Ana with the audio editing.
Music by Nelson Guay (SoundCloud: fluxlinkages)
Camila's project 'REDES: bread and justice, ...

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