Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Page 26

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Anybody remember when you could still find vacuum tube testers in everyday variety stores? I recall seeing one or two around town as recently as the 1980s. Here's what the Inventor's circa-1930 tester looks like:


7 comments:

  1. "Nothing short of a bursting shell..." Nice tip o' the chapeau.

    I remember building stuff that used vacuum tubes; my first stereo system was a testament to five-pound transformers, lamp cord, and way too much solder. It was the last technology I was able to visualize and thus more-or-less understand. Little negative ping-pong balls either being attracted to or repelled by huge charged screens. Once transistors came upon the scene, I was lost. ("What do you mean, it's a hole where an electron ISN'T that's doing the moving??") Now, of course, it's all Arthus C. Clarke's magic.

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  2. Oh yes. "Electron holes" was one of those concepts in my upper division physics education that I just had to roll with because it worked. There would be others.... "Bursting shell" is for the cool kids, which I already knew you were. Sadly I was never cool enough to build any vacuum tube devices myself, though I did build a crystal radio and etch my own circuit boards once. Thanks for the visit and comment!

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    1. You etched your own circuit boards? We (a good college buddy and I) weren't allowed access to the narsty chemicals needed to do that properly, as we stalked the electronics labs at MIT late at night. No, we had to find other means. Can you imagine trying to create a circuit board using a drill press and a router to remove the excess copper?

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    2. I can in fact imagine that! My electronics course was actually in high school, and our circuit boards were very simple little things. We masked the board with strips of tape, then into the acid bath. In retrospect it probably would've been faster and easier to plug stuff into a breadboard, but learning to lay out a functioning device in two dimensions was pretty cool. I think the most impressive thing I built was a synthesizer that played six or seven out-of-tune notes....

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  3. Love the last panel. Very dry.

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  4. Thanks! Dry is my favorite flavor of humor.

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  5. I just found your strip through the article that Geek and Sundry posted today. Making my way through all the old strips to get caught up, so I'm kind of late to the party. Enjoying it so far! I found it interesting in today's strip where he's using English measurements when he actually used Metric measurements to get in through the back door a few days ago. I'm fortunate enough to own the Fleischer Superman cartoons on DVD.

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