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andy
November 21st, 2008, 02:27 PM
I stumbled on this great site last night:

http://www.radioshackcatalogs.com/index.html

paul
November 21st, 2008, 04:14 PM
Wow, thanks for that link!

Late 60's to 70's catalogs from Sears, Lafayette, Olsen, and Allied were a big part of my childhood.<snip>

Ya forgot, Edmund...

--T

Ole Juul
November 21st, 2008, 05:27 PM
That's really fun! I just went through the 1971 one and saw a number of things that I have and use still. The SLM is one, the 30K/V VOM is another. Oh, and my favourite headphones that I got when I first got into sound recording - I still use them frequently! I recognized a lot of other stuff too, including small parts. I'll look through the earlier cats too, maybe make a list of the years things that I have came out.

Vint
November 21st, 2008, 05:46 PM
I stumbled on this great site last night:

http://www.radioshackcatalogs.com/index.html

Wow, where'd that come from? Thanks for the link!
I sure spent a ton of money in Radio Shack stores back in the 70's.
Great reminiscing the catalogs :)

rebeltaz
November 21st, 2008, 10:06 PM
Awesome! Thank you for that blast from the past!


I have an original Montgomery Ward Ham Radio catalog from 1948 that I will scan sometime.

As a side note.... I have manuals and books that I would like to scan to post online. How do you get a good clean scan of something as thick as a catalog without taking it apart and scanning it sheet by sheet? I always get that bent look on the inside edges.

paul
November 21st, 2008, 10:38 PM
I really have no idea how to do that - this one is pretty thin.

Ole Juul
November 22nd, 2008, 12:34 AM
I've been wondering too. Perhaps there's some software to help correct. That would be handy in a non-pro situation. Libraries have a great need to not damage valuable books that are being scanned for archiving and I suspect they have specialized, and probably expensive, scanners. Anybody know?

tezza
November 22nd, 2008, 01:27 AM
Well one (laborious) way to do it is to scan the whole doument as a separate image files with software that autonames each file with ascending numbers. Using something like, say, Abobe Photoshop, go through tidy up each image so it's straight and cropped. Then reload all images in order into Acrobat to create a single PDF.

Takes time but it works.

Tez

Vint
November 22nd, 2008, 05:32 AM
Scanning books/magazines is a real hassle. I've been trying to get good scans for years. Right now I have some vintage magazines I wish to scan but there are so many pages, into the hundreds, that I hesitate to take all the time necessary. The magazines are musty smelling and I have considered just taking the magazine apart - removing staples, peeling pages or whatever it takes to have stand alone individual pages so then the scanning will at least be easy, although still very time consuming. Of course then you're trading real mags for digital copies, cause the mag is ruined. That removes a lot of the pleasure of 'hands on' flipping through pages. Sometimes mags leave a moire pattern from scans unless you set your scanner to 'descreen' and that really slows the whole process down. I've had good success on mags and softcover books that are fairly thin and you can bend them far enough to get a page flat to the scanner glass.
I keep waiting for technology to catch up here. What is needed, and perhaps it's here and I don't know about it - is a scanner 'head' similar to a ruler on a tether that you could swipe over a page. In other words bring the scanner to the book, not the book to the scanner. Still wouldn't be of much help on thick books where there just is no getting a page not to have a curve to it - UNLESS the scanner head was 'rubbery' and would conform to the shape of the page. The software would need to compensate for the text or picture curvature, and any 'twisting' effect while scanning.
Sometimes you just have to wait for the future to catch up with your needs.

It's far easier to live in the past . . . or dream about the future . . . what's difficult is living in the present. With the past, you just remember the 'good' of it - and that brings a smile to you. With your dreams of the future, all things seem to get 'ironed' out - it's the present that's the hassle. The U.S. economy going in the dumper, crime rates, world unrest, etc. etc. - Give me the past, or give me the future!
In the meantime, whip out a vintage computer and play :)

paul
November 22nd, 2008, 11:30 AM
Looks like a good start is Wiki:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_scanning

For items such as catalogs and magazines I think in most cases it's worth destruction if necessary to get it scanned. It potentially puts it in the hands of so many more people and has many related advantages such as ease of storage, indexing, and a practically infinite life.

If anyone is interested, here (http://poohy99.zoomshare.com/files/EVOLUTION.pptx) is a scan of "Evolution" magazine that was distributed by GM dealers as part of the marketing campaign for the EV-1 electric vehicle about 10 years ago. Most of you will remember that gasoline was relatively cheap about that time and few people were interested in leasing such an expensive vehicle, limited in both range and carrying capacity. The Saudi's have said in the past they will regulate production capacity (= price) to discourage alternatives to petroleum fuels, so perhaps the bell tolls for the Volt and Tesla too.

The 12 MB file is in PowerPoint format, a free viewer can be had off Microsoft's site if required.

rebeltaz
November 22nd, 2008, 11:47 AM
Looks like a good start is Wiki:
For items such as catalogs and magazines I think in most cases it's worth destruction if necessary to get it scanned. It potentially puts it in the hands of so many more people and has many related advantages such as ease of storage, indexing, and a practically infinite life.



I don't know... I may have to disagree. I think preservation of the original paper copy is just as important as making the copy accessible to the masses. I saw a television show on PBS once on archiving audio recordings. I almost fell out of my chair when they said that they destroyed the originals after digitizing them due to space limitations!

If I happen to have two copies of an item... sure, I'll destroy the worst copy to digitize it, but I just can't bring myself to destroy my only original copy of any media. Brings up too many images of Fahrenheit 451...

Ole Juul
November 22nd, 2008, 01:58 PM
Yes the wikki is a good start. (Thanks paul) I figured as much. It has to be done at a distance if you want to avoid opening a book too much. I was looking at the Gutenberg Bible at the British Museum and the Charles Darwin Online projects and it became clear that a flatbed scanner would be totally out of the question for real archival stuff. Even a magazine that is in good condition will be damaged by a flatbed - they are really just for hobby and office use.

paul
November 22nd, 2008, 11:42 PM
... archiving audio recordings...they destroyed the originals after digitizing them due to space limitations!

Well, to some extent you are simply updating from obsolete media, not much different than going from CD to DVD, or such. Provided the sampling from the original analog is high enough it's not like there is any further art in the original that would be lost.

rebeltaz
November 23rd, 2008, 10:53 AM
... it's not like there is any further art in the original that would be lost.

Actually, IMHO the original is itself part of the art.

Ole Juul
November 23rd, 2008, 02:18 PM
Actually, IMHO the original is itself part of the art.
That is indeed the consensus in the museum/art world. In fact, you probably won't find a single conservator who would disagree. Not that old computer stuff is that high on the list, but just think of the rosetta stone being used as landfill by someone who thinks that a digital image is a suitable substitute.... just supposin, that is. Of course, the original author could have used stone because someone had stolen their laptop and they just wanted to get on with it. :)

I like oil paintings and find the WWW a good place to learn about great works that I would not be able to see in person. The thing is that what I get on the screen is just an image, and it lacks the nuances of the physical world. It is very, very, far from the real thing and I have to imagine what the painting is really like when I look at the image. The effect is like the blowup doll with all the appropriate holes - it just doesn't cut it! lol

paul
November 23rd, 2008, 03:37 PM
Getting back to the case of the audio recording in the point originally raised it is entirely possible that the recording media and related hardware used at the time contributed nothing to the art, value, or subsequent enjoyment of the actual content, and that is perhaps why it was considered acceptable to scrap the original media. The original artist may have never even seen or touched the media in question.

With paintings, sculpture, etc, the media is a part of the artistic endeavor from the start so clearly a photo is hardly an equal substitute!

tezza
November 23rd, 2008, 03:59 PM
Actually, IMHO the original is itself part of the art.

I both agree and disagree.

If it is something like a recording on a bog-standard audio tape, can the analogue tape itself really be classified as part of the art? Blank rossetta stones were not mass-produced in their millions. High quality digitizations would pick up all the naunces you would get from playing that same tape, so do you really need a physical representation of the original medium?

On the other hand....maybe it's about the whole experience?

Take vintage computers. Why don't I just collect emulators? You can run all the old software, and see exactly what you would normally see on the screen as if you were using the old machine. Many emulators run 100% of old software flawlessly.

It's not the same as actually running it on the real thing though is it. It doesn't have quite the same FEEL. It's not quite the same EXPERIENCE. Listening to a reel-to-reel master copy of a song from your favourite singer/band on an original analogue mixer could be a more meaningful experience than listening to the same from a CD perhaps?

Problem is of course the medium and the means to transcribe it deteriorate over time so other options may simply be necessary.

Tez

Ole Juul
November 23rd, 2008, 04:33 PM
>paul: "Well, to some extent you are simply updating from obsolete media,"

Backing up and copying is indeed part of the whole process of that art form. For the most part nothing is lost. Having worked on both sides of the window, I also have to agree when you say:

>paul: "The original artist may have never even seen or touched the media in question."

That certainly goes for the studio and production part of it. In some cases hower (not to get too argumentative :)) the artist chooses the finished product very carefully - witness the historical concept of "the album" and a modern fondness for vinyl. Having worked on both sides of the window, I don't really have a problem with studios needing to deal with storage.

It takes all kinds though. A couple of years ago I was invited to a session where they were using a 24track. These were mostly younger people who hadn't grown up with this technology. The funny thing is they all thought this was such a great thing to be using tape! Personally I think 24 track stinks compared to the wider tracks on a 16. The 16 has more punch. Still, to me the dynamic range of a good digital system is much superior if you know how to use it. These people, however, would want to keep the original tape. Go figure. :)

VintageComputerman
November 23rd, 2008, 04:39 PM
Just wondering, I have 3 to 4 huge boxes of old parts catalogs. I'm wondering if there would be a market for them. 1950's through the 80's.

amouse
November 24th, 2008, 04:23 AM
Well first how wonderful to see those RadioShack catlogs online.

Check out http://www.radioshackcatalogs.com/catalogs/1999/ . I am fighting an irresistable urge to shout out Beam me up, Scotty (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beam_me_up,_Scotty)

But to ponder more seriously, whilst I'd very much like to preserve the original paper copies of any magazine or technical document that I scan (over 50,000 pages and counting) it is just not practical ...

The overriding factors for me are

a) If I give them to a library for posterity I'd have to visit the library to consult my documents since they are not going to scan them
b) If I don't Guillotine everything before scanning I am not going to get a good clean straight copy
c) Whilst it is nice to have the paper, that format (especially after my chopping) is heavy and not portable.

All this was documented in summary here (http://majzel.blogspot.com/2008/11/i-think-therefore-i-scan.html)

So the best you will probably manage (in practice) is
a) Guillotine, chop, scan magazines
b) carefully store the remains in your cellar for (another) 10 years or so
c) In 10 years time (or earlier if you move) and you realise you never looked at the paper, so you throw it away.

regards marcus.

facattack
November 24th, 2008, 06:37 AM
Oh wow! According to one of those old articles there was a hard disk card (20mb) that could plug into any of the Tandy computers in the slot where the RAM normally goes. I want one! (Wonder how much they cost today's dollars.)

Vint
November 24th, 2008, 08:47 AM
rebeltaz quote: "If I happen to have two copies of an item... sure, I'll destroy the worst copy to digitize it, but I just can't bring myself to destroy my only original copy of any media. Brings up too many images of Fahrenheit 451."

paul quote: "Well, to some extent you are simply updating from obsolete media, not much different than going from CD to DVD, or such. Provided the sampling from the original analog is high enough it's not like there is any further art in the original that would be lost."

As an 'aside' to this, lest we all not be too hasty to pitch the past. The past just may be lost in the future. Let me explain;

I can't totally confirm this because I 'just read it on the Internet', sometime ago - and you know how that goes. You can't just believe something because you 'read it on the Internet'. I try to at least 'triangulate' things I need to know whether are 'true or not' before passing them along - but here's what I read somewhere. (This is more related to 'preservation' rather than just scanning something.)

The Navy has aircraft carriers. (I'm going to over simplify this for brevity sake) - Blueprints for the carriers are carried onboard 'in' computers. The software is updated and the blueprints are read. SOMETIMES, things are lost, due to bugs in the updated software. Things were on the old print - and now with the updated software - there are glitches and things are not where they were or what the were. I read where the Navy is worried about this corruption through updated software. Caution: don't pitch your old 'blueprints', just because you have a 'new' virtual set.

NOW, I actually ran across this 'problem' in my last job. I used to run a computerized upholstery cutting machine, before I retired.

http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/picture.php?albumid=1&pictureid=155

Files were called up and the machine cut head followed the pattern on the screen to cut the actual upholstery material spread out on a cutting table, sometimes also punching guide holes or grommet holes. Anyway, I had literally thousands of files I had optimized over the years to facilitate the maximum usage of material. When the company updated the program software I found out suddenly that some of the files weren't 'coming up right'. Sometimes guide holes were actually missing or sizes inverted, etc. Sometimes even finished cut sizes differed. My quality control mandates caught these errors, and I was able to 'compensate' by onscreen repairing the errors and saving the files in a 'new' format. This took a lot of time and cost the company quite a bit in lost production, while hundreds of files were 'updated'.

My point is - we'd better be very careful about not 'destroying' the past - while archiving and moving into the future.

paul
November 24th, 2008, 03:37 PM
Interesting stories. When data is converted or transferred to new media, it's clear that steps must be taken to ensure nothing important is lost in the process. Having a backup of older data is great provided you promptly recognize that something is amiss in the newer data. Your past experience with the upholstery was an essential part of that, lucky you were still involved!

Years ago we found that CadKey had an occasional tendency to leave out one or two items on the drawing when printing, usually part number balloons or the odd dimension. Care had to be taken to ensure that the print or plot was correct before releasing it. I used to laugh when I saw my CadKey co-workers holding up two carefully overlaid B-size laser printouts to sunlight to see if anything was missing. Very high-tech, I thought, but soon I was doing the same thing. No CAD data was lost, it was a bug in the printing process.

But the ongoing problem was that the final print was the "controlled document," not the CAD data, so any unnoticed losses became part of that release cycle. Any errors that got through would often not get corrected and then re-appear on the next revision - simply proving that in the end no one bothered to read the drawings anyway.

What scares me is if data is corrupted so slightly you don't notice and those errors finally reach the backup data too. A big step for me in trusting AutoCAD for recording of mechanical designs in the late 80's was learning by experience that it is very reliable and if there was something wrong the blame would certainly rest with one of my colleagues instead!

Terry Yager
November 25th, 2008, 02:10 PM
...if there was something wrong the blame would certainly rest with one of my colleagues instead!

Yes, I too have noticed that these things are always someone else's fault.

--T

mikey99
November 26th, 2008, 05:03 PM
Is the radioshack catalog site still working ? I just keep getting the following
error :

Forbidden

You don't have permission to access /index.html on this server.

Additionally, a 403 Forbidden error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

mikey99
November 26th, 2008, 05:09 PM
While looking around for other RS catalogs found this one devoted to the TRS-80:

http://www.robert.to/reports/RadioShackRSC3.pdf

TandyMan100
January 29th, 2009, 04:40 AM
Awesome. This is an incredible recourse!