[dorkbotsea-blabber] Network IV computer light sculpture - SeaTac
tpaddock at seanet.com
Thu Jul 21 00:14:42 EDT 2005
Got some info from the artist. Looks like I was wrong
about it not being Game of Life and what type of bulb
It's bad manners to forward private emails to a public
list, but this looks pretty harmless.
Should we have a weird light bulb show-n-tell some meeting?
James Seawright wrote:
Thanks for your email. Alas, as you may know, Network IV is no more.
Seatac wasnt prepared to bear the expense of updating the obsolete
computer equipment that ran it, and couldn't find any other organization
that would take it. I believe much of is was donated to local schools.
The program did use a version of the Life rules to generate patterns in
response to button-pushings by viewers. One had to push at least three
buttons at the same time before the program would "notice" you, then
those button-pushings would be treated as an initial pattern in the Life
space. Thus, one could fairly easily learn how to input gliders,
The lamps were NE-40, and had two circular electrodes in front and in
back. The power was DC at around 90 volts and the polarity set so that
the front electrode was the cathode, and consequently glowed. NE-34
lamps are the ones with two D-shaped electrodes, and would have looked
like a complete lit circle with AC, but only one side would have lit
with DC. The glass envelope was the size of a ten-watt incandescent
bulb, pretty much the same size as the bulp in a refrigerator. The main
reason for using the NE-40s was that they only used about 15
milliamperes of current each, where an incandescent would have used at
least 100 ma, and there would have been a big inrush current of several
amps, enough to kill the switching transistor controlling the lamp -- I
found this out the hard way with a previous piece.
The piece was in operation since the end of August 1973. I believe this
slightly predates Pong, and therefore has a claim to being the first
ever comuter game.
Toby Paddock wrote:
>Hello Mr. Seawright,
>I am part of a group in Seattle called dorkbot-sea.
>Several times the subject of your Network IV sculpture has come up. It made
>quite an impression on me and I think had a lot to do with my long-time
>fascination with blinking lights, grids, and patterns.
>Do you have any information that you can share about it? Also, I have a
>couple of questions that have popped up based on differing memories:
>1- Were the patterns based on Life? I remember it as not being Life, but my
>rememberer is sometimes faulty.
>2- Even more of a nerd question... Do you know what the bulbs looked like?
>remember them as being 2 half-moon electrodes when viewed from the end,
>Someone else remembers them as stacked, appearing as a solid disk, such as:
>Or if you could tell me if the bulbs powered from DC, that would mean my
>moon electrode idea is definitely wrong.
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