The Haunted Calculator

Every morning, for the past few months, I've needed to use a calculator. The calculator in question is a vintage early-1980s model Sanyo CX 2630 solar powered beast. You can read about its awesome functions at these two extremely nerdy websites: and mycalcdb. It has all the functions you'd expect of a calculator, not the least of which is that being solar powered, it hasn't required new batteries since the Red Hot Chili Peppers released Under the Bridge. As an aside, it delights me to no end that there are websites dedicated to the minutiae of vintage calculators. The internet is a haven for anoraks. This particular calculator has issues, though. It adds just fine. Subtracts perfectly. It even handles multiplication and division with aplomb. While I haven't needed to use the function, I have the utmost confidence in its ability to calculate a square root and store the results in its memory. The thing that worries me about this calculator is


Tucked away in a dark drawer, devoid of fluorescent "solar" power, its twenty year old batteries fail, and it loses its mind. Grasping at the last vestiges of its consciousness, it types a garbled message, leaving it on the screen for me to wonder about the next morning.


I've kept a log. Every time it's left me a message, I've recorded it. The original purpose of this project was simply to see if it was ever the same. Was the message similar, day in and day out? Was it just random crap? (Hint: probably!) Was there a hidden logic?

I'll let you decide. Big gallery to follow, with commentary. Hit the jump.

Paddling about

I've recently obtained an iPad, which leaves me with the quandary of exactly what the hell to use it for. This is illustrated in my first evening of having the new toy, wherein I spent a great deal of time sitting on the couch with it, using it to search the internet for "uses for an iPad". There's something so alarmingly meta in that, it hurts my head just thinking about it.

Technology, communication, independence.

I yearn for the days when you could go for an evening walk without a phone in your pocket so that God only knows who can call you to tell you something that probably has no real bearing on your life. I'm sick of seeing people in supermarkets actually call home to ask if there's any Uncle Toby's Oats in the cupboard before buying a box. Sweet Jesus, there's a thing called a shopping list. I'm sick of being sat on trains with a horde of school children, all pointlessly SMS-ing each other and calling each other from feet away. I was on a train once, and bore witness to a foursome of teenage girls -marrying- their mobile phones to each other..replete with one phone regaling the other trio with a digitised desecration of the Wedding March, followed by the four phones - including the self-proclaimed minister phone - "getting it on" by means of the vibrate function. I'm not against technological dependence. I'm against communication dependence. The constant need to be in contact with people, oft cases people you don't really know to begin with. After all, that's what internet addiction really is, in most cases. I'm not addicted to surfing the 'net and staring at site after site of potentially entertaining crap (although I concede that a lot of people probably are, and I'm not talking about pr0n...much), I'm addicted to conversing with the people I've come to know through it.

Mobile telephones are for ringing up on, usually in emergencies or in cases of extreme importance. SMS is teh sux0rs and should never be used unless under duress of castration, and if you can't deal with being away from the ability to communicate with people, get a life.

I love both the irony and honesty in that last sentence.