Thursday, January 18, 2024

Reversing the Web-@nywhere Watch: browse fragments of the Web on your wrist

In the halcyon days of analogue modems and POTS dialup Internet, when the only wireless connection in your house was between the cordless phone and the wall, anything having to do with the Web was best consumed in small bites (pun intended). If you wanted to take data with you, you downloaded it first.

Which brings us to this.

Smartwatches at the turn of the century were a more motley assortment than today's, with an even wilder range of functionality. If you had a few hundred dollars or so, there were some interesting options, even back then. But if all you had was $85 (in 2024 dollars about $150), you still weren't left out, because in 2001 you could get the Web-@nywhere (the "Worldwide Web Watch"). Load up the software on your PC and slap it in its little docking station, and you could slurp down about 93K of precious Web data to scroll on the 59x16 screen — 10 characters by 2 characters — to read any time you wanted!

That is, of course, if the remote host the watch's Windows 9x-based client accessed were still up, on which it depended for virtually anything to download and install. Well, I want 95,488 bytes of old smartwatch tiny screen Web on my wrist, darn it. We're going to reverse-engineer this sucker and write our own system using real live modern Web data. So there!

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Niklaus Wirth dies

Reported yesterday. The first computer program I remember in school was Apple Presents Apple, which was written in UCSD Pascal; the first actual compiler I ever used was Turbo Pascal 5.5 (purloined from a campus NetWare server), and the first actual compiler I ever used on the Mac was MacMETH, which is Modula-2. I owe a lot of my computing experiences to Niklaus Wirth. Godspeed.

program wirth(input, output);