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This is a question Old stuff I still know

Our Ginger Fuhrer says that he could still code up a simple game idea in Amstrad Basic, while I'm your man if you ever need to rebuild the suspension on an Austin Allegro (1750 Equipe version). This stuff doesn't leave your mind - tell us about obsolete talents you still have.

(, Thu 30 Jun 2011, 17:04)
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I still remember when my birthday is
In fact, it's today come to think of it...WHERE'S ME DAMN PREZZIES???
(, Sat 2 Jul 2011, 9:28, Reply)
I still remember where I hid the bodies.

(, Sat 2 Jul 2011, 7:42, Reply)
1865 Albion press
I know the correct method of dissassembly, cleaning, moving, reassembly and adjustment of this 7ft high piece of Victorian cast iron technology. It takes two people, and you definitely don't want the staple to drop down this disused lift shaft and turn into several hundredweight of shrapnel flying out into the street, do you?
(, Sat 2 Jul 2011, 6:44, 2 replies)
once, right, i knew how to wish it was Thursday.

(, Sat 2 Jul 2011, 5:52, 3 replies)
10 LET G$ = INKEY$
20 IF G$ = "Q" THEN DRAWR 0,-10
25 IF G$ = "q" THEN DRAWR 0,-10
30 IF G$ = "A" THEN DRAWR 0,10
35 IF G$ = "a" THEN DRAWR 0,10
40 IF G$ = "O" THEN DRAWR -10,0
45 IF G$ = "o" THEN DRAWR -10,0
50 IF G$ = "A" THEN DRAWR 10,0
55 IF G$ = "p" THEN DRAWR 10,0
65 IF G$ = "x" THEN BREAK
70 GOTO 10

Not the most thrilling thing ever but, given that I learned it at age 6 and I'm now in my mid thirties it is old, and given that I know it in standard basic also (the above is Amstrad basic) I think it counts as a skill and useless.
(, Sat 2 Jul 2011, 2:18, 7 replies)
80s films!
When my family got our first VCR in the late 1980s, I quickly discovered the joys of watching my favorite videotapes over and over and over again. I eventually connected the VCR to the stereo and recorded said films onto audiocassettes as well, and would listen to them when the TV wasn't available.

And that is why, all these years later, I can still recite all three Back to the Future films, The Goonies, and an edited-for-broadcast-TV version of Weird Science, scene-by-scene, entirely from memory.

Sometimes on long commutes or other occasions which leave me nothing to do for hours, I still close my eyes and re-experience a movie in my head. Try charging me for that, MPAA.
(, Sat 2 Jul 2011, 1:57, 13 replies)
Old School
Develop film and make my own proper prints in a darkroom
Manually do that dodge/ burn photoshop thingy, again in a darkroom
Wire a 3 pin plug
Edit video using two video tape machines on a linear edit suite
Load film in a 16mm movie camera
Edit sound using a reel to reel, a razor blade, some sticky tape and a pencil.
(, Sat 2 Jul 2011, 1:44, 4 replies)
Ancient Porn
I recently rewrote what may possibly be the earliest piece of pornographic(ish) software ever. In QBASIC. On an 80386. In DOS.

Originally written while bored at uni in the 1970s for a computer so very, very old it outputted on a printer, I ported it across because I was very, very bored and slightly drunk.

It prints "aaahhh" on the screen at an ever-increasing pace 10 times, then "Aaahhh Yeah, that's it", then "aaahhh" another 9 times (again, increasing pace) and then finishes with "ooooooooooooooooooooooh".

To be honest, it's probably not the earliest porn ever. But it's the earliest I know of as I write this, so that's good enough for me! :D
(, Sat 2 Jul 2011, 1:42, 1 reply)
Arcade keys
I used to work for an arcade and vending machine company that had its own arcades all over the place, and also had machines in other peoples' establishments. There were a total of about 16 different stock locks we used for different applications in the different locations, and I can still tell you which coded keys would open which doors on which machines in which of around two dozen establishments in a 100-mile radius.

It's been nearly a decade since I worked that job, and to my knowledge only one of those locations is even still in business.
(, Sat 2 Jul 2011, 1:39, Reply)
Come the apocalypse
I know how to knap flint to make blades ( or even glass bottles for the same purpose)
To survive in the wilderness, building a shelter out of twigs and leaves.
Trapping and preparing small mammals for food.
As well as knowing what plants, insects and fungi are edible.
Lighting a fire without using a match.
Navigating by starlight.
Turning a deerskin into usable leather
Tickling a trout.
Can make usable cordage from nettles.
Sharpen a knife using dried fungus

You may think these obsolete, but come the nuclear apocalypse who'll be the one surviving in a hidden Somerset valley, eh, eh?
Apologies to Smale for swiping the last paragraph and changing the location ;)

Is it a bit weird that I have a basic survival kit all packed and sitting in my loft ready to go when needed?
(, Sat 2 Jul 2011, 1:13, 13 replies)
in under 2 seconds!

I shit you not. These days, I'd starve...but back then I ate like a King who liked to eat free Big Macs
(, Sat 2 Jul 2011, 1:11, Reply)
Klaatu barada nikto
committed it to memory as a kid...just in case
(, Sat 2 Jul 2011, 0:58, 1 reply)
Inspired by a previous post.
I still recall DAEWOO 3516104900.
Their microwaves must have been made from the shittiest steel available.
(, Sat 2 Jul 2011, 0:58, Reply)
"Many parts are edible"
When I was younger, I learned that a certain plant that commonly-grew in the cracks of city sidewalks, a pigweed, was edible. I appalled all my friends by casually bending over, and eating. Grazing on one's surroundings is the last thing people expect, somehow. (The pigweed was too green and gummy for my taste, but that wasn't the point.) The nice thing is that as the years go by people seem to be more appalled than ever. It's a real conversation starter (and ender!) It's not so much an old skill as a timeless skill.
(, Sat 2 Jul 2011, 0:54, Reply)
5020 1600
Cadbury's Creme Egg.

It is almost ten years since I last needed to type that into a till. I still remember it.
(, Sat 2 Jul 2011, 0:26, 3 replies)
I know...
...my 99 times table.

Well, a formula that allows me to tell you the answer of x times 99 (where x is less that 100) instantaneously.

I taught it to myself when I was in my teens and it's not "times it by a hundred then subtract..."

Useless in most situations, but one day someone will need to know 74 x 99 and I will tell them with no hesitation or pause for breath, that it is 7,326
(, Sat 2 Jul 2011, 0:12, 3 replies)
I can take off my underpants
without taking off my trousers
(, Sat 2 Jul 2011, 0:09, 7 replies)
I learnt the whole phonetic alphabet (charlie-uniform-november-tango) etc, at 17yrs old when I wanted to join the Army Air Corpse.

I can say it in less than ten seconds even now!

You would think it would get me laid but strangely not :(
(, Fri 1 Jul 2011, 23:51, 15 replies)
London's Burning, London's Burning
Like most kids I played the recorder at school. I can still play London's Burning off by heart some 31 years later.

Can I remember my own mobile phone number? Erm... 077... fucksocks :(
(, Fri 1 Jul 2011, 23:25, Reply)
-... --- .-.. .-.. --- -.-. -.- ...
I was on the last signals course in the Army to have to learn Morse.

We had to get up to 12WPM, which is pretty fucking hard in 6 months, or we'd fail the course.

Morse had already been phased out in the Army by then, so there was no-one using it.

Pretty bleak knowing you are working so hard on something you will never ever use (I suppose a bit like an english degree, except for the working so hard bit)
(, Fri 1 Jul 2011, 22:48, 4 replies)
old but
I can make great cromalins
(, Fri 1 Jul 2011, 21:57, 1 reply)
Simple stuff
Get off the train before you are sick, even if its before your stop.

Don't burp in her face. She's had her tounge in places you could never follow so respect.

Keys, wallet, passport. I have in the past had to use all three, independently but quickly.

Sunscreen / condoms. Never, ever leave home without one or the other. You can swap them if need be but not quite the same protection.
(, Fri 1 Jul 2011, 21:24, Reply)
I can edit sound tape,
old reel to reel sound tape, using a razor blade and a chinagraph pencil.
Oh, and sticky tape, I forgot the sticky tape.
(, Fri 1 Jul 2011, 21:04, Reply)
I can
still get it up, just about, with the correct stimuli.
Especially anything by Cyriak.
(, Fri 1 Jul 2011, 20:22, Reply)
Slice and Dice - Don't read while eating...
I used to work in a lab that performed 'bio-distributions'.

If you have a tumour, and have to have a scan, they sometimes inject you with some radioactive stuff. We were trying to design the radioactive stuff so that it sticks to the tumours, so that they show up on the scan. That's the basic idea.

In the research stage, one of the things to test is how the compound moves around the body when you inject it into an animal, you do that by performing a bio-distribution; inject the animal, wait a certain amount of time, and then dissect it carefully, before counting the separate pieces on a radioactivity counter. That way you can work out where the radioactivity moves around the system... or 'mouse', if you prefer...

Anyway, the dissection procedure has to be fairly uniform and precise to do these things, otherwise the data ends up poor, and if there's one thing you REALLY don't want to do when working with animals is waste a life by cocking up your procedures.

Anyway, over the year I worked in the lab, I estimate I chopped up hundreds of mice, possibly close to 1000, and I can still follow the procedure in my head and hands.

Once the mouse is under anaesthetic, hold blunt end of scissors to the back of the neck, and push down while pulling tail hard, this discolates the neck vertebrae, breaks the neck and kills the animal. A quick incision down the front and then quickly remove the bladder before it leaks, then 1 incision either side up the ribs, and peel back to open the chest cavity. Take the lungs (rinse), the heart (slice to remove blood then rinse) and take a blood sample with a syringe (weigh and record). Open the neck incision higher to take the thymus (if required) and then the thyroid. Lift the animal, small snips behind and below the diaphragm to remove the liver and intestines. Separate the stomach first (don't nick it, or it smells), then the liver (separate lobes if required) then the spleen. Then pull small intestine slowly away from blood supply, and then large intestine. Snip behind kidneys to remove separately. Lift left hind-leg, slice neatly at the back to remove skin. Two snips, one at the base, one up the back of the bone, to remove muscle sample from thigh (weigh and record), and then trim in deeper to get bone sample (weigh and record). Remove excess fat from skin, and collect skin sample (weigh and record). Remove tail (to check injection site). Turn animal over. Snip to remove skin from head, then insert scissors into back of skull. Slice down thin portion of skull, 1 incision each side, then peel back to remove skull flap. Gently pull out the brain. Separate cerebellum/cerebrum, left-right hemispheres if required. Remove eyes if required. Remaining carcass into separate pots. Seal lids, label, send to radiation counter.

I was busily explaining this procedure to a friend the other day (with my eyes closed to more easily visualise it as I moved my hands through the motions) when I looked up and saw said friend looking at me in utter horror. I suppose normal people don't say things like 'gently pull out the brain' over morning coffee.

Oh, and the obligatory note to those against animal testing. Unless you are a full vegan, who does not use ANY modern medicine (aside from homeopathy, you are welcome to that), your hypocritical views are null and void. Otherwise, you have the right to disagree, but please stop using outdated information, and footage from cosmetics testing (which IS pretty abhorrent, and banned in the UK) to back up your views. Kthxbye.
(, Fri 1 Jul 2011, 19:30, 11 replies)
I can wire a plug.
No opportunities to practice that lost art, any more, and it may well be illegal. I can put up light fittings, too, which my wife insists should only be done by a qualified electrician.

Health and safety gone made, if you ask me. Plumbing is much trickier.
(, Fri 1 Jul 2011, 19:23, 7 replies)
Field Marshall Series 2 Single cylinder diesel tractor (starting)
So there's this tractor right? and it's from the olden times (1947 ish). It's got a single cylinder horizontal 2 stroke engine about 6000cc or 6.0 litres.

and it's bad ass and it's called a Field Marshall

On the side of the tractor is a massive flywheel about 3 foot across that you stick a huge starting handle into (the starting handle is the size of the one used by the clown at the end of camberwick green to wind the credits on... but you know, like full sized)

So you stick this massive starting handle into the middle of the fly wheel... then you go round to the front of the tractor and unscrew this big wind in plug thing kind of where you'd expect to find a spark plug (but because it's a diesel engine it's not) so you wind this bit out and the you roll up a bit of blotting paper dipped in saltpeter (that you prepared earlier) and stick it in the end of the plug thing.

You set fire to the bit of blotting paper blow on it till it glows red and then you quickly screw the plug assembly with the now smoldering bit of blotting paper back into the cylinder head...

This is the glow plug to preheat the cylinder and aid ignition.

you then jog back round to the flywheel and starting handle. Running around the circumference of the flywheel (which is about 6 inches wide) is this spiral groove.

You lift up this spring loaded jockey wheel thing (it looks a bit like the deraileur (you know like from before fixies when bikes had gears) that is attached to the decompressor and put the wheel of it into the groove furthest away from the edge of the flywheel.

You spit on your hands.

You grasp the starting handle (ensuring your thumbs are on the same side of the handle as your fingers so that if there's a backfire then the starting handle flys out of your hand rather than snapping off both your thumbs)

And you wind.

There is massive inertia to overcome and the air chuffs out of the cylinder through the decompressor with each revolution




The Jockey wheel at this point (after 3 complete revolutions) has come to the end of the spiral track and drops free of the flywheel disengaging the decompressor...

and you know at this point it's shit or bust...

If you haven't picked up enough speed with your winding you are going to have a back fire and have a piece of high speed starting handle flip backwards and fire into you and break lots of bones or throw you 20 or 30 feet through the air - no really I've seen it.

If you've got enough speed up with the flywheel and all goes well, it will overcome the compression ignite the diesel (warmed gently by the glowing blotting paper in the cylinder head and...




The engine starts with a noise that is quite frankly prehistoric and you pull the starting handle out of the centre of the flywheel with a satisfied smile knowing that you've survived another day.

And that is my very obsolete skill


The proper high tech way of doing it -if you were rich and fancy- was to unscrew another plug assembly on the side of the engine and insert a blank 12 gauge shotgun cartridge (as specified in the operators handbook)

You then screw this plug back in and then with a large hammer hit the firing pin in the middle of the plug, loud bang and the engine starts as if by magic.

Never did it that way.

When I was 9 I wasn't allowed shotgun cartridges.

Apologies for length

I haven't gone through this process for nearly 30 years but I reckon I'd still get the old girl started first time.

cider anyone?
(, Fri 1 Jul 2011, 19:06, 4 replies)

Oh yeah, and I remember the number plates of two teachers' cars from when I was 14, which is 40 years ago. 912 NDV and LMU 120K (since you ask).

I don't know why I remember them, when I can't even find my glasses lately...
(, Fri 1 Jul 2011, 18:49, 1 reply)

I had a summer job stuffing envelopes for a local company. Boring as fuck. But I can still fold a piece of A4 paper into exactly three, just by eye. Even when pissed.
(, Fri 1 Jul 2011, 18:47, Reply)

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