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Human Clock (Complete with Hands!) 327

soulsteal writes: "Some people with too much time on their hands have decided to make a clock of, for, and by the people! Humanclock allows for anyone anywhere to set their time zone and view over 1100 pictures of people posing with one of the 1440 minutes available each day. On the geek side, their server is a Radio Shack 2.4mhz TRS-80 Model 100 portable running a port of Aache and PHP." Something seems extremely suspicious about that server ...
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Human Clock (Complete with Hands!)

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  • aache (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by linuxpng ( 314861 )
    are you kidding me? The 'p' is on the otherside of the keyboard.
  • Netcraft says.... (Score:1, Redundant)

    by blogan ( 84463 )
    Apache/1.3.14 (Unix) PHP/4.0.3
    AuthMySQL/2.20 on FreeBSD

    So it looks like they ported BSD to the TRS-80 now...
  • by byoung ( 2340 ) on Thursday August 09, 2001 @04:01PM (#2109782)
    This harkens back to yesteryear. The FishCam, the internet enabled coffee maker, etc.

    Reminds me of the good old days, when people had way too much time on their hands and creativity was rampant.

    A nice break from the current spam infested and peddling (oops, I mean, "business friendly") Internet.
  • Some of my friends and I populate almost the entire 1 AM hour. All the photos in that block were taken at a club here in Pittsbugh, PA. Not all the photos are of us, though -- running around the club and asking random people to let us take their pictures for a website was really fun while drunk, and a surprising number of people agreed. I think we only had one or two people refuse.

    I think my favorite pic of the three of us that did the photo-taking is the one at 1:59 AM, because I'be been told I ended up looking like Gary Oldman in that one.
  • by vbrtrmn ( 62760 )
    hey, that's a picture of me, how'd they get me up there?
  • by BandWagon ( 513890 ) on Thursday August 09, 2001 @04:19PM (#2111140)
    Has anyone besides me looked at the source code for the page to find the image names..? Quote:
    Welcome to the source code for this page. Not much here.

    The picture filenames all took a one-way trip to MD5 city to mask their true identity (if that is what you were looking for).

    Since you are here though, we might as well tell you a joke since you took the time to look at the source code and you shouldn't have to close this window empty-handed.

    q: How can you get four suits for a dollar?
    a: Buy a deck of cards.

  • As I see it, the pictures seem to take a long time to load, and pitty the fool who opens up a new window from that one.

    It seems that this page uses a meta refresh, which in web circles has it's own considerations. But this could be improved by using php to change the refresh time based on when you load the page and the server clock. Also there could be some improvement, if they would precache the pictures, but as it seems they run them through md5 to keep you from stealing them, I doubt that precaching is possible.

    I do like the nice saying (like at 1:11) and the pictures of Oregon. I come from the Beaver State and love to see pics of downtown. Overall, a good waste of time. Now if only I could make that window stay on top.
    • but as it seems they run them through md5 to keep you from stealing them
      Can someone explain how a web server can stop me from saving a picture locally? Every browser I have ever used had a client-side "save downloaded data" function.
      • When I said stealing them, I was refering to, having your own webpage with your own code (that may have a better timming alogrithm) from getting the pictures off their server, and ahead of when they want. It would be possible to use php to constantly reload the page to get the next picture, in every timezone to use in your own timing meathod, but you would still be limited to not being able to get a picture ahead of time, so your clock would be even more off than theirs.
      • they can't, really. but they can make it terribly difficult to get the images by naming them cryptically (the md5 sum is a one-way hash of image contents... so trying to guess them is non-trivial). so you could manually visit the site, once a minute, for 24 hours, and save every image that comes up, and rename it locally.

        or you could just take the pictures yourself. that would be my best option.

        ('while true; do wget -r -l0 http://thesite/; sleep 60; done' for 24 hours would also work, with some awk/perl goodness to rename the files, but who really cares that much?)
  • by ibirman ( 176167 ) on Thursday August 09, 2001 @04:04PM (#2113459) Homepage
    Now that is a feat! > We hired a crack team of crafty crack monkeys > that were able to modify the Apache source code > and reduce it down to a 25k text file that runs > under the BASIC interpreter native to the Tandy > TRS-80 Model 100. Those were some smart monkeys. I would love to see that code.
  • downtime of 12 hours to replace AA batteries? Where's he live?? It doesn't take me that long to walk to the corner market.
  • Server: Apache/1.3.14 (Unix) PHP/4.0.3 AuthMySQL/2.20

    Getting MySQL to fit on a TRS-80 is even more impressive, I think.
  • by ocie ( 6659 ) on Thursday August 09, 2001 @05:13PM (#2121489) Homepage
    it went down with all hands :)
  • The TRS-80 web-server isn't quite as much of a joke as the authors' indended:

    First, there is a Zilog Z80 variant that is marketed as a web server on a chip []. Of course, the ez80190 runs at 50MHz and can address up to 16MB of memory, a far cry from the old Z80-A or 8080. (the chip itself only appears to have 8KB of SRAM, however, which is pretty similar to a TRS-80 or yore)

    Second, the storage capacity of audio cassette tapes should not be underestimated. We can reasonably espect that the maximum storage density of an audio cassette is similar to the maximum bandwidth of vioce telephone lines (audio cassettes probably have a higher storage density, in fact, because the vioce telephone line bandwith is artificially limited in order to filter out varous kinds of noise). If we could record at 32Kbaud we would be able to store 10MB (that's Mega BYTES) on one side of a 90 minute tape.

    Looked at another way, a cassette tape can store about the same amount of information as your average CD (they store about the same amount of music, and cassette tapes are actually better fidelity that audio CDs, they just degrade faster and don't reproduce well on consumer grade equipment), which means that we could actually expect to get something more like 600MB-800MB if we had really good recording and playback equipment. Not too shaby.

    Of course, with a normal tape player we would have an average seek time of over 20 minutes, but you have to make some compromises for this level of geekiness. I can think of a few ways to decrease the seek time, but we are still talking about something on the order of minutes rather than a reasonable value in the range of seconds.

  • by wo1verin3 ( 473094 ) on Thursday August 09, 2001 @06:08PM (#2123053) Homepage
  • by pgpckt ( 312866 ) on Thursday August 09, 2001 @04:15PM (#2123339) Homepage Journal
    I don't believe this. For those of you who can't access the page because the poor TRS-80 couldn't handle it, these guys are leasing the rights to 4:20 am/pm! For the current bid price of $66, you can have your picture come up when it turns 4:20. See the auction at ebay []
    • I love the first bid on that auction.

  • Slashdot should start an annual geek hoax award. Let people vote on whether or not they consider certain websites/products to be hoaxes or not. The winner is the one that fools the largest percentage.

    Does anybody remember some story on here about some PCI card that turned out to be a hoax?
  • Here is the Web Server Description: *click* [] (unslashdotted google archive :))

    Ah yes, and it is a joke for everyone who did not get it the first time :))
  • by plexxer ( 214589 ) on Thursday August 09, 2001 @04:58PM (#2124466)
    All I get is a picture of a guy holding up a sign that says 12:00, then he takes it away, then he holds it back up again, then he takes it away again, then he...
  • I wonder if it's significant to the joke in some way that the ROM of the Tandy Model 100 is reputed to be the last code that Bill Gates actually wrote himself?
  • by mfarah ( 231411 ) <> on Thursday August 09, 2001 @04:08PM (#2127020) Homepage
    Mr. Xxxx, the famous martian, tells me to relay this bit of information:

    We are inspired by this human clock thing, and will implement a clone ourselves.

    Look for, featuring pictures for all 24 hours and 37 minutes using photographs of live martians.

    Unlike, and due to the long distances involved, we'll be using a cluster of Commodore 64 and Atari 800XL machines to handle the web server(s).

    • Unlike, and due to the long distances involved, we'll be using a cluster of Commodore 64 and Atari 800XL machines to handle the web server(s).

      Too bad; I know where you can get a Beowulf cluster of Timex Sinclairs dirt cheap ...

  • by Tim Macinta ( 1052 ) <> on Thursday August 09, 2001 @04:19PM (#2128215) Homepage
    It's Slashdotted right now, so I guess I'll have to check back later... I'm just hoping they didn't get creative in using certain appendages for the second hand.
  • by Alternity ( 16492 ) on Thursday August 09, 2001 @04:13PM (#2128394)
    That's it... I want a humanclock slashbox :o)
  • i have two if they need a spare!
  • My god.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by soulsteal ( 104635 ) <soulsteal@[ ] ['3l3' in gap]> on Thursday August 09, 2001 @04:06PM (#2129640) Homepage

    ...what have I done?

    "I have become death - destroyer of worlds" -Oppenheimer

    That brave little TRS-80 never had a chance....

    • Actually, it was the Hindu god Vishnu who said that in Gita (Hindu sacred text). Oppenheimer just quoted that piece of text.
    • Amazingly I actually got to see all three clocks. I think this gives testimate to the power of open source software (apache and PHP)
    • I have become death - destroyer of worlds" -Oppenheimer

      it is actually from the bhagavad gita, a indian poem that is dialogue between arjuna, a prince, and the god, krishna

      and if you wanted to get real picky, it's actually 'I am become death' but who's counting?

  • (110) Connection timed out
  • TRS-80 (Slightly OT) (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Seanasy ( 21730 )

    Is just me or does anyone else here read "TRS-80" as "Trash Eighty?" It's just automatic for me now.

  • by huskerdoo ( 186982 ) on Thursday August 09, 2001 @05:13PM (#2141830) Homepage
    Well, it looks like it only took three weeks from putting the site up until it got Slashdotted. I've been building the site and taking pictures for the last two months. I haven't had time to write a FAQ for the site yet. But the reason the picture filenames are MD5 hashes is so you can't easily see other times. A lot of people want to just be able to clickity click their way through the entire set of pictures as if it were a p0rn site...and I didn't want that. If you want to see a certain time, you have to wait.

    There are some interesting photos on the site. Jimi Hendrix's grave is at 8:15pm, Richard Buckner is at 8:14pm, and there is an entire hours worth of pictures from 1am - 2am that were taken at a Goth party in Pittsburgh. (thanks D33!)

    Now I gotta go downtown and reboot the server... (on -> off -> on)
    • After about 6 server reboots and one kernel rebuild (thanks Myke) the server seems to be holding steady. I had to go downtown and babysit the server. I kind of felt like a husband helping his wife go though labor. Anyway, I was a bit suprised about all the /. chatter over the "webserver". Good thing I never built an Atari 2600 webserver. (Wanted to, but I didn't have the keypad controllers for i/o, just that damn Star Raiders one).

      If you remember the days of Atari and Vectrex, be sure and check out 2:12pm-2:18pm.

      I'll try and get a FAQ written tomorrow, but in short:
      - the webserver is in fact real, if you want it to be. (isn't this from a movie or something?)
      - the girl at 11:11am is in fact single (and knows what interrupt vector table is).
      - isn't some website with a mega-corporation lurking behind it, it is just created/ran by me.
      - the analog clock should be done this weekend
      - 7:39am is the best / most creative clock photo I've received so far.

  • by jjsjeff ( 210138 ) <jjs8108@yah o o . c om> on Thursday August 09, 2001 @06:39PM (#2144774) Homepage
    Is there someway we could also add a humanclock slashbox? You know I need that right below my 'Oblique Strategy' box.

  • Imagine, playboy-esque models posing to the time of day, ticking along on your desktop...
    It'd be almost like the Naked News []
  • Funny source (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MattHawk ( 215818 ) on Thursday August 09, 2001 @04:29PM (#2151899) Homepage
    Take a look at the page source on one of the pages with a clock picture on it - The web programmer who put the site together was having a little fun (The joke changes every time the page reloads) :)
  • please don't /. the hell out of the site before 4:20, I kinda want to see that.
  • by DESADE ( 104626 ) <> on Thursday August 09, 2001 @03:58PM (#2152309)
    I wonder how a TRS-80 is going to handle the Slashdot effect...
  • I call bullshit (Score:5, Informative)

    by SomeGuyFromCA ( 197979 ) on Thursday August 09, 2001 @04:07PM (#2152738) Journal
    4 gigs of data on a cassette tape? Adapting a Walkman for I/O when 99% of walkman don't have a record head? And oh, oh, this is the best part:

    9999 ' subroutine for reading from packet driver
    10000 FD$ = -1
    10010 READ FD$
    10020 PEEK FD$
    10030 POKE FD$
    10040 POOP FD$
    10050 PUKE FD * 7
    10060 IF FD$ = "YUMMYPACKET" THEN 10080

    Hoax. Right up there with the potato server.
    • by Abcd1234 ( 188840 ) on Thursday August 09, 2001 @04:16PM (#2112125) Homepage
      Oh dear lord, some people have *no* sense of humour. This isn't a hoax. Hoaxes are, generally speaking, at least marginally believable. There is usually an attempt on the part of the hoaxers to actually convince others that what they are claiming is true. This, OTOH, is *obviously* a JOKE. I mean, come on... 4 gigs on a tape? The webserver powered on 4 "AA" batteries (double coupon day)? Heck, even tim knew it was a joke: "Something seems extremely suspicious about that server..."! OTOH, at least I can now see just how thick some Slashdotters are...
    • Not only that, "all I/O done through the headphone jack"? Right. Sure.

      (And is the plural of "walkman" walkmans or walkmen?)

    • No way! POOP and PUKE were Tany embrace extentions. They thought they would rule the BASIC world with their superior technology. VB would run databases, email, ecomerce and webservers!

      See, they really knew what they were doing but those spoilsports in Redmond, M$, took over the world with their inferior version of BASIC that they bundled with the OS. It has caused untold missery across the world. Millions of Dollars have been lost, hundreds of millions of man hours wasted trying to fix things. It would all be OK if only they had POOP and PUKE.

      Timex Sinclair also had superior IT, and my site uses a 1600, much expanded. It takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

    • Re:I call bullshit (Score:2, Informative)

      by sommere ( 105088 )
      Adapting a Walkman for I/O when 99% of walkman don't have a record head?

      you obvously didn't have a trs-80... I had one, and I used a audio tape to save my basic programs. Yeah, its a joke, you can't save 4GB on an audio cassette, but using a cassette tape for a TRS-80 is quite real.

      • Of course, I still have some of my earliest z80 code on cassette somewhere still in my basement (the integrated monitor on my ModelIII died and I never got around to trying to get it fixed while there might have been replacements parts around, now forget it. Man, I never should have donated that model 1 to the library!)

        I think the point is that without a record head, a walkman would be pretty useless for a TRS-80 (unless you already had the data on tape and just wanted read-only).

        Yeah, this is obviously a joke. Part of me was momentarily hopeful that someone had actually hacked a TRS-80 into a http server, though. ;-)

    • You mean the Spud Server [] wasn't real!?

      Next you're going to tell me that computers can't really date [] and that it really isn't this easy to hack [] a computer!

      Now I'm beginning to wonder if even Project E.U.N.U.C.H. [] is true.

  • Assuming it does work (which it looks like it might), calling that a port of apache is like calling INPUT $NAME: PRINT "HELLO "+$NAME a port of MS Word for my Apple II. Sure, it prints some stuff out... Configurable stuff, at that... But...

    That site is great -- funny as hell.


    p.s. Sorry if my BASIC is rusty -- it has been like 15 years.
    • 10 PRINT "LINUX 2.4.7-OLD"
      20 PRINT "LOGIN: "
      30 INPUT LOGIN$
      40 PRINT "PASSWORD: "
      60 GOTO 10

      You don't notice this until you actually try: after a few years of Perl programming, it's hard to put those dollar signs at the end, and even harder to leave off the semi-colons. :-(


      • The $ goes in front of string variables.


        At least it did in 1977.

      • You don't notice this until you actually try: after a few years of Perl programming, it's hard to put those dollar signs at the end, and even harder to leave off the semi-colons. :-(

        ...and it's even harder to use two-letter variable names.

        I assume you meat U$ and PW$ (or DIM PW$,7 - see getpwnam(3) man page!)... not lame long names like LOGIN$ and PASSWORD$, those weren't there until DOS and QBasic.

        Well, I suppose I will use cc64 [] and raw 6502 assembler for my microcomputing needs. Commodore basic was one of the most hideous programming environments Microsoft has ever produced =)

      • Heheh. Indeed. I've been so Perl-ized that I even looked at their code to remind me how strings were done in BASIC again, and I still managed to get it wrong.

        And as that other guy pointed out, I'm a dumbass. That program really does (again, assuming it works) perform the function of a httpd server, so I shouldn't make fun of that. But it's no more a port of apache than linux is a port of MS-DOS. Still very cool, though.

  • by lordpixel ( 22352 ) on Thursday August 09, 2001 @04:03PM (#2152919) Homepage
    Slashdot comment wrapping may break this URL: mo de_w=on&

    Besides, the webserver page claims all the data for the images is stored on a TDK cassette tape. They say "we estimate we can get 4gb on the tape before we have to turn it over".

    Its a joke guys. A funny one, but a joke ;)
  • Why not? It is a nice example of people coming together, making some funny pictures out of real life and go and make them a clock. I don't care if this is "too much time on your hands production", but I like it. It is a waste of bandwidth ... So what? Stupid people talking on their mobile phones about things like "honey I left the office and I will be home in half an hour" and jamming up the capacity of the mobile phone cells during rush hour are wasting bandwidth, too ...
    • Re:Nice (Score:5, Funny)

      by Fjord ( 99230 ) on Thursday August 09, 2001 @04:16PM (#2112129) Homepage Journal
      Stupid people talking on their mobile phones about things like "honey I left the office and I will be home in half an hour"

      Spoken like an unmarried man.

  • by jgaynor ( 205453 ) <> on Thursday August 09, 2001 @04:00PM (#2153073) Homepage

    From the site:

    On Tuesday the server went down for about 12 hours because the AA batteries in it died and I had to go out and buy new ones.

    And you think this thing can stand up to the usual slashdot-gangbang? Novel idea but you'd better invest in some real hardware if you're gonna put up Geeky cool content like this!

  • by Anonu ( 233018 ) on Thursday August 09, 2001 @04:12PM (#2156527) Journal
    For people who came after the /. effect, here is the text of how they made their server:

    With names like Western Family, Realistic, Tandy and TDK;'s middle-management attempts to cut every corner possible when it comes to industrial-strength webhosting. Many web hosting companies use expensive servers with complex software for their web operations. Our engineering staff rewrote the popular Apache webserver software to run on an 18 year-old portable computer with 32k of memory. runs on a Radio Shack 2.4mhz TRS-80 Model 100 portable computer, using a stripped-down version of the Apache webserver software (version 100-BASIC.12 beta). The graphic files are stored on magnetic tape accessed via a modified Radio Shack personal cassette player (CAT NO. 14-1215). The webserver is powered by a 6 volt TRS-80 AC Adaptor (CAT NO. 26-3804). We take our web hosting very seriously at, therefore we have installed 4 "AA" batteries in the webserver in case of power failure. Whereas some battery backup systems last for only 20 minutes and cost hundreds of dollars, our power backup solution lasts for 20 hours and costs $2.49, (due to it being double coupon Tuesday). In the case of power outage however, it takes our webserver about one second to come back online, something that would take a common UNIX/NT system over two minutes.

    Apache software in action We hired a crack team of crafty crack monkeys that were able to modify the Apache source code and reduce it down to a 25k text file that runs under the BASIC interpreter native to the Tandy TRS-80 Model 100. Those were some smart monkeys. Our engineering department was able to rewire this ordinary personal cassette player (not to be confused with a "walkman"), to handle the vast storage needs that requires.

    All I/O is performed through the headphone jack. The storage media consists of a single TDK type I cassette tape. The "Rigid-Construction cassette mechanism" gave our IT deparment an overwhelming sense that it was 65 cents well spent. We estimate that roughtly 4 gigabytes of data can be stored before we have to turn over the cassette and record over the side labeled "Kick ass Toto mix tape".

  • Damn, that's hysterical.

    If anyone's wondering, the TRS-80 Model 100 really does look like that, it really does run 24 hours on 4 AA batteries, it really does have 32K of RAM, and it really is 2.4MHz. The reason it takes one second to reboot is because there are no drives; everything is stored in 32 of RAM (including the operating system, all programs, and all files).

    The port on the left side that these guys have an Ethernet cable plugged into is a DB-9 port labeled BDR (Bar Code Reader). I've never tried connecting anything to it; the manual says nothing about how to use it (it just says "special Bar Code Reader software is required" and has pinouts in the appendix). I'd imagine it's probably RS-232 serial...

    My casette player is the CCR-81 Model 26-1208A, looks quite a bit different from theirs, and doesn't seem to have a catalog number printed on it. The TRS-80 itself is catalog number 26-3802.

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