Monthly Archives: March 2016

A Second Look Back at My Beginnings

Illustration by Fran Davis for Nancy Haberman.

Illustration by Fran Davis for Nancy Haberman.

I was 20 years old with almost no professional work experience to my credit (unless you count selling movie theater tickets), plus I was about to become a college dropout, so I felt really lucky to have landed a job working with computers as a “computer operator trainee” and keypunch operator. 

One night about six weeks into the job, it was work as usual, just like any of the other long and lonely swing shifts, except that night there must have been a crimp in one of the punch cards. I stood alone in disbelief, while the computer belched up hundreds of cream-colored 80-column punch cards, spewing them into the room. 

They collided high in the air, pouring down all around me, leaving me knee deep in data. Eventually, the data storm tapered off and the last punch card drifted gracefully down to the gray industrial carpet. The weary Univac 9600 coughed up the sum total of its cards in the thousands, leaving me, the bewildered novice, down on the floor facing the prospect of an all-night clean-up and sorting job. 

While I was gathering up the punch cards, I recalled the time when I was five years old, and I was duped by my big sister for the umteenth time into playing this fun, new card game called “52-pickup.” I can’t even count the number of times I fell for that one. Eventually I would wise up, so she changed the name to “Round ’em up, cowgirl”—and I was sucked in again. Call me gullible.

This time a game with a new name had me picking up hundreds of cards instead of the familiar fifty-two. I straightened the cards, about the size of a business envelope, placing them all face side up, weeding out any that were bent or torn so that I could duplicate the information on them before placing them back into the mix. 

As I sat on the floor, surrounded by a blanket of cards, I set about the task of collecting, duplicating and sorting the mass of the mangled media. Silly as it might seem, I was captivated by those 80-column punchcards. That’s when I started ruminating on how all “those little holes” worked. 

This “happy” accident and the night-long salvage operation set me on on a journey into a world rich with digital information. That night back in 1971 I began my love / hate relationship with computers.

Art Imitate Life Imitates Art

Calendar Printing at Your Fingertips

Girl Meets World calendar

Oak Creek Printworks printed this “Girl Meet World” calendar as a season wrap gift for the cast and crew of the popular Disney sitcom. Each month featured a collage of still images from the “Season 2” shows.

Using the current batch of do-it-yourself calendar and bookmaking software, you can create your own custom calendar or book and print it on your inkjet or laser printer.

Get started using the free Apple or Microsoft photo editing software. Apple computers come loaded with an application called Photo. The PC equivalent is Microsoft’s free Photo Editor, which is a free download from their site. Each program enables its user to import jpg images into the respective software.

Once imported you can use the photo editing tools in Photo/Photo Editor, or, edit the images in your choice of software, saving the edited file in a compatible format, like jpg.

Oak Creek Printworks printed this “Girl Meets World” Calendar from an Acrobat PDF file created with Apple’s Photo. We printed it on our Konica Minolta C6500 production printer, making it cost effective to print large quantities of multi-page documents.

If you want to turn your Photo/Photo Editor book or calendar project into a file that can be printed by anyone, you can “Print your file to an  Adobe Acrobat PDF (portable document format),” save and send to your choice of printers.

Contact Oak Creek Printworks for a quote on printing and binding your custom book or calendar project.

My Digital Beginnings

punchcard

Ever since visiting the Bank of America building on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue in the 1960s, becoming a computer operator was my dream. Do you recognize this card? Way back in 1971, the 80-column punchcard marked the beginning of my digital life.

I labored alone on the swing shift at local manufacturing plant, and when my work was completed in the wee hours of the morning, I searched for something to keep me busy until it was time to clock out.

Lucky for me, I found a stack of punchcards labeled Mona Lisa, and when I ran the program, nonsense characters lined up one after another, as they plotted out an image of Mona Lisa on the blue and white striped page.

Thus began my love affair with digital art. Not long afterwords I began a study of art and graphic design, dead set on the concept that computers could and would make art.

ascii_mona_lisa_by_mikenu