Show cover of Jason Scott Talks His Way Out of It

Jason Scott Talks His Way Out of It

Historian and loudmouth Jason Scott shares stories of technology, retrocomputing, documentary filmmaking, and general schennanigans from his decades of travels and research. From experiences on the road while shooting documentaries to often-obscure points of order, Jason keeps a fast-moving pace and even he doesn't know where we're ending up at the end.


The TEXTFILES.COM Downtime Episode
The TEXTFILES.COM Downtime Episode: A Strange Voicemail, E-mails, Downtime!, Considering Loss, Host Loyalty, A Simple Job, Bringing it Back, a Momentary Skip, The Meaning of It All. Plus: Ignore the Letters An article on the occasion of the unexpected downtime of TEXTFILES.COM. Here is an interesting situation for the Patreon backers of the podcast - the machine is actually still down. After editing the episode, I discovered catastrophic disk errors and while the machine can come "back", the disk issues cause it all to come down a few hours later, so a replacement has been ordered and the sites are all down. They'll be back, but I guess enjoy the fact you heard this episode in the twilight zone before I set up the new server. Thanks again for everything.
15:37 08/29/2022
The Secrets From The Future Episode
The Secrets From The Future Episode: Fun But What About Projects, Faces in AI, MC Frontalot, Damien Hess, Focus and Exacting, A Midjourney Music Video, Key Phrases, Banned Words, Interesting Limits, Shipping to Frontalot, A Final Work, The Fake First. Also: QUESTION BEDTIME. The tale of using my Midjourney account to illustrate an MC Frontalot song. The result:  Images from the MC Frontalot video: 
18:35 08/08/2022
The Midjourney Descent Episode
The Midjourney Descent Episode: Where It All Goes Wrong, The First Few Notes, What We've Already Changed, What Is Coming, Nightmares and A Shifting Lens, The Role of the Artist, Drawing People Wrong, What Art in Prompts. What goes up, must come down - some thoughts on what Midjourney and products like it could bring to the world, and some stirred memories long ago of what art even has been to me. This is the second of three episodes about Midjourney.
19:12 08/01/2022
The Midjourney Ascent Episode
The Midjourney Ascent Episode: Not a Pitch, A Long Forgotten Feeling, Text to Image in A Few Sentences, The Moment of Power, The Sharing of Friends, The Excitement, A Small Chat, A Hope For More Moments. An introduction to the Text to Image generator MidJourney which I've been spending some time playing with, getting in while the getting is good, before it all comes crashing down. This is the first of three episodes about the situation.
16:01 07/25/2022
The Basquiat Episode
The Basquiat Episode: Visiting the Museum, The Phases and Rooms, The Nightclub and Giftshop, Lessons Learned, What is the Purpose, Ice Cream Machine, Inspiration from Logistics, A Strange Lesson Learned, The Real Work of Art. Some thoughts after walking through an exhibit of the works of Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988). 
16:03 07/18/2022
A Chat with Dad.
29:54 07/15/2022
The Prank Call Episode
The Prank Call Episode: An Early Call, The Disappointed Monk, Phones and BBSes as Refuge, Learning Voice Skills, An Eternal Battlefield, The Landline Stare, Middle Distance, Holding Your Own, A Breakdown Of The Disappointing Challenger, Inviting The World to Prank, A Welcome Second Prank Call. A rumination on prank calling and the unspoken rules within, as well as why people know my number. Some time ago, I compiled the many hours of recorded prank calls people had uploaded to the Internet Archive, and they're listenable here:
16:16 07/13/2022
The U-Matic Episode
The U-Matic Episode: A Brand New Brand Old Format, The Tapes of Mark Pines, Broadcast Quality, Working But Not Working, A Street Corner Transaction, The First Steps, Success, The Unintended Bought Pain, Integrating U-Matic, A Cave of Wires. Some thoughts on the event of the reception of a U-Matic tape machine into my workflow and the near-miraculous situation that I haven't broken it yet.
19:01 07/11/2022
The Boundary Check Episode
The Boundary Check Episode: Why I Like Frameworks, Limits, The Edge of What I Thought Computers Could Do, ASCII and High Code, Magic Tricks, A Non-Existent Friend, Custom Sprites and Characters, Frames, Boxes, Music, Art, Being Comfortable In The Box, Being Aware of the Box, Finding a New Box. Also: Explaining the NES. Some ruminations of how much I really fall into boundaries and limits rather than trying to constantly upend structure, and where that might come from. I do still dream of how to do custom sprites on Atari 8-Bit machines, though!
13:56 06/13/2022
The Limited Time Episode
The Limited Time Episode: Under the Weather, Goals, Plans, Assessments, Considerations. Ends Are Always Messy, Roller Coaster Lifespans, Plans, Priorities and the Legend of Cheese Hands. A quick self-assessment of priorities and goals in life; an affirmation what has happened and what will happen.
13:13 06/06/2022
The WJST Episode
The WJST Episode: Airchecks, Mike Schweitzer, Special Days, Radio Transition, The Discovery of WJST, Songs in the Air, Rubber Tubes, Reel to Reels, Baking, Digitization, The Miracle Flight of Jet Radio Audio, Jet Music Everywhere. And: Justifying The App. Some discussion of WJST radio, a collection of easy listening for the air, collected and digitized and listenable right now at as well as many related materials from the same group. The Mike Schweizer Aircheck Collection is at and is part of the larger aircheck collection which is at
13:13 05/30/2022
The Wonderswan Episode
The Wonderswan Episode: A Little Extra Free Time, 35 Minutes, The Wonderswan's Story, Boring Emulation, Vertical/Horizontal, The Extra Work, Joy From Obscurity, The Perfect Grey Market, Hashes and Dumps, The Joy to Play. Announcing the Wonderswan collection at which has settled down to about 260 games, all playable and all rather interesting, especially if the Swan was never a part of your life, like me.
15:46 05/23/2022
The Tax Bill Episode
The Tax Bill Episode: The Bill, The Reasoning, A Silly Misunderstanding, A Misunderstanding Without End, Understanding Stress, Living a Life, A Giddy Fire, A Walk Well Taken, A Promise. A quick meditation on some current tax issues I'm dealing with because of the podcast.              
11:44 05/16/2022
The City Reliquary and Panorama Episode
The City Reliquary and Panorama Episode: My Friend Eric Drysdale, A Last-Minute Spot, The Experience of the City Reliquary, The Mid-Century Panorama, Curation of Collections, The Success of the Experience, A Look Instead of a Glance, A Drowned Car, An Inspiration. Some words on the Mid-Century Stereo Panorama. The website: Which took place at the City Reliquary:
09:30 05/09/2022
The Severance Fox Episode
The Severance Fox Episode:  Two Media Experiences. Puzzle Fox, Zelda Not Zelda, Bewilderment, Ancient Instructions, Severance, Offices, Eero Saarinen, T. J. Watson, Visitation, Hallways, Warrens, Fonts, Machines. An acknowledgement of two modern media experiences I've had that push back through childhood and memories, and the unexpected love I have for a sterile place.
14:21 05/06/2022
The Compuserve Miracle Episode
The Compuserve Miracle Episode: Keeping Secrets, Compuserve's Place, Incredible Ads, The Cost, Dinner Jacket, How a Teenager Got On, The Miracle That Is No Longer a Miracle, Hints and Rumors, The Big Announcement. Regarding a bounty of Compuserve that has fallen (partially) into my hands, and what Compuserve means to me.
11:51 05/03/2022
The Blunders and Mistakes Episode
The Blunders and Mistakes Episode: Pick-Up, Zappa, Disk Switch, Rocking Tow, Crash Cart. Some stories of me in the middle of blunders both due to me and completely out of my control.
16:25 04/01/2022
The New Generation of Sorting Episode
The New Generation of Sorting Episode: A New Feature Lands, A Rediscovery of My Love of Sorting, Pulp Fiction Redux, The Approach and the Result, A Teenager's Categories, The Next Mountains, The Reason Behind it All. A rumination of the act of sorting and presentation, and remembering why I do this. is ready for your attentions and enjoyment.
12:29 03/30/2022
The 75 Bad VHS Tapes Episode
The 75 Bad VHS Tapes Episode: A Simple Review, A Horrible Revelation, Diagnosis, Determination, A Crossroads, Volunteer Rescue, The Solution, The Forward Moving, An Iterative Process. A story of a terrible mistake found by random, and the efforts to unravel the knot. To enjoy some fansubs with goodsound:
16:58 03/23/2022
The Mini-Appler Episode
The Mini-Appler Episode: A Classroom Epiphany, Beautiful Boot, 612 BBSes, Safehouse, Midwest Pirates' Guild, Gods Among Us, BBS Documentary, A Living Room Interview, The Art of Luding, Applesauce, A Day Late, The Golden Wake.   A full interview with MPG is here: Here's beautiful boot in action: There are many games and programs by Mini Appler/Matt Dornquast around, here's a terminal program written in his teens:
20:44 03/16/2022
The HarvardNet Redux Episode
The HarvardNet Redux Episode: HarvardNet Memories, Fraud and Deceit, The Wonder of a Datacenter, Tiles and Carpet, Loud and Cold, Remote at Any Cost, A Difference of a Year, Smiles and Grimaces, HarvardNet's Doom, See Ya, Pal. A rather ramshackle and rambunctious episode in memory of a wild friend now lost. Also, HarvardNet Sucks.
12:10 03/11/2022
The Blender Episode
The Blender Episode: Learning Blender, Doing Nothing, 3D Studio, The Raytraced Canvas of My Yore, A Canvas In Time, Capsela, Knobs and Tubes, The Tools I Now Have, Boom Box, The Missing Imagination. Less a review than a set of thoughts of my interactions with Blender, the free 3D Program now at version 3.0. 
17:28 03/07/2022
The Job Evaluation Episode
The Job Evaluation Episode: A Yearly Check-in, My Strange Job, The Heaps of Inbox, 100,000 Wojacks, Why It Gets Done, The Need to Continue, A Prediction. January is job self-evaluation at the Archive and it put me in the mood of why I keep doing all this, and here's where I am about my place in this magnificent contraption. If you need 100,000 Wojacks, they're here: 
14:05 03/04/2022
The Mountain of VHS Episode
The Mountain of VHS Episode: Back in the Saddle, The Depth of VHS, The Variant Quality, The Results of Digitizing VHS, VHS Vault, A Very Large Auction, 3 Days to Victory, Why Save VHS, Helping Hands, The Foggy Road Ahead. A tale of how I went from having what I thought was a lot of videotapes to having entirely too many videotapes. These tapes are safe and will begin getting digitized later this year. As I explain in the episode, my health is back to normal; thanks for all the kind words.
19:04 03/02/2022
The JoCo Cruise Crazy Episode (4 of 4)
The JoCo Cruise Crazy Episode (4 of 4) Endings, Disembarking, Memories. Never Again, Inner Ear, The Food and The Sea. Highlights and Memories, Not Another Community, Ever Shortening Time, A Cruise as Reality, The Continuing JoCo Cruises, Memories Forever. Plus: A Sickness.            
11:40 02/23/2022
The JoCo Cruise Crazy Episode (3 of 4)
The JoCo Cruise Crazy Episode (3 of 4) Days at Sea. Meeting The Crew, A Lifeboat Break, A False Island, The Acts and Shows. Wil Wheaton. Coulton as Conductor, Poverty and Vacation, Capsule Hotel, Laser Tag Near Laser Tag, I Got It, No I Really Got It, Lost at Sea.
15:34 02/22/2022
The JoCo Cruise Crazy Episode (2 of 4)
The JoCo Cruise Crazy Episode (2 of 4) Onboard, Walking The Ship, Industrial Luxury, Joco Cruise Convention Crazy, The Realms of a Ship, Meeting the Acts, Connections and Discussions, David Rees, The Internet Temperance League, A Well-Seasoned Seagoing Couple.
13:59 02/21/2022
The JoCo Cruise Crazy Episode (1 of 4)
The JoCo Cruise Crazy Episode (1 of 4) Who is Jonathan Coulton, A Thinking Musician, New Things, Home Concerts, Cruise Offer, Geek Cruises, First Signup, A Series of Shocks, An A la Carte Vacation, Boarding the Gangplank.
14:37 02/20/2022
The Most Precious Manual Episode
The Most Precious Manual Episode: Dude Ranch, Open Door, Asteroids, The Purpose of a Manual, The Secrets Within, My Awakening to Arcade Creators, The First Collection, The Millions of Manuals, Forgive Me. A story of a summer I risked electric shock to get a different kind of shock.
12:39 01/10/2022
The  Million Paperclips and Midday Nap Episode
The  Million Paperclips and Midday Nap Episode. Two intertwining stories of youth wasted at the International Business Machines corporation. 
17:33 01/07/2022