de re digital

My first computer was an Atari 400 back in the days when programmes were loaded from cassette tape – I still have a pretty good ear for binary and can talk to most fax machines and modems – but with it came an amazing book entitled:

De Re Atari
Anno Domini MCMLXXXI

It is amazing for three reasons:
– it predated Apple’s risqué use of Roman Numerals when naming OS X by XVIII years;
– it was a book;
– it set out to explain the mysteries of BASIC, which for a ten year old was proof of nothing else than that the inventors of BASIC had a warped sense of humour when naming their programming language.

In later life as a Latin scholar I encountered other references to de re and realised that my interests in ancient literature and technology were more compatible than I had thought. So it seemed a fitting reference under which to file some thoughts about the digital worlds we occupy. Now where were those thoughts…

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