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back to article Flying Toaster screen savers return on GitHub

A Washington-based coder named Bryan Braun has recreated one of the curiosities of the early PC age: animated screensavers featuring flying toasters. And the resurrection has been effected using cascading style sheets. For the young or forgetful, the late eighties and early 90s were the time of the animated screensaver. The …

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Burn in was easy to achieve

We had a lot of burned in monitors at one place I worked. These were mainly due to running the same software for extended periods. eg. the monitor for the access control system.

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Re: Burn in was easy to achieve

Perhaps the author is also one of "the young or forgetful" (perhaps the former?), but I've had a lot of monitors with screen burn. The top left corner would have a C:> burnt in, and POS terminals would literally show the same grid when you turned them off. Of course, flying toasters won't run on TTL, but when we got the more recent colour CRTs, then burn in became very much less common - though still possible.

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Re: Burn in was easy to achieve

Macs as well, the Apple menu, File and Edit were usually burnt in - heck, my 24" iMac also has them als persistence, when I switch into full screen mode; I can see a ghost of the menu bar for a few minutes after a film has started.

Same on my Samsung ATIV tablet.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Burn in was easy to achieve

Also DOS Sage was very prone to this. And some LCD monitors got it really badly. But flying toasters didn't fix the problem because, of course, they didn't fly over the affected windows.

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Re: Burn in was easy to achieve

I was going to say the same thing. Every CRT I've ever seen that was hooked up to a DOS system back in the day had burn in, and a healthy chunk of the ones that were hooked up to Windows 3.x did to. The worst I've seen was a 60 inch big screen set up for public information with that annoying "It is now safe to turn off your computer" notice that Windows 95.

The burn in on my one of old monitors showed me exactly where I was the night I fell asleep playing Nethack.

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Re: Burn in was easy to achieve

Yup in my first proper IT job we had several monitors in the server room that had a bad case of burn in. In particular the old green screen monitor connected to our MS Mail server was completely useless unless you wanted to look at the main menu. The monitors connected to our Netware servers weren't much better.

I could never understand why they were on in the first place though, why not leave them off to save power & prevent burn in and only turn them on when needed?

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Re: Burn in was easy to achieve

My favourite example of burn-in was the early Reuters terminals. These had an alert box that was always on display but when there were no alerts to be displayed would display the REUTERS dotted logo. Thus the screens would display the company logo even when turned off.

(Very difficult to find a screen grab from that era but here's a BBC story that includes an image: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/2775965.stm )

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Re: Burn in was easy to achieve

@sisk, upvote for Nethack reference!

You hear the howling of the CwnAnnwn...

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Re: Burn in was easy to achieve

Exactly.

There was a brief period where CRTs were cheaper than hard drives, I used to use them for backups. Just leave your document open 48 hours then it was permanently stored on the screen.

In the end I found that storing CRTs in the basement was a very cost effective way to manage our backups, and was promoted for saving the company over a million dollars. My replacement was burning CRTs all the way up to 1998. Good times.

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Re: Burn in was easy to achieve

Exactly.

There was a brief period where CRTs were cheaper than hard drives, I used to use them for backups. Just leave your document open 48 hours then it was permanently stored on the screen.

In the end I found that storing CRTs in the basement was a very cost effective way to manage our backups, and was promoted for saving the company over a million dollars. My replacement was burning CRTs all the way up to 1998. Good times.

You're a couple weeks early for April 1.

I have trouble believing you'd do this rather than just printing the documents in question if you were going to go that route. Funny story though.

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Re: Burn in was easy to achieve

There was a brief period where CRTs were cheaper than hard drives, I used to use them for backups.

Very nice! You should have gotten more upvotes for that.

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Re: Burn in was easy to achieve

hell, it's still easy to achieve. I have a display that has CCTV cameras running on it. shut it off and the grid remains.

(there is no screen-saver on it, for obvious reasons)

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Still is easy to acheive

On plasma screens. My flatmate has a horrible habit of falling asleep on the lounge while watching something on Foxtel, and now we have a faint "End of Recorded Program" burnt into the middle of the screen.

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Re: Still is easy to acheive

And it also still happens to some LCD screens. One of my calculators has light-brownish 0 burnt in that is visible even when the calculator is off. You can tell that it's burn-in and not the real thing because the digits are supposed to be black.

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Re: Still is easy to acheive

The dangers of burn-in.... :

http://www.blameitonthevoices.com/2009/12/free-tv-on-craigslist.html

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When did the flying toasters fly away?

After a quick 'apt-get install xscreensaver-gl-extra' the toasters were flying just like they used to in the days of the CRT.

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Johnny Castaway

Must code a recreation of that sometime, although I'm not convinced I ever saw all the events. The pirate ship was a particular favourite.

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Re: Johnny Castaway

I miss Kitten Shaver (and its Easter egg mode Bloody Kitten Shaver).

Good, clean, innocent, sadistic fun

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Pirate

Ahhh yes, the After Dark screensaver

The most pirated software of the day at my place of work, and all on 3.5" diskettes.

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Headmaster

"...which reveal that rebuilding the screensaver wasn't seem horridly complex."

...unlike, apparently, the effort required to construct a cogent sentence regarding same.

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Terminator

Now I know where the idea of Cylons comes from!!

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From the 1960s thru' the mid-late 1980s ...

... "screen burn" was a fact of life. It wasn't until the second generation VGA screens that it became something that wasn't exactly an issue.

The "screen burn problem" entered into "common knowledge" myth, and so-called "screen-savers" became a simple way to separate fools from their money roughly when Windows 3.0 appeared. Roughly at the same time, "Oh, look, how pretty!" became Apple's business model (Anyone but me remember Taligent & Pink? Talk about your brain on drugs ...)

The computer literate amongst us had been blanking the screen when not in use before Fidonet existed.

I still have my computer blank the screen after ten minutes of non-use. Not because of "burn in", but rather because nobody but my wife should be eyeballing my main computer screen (yes, she has the root password to all my systems).

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Joke

Rooting your wife??

Westboro Baptists'll be around in a flash!

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I've seen burn in on more recent monitors

Including an LCD attached to a server that had the Win 2000 locked dialogue burned into it

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Gimp

here's a challenge:

Make a "flying toaster" screensaver where the chrome toasters show ray-traced reflections of the webcam image so you can see your distorted image in each of them!

There must be a way to keep CPU and GPU load up during idle periods even in this day and age.

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Happy

Re: here's a challenge:

"There must be a way to keep CPU and GPU load up during idle periods even in this day and age."

There are many indeed. Many have the general form of *@home

Like the idea of the reflections in the toaster too.

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Re: here's a challenge:

There must be a way to keep CPU and GPU load up during idle periods even in this day and age.

Surely you can think of more useful ways to do that than a screen saver. Mining? Folding? Calculating pi out to 10 billion significant digits?

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Re: here's a challenge:

"There must be a way to keep CPU and GPU load up during idle periods even in this day and age."

Back in the day (since we're all being nostalgic) that was catered for by 3D Pipes (which iirc was OpenGL) screensaver quite nicely. Not the best thing to have as your screensaver on a server (if you were unfortunate enough to have a windows box as some sort of a server).

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Ah yes....

'Burn-in turned out to be very difficult to achieve'...

Obviously the author never stood on the concourse at Paddington attempting to decipher the times on the overhead CRT screens at the end of each platform.

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Re: Ah yes....

Or used a monochrome cash point.

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Re: Ah yes....

Yesterday, a platform display at Nottingham station was repeatedly rebooting. This involves showing its IP address...

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If I remember correctly ...

... the original flying toaster was a random event in the Fish Tank screen saver, in 2D swimming across the screen: none of this fancy 3D stuff!

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Anonymous Coward

Is it just me or were 'toaster screen savers' those folding@home or Seti screen savers that drove CPU to 100% toasting your system whilst the screensaver was running?

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No

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Someone was an Airplane fan

I bet it was originally inspired by this album cover.

Err, have you seen the saucers?

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Go

Cool

Let's toast to that!

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TRT
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I tried to download the streaming video of it...

but it just stopped and said "Buttering (20%)..."

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Re: I tried to download the streaming video of it...

ah, you're an old crusty.

Do you have any other mar-maladies?

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Re: I tried to download the streaming video of it...

I just wanted to prevent screen bun.

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Burn in even in LCDs

Yep, seen it too. We have a couple of 5+ yo LCDs with the image of our machine controller software permanently etched into the screen--you can even read text. Not as bad as their CRT predecessors, which were burnt so badly you could even read the etched text with the power off and the screen dark.

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Re: Burn in even in LCDs

If I'm not mistaken early LCDs were even worse about burn in than CRTs. That could just be an artifact of my memory though, or possibly the fact that I'm comparing 1st gen LCDs to late gen CRTs.

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Bring back Bill Posters.scr

is all I have to say on the matter.

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Green/Amber

Monochrome monitors with Hercules drivers were the worst, didn't see it much on CGA or VGA monitors as the whites we not so bright.

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Happy

Re: Green/Amber

Yep, used to help my old man with some kit where he worked, they had a couple of green sceens attached to 286s on a 386 Concurrent DOS network ( anyone remember Concurrent-DOS? ). Each one had the DOS DataEASE menu screen burned in, it used to stay there even after the power was pulled.

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Best Screensaver

I have seen all the above burn-ins on terminals PC and Mac.

My favourite screen saver was the guiness one. Cove approaches monitor screen, looks at you, taps screen and nahh nahh diddle diddle nahh nahh.

Sheer and utter marketing and technical genius.

I also liked frightening the chaps by putting BSOD screen savers on critical machines.

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Re: Best Screensaver

During a job interview, I was asked to decipher one of those "fake screensaver" bluescreens, happened to be a faked cdrom drive issue in that particular case - of course, the guy was laughing when I tried to touch the power button ... I got the job but refused it, the position was not technically demanding enough for me ...

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Facepalm

Screensaver Burn IN

My first VGA monitor was really cheap. When i got home i noticed some writing on the screen, with some other ascii characters for decoration around it. It was a square repeating itself over and over down the screen with the fabled words(or rather similar):

"This screensaver has started to protect your screen from damage"

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I had an LCD with burn-in from the Windows start button...

...I wonder if its of any interest to Windows 8.0 users?

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Re: I had an LCD with burn-in from the Windows start button...

>...I wonder if its of any interest to Windows 8.0 users?

Well, they will get the tiles burnt in ...

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Cool article, cool CSS. I am not sure screen savers ever went away, they just became less important when monitors learned to switch themselves off.

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