Samia Halaby is an 81-year-old Commodore Amiga artist

Originally published at:


Stark contrast between the dawn of personal computing which said come and program me, and the current state which says don’t touch that command line, it is not for such as you, end user!


I hope she knew Hal Lasko. What an art school they could have started.


That photo of Hal Lasko looks like a Rob Beschizza original; like he’s flipped the mouth upside down to form the eyes. Here is my rough MS Paint version in style of Maestro Beschizza.



Whenever I see a Rob post featuring one of those images I’m always overcome by a sense of unease long before I can identify the cause.


And she’s a Palestinian.

She’s very much on my wavelength, and has a giant studio, and is of a certain age. I wonder if she’d be into a sham marriage.


I wish this was how computers were taught in art school and I wish this is how art was explained to STEM people.


To be fair the systems that do have a command line don’t try to prevent end users from using it, they just don’t do much to draw anyone to it (for example macOS’s terminal runs when you double click it, you just can’t find it in “/Applications” with most of the other Mac apps, you need to go to “/Applications/Utilities” where stuff like the disk portioning utility live…vs. say the iPhone which doesn’t come with a command line…even “technically”, no sh, bash, zsh, ksh or the like in /bin or /sbin, and definitely no terminal emulator).


That matters because?

1 Like

I know, and I do think things are starting to get better (my nephew has some games on his iPad teaching him some basics of programming). It’s just that the relationship between the user and the computer went through a kind of brief dark age. It wasn’t just the companies that made the software. Users also developed a bit of techno-phobia. But I really do think a lot of the illiteracy about technology stems from that misconception that the underpinnings of software were accessible only to highly trained professionals and computer geeks.

One argument I’ve seen is that in the 80’s interest came from STEM people and that shifted when the wider public adopted the tech in the mid to late 90’s. But that’s really not the way it was. There was a brief period when computers were marketed as a portal to all the virtually limitless possibilities of programming, and then the companies that made the computers walled off their gardens. I don’t think people like Wozniak and Gates and Allen and Jobs intended to do that. I think it was just an unfortunate confluence of corporate motives and public perception. But it laid the foundation for abusive companies like Facebook to set themselves up as gatekeepers to technology that should and can be empowering to everyone, whether artists or AI programmers.


1 Like

I have always found that argument really compelling.

I’ll also go with when computers were entrusted with very little actually valuable data they didn’t need to be “protected” as well. Like if my C=64 got “hacked” I would have been very sad, but all I would have lost is my games and programs I had written (and in many cases the games were on hardware write protected disks…although I don’t know if the write protect notch’s power depending on the floppy disk drive’s firmware not having been changed, or if it really controlled power to the write head at a hardware level). If my computer today gets hacked, well, I still lose my games and my own programs, but I also lose control of my bank and brokerage and retirement accounts, and my life’s savings. I lose all my family photos. I lose rather a lot. So locking down that environment a bit harder can make some real “cost v. benefit” sense.

The Swift playground app is really cool (I don’t know if that is one of the ones you are looking at), you actually get use of a real language in that one.

1 Like

Thanks! I’ll check it out.

Because of the Occupation.

Okay. thanks.

Actually, being Palestinian seems to be a big deal to her.

So… she’s proud of her nationality? Is that bad?

Down with the Occupation!
Down with Apartheid!

Okay. I agree.

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.