Halt and Catch Fire: 10BROAD36
July 6, 2015 2:42 AM - Season 2, Episode 6 - Subscribe

On this week's AMC's Nerd Men: Jacob forces Joe to re-evaluate Mutiny's contract. SexyBeard and the kids visit Uncle Henry. The Mutiny crew tries to steal HBO, but almost ends up with Skinemax instead, and get a visit from Admiral Eyebrows.

The episode starts with Joe trying to work out how estranged he is from Sara, until he gets a call from Jacob regarding Mutiny's contract values. Gordon visits his brother to tell him the news, while Donna breaks her news to her mother. After negotiations break down, Joe draws lofty goals for Mutiny - but his vision for the future clashes with Camerons.
posted by lmfsilva (14 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Thoughts:

Dammit, Gordon. Stop crossing things off the bucketlist.

Am I the only one that thinks that Joe might have a point? He's still a giant scheming ass, but he knows what he's doing (and even got Tom to underestimate his tech savvy), and... well, he's right. He knows what the competitors in the online services offer, he knows that hedging everything on a single platform is not a good idea. I mean, Boz hates Joe, and even he thought his ideas would improve the company. Why bother in trying to dupe him out, when they could have quickly implemented all things they actually did, and ask for a small time extension for multi-platform?

I guess the Westgroup takeover will be the lead to the season/series finale. Cameron won't accept it because Joe/Corporate and Tom would follow her, but everyone else would. Donna would have to stop running everything (and eventually Gordon will have to tell her he's dying), Boz could get something like his old job back and the kids that were paid in shares would actually get both a payoff AND a paying job.

I wonder if this season will end with Mutiny being sold, while Cameron returns and torches the place. So that Joe knows how does that feel etc.
posted by lmfsilva at 3:35 AM on July 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


This show has really snuck up on me -- I caught the first episode of the season, and then about a week ago went back and filled in the season one backstory. It's really benefiting from increasing the focus on Cameron and Donna, and has become the show I look forward to the most week to week after Hannibal.

Joe's right about Unix, but Cameron's remark about how having stock quotes and news available on log-in being cutting edge for 1979 made me snort in recognition -- it brought me right back into sitting in site design meetings in the early 2000s, when management was convinced every site had to be a "total information portal."
posted by rewil at 8:58 AM on July 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think the stocks/news (like mail) was more of a way to make people spend more minutes in the service, not exactly be a cutting edge new tool. Joe knows that to sell the idea of Mutiny to Jacob he needs to make it profitable and not lacking compared to competitors.
posted by lmfsilva at 10:11 AM on July 6, 2015


And Mutiny succumbs to Zawinski's Law: “Every program attempts to expand until it can read mail. Those programs which cannot so expand are replaced by ones which can.”
posted by Small Dollar at 11:52 AM on July 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


I was a little confused by Joe's strategy. As I remembered it, UNIX was mostly used on minicomputers with serial terminals at that point. That's where I was using it anyway. So I went and looked it up and the AT&T Unix PC was a real thing.

Joe isn't wrong about the C64 being a boat anchor by the end of the decade, but he's totally wrong about building for the AT&T Unix PC. How many did he think they were going to sell to gaming nerds at $5,620? ($12,420.67 in 2015 dollars.) Also, the Mutiny crew had $5,620 to blow on a machine they cannibalized?

I'm trying to figure out how Mutiny fits into the landscape too. Joe mentions Compuserve, but Mutiny is closer to Q-Link which came out in 1985. They had all the things that Joe wants for Mutiny, but since it only ran on C64s and 128s, it got relegated to the dustbin of history.
posted by ob1quixote at 1:48 PM on July 6, 2015


Mutiny exists as a vehicle to allow the characters to exist at the margins of the computing industry indefinitely. They can't ever make it billionaire big or play any important role in history, but they can get acquihired and make a decent living in some forgotten anonymous corporation or startup.
posted by Small Dollar at 6:40 PM on July 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I was a little confused by Joe's strategy. As I remembered it, UNIX was mostly used on minicomputers with serial terminals at that point. That's where I was using it anyway. So I went and looked it up and the AT&T Unix PC was a real thing.

The AT&T 3B1 had a 68010 & had a number of expansion boards for networking & controlling a variety of peripherals like tape drives. It was largely marketed to scientists. It was kind of the little brother to the other 3B* systems which were developed to run the phone system on more advanced, fault-tolerant hardware but the same OS running the show.

Joe isn't wrong about the C64 being a boat anchor by the end of the decade, but he's totally wrong about building for the AT&T Unix PC. How many did he think they were going to sell to gaming nerds at $5,620? ($12,420.67 in 2015 dollars.) Also, the Mutiny crew had $5,620 to blow on a machine they cannibalized?

The whole point of the show is that the 4 of them are all visionaries occasionally too far ahead of their time. So every once in a while one of them has a responsibility to say something visionary that, with the benefit of hindsight, we all know is true. Cameron predicted the Internet in the very first episode. This is Joe's turn and he gets Unix.

It's funny how they cheat with the graphics. It was supposed to be a Commodore 64 emulating a 3B1 running Unix. 64's had no mouse interface except GEOS. But they need a way to keep directing your focus to pieces on the chess board as a setup for his punchline about 3 identical chess players, so they use a mouse to do it. I don't think the 3B1 would have had a GUI at the time either, FWIW. X windows had been written but I doubt it would have reached the 3B1 by then. They could have changed it around to be an Amiga 1000, they were out by then & had a very spiffy GUI by the standards of the day. But that would be too complex to follow. So, 64 with a mouse it is.
posted by scalefree at 9:36 PM on July 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


They've done a great job in season 2 of turning the focus to the interesting and sympathetic characters.
posted by drezdn at 9:38 AM on July 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


An open letter to the HaCF writers' room, in the wake of Donna's abortion.
posted by pxe2000 at 7:53 AM on July 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I keep remembering GEOS this season, as I recall it was the C64's somewhat answer to the Mac. And it was slow. I ran it, but all that was such a long time ago -- Ultima 3 and 4 I remember on the C64. (I would save basic programs off on cassette tape from the COmmodore PETs in grade school and run them on our Vic20 at home.)

I've actually been a little shocked at all the C64s this season, and really, the whole premise behind Mutiny. I don't see how a local bbs can be making money in 85... a couple of years later, perhaps. I think I saw (at the sysops house) a bbs running on a C64 (maybe connected with fidonet?) around 87. By '90 though BBSes were a thing, but I'm always a little fuzzy on the early 286 timeframe because I was into the Amiga. (And briefly ran a BBS off of an Amiga in the early 90s.)

But back to this episode: Joe is such a fucker! Also it was clear the minute she appeared that Gordon was going to sleep with that woman. I wasn't sure exactly how she got pissed off at him, except that post sex and dying was the lamest time to mention that he was dying.
posted by Catblack at 9:26 PM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


er, post sex and high, I mean.
posted by Catblack at 11:41 PM on July 27, 2015


From Mutiny's interface they're clearly using Quantum Link as the template, which was a 64-only online service accessed via X.25 dialups. Does anybody remember what became of QLink?
posted by scalefree at 4:28 PM on July 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Just to tie my question off, QLink's executives recognized the shift from Commodore to IBM, developed a PC client & renamed the service America Online in 1989.
posted by scalefree at 11:03 AM on July 17, 2017


I finally watched this episode yesterday and suddenly this post gets updated for the first time in a year. COINCIDENCE??
posted by tobascodagama at 1:04 PM on July 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


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