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Judy Malloy's Traversal of Uncle Roger

This traversal of Judy Malloy took place on Friday, September 6, 2013 at Malloy's office at Princeton University, where she has served as Visiting Faculty. It is divided into four videos.

We originally planned only to use Version 2 of the work––that is, the one sold commercially on floppy disk and requiring a vintage computer. However, taking Grigar's Apple IIe from her lab in Vancouver to Malloy's office was not possible due to cost of shipping. Malloy, however, had a colleague who gladly let us borrow his own. Unfortunately, halfway through the traversal, it broke, and we were relegated to using web version and the DOSBox emulation of Uncle Roger on Malloy's office Dell computer. The experience turned out to be fortuitous because traversing the work in both formats allowed us to experience many of the deviations between the second and third versions and strengthened our argument for the "collection" method of digital preservation. Assisting with the traversal and interview was Aaron Wintersong, Pathfinders' videographer, whom we flew with us to New Jersey. The commentary for the videos was written by Grigar.
Malloy Traversal, Part 1, "Unpacking and Loading Uncle Roger"
This video clip shows Malloy opening the packaging for Uncle Roger and discussing each element within it. She explains that the work was originally sold in 1987 as one file, "A Party in Woodside," but was expanded to include all three parts in 1988. We can see that the version of the documentation she displays differs from the one included in the packaging used in Pathfinders. She boots up "A Party in Woodside" on the Apple IIe and explains how one would read it. She quickly moves to "The Blue Notebook" and reads from it. The computer's aberrant flickering is noticeable; the computer later quit working.
Malloy Traversal, Part 2, "Examining Uncle Roger Through Emulation"
Malloy reads from her Dell PC because the flickering of the Apple IIe borrowed for the traversal proved to be bothersome. This shift in computer platforms provides the opportunity for her to point out some of the differences between the Apple and PC versions. She continues reading from "The Blue Notebook," explaining that it entails five different stories. Of note is the information Malloy provides that contextualizes the story within her personal experience with the early computer and chip industries, a time when producing the fastest chip was the prime goal and piracy was typical. At the end of the clip, Malloy begins a reading of "Terminals."
Malloy Traversal, Part 3, "Analyzing Terminals"
Malloy continues to read from the final file of Uncle Roger, "Terminals." This story sees Uncle Roger's main character Jenny move from the chip industry to a job in word processing. Malloy also explains the way in which Uncle Roger was programmed––as a series of files, numbered from 1 to 100, for which the user could evoke and combine on the command line. This narrative strategy is what leads Malloy to refer to the work as a database narrative. She also explains the way in which her next work, its name was Penelope, came about and the way it differs from Uncle Roger.

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