If you know what a CRT is, then you understand my dilemma. CRT is short for cathode ray tube. In essence, a CRT is the computer screen from the last century. Me and the green screen go back more years than I care to admit, so it was with mixed emotions that I installed the app Cathode on my Mac.
Think computer terminal from college days. Think green text on a black background. Think screen fonts from the computing dark ages of yesteryear.
That’s Cathode. It’s a Mac app that takes your screen backwards in time a few generations and it does so faithfully. Scarily faithful. Accurately to the point that I wondered aloud, ‘How did we ever do any computing on screens that looked like that?‘ Yet, we did.
Here’s the picture that’s worth a thousand words.
Cathode brings back the vintage terminal screens from a few decades ago with 12 retro fonts, a dynamic scroll back buffer, 256 colors, a customizable keyboard, yet there are options to drag and drop, plus cut, copy and paste.
Even the quirks of old cathode ray tubes are faithfully recreated with static, jitter, flicker, horizontal desync, apparent pixel burn-in. Cathode ben has sound effects which interact with the screen.
On top of being a decent and memorable terminal app, Cathode happens to be a decent text editor with a few bells and whistles reminiscent of the past– ASCII art, anyone?
If you never used a mainframe computer terminal, have no idea what Terminal.app is on a Mac, and can’t see any value in the Mac’s command line, then you’re not likely to be impressed with Cathode.
On the other hand, for any Mac user who can trace computer history back to the green screens and knows what CP/M, DOS, VAX, and similar computer jargon is, the Cathode is a refreshing blast from the past.