In advance of its June 1 debut on old media, Halt And Catch Fire—AMC’s drama about the dawn of the personal computer revolution in the ’80s—has premiered on the computerized Internet website Tumblr. The entire first episode is available to watch on AMC’s official Tumblr blog as part what the network’s social-media folks are billing as a “sneak preview,” although they could have been sneakier about it.
The show is a fictionalized version of real efforts by outfits like Compaq and Columbia Data Products to reverse-engineer the IBM PC, which dominated the market in the early ’80s. The title comes from a term for low-level programming instructions that cause a processor to stop functioning (and, apocryphally, to become so hot from computing an infinite loop that it catches on fire). So-called “HCF” instructions—the few that were actually discovered—were sometimes included by CPU designers for testing purposes and were never intended for use by programmers. Rest assured, modern technology is not so recklessly designed, and the notion of a single command that could stop a computer in its tracks is ridi