* Posts by David Beck

281 posts • joined 17 Apr 2007

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Police investigate strange case of doughnut-licking pop singer Ariana Grande

David Beck

Re: doughnut

KrispyKreme originals, food of the Gods.

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Radio 4 and Dr K on programming languages: Full of Java Kool-Aid

David Beck

Re: z/series assembler...

The longevity is more attributable to the quality and constraint of IBM hardware design, both the original Gene Amdahl work and the thousands of engineers who could have easily fucked it up with each iteration.

I wonder how much BAL code is still running today in major systems, not just those small routines which required BAL to get the job done? Is ACP still booking flights?

The OS's are now coded for the most part in a thin PL/1 (SPL?, too many years) and when I say now I mean since the late 1970's, but lots of bare metal code, interrupt handlers, device and channel drivers were still in BAL even after the recode.

Anyway I'm out of here,

LM 14,12,12(13)

BR 14

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IT knowledge is as important as Maths, says UK.gov

David Beck

New Way?

I learned about "passing by reference or value" in 1967, using those words. If that's the "new way" then what was the "old way"?

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Free WiFi coming to UK trains ... in two years

David Beck

New?

We can add that Chiltern already has free wifi. So what exactly is being added?

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EE squashes Orange UK: France Telecom's been 'destroying it for years'

David Beck

Who sees this as a "good thing"?

I don't get it, BT a bunch of proven wankers who couldn't piss their way out of a tissue bag, are going to take over EE a brand which has three things going for it, an early start at 4G build out, Orange contracts and T-Mobile contracts. So the first thing they do is piss off two of their major assets. Sounds about right. I've seen a lot about how all the new contracts are for EE 4G, but nothing about the actual distribution of subscribers across the three brands. This alone makes me suspicious of attempts at "bandwagoning" 4G. I'm not sold, 4G is all about improvements for the carrier, almost none for the subscriber, a one trick pony of "speed". I even saw some idiot telling me that streaming was so much better on 4G (if you don't understand why this is a stupid statement stop reading now). I forecast higher prices, zero innovation (technical and marketing) and even worse voice coverage. And those are just the good bits.

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Give ALL the EU access to Netflix, says Vince Cable

David Beck

Re: Boost GDP by £260bn?

Why would having a UK Netflix account help you in Brussels? You will only have access to the Belgian library, in French and Flemish. What happened to the Common Market? A lawyer heard about it.

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Analysts claim itty bitty iPhone Mini to land next year

David Beck

Re: Lies, damned lies and statistics...

Agree 100%. If you want a 4in or sub 4in screen your choice is a landfill Chinese Android or a "compact" model with no power, no memory and all the bloat of the full fat version. I'm surprised 2% found a suitable phone. I'm currently using a Moto G 4G, not for the 4G but for the smaller screen (4.5in) and SD card. If I could dump KitKat and find a version of Android 4.2 or 4.3 for it I'd almost be a happy man.

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Metrics house hails Apple DOMINANCE of X-Mas phone 'n' slab sales

David Beck

Re: Short memories

I owned a Palm Treo too and am still waiting for a calendar app as good as the one on the Treo. Mind you I just had a play with the last Palm I owned, a Centro with Palm OS, and I realised how simple the UI was and how easy it was to run with a single hand. No obscure graphics to try to remember what app lay underneath, neatly classified pages of apps, a real keyboard that I could use without looking and know when the key was pressed. All terrible stuff when now you can push around little pictures and watch magnificent "transitions" before your very eyes. Shiny, all very shiny.

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UK national mobile roaming: A stupid idea that'll never work

David Beck

EE 4G in Chipping Norton too

Can't imagine why.

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Reg mobile man: National roaming plan? Oh UK.gov, you've GOT to be joking

David Beck

Exactly

Limit the roaming to 2G services.

No network is building out 2G anyway so no fewer base stations.

Since churn is created by poor service at home where wifi is available offering 2G roaming slows churn.

The networks tell us that data is the only way they can make money, this lets them prove it by taking voice and SMS out of the picture.

Make the 2G network only a utility.

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Forget 5G, UK.gov is making 2G fit for the 21st century!

David Beck

Church spires

Almost every village has one, planners and networks don't like to use them for different reasons but can be convinced by "nimby'ism" to put them there even if it does cost more.

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David Beck

Re: NIMBYs

Villages don't generally have a problem, there is always a church or two where the mast can go into the spire. The networks don't like being forced to this as it costs more than just sticking a mast on a pole.

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David Beck

Re: I find this hilarious

I don't have much sympathy for idiots who make assumptions without the benefit of facts. Chipping Norton has signals from all four networks and where I live excellent 3G on 3 and EE and excellent 4G on EE.

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David Beck

... in remote rural areas, like, say, Chipping Norton...

As a resident of said town I am surprised your correspondent failed to check the coverage maps before offering up Chippy as a "not spot". As I sit here in my study at the top of the hill I find I have excellent 3G coverage from both 3 and EE as well as excellent 4G (not a typo) from EE. Vodafone and O2 are offering some sort of signal but as I don't have a suitable SIM I'm not able to give further information.

I do remember that the signals suddenly improved about the time Dave became party leader, but that was some time ago and I always thought it was because the journos complained.

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Zuckerberg bombshell: Man married to Chinese woman speaks Chinese in China

David Beck

Re: difficult to master?

It also helps if you learn the language at the point in your life that your brain is most responsive to acquiring language, prior to the age of 12 in most of the literature, but as early as 6 months for selective sounds.

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SanDisk's record-busting 512GB SD CARD will fit perfectly in your empty wallet

David Beck

Re: Why were they called Winchesters?

At least one reason was the part/model number - 3030.

The biggest problem was training ops to NOT swap a disk to another spindle if they had a problem. I saw four sets of heads gone before the op twigged it was a faulty disk.

Also working amongest the drives you could get bumped as MVT decided to open a drawer to swap disks for an upcoming job.

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Smart meters in UK homes will only save folks a lousy £26 a year

David Beck

Re: "Lets hope this is put a stop to it before they start putting them in."

I think you'll find that "UK Govt Grant" comes out of your pocket too.

And as I understand it, the energy retailer is supplying and fitting the meter so if you change to a different retailer they may require a new (read different) meter fitted. It's as if someone said," the energy industry is pretty f**ked up, how can we f**k is up some more?"

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Stalwart hatchback gets a plug-in: Volkswagen e-Golf

David Beck

Re: Same old - Nokia Phones

Yes, E52 in hand. Still my travel phone since the maps are on the mSD card and battery will last a week.

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Listen: WORST EVER customer service call – Comcast is 'very embarrassed'

David Beck

Re: Just refuse to discuss it

Often the CS prologue says "The call may be recorded, ...". I take that to mean I am allowed to record the call. If they mean something else they should use less ambiguous language.

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Big Blue Apple: IBM to sell iPads, iPhones to enterprises

David Beck

Re: @milesy and others who think corporate users get to configure their kit

Is that before or after the corporate IT guy images the official config on your Mac? I don't remember doing much work on the configuration of my corporate PC/laptop over the past 24 years. In fact I distinctly remember not being allowed to makes config changes or in some cases, able to make changes.

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Unisys cozies closer to Intel, 'sunsets' proprietary processor

David Beck

Re: Emulation?

In the case of the Dorados this includes arithmetic. Intel=32/64 bit twos complement, Unisys 1100=36/72 bit ones complement.

The Libras have equivalent challenges with what was originally hardware word typing (I think four type bits per word) but at least the words were multiples of 8 bits and the arithmetic was twos complement.

This might explain their reluctance to describe it in detail.

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Why won't you DIE? IBM's S/360 and its legacy at 50

David Beck

Re: Speaking of remembering

@Earl Grey -

LCS, I think little old ladies with needles, threading cores.

Note that S/360 could be programmed from the panel as well, you just had to write in machine code, in hex, a bit like kick starting a PDP8.

BTW, Fred Brookes got the job managing S/360 since he did so well on a special project for a 7000 Series "super computer", the 7030, better known as Stretch. Some of the 7000's were a bit compatible with each other I think, at least used the same data format, 36-bit words, one's compliment integers, 7090 and 7094 were sort of compatible. There were all sorts of 70x0 machines that weren't though.

I spent a bad summer working on old Fortran code which ran perfectly on a 7094 and not at all on a model 50.

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David Beck

Re: Eventually we stripped scrapped 360s for components.

@RobHib-The odd memory was probably the size of the memory available for the user, not the hardware size (which came in powers of 2 multiples). The size the OS took was a function of what devices were attached and a few other sysgen parameters. Whatever was left after the OS was user space. There was usually a 2k boundary since memory protect keys worked on 2k chunks, but not always, some customers ran naked to squeeze out those extra bytes.

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David Beck

Re: Maintenance

It all comes flooding back.

A long CCW chain, some of which are the equivalent of NOP in channel talk (where did I put that green card?) with a TIC (Transfer in Channel, think branch) at the bottom of the chain back to the top. The idea was to take an interrupt (PCI) on some CCW in the chain and get back to convert the NOPs to real CCWs to continue the chain without ending it. Certainly the way the page pool was handled in CP67.

And I too remember the dumps coming on trollies. There was software to analyse a dump tape but that name is now long gone (as was the origin of most of the problems in the dumps). Those were the days I could not just add and subtract in hex but multiply as well.

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David Beck

Re: 16 bit byte?

The typo must be fixed, the article says 6-bit now. The following is for those who have no idea what we are talking about.

Generally machines prior to the S/360 were 6-bit if character or 36-bit if word oriented. The S/360 was the first IBM architecture (thank you Dr's Brooks, Blaauw and Amdahl) to provide both data types with appropriate instructions and to include a "full" character set (256 characters instead of 64) and to provide a concise decimal format (2 digits in one character position instead of 1) 8-bits was chosen as the "character" length. It did mean a lot of Fortran code had to be reworked to deal with 32-bit single precision or 32 bit integers instead of the previous 36-bit.

If you think the old ways are gone, have a look at the data formats for the Unisys 2200.

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David Beck

Re: Virtualisation

S/360 Model 67 running CP67 (CMS which became VM) or the Michigan Terminal System. The Model 67 was a Model 65 with a DAT box to support paging/segmentation but CP67 only ever supported paging (I think, it's been a few years).

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David Beck

Re: Ahh S/360 I knew thee well

There are people who worked on Galileo still alive? And ACP/TPF still lives, as zTPF? I remember a headhunter chasing me in the early 80's for a job in OZ, Quantas looking for ACP/TPF coders, $80k US, very temping.

You can do everything in 2k segments of BAL.

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David Beck

Re: Maintenance

So true re the service costs, but "Field Engineering" as a profit centre and a big one at that. Not true regarding having to buy "complete" systems for compatibility. In the 70's I had a room full of CDC disks on a Model 40 bought because they were cheaper and had a faster linear motor positioner (the thing that moved the heads), while the real 2311's used hydraulic positioners. Bad day when there was a puddle of oil under the 2311.

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Click here to BEAT OFF David Cameron's web SMUT ban

David Beck

Re: Why

Makes you think that a number of the comment makers here are not the bill payer. And I agree if the majority turn off the filters it sends real message.

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Google slips Chromecast stick into SAUCY new partner: HBO Go

David Beck

Re: Not in the UK then....

Right, the work isn't done until the reptiles stop slithering.

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MANUAL STIMULATION: Whack me with some proper documentation

David Beck

Here here

I am now the proud? owner of four email addresses for TomTom since I manage the family's four GPS boxes.

1. TomTom allow one account to manage one GPS

2. TomTom do not allow "+" convention in the email address

Morons^2

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Slip your SIM into a plastic sheath, WIPE international call charges

David Beck

Re: What happens when you are outside the UK?

Replying to myself, I just found the FAQ for the service.

"Most operators will provide the option to take your ‘bundled’ minute abroad ..."

This is of course completely wrong, most UK operators do not provide this. So they are assuming the punter is too thick to know or notice. They further suggest that even without these cheap (non-existent) minutes, it's still cheaper if you are calling outside the EU. Huh? I missed the part about how you can control the routing of the call, I was busy reading the part about how you didn't have to do anything for the call to automatically route via the service.

Looks like they almost have a product if you don't look too carefully, don't travel or always use local SIMs when you do.

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David Beck

What happens when you are outside the UK?

Last time I looked at these things (they are not new), the problems were -

1) if you were not in your home country, they either didn't work at all or you got charged twice,once for the call to the interception company and then by that company for the call to the final number and

2) if they only intercepted "international" calls they used "+" as the trigger. All of my contacts have the numbers recorded with the full number, that is all UK numbers start "+44", for obvious reasons if you spend much time travelling.

If one of the suppliers would like to comment I appreciate, it took a couple days of phone calls to get the above info the first time (about a year ago).

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Can't fit slab AND mobe in your tight pockets? 10 tablets with built-in 3G/4G

David Beck

Missing the bargain Lenovo A3000

Your researcher missed the Lenovo A3000 (replacement for the A2107A). The A3000 fixes all of the problems with the A2107A except screen res, still 1024x600), but the CPU is now quad and all of the internal memory available for apps (about 13GB after system loads). Front and back cameras, OTG support, BT keyboard support and under the back cover, a microSD slot supporting SDXC as well as SDHC, and two SIM slots. Why two? In the Asian market one slot can be used for voice as well as SMS and the other for data. In the UK voice is missing but the slot still works for SMS. Data is HSPA+, my local tower gets me 17Mbps. While this is a descent spec 7in tablet the most interesting thing is you can buy it from Very for £150, I did. Beats the crap out of £320, unless you're like CNET and fixated on resolution. It's on Android 4.2.2 and Lenovo have issued 3 OTA updates, one big one "fused" two internal partitions into one big one to fix the app storage limits. Now if they would just issue one with the voice support in the kernel all would be well (there are still bits of voice support hiding in the UI).

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Unisys cranks Xeon mainframe oomph above legacy CMOS iron

David Beck

Re: These guys seem to get that it's *all* about being able to run that legacy software

"Given that I doubt the mainframe register sets map very well onto the x*^ architecture this is a stunning achievement."

Amen to that, for the MCP machines they are emulating a machine where each word (I think 48bits) has a descriptor of n bits describing the current state of the word, as in - uninitialized, integer, instruction part, floating point part, characters, ... but at least the basic unit is 8bits and the arithmetic twos complement.

For the OS 2200 machines they are emulating the architecture of the 1100 series, which started life as an IBM 7094 alike, not an exact copy but similar architecture, 36bit words, one's complement arithmetic (for you non-computer people that means there is both positive and negative zero and all that entails) and given the natural word is 36bits the natural "byte" is 9bits. The emulated memory map must be a real mess.

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Billionaire Google founder splits with wife, allegedly beds Google Glass minx

David Beck
Happy

Stolen from Mrs Merton

Now tell me Miss Rosenberg, what was it that first attracted you to the billionaire Mr Brin?

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How do you drive a supercomputer round a Formula 1 track?

David Beck

Enstone

The Lotus factory is just outside of Enstone, look for the disused airfield on Google Earth. And have a drink at the Crown in Church Enstone, you might well be drinking with some of the engineers, just check the shirts.

Oxfordshire is full of disused airfelds with some motorsport factory adjacent taking advantage of all that tarmac.

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RBS Mainframe Meltdown: A year on, the fallout is still coming

David Beck

Re: AC: This wasn't a hardware flaw. This wasn't a mainframe flaw.

Google also doesn't care if you get the "complete" answer to your query. If a section of the data is "down" then you just don't see that in the results. How'd that work with your bank account?

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Ofcom: When shall we squeeze Freeview's girth?

David Beck
FAIL

Re: just like the phone numbers

And of course they allowed Londoners to dial short codes just the '7' or '8' . I remember this well as my number started '845...' . You can imagine the calls we got. Well planned.

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Google: 'We'll track EVERY task on EVERY data center server'

David Beck

1970's

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Another 170,000 Freeview homes to be freed from reality TV - possibly

David Beck
Thumb Up

1000's unable to locate "off" button

I enjoy these responses as well. It does show a sort of underlying addictive personality, incapable of managing a potentially addictive situation. Other examples, "never had a joint as I would become an addict", "I'd love a pint of real ale but i don't want to become an alcoholic", ...

Perhaps the education system needs to include some sort of assertiveness training, teach that "choice" is not a bad thing and can be managed. Otherwise you have the situation that everything not prohibited is compulsory, and that we know is a joke, racial stereotype joke, but a joke.

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Android 'splits' into the Good and the lovechild of Bad and Ugly

David Beck

How few is still a "load"?

"...Aren't there a load of recent Nokia customers ..."

I'd venture there's not "a load of recent Nokia customers" in any state, given there's not a "load" of recent Nokia customers.

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So you won a 4G licence. The Freeview interference squad wants a word

David Beck
FAIL

Re: Sigh

"OAPs get their licence paid for by the government. Have done since 2001"

Somewhere maybe but not here in the UK.

OAP

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Mobe networks bag UK 4G for a steal - £1bn shy of Osborne's £3.5bn

David Beck
WTF?

Re: Dont have 3G...

I never understand this, how will 4G help streaming at the consumer end?

It takes 10 mins to watch 10 mins of video, as long as the connection can supply the content fast enough to keep the buffer full any excess bandwidth is irrelevant. It only helps d/l times or possibly latency, neither of which are a problem for most people on 3G, assuming the cell/back haul is not congested. There is no reason to believe that the level of cell and back haul congestion will differ between 3G and 4G. Is the suggestion that people want HD content on the microscopic screens of their phones? Who watches video on their phones now? Who has the time? Can someone explain what the great new apps are that will benefit from more bandwidth on a mass market mobile platform? One that wouldn't be satisfied by a proper build out of the 3G network.

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Speaking in Tech: Tesla's Elon Musk takes on NYT - ballsy move, man

David Beck
Meh

Transcripts??

An chance for transcripts of these confabs? I read a LOT faster than I listen.

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Amazon-bashed HMV calls in administrators, seeks buyer

David Beck
FAIL

Re: @Reading Your E-mail

"find ways of evading tax ", is against the law. What has been discussed here is paying the legally required tax according to the law of the land. There is no right or wrong amount, just correct or incorrect. This is not a moral issue, it is a legal issue. If you want to make it a moral issue I suggest that you look at living in a theocracy. I understand there are several in the middle east that would provide examples of what it's like.

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LinkedIn SHOCK: Social-for-Suits ISN'T a flash in the pan

David Beck

Re: I've got a LinkedIn account

Like most things, if you can't figure out anything useful to do with it, you probably don't need it.

All the 30GBP does is allow you to be a bit more aggressive in finding others, it really does little to make you more visible. So unless you are a stalker or recruiter, then you will not be interested.

As for the 1995 UI, I like it, it's a menu system designed to run with a mouse, an environment that is familiar to it's target market. Since Linkedin isn't encumbered with a need to present content to neophytes to earn money, it doesn't need to emulate the current fad of Fisher Price interfaces.

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4G: Bad coverage, crap battery life - but at least it's really expensive

David Beck

Re: Don't forget we're late to the party

So they are not usable for voice, or stay powered up all of the time and deplete the battery even faster.

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David Beck

Re: What's the point of 4G...

Remind me, how fast can you watch a video or listen to a sound track? I always assumed that you would never really need more speed than the bit rate of the content plus a small buffer, but what do I know. Or is it to consume a very large webpage on a 4" screen. Or is it not about "mobile" at all. Do the Telcos have any idea what will drive 4G (other than marketing and a few "new means better" sheep)?

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Unisys pumps up ClearPath mainframes with Xeon E5s

David Beck

Re: Emulation or Simulation?

Emulation, actually we are talking about simulation here as the firmware in the Intel chip is untouched and all of the work is done by x86 instructions not firmware instructions, is much simpler for the base S360 (little changed since the 1960's) architecture.

MCP runs natively on 48bit word machines with hardware typing per word, S360 is 32bit untyped. This means it's perfectly acceptable to do integer instructions on character strings on a S360 machine and impossible to do so on the MCP machine. So there must be a "type byte" per word holding the typing info referenced by the execution simulation for each instruction.

The Univac case is a bit more complicated as the base architecture is IBM 7000 series (the one that preceded S360) and uses 36bit words and, interestingly, 1's complement binary arithmetic. That's the one that has two representations for zero (plus and minus).

Both of these represent considerable barriers to fast simulation since there is a mis-match at the fundamental storage architecture. I've looked but been unable to find any papers on how these problems were overcome.

S360/370/Z all share the same base storage architecture, 32bit words, two's compliment arithmetic, which is shared with the x86 family as well. I'd be very surprised if a simulation of S360 was not considerably quicker than either of the Unisys architectures.

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