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* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2556 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

Thai man reportedly dies clutching his scorched iPhone 4S

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

@ Stoneshop Re: The wonders of having a metal phone body

You are right: the filter is the main culprit. Possibly the reduced distance between mains and low-voltage ends of the small transformer (compared to the beefier old ones) increases risk, but that distance is not smaller that the distances typically found in optical couplers (and they are safe, as a rule).

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: The wonders of having a metal phone body

As the charger is only designed to deliver a few volts, and almost any plug you think of has the zero/earth on the outer shell of the plug, a metal casing should be perfectly safe. An old-fashioned charger with transformer would insulate the low voltage circuit completely from mains, and is therefore the safer option. However, with copper prices the way they are, and the weight and bulk of a transformer, most supplies are now switching power supplies, in which there is a potential conductive path from mains to low voltage. Properly designed, there should be fail-safes that should prevent accidents happening. In cheap replacements, these can apparently fail. So while I can understand why phone designers can get metal casings approved, a plastic case would provide an extra fail-safe. Not buying dodgy chargers is another.

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Sysadmin job ad: 'If you don’t mind really bad work-life balance, this is for you'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

They clear studied C. Northcote Parkinson

This ad is a page out of The Short List. The aim is to frame the ad in such a way that you only get one candidate,

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China: 'JADE RABBIT' will be FOUND ON MOON

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Rabbit?

What will it's first instruction be: "Go forth and multiply"?

Sorry, couldn't resist. I'll keep my fingers crossed for their mission. It is great to see more people get involved in serious space exploration.

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Our Sun menaces comet 'of the century' ISON with FIERY DESTRUCTION

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Fingers crossed

But I fear clouds will spoil the party here.

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Revealed: How Microsoft DNS went titsup globally on Xbox One launch day

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Translation from MS BOFH speak to English...

A BOFH would have issued some non-maskable interrupts to the groinal area of those responsible. Next time (and I do not doubt there will be a next time) Azure and Office 365 fail be on the look-out for heads of IT or beancounters showing signs of discomfort in said area

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Vintage WINE laid down in SIXTEEN HUNDRED BC was 'psychotropic'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

If you are right

there should be a HUGE room full of ancient shoes nearby

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BOFH: Resistance is futile - we're missing BEER O'CLOCK

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Thumb Up

Very nice indeed

Simon is on form. The long wait we had before this sudden burst of episodes has been spent well, methinks. Or maybe he had to recharge a battery (of the cattle prod, no doubt)

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Google deletes Maps satellite photos of 14-year-old's unsolved murder

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

Re: @SeeingMole

Good points. I do satellite image analysis as part of my research, and most satellite data are used (panchromatic) at 1m resolution (these are often down-sampled to 2m to reduce the compute and storage load by a factor of four). To process the entire land surface of the world (150 Tpixel at 1m, give or take) in a week is quite a challenge, logistically and computationally. The new generation of satellites can give 30cm resolution, so roughly ten times more data: 1.5 Exapixel (ouch). Recognizing anybody at 30 cm resolution is impossible. Better resolution may be available in military satellites, but normally higher resolution work is done by aerial imaging.

What I do not understand in Google's reaction is why they do not apply some simple morphological filters to the image patch to remove the details. This is quite easy and fast. Using simple area-open-close, or levelling from markers you could remove the small features on the road without affecting the rest. Alternatively, edit out the data manually, and use image inpainting to stitch up the hole.

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Reg hack fondles a sexy Pro: An Apple MacBook 13in with Retina display

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Happy

The lack of upgrade option is slightly ironic

Given that the original Apple II was a runaway success precisely because it could be upgraded and extended so easily.

Having said that, I have never yet upgraded my laptop. My desktop is another matter. That has had its guts removed frequently, and between complete rebuilds has had many graphics card, memory, and disk upgrades. Most people expect to replace laptops every 2 or 3 years, which is why they wonder why I still use my battered old VAIO SZ (8.5 years old). The reason is probably that I am cheap and/or too lazy to get another one.

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Autopilot guides Texan plane home from a dizzying 30,000m

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Thumb Up

You guys really know haw to build up excitement!

Go LOHAN, GO!

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LOOK UP! Comet ISON could EXPLODE in our skies – astronomers

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Darn

I have spotted ISON a week or so ago, not much to look at through my 15x70 binoculars, but nice to have seen. Solid grey cloud ever since, so any brightening or fragmentation well hidden here in the Netherlands. I did spot comet Lovejoy in Leo, and it is very nice indeed through binoculars. Comet C/2012 X1 was visible too, but only just in my big binoculars,but alas I missed Encke. Still three out of four reasonably bright comets in one (early) morning session is great.

Now we hear Comet Nevski (also in Leo) has brightened and should be visible in small telescopes or big binoculars, but of course, clouds block the view (the Netherlands is every bit as bad as the UK).

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Who’s Who: a Reg quest to find the BEST DOCTOR

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

I only ever got to see Tom Baker as a kid in the Netherlands. That is probably why he is my favourite. For the same reason, the original Star Trek is my favourite. Mr Spock was my favourite character, but that is of course logical.

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WHO was it that TAMED the WOLF? Heel, Rex! No! Aarrghh!

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

I thought cats domesticated us

See "The Unadulterated Cat" by T. Pratchett

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Goodbye cruel world: Robot 'commits suicide' in KITCHEN FIREBALL

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Coat

You people do not understand the suffering

caused by a pain in all the diodes down its left side

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Coroner suggests cars should block mobile phones

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Boffin

Re; Yes well... + Statistics 101

"4: Fix the roads. 80% of deaths on country roads occur on bends because 80% of country roads is made up of bends."

If 80% of deaths occur on 80% of the roads, that strongly suggests the remaining 20% has 20% of the deaths, and therefore are no safer that the 80% referred to previously.

Bends are likely to be more dangerous, but the "statistics" cited don't show it

Just my tuppence

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Tales from an expert witness: Lasers, guns and singing Santas

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Thumb Up

Very interesting read!!

Thanks for that

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BOFH: One flew over the PFY's nest

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Superb!

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Forget invisible kittens, now TANKS draped in INVISIBILITY CLOAK

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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What we really need

is an invisibility cloak to bring new bits of kit into the house under the missus' radar. Very difficult as the missus' radar is sensitive to non-electromagnetic guilt waves given off by any man who has just bought yet another tech toy.

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Look at how many ways we ruin your life, Redmond boasts

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Happy

A modest proposal for correction

Perhaps the sentence

"47 per cent have worked while on vacation (either they or their employers have an inadequate grasp of the definition of “vacation”. Hint: “if you call me about work on December 25, I will hang up”)."

Should be amended to

"47 per cent have worked while on vacation (either they or their employers have an inadequate grasp of the definition of “vacation”. Hint: “if you call me about work on December 25, I will hang you from the highest gallows”)."

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Stephen Hawking: 'Boring' Higgs Boson discovery cost me $100

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Happy

Memorable phrase

"boffinry bitchslap brouhaha"

Well done, sir(s) well done!

How long did the Reg hacks wait for a suitable situation to use this phrase?

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Ricoh Theta 360˚ camera: Point and click immersive imaging

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Coat

Re: No Photosphere ?

Photosphere? I just observed the photosphere, and it was full of spots, by contrast, the chromosphere showed lots of prominences.

Coat please, and hand me the backpack with the solar H-alpha telescope

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Oracle pours hot, steaming Java into heterogeneous heaven

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Mixed feelings

It is good to see movement towards better tooling to deal with the complexity of coding on complex platforms such as GP-GPU/CPU hybrids/clusters you name it. At the same time I sometimes doubt that I will always get an efficient solution if hardware details are hidden from the coder. Some code optimizers to a sterling job on a variety of tasks, but sometimes you need to tailor your approach to the underlying architecture. Of course, if a tool works well in a large percentage of cases that is still a bonus, so long as the tools do not get in the way of people needing to access the machine at a lower level of abstraction, for those instances not properly covered by the tools.

One real fear is that people will assume that the code optimizer (or smart virtual machine in the case of Java) will do the work for them, and solve all their problems. I do not so much fear that real coders of parallel systems will walk blindly into that trap, but things might be different in higher management layers of an organization. I can just hear them say "Why do we need these expensive experts, when the code optimizer can automatically parallelize your code?"

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Boffins boggled by ORB-shaped electrons

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Happy

Re: The good old boring standard model

Who is running the simulations?

Easy: White mice!!

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HUMANITY STUNNED - Apple Retina iPad Mini arrives. A solemn moment

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Coat

Re: Nice display

Waddyamean pointless! it has far more little points than the old one!!

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Best exit fast before Bad Punnery Enforcement Squad arrives

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RETRO-GASM: The Fuze electronics kit for the Raspberry Pi

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Really really basic computers

It is important that we still teach machine coding at some level. I have included coding very simple programs on a simulated microprocessor in our course "Introduction to Computing Science". It helps people understand what goes on "under the hood" when coding in C (in the course "Imperative Programming" running in parallel). These simulators can run on the Pi or Arduino controllers, I suppose. In particular, simulators can show what is going on graphically, and that helps understanding as well.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

WANT!!!!!

Ah, what a trip down nostalgia lane, but with the processing grunt of a million pound (or more) machine from the 70s and 80s.

I must get myself one of these things (with the excuse of getting it for educational purposes for the kids, to make it fly under the missus' radar)

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BOFH: GOATSE? No, I said goat fetis... you know what, forget it

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: Baaaaaaaaaaa!

As Blackadder said to lord Melchett.

Brilliant episode (both this BOFH and that edition of Blackadder)

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OK, maths wonks: PRIME TIME has arrived

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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No 42 in there, so no worries (unless a Vogon constructor fleet appears (it's Thursday, after all))

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Planet hopper: The Earthly destinations of Doctor Who

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

42!!!!

Right in the centre of London!

Coincidence??

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ZOMBIE apocalypse! The 'LIVING DEAD' are HERE – Fox News confirmed it

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Are you sure they didnt mean to say

But don't they always say that? Hyperbole, thy name is Fox

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Production error?

I thought Fox News WAS a production error?

Or was that mass producer of errors?

Or the product of a deranged imagination?

Wait! That was the galactic banking sector!

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Vulture 2 spaceplane STRIPPED to the bone

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Pint

Know I know

why the design reminded me of the Vickers Wellington model I built as a kid.

Lets raise a glass to the memory of the great Barnes Wallis

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Galaxy is CRAMMED with EARTH-LIKE WORLDS – also ALIENS (probably)

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

You mean, superman isn't real?????????????

HERETIC!!!!!!!

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Re: Maybe they're hiding from us.

Of course they are. We play cricket. Bad form, that, very bad form

OK, OK!! I'll get me coat

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IT'S ALIVE! IT'S ALIVE! Google's secretive Omega tech just like LIVING thing

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Won't they just take to sulking in basements?

I'll get me coat. The one with the cassette tapes of the Hitchhiker's Guide radio plays please

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Facebook fans fuel FAGGOT FURY firestorm

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: WFG

I would suggest WFoG or WFOG, as it is semi-pronounceable, and the FOG component chimes nicely with the mental fog that often accompanies WFoG posts

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BETHLEHEM-grade SUPERNOVA possible 'within 50 years'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: No three & no kings

3 is odd indeed, in this case I would have expected the number to be perfect, so 6 or 28 would be more appropriate.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Disappointing...

I know what you mean, ISON might be nice, and even naked eye, in the coming months, but the COMET OF THE CENTURY (where is that blink attribute when you need it) claims initially made look way overblown.

Hale-Bopp in 1996 was very nice however

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

Refinement for sure, and some nice modelling, but no shocking news

We have known about the statistics of supernova explosions from watching similar galaxies to ours (spiral or barred spiral, not lenticular BTW) for a long time. I myself have seen half a dozen in the last three years in various "nearby" galaxies with my humble 8" scope (none discovered by me, I just watch the ones others have found), so the statistics that have been gathered with big scopes are pretty good. We know that a naked eye supernova is long overdue, but that does not alter the probabilities of having one going off now, or in the next few decades.

The authors do provide nice estimates of the brightness distributions expected, however, I do not want to knock their work.

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BOFH: Is WHAT 'running slow'!? GOD

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Installers

I do not usually get installer questions during installation of Windows, except when it does not recognize hardware. One case I remember is Windows 2000 refusing to talk to a bog-standard S3-based super VGA card from Diamond, just a year old, so hardly obsolete. It did like the older Matrox Millennium board I had lying around. On most bog-standard machines you do not have trouble, but if you have anything remotely fancy, the Windows installer can throw a fit.

The same Windows 2000 install refused to boot the moment I attached a Quantum Viking II UW-SCSI disk to the Adaptec 2942 UW controller (which it did recognize). Attach a disk -> no boot; remove disk, all hunky-dory! AARGH! As the main disk was a mere 20GB, I really liked the idea of having a second 9GB disk available, especially because all the old data was on it. It was not to be. Put the thing in an external case and attach as external SCSI drive? That did work. Why? To this day I do not know.

A Linux install on the same machine was WAY faster.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Pint

Re: coming-to-work-naked

Never mind the caps lock, it shows you are really getting into the spirit of things, in a tap-dancing-along-the-disaster-curve kind of way. Have a beer!

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Thumb Up

Simon is on form

"... or the slow crawl of a progress bar across the screen as a windows boot prepares to fail..."

Having struggled with a series of installs lately, I can relate to that. Really I can.

Time for some percussive maintenance!!

Where is that cricket bat?

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'It seems that the OSes and devices are based on the Devil'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coffee/keyboard

Hilarious

Just, hilarious! He probably was inspired by all the daemons in his system

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Fed up with Windows? Linux too easy? Get weird, go ALTERNATIVE

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Pint

Oh dear

I feel an urge to install a couple to make our new home machine not just dual boot, but triple, quadruple, quintuple boot, if only to freak out the missus

Must resist, must resist

Let's have a beer to calm the shaken nerves.

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Facebook tests sinister CURSOR-TRACKING in hunt for more ad bucks

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Note to self

IF I ever log on to facebook, remember to make rapid random cursor movements to confuse system

Better yet: do not log on to facebook (resisted so far, not tempted yet)

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Moto sets out plans for crafty snap-together PODULAR PHONES

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: LEGO-style

Maybe it should be branded LEGOrola?

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HTC phone STOPS BULLET, saves Florida gas station clerk's life

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

And it isn't even a ruggedized phone

sorry, time for me coat already

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Z30: The classiest BlackBerry mobe ever ... and possibly the last

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Stop

Re: Here we go again...

One troll well and truly fed, I am afraid

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Phantom Flan flinger: The story of the Elan Enterprise 128

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Ah, Memory Lane, 128kB of it

I had the Enterprise 128, and had a lot of fun with it. Hooked it up to a Brother electronic typewriter and could then print stuff with the ear-splitting sound of a daisy-wheel printer running at full clip. We even got the word processor to print things in cheapskate boldface by hammering down the letter twice with a tiny shift. The BASIC was very slow, as I remember. I programmed an FFT on it, which took quite a while on a 256 entry 1-D array. Quite a pointless exercise, but I just did it because I could.

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